Case Study: Legal sector team help secure disposal of niche family law firm


Sheffield-based Acclaimed Family Law is a niche law firm specialising exclusively in private divorce and family law matters, growing to a team of 11 people since being founded by owner Michelle Cooper.  Michelle had an eye on the future and wanted to benefit from the value she had built in the firm, whilst protecting the team and clients. She contacted Armstrong Watson for support in exploring, broking, managing and advising on the entire process.

How we helped

Legal Sector Partner Andy Poole and his team supported Michelle by arranging and securing an acquisition of the business by Sills & Betteridge Solicitors, a larger firm with similar values that had made previous acquisitions and is looking for more. 

After exploring the legal sector market, with Armstrong Watson suggesting a number of suitable acquires, making introductions and arranging offers, Sills & Betteridge was chosen as the preferred bidder. The firm shared Acclaimed Family Law’s (AFL) values and its service-first culture and was able to put forward a deal.

Andy and the team negotiated and prepared Heads of Terms, assisted with the buyer’s due diligence and then with the commercial aspects of the Asset Purchase Agreement and in project-managing the deal to completion.


Ultimately, a deal has been completed for Michelle to sell her business, providing value whilst ensuring the firm’s future success. The new venture ensures Michelle’s team and clients are looked after in a similar way that they had become used to and maintains the brand of Acclaimed Family Law.

The buyer has extended its reach in the Yorkshire market following previous acquisitions of another niche family firm in Sheffield and a full-service firm in Doncaster.

Martyn Hall, chief executive of Sills & Betteridge, said: “This move is a strong strategic fit both for our existing operations in Yorkshire and our ongoing investment aspirations.

“Michelle and her team are dynamic and enterprising and share our service-first culture. We are pleased to have them onboard and look forward to building on the strong foundations both firms already have in the area.”

AFL director Michelle Cooper said: “We will continue to provide the exceptional service we are renowned for as Acclaimed Family Law under the Sills & Betteridge umbrella.

“Our clients will benefit from direct access to other departments including commercial, probate and conveyancing to provide them with an enhanced service from beginning to end which other stand-alone family teams cannot offer.”

“Law firm mergers are never an easy process, and although at times they can be stressful for those involved, Michelle coped very well and we were there to make sure that the deal stayed on track.” 

Andy Poole Coporate Finance Partner - Legal Sector