McMillan Williams saviour handed £5m by founder for fresh acquisitions


A firm that completed one of the biggest legal mergers of 2020 has been handed a £5m boost to grow further – with investment from a couple of familiar faces.

National practice Taylor Rose bought south east-based McMillan Williams in May last year after rescuing the firm from administration. The combined business now turns over £60m a year and has 900 people working from 32 offices around the country.

The firm this week announced it has received equity backing from John McMillan, one of MW’s founders, and former MW chief executive Colum Smith. The pair made an initial investment to support the acquisition and have now taken up an option in the agreement to increase that to nearly £5m.

Taylor Rose MW will now seek to make further acquisitions with the extra investment, with the firm in talks with four firms about potential deals. It aims to become a more significant force in the consumer market and is already the fifth largest conveyancing firm in the country. 

Adrian Jaggard

‘The credibility, buying power and efficiency we have make us a very attractive proposition,’ said chief executive Adrian Jaggard.

The acquisition last year prompted a complete structural review and largescale investment in new technology. This review resulted in 50 redundancies and a handful of office closures, but the firm has retained the model of McMillan Williams in keeping a local presence through the retention of most offices.

Jaggard said the plight of McMillan Williams, which collapsed owing more than £15m to various creditors, overshadowed the underlying quality of the lawyers and its clients.

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‘I think people sometimes overlooked that. They are very well integrated in lots of communities holding strong goodwill and high-quality contracts in those communities – that has a lot of value attached to it,’ he said.

‘There were issues at MW involving many different parties, which explains in part why it ended in administration. But Taylor Rose MW is very different and we are now running the business and managing the staff in line with our culture and moral compass.’

Taylor Rose MW also plans to increase from 350 the number of consultants working alongside employed staff. It aims to have 50% of its revenue supplied by self-employed consultants, although the size of the MW acquisition means it is currently weighted more on the employed side. The consultancy arm is on track to turn over around £20m this year and is on an accelerated recruitment drive, with the new locations also give consultants more places to work from if they need office space.



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