Burford-backed law firm unveils City litigation merger

Riem: Aim is to be go-to firm

PCB, the law firm part-owned by leading funder Burford Capital, is to merge with fellow City firm Byrne and Partners to create a significant new boutique in the litigation market.

PCB Byrne, as it will be from 1 April, will have 14 partners and 49 fee-earners. Both firms are particularly well known for their fraud work.

In a joint statement, they said the increased capacity and resources “will create new opportunities to develop PCB Byrne’s existing portfolio of corporate crime, insolvency, banking litigation and international arbitration work”.

The merged firm will also scale up its work across Asia, the Middle East, Russia and the CIS.

Its accounts for the year to 31 March 2020 show that Byrne made a £4m profit on an £11.6m turnover, significantly down from £6.5m and £18.2m respectively in the previous year.

When Burford took a 32% stake in PCB last June, the firm’s turnover was put at £6.5m, up from £4m in the year before.

Teasdale: Landmark moment

Sara Teasdale, managing partner at Byrne & Partners, said: “This merger is a landmark moment for both teams. We have known each other for a long time and our merger follows two years of discussion.

“Both firms have a proven track record and joining forces strengthens our breadth and depth of expertise in solving complex cross-border disputes and achieving outstanding outcomes. Operating on a new scale, PCB Byrne will offer a full range of dispute resolution and commercial and criminal litigation services.”

PCB managing partner Anthony Riem added that the goal was to become “the go-to specialist firm for heavyweight dispute resolution matters”.

Burford stressed last year that it viewed its stake more as an innovative legal finance deal than an investment in a law firm.

Burford’s holding has not been diluted by the merger. A spokeswoman said: “We’re delighted to be able to support both PCB and Byrne in this next stage of their growth together.

“As they solidify their position as industry leaders, Burford will continue to add value as well as benefit as a stakeholder in a merged firm that offers more to its clients.”

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