One of Sheffield’s leading law firms has unveiled plans to restructure so that it can raise external capital to fuel expansion. Irwin Mitchell plans to take advantage of provisions in the Legal Services Act that allow law firms to adopt an alternative business structure – or ABS.
Sheffield-based national managing partner, John Pickering, said: “The Legal Services Act will create exciting growth opportunities for strong, well-financed legal services businesses to accelerate their growth plans.
“Irwin Mitchell intends to be at the forefront of these changes and we have therefore taken the decision to seek external investment to further our ambitious plans for the business.
“Conversion to an ABS will broaden our access to capital and enhance our funding flexibility as we execute our strategic growth plan, while ensuring that we can continue to provide the very highest standards of service to our clients.”
Becoming an ABS law firm removes restrictions on the percentage of lawyers on the company’s management team, its ownership and the services the firm can provide.
ABS firms will be able to have management teams where more than a quarter of the members are not lawyers. They will also be able to float on the Stock Market, be aquired by companies that are not law firms and provide services which aren’t legal.
Irwin Mitchell has appointed Espirito Santo Investment Bank to act as its financial adviser and review options for raising external capital.
The firm says all alternatives are under consideration and the preferred method and timetable for seeking external funding have yet to be finalised.
Irwin Mitchell is restructuring ahead of becoming an ABS. A new holding company will be set up, whileIrwin Mitchell LLP will continue to be the firm’s main operating business.