Merger plans between Weightmans and Hill Dickinson have been scuppered after Weightmans admitted it needs internal surgery.

A joint statement released by the insurance law heavyweight and Liverpool-based Hill Dickinson said the merger talks had been conducted in an “open and friendly manner” and that both had “enjoyed the chance to talk together about their vision for the future, which they will now pursue separately”.

Both firms said the talks were abandoned because Weightmans' recent appointment of several senior executives meant it needed to restructure internally.

The firm promoted Mike Radcliffe to managing partner, Ian Evans to senior partner and appointed a new strategy board as part of an internal company strategy to become more commercially focused.

Evans said Weightmans had decided that its short-term strategy was to consolidate its internal operations.

“We're in the middle of a far-ranging restructuing process which we want to ensure is undertaken properly before we consider further growth,” Evans said.

“When we're satisfied that these major changes have bedded down, we'll look once again at what the market is telling us about legal services.”

Hill Dickinson's managing partner David Wareing described the merger talks as “constructive and helpful for both firms”.

However he said, given Weightmans' restructuring, “moving on to the next stage of discussions at present would have been inappropriate”.