Swindon-based law firm and Thames Tap partner Clark Holt has merged with Gardner Leader.

The new £12 million turnover business will have almost 160 employees including the 15-strong Clark Holt team and will operate under the Gardner Leader brand.

Clark Holt shareholders Philip Humphreys and Jeff Jenkins, will become equity partners in the new firm.

Gardner Leader managing partner Derek Rodgers said: “Clark Holt is a very well-regarded and successful niche commercial law firm.

“Our two firms have had a very close relationship for many years, with Gardner Leader assisting many Clark Holt clients when they had needs outside the core Clark Holt specialisms.

“We know that their approach, ethos and culture are a great match for our own. We are excited to be adding such a high quality team to our firm to cement our position as one of the leading firms in the Thames Valley.”

Clark Holt managing partner Philip Humphreys said: “We were able to successfully navigate the challenges for our firm raised by the Covid pandemic, due to our strong and loyal client base and the commitment and teamwork of our colleagues.

“Following an approach from Gardner Leader, however, we felt that the time was now right to take the ‘best-friend’ relationship we have had with them for some time to the next stage.  We believe that this will enable us to more easily access wider markets alongside our new colleagues and provide a wider range of services to our clients.”

Clark Holt commercial solicitors was formed in 1995 in Swindon and specialises in corporate, commercial and commercial real estate. The firm is widely recognised for its work in those fields.

Gardner Leader has been in Newbury since 1895 and has seen rapid growth over the last 10 years, expanding into Maidenhead in 2014 and into London and Windsor since 2019.

Former partners of Clark Holt, Richard Clark and Jeremy Holt, both now retired, issued a statement about the merger.

It said: “As the founders of Clark Holt we strongly support the merger with Gardner Leader because of the additional legal services it will provide for the commercial clients of the firm.”

The two firms are targeting a completion date for the merger later in the Summer.

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