Liverpool law firm MSB acquires social housing specialist Knox Ellis

Deal will take the number of employees at MSB to 135 and the firm will be looking to recruit new lawyers and assistants in its commercial and social housing departments. Tony McDonough reports

MSB managing partner Emma Carey with Knox Ellis co-founder Tom Knox


Liverpool law firm, MSB, is pushing forward with its rapid growth strategy announcing the acquisition of Widnes-based practice Knox Ellis, a UK leader in advising the social housing sector.

The move will take the number of employees at MSB to 135, and the firm will be looking to recruit new lawyers and assistants in its commercial and social housing departments in the coming months.

‘Extremely professional’

Founded by Tom Knox and Sarah Ellis, Knox Ellis acts for private registered providers of social housing and local authorities on a range of leasehold and housing management, estate and asset management, and anti-social behaviour matters.

In the latest Legal 500, the definitive guide to the best lawyers and law firms in the country, the team at Knox Ellis was described as “extremely professional and customer focused” and “leave no stone unturned in achieving positive outcomes”.

They bring with them a number of key clients in the sector, including Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, One Manchester and Plus Dane; as well as contracts across the North West worth a combined £750K. They are on target to hit £1m in turnover in the next financial year.

Perfect fit

MSB is looking to increase its presence in the social housing sector and managing partner, Emma Carey, said the acquisition offered the “perfect fit”.

She explained: “In the past few years we have grown significantly and last year we passed the £5m turnover barrier for the first time. Our growth has been steady and organic, and we’ve seen exponential growth in our family and property teams.

“Now we are committed to expanding our commercial offer, both in terms of services and resource. This acquisition is a key part of that strategy and has been some time in the making.

“Knox Ellis have developed a fantastic reputation acting for social landlords across the UK, but predominantly in the North of England.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Tom, Sarah and the rest of the team to the fold at MSB and I’m confident this joining of our two firms will pay huge dividends in the near future.”

Key clients

Knox Ellis has 20 key clients and represent some of the largest registered providers in Manchester with a combined housing stock of approximately 50,000, as well as leading providers in Merseyside including Magenta Living and Plus Dane. It’s team of two in-house barristers, four solicitors and support staff will work closely with MSB’s existing commercial and property teams.

Tom Knox said: “Sarah and I are very excited to join MSB – a firm with whom our vision and values are completely aligned. We will be continuing to build one of the most experienced and committed social housing teams in the North West, with the added benefit of increased resource and know-how.

“It means we can offer a complete service to registered providers to meet all of their needs. It is a hugely positive and welcome development that will present significant prospects for both our organisations.”

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