A second law firm is set to list on the London Stock Exchange

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By Alex Aldridge on

Gordon Dadds to follow Gateley in going public

A London commercial law firm has announced that it is set to list on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) — only the second time in history such a move has been made.

The deal has come about through mid-level outfit Gordon Dadds’ “reverse takeover” of an investing company called the Work Group that is already listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), a sub-market of the LSE.

The deal would make Gordon Dadds the second UK law firm to go public, with Gateley Plc the first — having been listed in 2015. The large personal injury firm Slater & Gordon is also a public company but it is quoted on the Sydney Stock Exchange rather than in London.

Previously law firms were not allowed to go public as their ownership was restricted to lawyers, but the Legal Services Act 2007 changed all of that, opening up ownership of practices to non-lawyers for the first time. This means a law firm can, at one end of the spectrum, be bought by a private individual and, at the other, be owned by many shareholders as a listed company.

Gordon Dadds is a commercial law slogger based round the corner from Trafalgar Square, with further offices in Cardiff and Bristol. It is best known for a spree of acquisitions that it has made in recent years, as it scooped up Prolegal, Jeffrey Green Russell and Davenport Lyons.

The deal that is set to take the firm public has not yet been finalised, but if it does it will value the firm at £18.75 million. In a statement to investors, Gordon Dadds said:

Whilst the negotiations are very advanced at this stage, there can be no certainty that any offer will be made nor as to the final terms of any offer.

Under Panel on Takeovers rules, the deal has to be completed by 5pm on 8 August unless an extension can be agreed.

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