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Our expertise

Establishment
We have set up many partnerships and LLPs, creating their partnership/members’ agreements to reflect the business model and culture our clients wish to have. Our knowledge and experience of ownership and remuneration structures enables us to add value when clients are establishing an appropriate business model.

Conversions to LLP
The majority of professional service firms now carry on business through an LLP. Many have previously been general partnerships. The process of conversion consists of the transfer of the existing business to a newly formed LLP and the adoption of a members’ agreement. We have assisted many professional service firms in deciding whether or not to convert. Where the decision has been to convert, we have guided clients through the process, ensuring that it is efficient and painless.

Restructurings
There is a growing awareness among professional service firms of the advantage of adopting more sophisticated business structures as a response to the change in domestic and overseas tax regimes.  Restructurings are a growing feature of our practice, often resulting in combinations of LLPs and companies within a group structure.  These are projects which can involve consideration of the overseas regulatory environment and require us to work as a team with our client’s senior management and other advisers.

Alternative Business Structures
The Legal Services Act provides for investment in and ownership of law firms by non-lawyers for the first time. We believe the principal interest for investors will be in firms with commodity practices.  We have advised a number of firms preparing for these changes.  Our partnership lawyers have advised on venture capital and private equity transactions outside the legal sector,  experience which is essential to be able to guide law firms through the challenge of accepting outside investment.  Our in depth knowledge of the legal regulatory environment is key to the success of these projects.

Mergers
The advent of non-lawyer ownership of law firms is widely predicted to lead to an increase in merger activity due to consolidation in the legal market.  We have been at the forefront of advising on mergers, both national and international.  This has included umbrella structures, such as a Swiss Verein in cross border mergers.  Firms are also combining in looser associations than a full merger, to achieve the same end.    We have acted on a number of sales and purchases in the professional practice sector, including buying and selling the underlying business or the LLP.

International
We act for many overseas clients, which we continue to attract due to our strong reputation for international work. We believe we are the market leader in establishing overseas law firms in the UK and act for over 25 North American law firms in London.  Advising on risk management and compliance is an important part of our service to overseas law firms.

Partner and team moves
Partner and team moves are common features of the professions, both as a function of increased performance management and as a strategy for acquiring a business unit.  We have advised firms recruiting teams and partners seeking a move.  This also applies to other sectors where partnership vehicles are popular, including financial services firms and private equity houses, where we advise on carried interest structures.

Discrimination
Discrimination of all types (age, sex, disability, race and religion) are matters which are of concern to both firms and individual partners.  Damages for discrimination are potentially unlimited so this is an area where firms need to ensure they have proper arrangements and procedures in place and to comply with them.  We have advised on a significant number of discrimination claims. 

Litigation and arbitration
No client wishes to be involved in litigation and the vast majority of matters where we are called in to assist are settled by negotiation. However, our litigation and arbitration skills have been important in enabling firms and individual partners to enforce rights and seek redress where there is no other choice.  Our partnership law group includes lawyers with specialist partnership and LLP litigation and arbitration expertise.

Regulatory
Regulation is a growing concern, especially in law firms where the regulatory environment is changing to accommodate alternative business structures.  There is a new approach (outcome focused regulation) to regulating the legal profession as a whole. Clients often seek our advice on regulatory matters.

Strategic management advice to professional practices
The depth of our experience in advising professional practices means that we deliver this advice as part of our integrated offering to professional practices.  We have seen a growth in demand for this advice, particularly in relation to mergers; alternative business structures; team moves and partner remuneration systems.

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Contact

tel: +44 (0) 20 7628 2000
10 Finsbury Square, London, EC2A 1AF
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Accreditations

  • Top Ranked Chambers UK 2014 - Leading Firm
  • Ranked in Chambers Europe 2013 - Leading Individual
  • Ranked in Chambers Global 2014 - Leading Firm
  • Legal 500 - Leading Firm
  • The Lawyer UK 200 - Listed Firm
  • The Law Society Excellence Awards 2012 - Shortlisted
  • Investors in People - Bronze