Bermans deal creates £24m Merseyside law firm

MAPD Group acquires majority stake Liverpool law firm Bermans in a deal that creates a £24m-turnover business. Tony McDonough reports

MAPD Group
Brian Cullen and Joanna Kingston-Davies, who lead MAPD Group. Picture by Jason Roberts


Wirral-based MAPD Group has taken a 75% stake in Liverpool law firm Bermans and says it will grow the brand by at least 25%.

MAPD, whose name stands for Making A Positive Difference, was formed in March 2020 in a management buyout of Jackson Lees in Liverpool. It comprised law firms Broudie Jackson Canter and Jackson Lees.

Backed with funding from Shard Credit Partners, the buyout was led by senior executive Brian Cullen and Joanna Kingston-Davies.

Bermans has 70 staff and is based in the Exchange Station office complex in Liverpool city centre. Its current partners will retain a 25% stake in the practice. This latest deal was again backed by Shard and creates a £24m-turnover business.

MAPD says it plans to grow the £8m-turnover business by at least 25% in the next three years. It has a broad, largely commercial law practice with a specialism in asset and invoice finance.

Mr Cullen is chief executive of the enlarged business. Ms Kingston-Davies is chief operating officer. They are currently in talks with a number of firms about similar deals as they look to expand nationwide.

“We knew from our first meeting with the partners that Bermans’ culture would fit ours,” said Mr Cullen. “The initial discussions focused entirely on how to grow the business and the people within it, with no talk about finances. It also adds heavyweight corporate and commercial expertise to the group.

“We see great opportunities for strong regional law firms that need the rocket fuel we can provide to take them to the next level. We believe in sustainable growth, which means investing in people, delivering great client service, providing high-quality advice and ensuring a fair profit.”

Bermans’ recent work includes Known Origin’s sale of its non-fungible token marketplace to eBay, EHE Capital’s investment in Peppercorn AI, and the sale of the national car rental company Easirent to Leasys SPA.


Fergal O'Cleirigh
Fergal O’Cleirigh, senior partner at law firm Bermans


Fergal O’Cleirigh, Bermans’ senior partner, added: “MAPD is the perfect partner. Its operational expertise and financial backing, allied to a deep commitment to culture and staff, will help us achieve our ambitions for Bermans.”

MAPD’s advisers were David Malone, Natasha Lackner and Craig Geraghty at O’Connors (legal), James Curtis and Connor Monaghan at DSW (corporate finance) and Andrew Cameron at Ryecroft Glenton (financial due diligence).

Kish Patel, associate at Shard, also said: “Everything we’ve seen to date has justified our belief in MAPD’s buy-and-build acquisition strategy. Law is an extremely fragmented market and there are some excellent firms out there that just need the skilled support MAPD can provide.”

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