A YORK law firm has sold one of its divisions to a global insurance firm in a move which will see 36 staff relocate.

Langleys Solicitors has completed the sale of its insurance law practice to Kennedys, which has opened an office in Leeds - its twelfth in the UK and 42nd globally.

David Thompson, formerly managing partner and head of insurance at Langleys, will head Kennedys' new office. He will be joined by three partners, Huw Edwards, Laura Collins and Carol Dalton, 32 team leaders, lawyers and staff from Langleys' insurance team.

Des Mannion, Langleys' CEO, said: “It is a move that benefits all parties, allowing Langleys to focus on growing its core specialisms and explore new opportunities. It also enables the insurance team to benefit from being part of a larger, international insurance division within Kennedys.

“As a firm we have weathered the events of 2020 well, looking after our employees and helping many clients meet the challenges recent events have presented.

“With our new strategy, management structure and personnel in place, plus a number of new partners joining over the last year, we are looking to grow our leading position within the region.”

Tim Cross, Langleys' managing partner, said the sale was a strategic move, delayed by the pandemic, which allowed the insurance team to flourish while enabling Langleys to play to its strengths and grow.

"The insurance arm was slightly constrained in that it was struggling to grow its talent in York.

"There are some enormous insurance businesses in Leeds. Getting people to move from Leeds to York was difficult. It had gone as far as it could in York."

He said he was excited about the future, with Langleys having emerged from 2020 in a strong position with 31 new recruits across its York and Lincoln sites which together employ about 260.

Tim said the firm, which has about 85 people in York, had used the furloughed process, mainly for its residential conveyancing arm, but now had all staff back at work. "We didn't cut pay or reduce hours and I am really proud of that," he said.

Langleys is now undergoing a strategic review which would be 'ambitious', he added.

"During the pandemic we have introduced new core values of ambition, client focus and team work, and the strategy will reflect those. I am keen that we have an opportunity to grow the business.

"We have come out of the pandemic very strong. There will be opportunities for us, whether that's merger, bolt-on or straight forward recruitment."

Reflecting on the loss of Langleys' York-based insurance jobs to another firm in Leeds, he said: "Leeds is a very strong powerhouse and there are some sectors which are incredibly strong in Leeds. We can't necessarily compete with all of them. Coming out of our strategic review I want us to grow and be serious competition to the Leeds firms.

"York has some exciting things coming up, such as York Central which I am hoping will kick start the business community in York to grow to greater heights and attract larger businesses to put their headquarters in York, which will certainly be good for us."