Fivefold first for city lawyer Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell's new regional managing partner, Paul Firth (left) and group chief executive John Pickering
Irwin Mitchell's new regional managing partner, Paul Firth (left) and group chief executive John Pickering
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Irwin Mitchell has become one of the first firms in the UK to be allowed to have people who aren’t lawyers on its board and to seek funding from outside investors.

The Sheffield-based national law firm has also become the first in Britain to be granted multiple Alternative Business Structure licences by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

The five licences granted to Irwin Mitchell cover the law firm itself and its debt collection, insurance claims handling, estate administration and Court of Protection operations.

Group chief executive John Pickering said: “It’s a very significant day for us; an important milestone which positions us well to take advantage of the opportunities which we think will arise from the changing legal landscape. We can now push on with our plans for growing the business.

“Our group structure has been built with that strength of diversity in mind and we believe it puts us in a very strong position in the changing legal sector.”

Securing Alternative Business Structure status means Irwin Mitchell can go ahead with plans to install former PricewaterhouseCoopers UK vice-chairman Glyn Barker as chairman of its parent company, IMCO Holdings.

The law firm will also be able to install another non-lawyer, Mel Egglenton, as its second non-executive director and chairman of its audit committee, a role he previously held with accountants KPMG.

n Irwin Mitchell recently reported strong growth in a difficult climate, with a 6.8 per cent increase in turnover to £183.7 million for the year 2011/12, says John Pickering.