The chairman of a Hampshire law firm is to stand down in the spring after 34 years with the company.

Nick Gross, chairman and corporate partner at Coffin Mew, which has offices on the South Coast and in the Thames Valley, is to retire in April.

The firm says a "strategic, structured and careful handover process" has already begun with a team of partners preparing to take over his duties.

Nick Leavey, head of commercial property at the firm, will become the new chairman.

Nick Gross said:a“Since I joined Coffin Mew 34 years ago the legal landscape has changed due to relentless regulation, increasing client demands and stiff competition,

"Despite this Coffin Mew has come a long way, recently merging with Charles Lucas & Marshall to create a £15m legal business across eight locations with more than 220 employees. This makes it one of the largest law firms in the central South region!”

He continues: “However, some things have stayed the same – the friendship and loyalty of people in the firm, their commitment to succeed and our pride in the service we provide to clients. Coffin Mew is in my DNA and I leave behind a thriving, ambitious team - one that will build on the merger and continue to attract high quality clients.”

After he retires Nick plans to take holidays, as well as enter marathons and triathlons

. However, he will aid and assist with the firm’s future merger plans. “You haven’t seen the last of me yet,” he jokes!

Coffin Mew CEO Miles Brown comments: “I feel privileged and proud to have worked with Nick, who has been the best chairman in my working career. Without him this firm wouldn’t be where it is today. We are sorry to see him go but have a great team in place to drive this firm forward.”

A Coffin Mew legacy event and fundraising initiative called ‘The Gross Challenge’, which will take place in 2018, will mark Nick’s retirement and honour his love of fitness.

Employees who participate will run or cycle in relay130 miles between the firm’s offices to commemorate its 130th anniversary. More details on this to be announced soon.