For Birmingham, England–based commercial firm Shakespeares, rapid growth has long been high on the agenda. Ever since the 2006 arrival of CEO Paul Wilson—one of a relatively small but growing number of nonlawyer managers heading U.K. law firms—Shakespeares has been on an almost continuous merger spree. A few weeks after Wilson joined from London media and technology firm Olswang, his new firm doubled in size through a combination with a local rival. It has merged six more times in the past five years, increasing its revenue by over 500 percent. Yet Wilson believes further growth is needed to secure the firm’s long-term future within a U.K. midmarket that is under threat.
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