Essex law firm Birkett Long expands with acquisition of Colchester-based Asher Prior Bates

Roger Buston, right, principal at Asher Prior Bates, and Adrian Livesley, managing partner of Birket

Roger Buston, right, principal at Asher Prior Bates, and Adrian Livesley, managing partner of Birkett Long. - Credit: Archant

Essex law firm Birkett Long has expanded again with the addition of Colchester-based Asher Prior Bates – its sixth acquisition in as many years.

Asher Prior Bates is one of the oldest firms of solicitors in the town, having been established in Head Street in around 1870 by Asher Prior, a former mayor of Colchester.

Having operated first as Asher Prior and later as Asher Prior & Sons, the firm was renamed Asher Prior Bates when the current principal, property lawyer Roger Buston, took over the helm during the 1980s.

At around the same time the firm also relocated to Crouch Street, close to the Colchester offices of Birkett Long which also has offices in Chelmsford and Basildon.

Adrian Livesley, managing partner at Birkett Long, said: “Asher Prior Bates is a very old firm. Roger Buston has been at the helm for over 35 years and has been a fantastic servant for his clients. He will be essential in making sure that service continues.

“His practice is in Crouch Street – the same road as ours – so it’s fair to say we, too, have known him for a very long time and know of the good reputation he has built up.”

Mr Buston, who is a national council member for the Law Society for England and Wales, representing Suffolk and North Essex, said: “Like us, Birkett Long is a long established Essex firm and with their size and experience we are confident we will be able to offer a more extensive service to our clients, both individuals and businesses.

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“In common with us, Birkett Long regards the personal relationship with their clients of paramount importance and our clients will benefit from the merger. By joining forces with them our existing clients can access a much broader set of legal services in a larger firm.”

Birkett Long’s last acquisition came in 2013 when it merged with E Edwards Son & Noice of Billericay. Before that, it also joined forces with Jackson & Partners and Passmores in Colchester, Weight, Wolny & Trusler in Chelmsford and Brian Ruff, Angus & Jewers in Wickford.

Birkett Long, which has 22 partners and 188 staff, is a full service law firm, including a wide range of services for businesses, including corporate and commercial, dispute resolution, employment and insolvency, as well as, for individuals, family law, wills and conveyancing.

Some Asher Prior Bates staff have transferred to Birkett Long and the others, with the help of Roger Buston, have found positions elsewhere.