Law firms combine to create 110-partner practice.

Insurance law firms Davies Lavery and Kennedys have merged to form a UK-wide legal business.

The new outfit will have a legal team of more than 110 partners and 600 staff and will be known as Kennedys.

The merger will take place on 1 September this year and will combine Davies Lavery’s presence in the South and Midlands with Kennedys’ foothold in the North and Northern Ireland.

Trevor Davies, senior partner at Davies Lavery, said the firm had three potential suitors, including its rival DWF, but Kennedys was “the best fit”.

“Kennedys has quite an extensive overseas business which appeals to us,” he said. “That is not something we would have been able to do on our own.”

Davies said he was not aware of further departures after DWF poached Davies Lavery’s catastrophic injury team to head its new London insurance practice. The team includes boss Graham Dickinson, partner Claire Bowler and eight lawyers and support staff

“Graham had been very much involved with the discussions with DWF and they ended up making an approach to him,” added Davies.

Dickinson, who will oversee the launch of DWF’s London office, said there were plans for significant growth in the first six months.

“We are looking to recruit substantial teams straight away,” he said. “We are looking for significant expansion and we have already earmarked possible teams who are interested in joining us and having discussions with us.”

He declined to comment on whether further teams from Davies Lavery would be recruited.

The new office is DWF’s first base outside the north of England. It has offices in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Preston and employs more than 880 people.

The company is looking for a larger office in the capital and plans to leave its temporary base in the City of London in the near future.

Paul Berry, DWF’s head of insurance, said the firm was looking to expand into other areas, including litigation.