When two well-established legal firms join forces, you get Kitson Boyce—a powerhouse with over 250 years of combined legal excellence. With an extensive team of Partners and legal professionals, coupled with the outstanding reputations of both firms, it creates an exciting new force in the legal world. We sat down with Tony Hunt, Partner and Head of Family at Kitson Boyce to discuss the recent merger and explore the new world of Kitson Boyce.
It was in 2022 when Kitsons and Boyce Hatton’s shared accountants, Francis Clark, set the wheels in motion by planting the seed of a discussion between the firms. As the conversation formed it became very clear that there was a shared belief that the two firms, deeply rooted in the South West and sharing similar cultures, could leverage their complementary strengths to offer an even broader spectrum of services to clients. Kitsons and Boyce Hatton officially merged on 1st October 2023 to become Kitson Boyce.
Tony Hunt said: “Partners across both firms share the same vision and values and we are equally proud of the people, clients and culture we have nurtured and supported over the years.”
At the core of the new firm’s identity lies an unwavering dedication to people, with both Kitsons and Boyce Hatton taking great pride in the calibre of employees, the excellence of their legal advice and their shared reputation for outstanding client service.
Tony continued: “We prioritise our clients’ needs and build lasting relationships through empathy, trust and expertise. Our people-first approach enables us to understand and solve complex legal challenges, empowering clients to achieve their goals and find peace of mind.”
Tony Hunt, Partner & Head of Family
Rhodri Davey, Managing Partner at Kitsons, serves as Managing Partner of the new firm and Kate Barton, Boyce Hatton’s Managing Partner have joined the leadership team. Partners from both Kitsons and Boyce Hatton sit on the Board, ensuring representation across the two firms on decision-making and strategic planning. The amalgamation has grown the firm to 21 Partners and 110 legal professionals ensuring the continuation of outstanding clients service and trusted advise to companies and individuals across the South West.
The firm has four offices; Torquay, which is their largest office, Plymouth, Exeter and Totnes. Tony comments: “The plan is to focus on growing our Totnes office. Matt Bryant, a Partner in Kitson Boyce’s Commercial Property team is championing the development, so watch this space!” In terms of expanding the office footprint, they are looking to continue to work, build and dominate in the areas the firm is currently in.
Kitsons was established in 1826 in Torquay by William Kitson, a solicitor and banker, and as you may have guessed by the name, the founder of Kitsons. Members of the Kitson family continued to run the firm during the 19th century and the last of them was Charles William Kitson who retired in 1900. Over the next 100 years Kitsons merged with other local firms and expanded their presence in Newton Abbot in 1989 and opened their second office. In 2001, Kitsons and Hutchings & Plum merged to form Kitsons Hutchings, however, nine years later, the firm rebranded and become Kitsons LLP. Most recently in October 2023, Kitsons LLP and Boyce Hatton LLP’s announced a merger between the two companies to become Kitson Boyce LLP.
In October this year, Kitson Boyce was recognised as one of the top law firms in the UK in The Times Best Law Firms 2024 Top 250 for its expertise in Insolvency and Restructuring across England and Wales. Andrew Pay, Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution and Insolvency at Kitson Boyce said: “I’m incredibly proud that our Insolvency and Restructuring team has been recognised in this prestigious list – it’s testament to our commitment to excellence and client service, and the fantastic work we do for our clients. This is a very exciting time for Kitson Boyce and I’m looking forward to seeing what the year ahead brings as we continue to grow and expand the team.”
But Kitson Boyce’s accolades don’t just stop there, the firm was also recognised in The Legal 500, which is a prestigious independent legal guide that recommends and ranks law firms and lawyers based on positive client and external feedback. Chambers & Partners UK also praised the firm for their outstanding work in Employment and Family law with Tony Hunt receiving a ‘Band 1’ ranking in Plymouth and the surrounding area for his experience in advising on complex financial remedy proceedings and private law children cases.
Neither firm had any resistance to merging and bringing the teams together. With any new business, it could take a couple of years to train staff, build a client base and create a presence whereas the fusion between teams at Kitson Boyce has been immediate. Tony Hunt says; “the feel good and the excitement that comes with rebranding and a merger is really positive.”
The mission statement is a simple one, they want to continue to grow and be the law firm of choice for clients and staff. The aim is to continue to be good at what they do, ensure staff enjoy coming to work and be proud of where they work. Working in this industry can require a lot from an individual so it’s important to keep staff moral high which comes from creating a good work environment and training.
Kitson Boyce has a brilliant training program for aspiring lawyers which has been a focus since the merger. Offering good training ensures the firm attracts the right staff to increase the team and lean into the mission statement of becoming a bigger firm offering the services people need.
Not only does Kitson Boyce help with regards to legal needs but staff at the firm actively get involved with raising money for charities in the region. In previous year’s they have taken on the National Three Peaks and last year around 40 team members tackled the Yorkshire Three Peaks to raise money for the children’s ward at Derriford Hospital. This December they’re heading down the Eden Project Zipwire dressed as none other than Santa himself, in aid of Plymouth Hospitals Charity. The plans have already begun with what challenge they will undertake next year and which charity they will raise money for.
So what’s the future for Kitson Boyce?
The plan is to complete the full integration and consolidation of the firm’s case management systems within the next six months and focus on the new identity of the firm. The next goal will be a focus on recruitment and looking at where the firm needs to expand its offering and services. There’s no plan to expand the office footprint in other areas at this stage, the plan is to focus on what they do and do it well in the areas of Torquay, Exeter, Plymouth and Totnes.
To discover more about Kitson Boyce, the legal services they offer and to keep up to date with all their latest news and events, please visit: www.kitsonboyce.co.uk.