Law At Work targets further growth with HR consultancy acquisition

Law At Work and Square Circle HR have announced a merger 

Edinburgh-based employment law, HR and health & safety specialist Law At Work (LAW) has announced the completion of the acquisition of Square Circle HR Ltd.
The deal will see the Glasgow-based Square Circle team of nine join LAW’s existing HR consultancy team of 33 and the merged firm offer a wider breadth and style of services to its growing client list.
The move is part of LAW’s drive to become a leading mid-market consultancy in the provision of fixed-fee, all-inclusive employment law, health and safety, and human resource consultancy.
Jane Wright, chief executive of LAW, said: “Since the MBO (management buy-out) in 2012 our ambition has been to grow the business into a significantly larger company and this merger will be a significant first step towards us realising this goal. Our recent annual results to May 2016 show continued growth in income of 3.5 per cent with profits remaining steady. This acquisition will enable us to deliver a step change in growth over the next few years.
“Square Circle HR has an excellent reputation for the quality of the service they provide and we were immediately impressed by the directors and the personalised client relationships they and their people have developed over the years.
“Our focus in the coming months will be to ensure that our teams work together to continue to provide the very best support for our clients.
“The combination of the two businesses will enable both LAW and Square Circle clients to access new services depending on their specific requirements. For Square Circle clients, this is in the form of broader business services in Health & Safety, Legal Services as well as Insurance and Training.
“Existing LAW clients can now access a wider range of dedicated hands-on HR support on a retainer or project basis, in addition to the HR Project support we currently offer, all of which will be delivered by highly qualified and experienced HR professionals.
“The existing employment law services we provide remain unchanged with high quality support delivered by named solicitors for our retained clients. The expansion of the HR team will provide an additional option where hands-on HR support is required. This means that LAW is absolutely a one-stop shop for all people related matters.”
Established in 2006 by three partners; Square Circle has been successfully offering outsourced HR consultancy on a retainer and project basis for almost 100 clients across a range of sectors in Scotland and England. All three directors and the consultant team will remain with LAW.
Company director Roz Wood, who will be the new head of HR consultancy services for LAW, said: “We have been discussing this step with a number of potential buyers as the culmination of the board’s five-year strategic plan for Square Circle HR. Law At Work were by far the best suitor for our business. Their culture and values are closely aligned and their reputation in the industry for delivering a high quality service to satisfied clients is well-known. They have shaken up the market in the provision of employment law and health & safety services, providing clients with high quality legal advice, a responsive commercial approach and value for money.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for our clients to become part of a bigger company whose offering includes a quality employment law team, with qualified solicitors manning their legal advice line, a well-developed health and safety product in addition to their own small, but established, HR consultancy.
“This merger will give those clients who want it, access to a joined up product without any loss of quality of service. Both LAW and Square Circle HR share a service mentality where personalised services are at the heart of our offerings. This has drawn clients to our businesses and it is an approach that will maintain our relationships going forward.”
The acquisition is part of LAW’s ambitious overall growth strategy, which continues both in Scotland and in London.
Wright added: “We are an ambitious company and our unique and fresh approach to client servicing has seen us secure most of our employment business from traditional legal firms. Our employment law service will remain at the heart of our company as we grow, but we will now offer more flexible and end-to-end services driven by client demand.
“We have invested heavily in gearing up Law At Work in anticipation of growth, both in terms of staff and IT infrastructure, and we are now ready to capitalise on that investment and anticipate that the next financial year will see the turnover of LAW grow towards £3 million.”
The price, which remains undisclosed, was financed by HSBC. The advisors on the deal have been David Beveridge of Macdonald Henderson and Neil Grimmond of Craig Corporate on behalf of LAW and Paul Mason of Lomond Advisory and Michael Murphy of Omnium Law on behalf of Square Circle HR.
Gavin Forsyth, LAW’s relationship director at HSBC, said: “Following the funding support of the original MBO in 2012, HSBC are absolutely delighted to continue to support and partner Law at Work and their ongoing growth strategy. We consider the acquisition of Square Circle to be a very important and complementary addition to the business.”
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