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By Nick Hood
News of how the energetic pursuit of the safe haven of a merger by London law firm Davenport Lyons had ended in a pre-pack rescue deal by its smaller West End rival Gordon Dadds was broken in truly modern form last week when a change was made to the firm’s Wikipedia entry, announcing that it had gone in to Administration. This was the last sad act in an on-off saga as talks first started and then swiftly terminated with Shakespeare’s and Howard Kennedy FSI.
The final details of the Gordon Dadds deal may emerge over time, but it is clear that in addition to its creditors, at least some Davenport Lyons staff have paid with their jobs for the partners’ financial ambitions, in particular the very recent move to new offices in Covent Garden.
The increased property burden is unlikely to have been the sole cause of Davenport Lyons’ demise. More likely the firm tripped over one of the inescapable realities of commercial life: recovery kills more businesses than a recession ever does, because of the strain it puts on depleted working capital resources. In the case of professional practices, this has be
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Nick Hood is a Director of the legal costs firm, Kain Knight. He is a
Chartered Accountant and also an insolvency practitioner with the
Begbies Traynor Group, as well as a business risk analyst for corporate
health monitoring experts, Company Watch.
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