Gilson Gray

Knights loses conveyancing practice as Scottish firm expands into England

Full-service Scottish law firm Gilson Gray has struck a deal with Knights to acquire Home Property Lawyers (HPL) Ltd, with the firm saying the move “signals the beginning of an expansion strategy outside Scotland”.

HPL is a residential conveyancing firm with 65 staff, all of whom have been retained as part of the deal, including current Head of HPL, Gary Tyman. Gilson Gray plans to double the head count as soon as possible and has begun recruiting in the Lincoln area and across England. In time, HPL will adopt the Gilson Gray name.

According to Glen Gilson, group chairman and managing partner of Gilson Gray, the firm has been scouting the English market for suitable firms to acquire, before choosing to move forward with HPL. Mr Gilson said:

“We have long-committed to delivering ‘best of breed’ legal services in Scotland and the HPL deal extends that ambition into England. We plan for HPL to become the market leader in its area of expertise within the next year.

Having a UK-wide footprint, and the ability to work across multiple jurisdictions, is becoming increasingly important for top tier law firms. This acquisition gives us direct access, at scale, to the English market and is a move requested by many of our client base. It allows us to build our full service offering accordingly and, from a regulatory perspective, it makes sense to keep all our options open.

We are proud to see Gilson Gray take this step, which we believe to be the first substantial deal involving a Scottish legal firm acquiring an English legal services operation, given that deals of this nature tend to happen in the reverse.”

Head of HPL Gary Tyman said:

“I am excited to be joining the Gilson Gray Group. It is a thriving entrepreneurial business that gives me great comfort for the future of the HPL staff, our clients and the quality of the product that we can bring to market. The team has a proven track record of delivering high calibre professional services initiatives and have a superb knowledge of the needs of many of our intermediary partners.

For example, Matthew Gray, Managing Director for Property Services at Gilson Gray, was the regional head of Propertymark, the National Association of Estate Agents, thus we are able to design and deliver a relevant market-leading proposition for such clients across the UK.”

The consideration was not disclosed. The deal is subject to final SRA approvals.

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