London legal aid firms Blacklaws Davis and TV Edwards are to merge from 1 May 2011, they announced today.
The merger, which will create one of London's largest public funded firms, will see Blacklaws Davis joining TV Edwards along with London criminal law and care work firm Dundons.
As the government continues with its planned legal aid cuts, the merger will provide greater efficiency savings as well as creating a firm that, with its size and influence, will be able to influence the provision of legal aid services and access to justice.
Blacklaws Davis, founded in 2006 by Christina Blacklaws and Maud Davis, is London's largest specialist family law firm and employs 35 lawyers. Commenting on the merger Ms Blacklaws said: "This is an exciting development for us all. Bringing our specialist family law practice into TV Edwards LLP will create a true leader in the field of public law children work. We have exciting new ideas about service delivery in a changing market enabling us to sustain our commitment to high quality."
Anthony Edwards, senior partner of TV Edwards, won the LAPG's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 and is well known nationally as a leading trainer in all aspects of criminal law, regularly addressing solicitors, police officers, legal advisers and judges.
"These are challenging times for firms that are committed to providing quality legal aid services," Mr Edwards said. "This merger is a realisation of our policy designed to ensure that we can continue to develop our specialist services to help the disadvantaged and all clients often at times of great stress. This merger will also make that joint expertise more widely available. Effective management and sufficient size are now critical to reduce overhead costs but our aim remains to provide each client with the personal service that will best meet their needs".
The firm will bring together the largest number of Children Panel practitioners in the country based in offices in Central London, North, East, South-East and South-West London and Cambridge.
Previous firms incorporated into TV Edwards include Taylor Nichol Solicitors, Bennett Wilkins Solicitors and Sheratte Caleb Solicitors.