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Fieldfisher dismisses stock market flotation rumours

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Days after DWF confirmed it was considering a similar move

International law firm Fieldfisher has dismissed media reports that it was considering becoming the latest big legal player to float on the stock exchange.

The reports, which surfaced yesterday, suggested that Fieldfisher was holding meetings in the City and was exploring a possible stock market move that could value the firm at up to £800 million.

The rumours, however, appear to be just that. “We are constantly considering a range of options and opportunities to help realise our strategic objectives and to stay ahead of the competition in our dynamic and ever-changing market,” Fieldfisher said in a statement. “We do not, however, have any plans to list the firm.”

The tittle-tattle and subsequent denial come off the back of a strong set of financials for the firm. Last week, Fieldfisher revealed average profit per equity partner (PEP) is up by 17% to £750,000, while annual turnover now stands at a healthy £207 million, an increase of 24%.

The 2018 Firms Most List

Fieldfisher isn’t the only firm to be linked to a possible flotation in recent days.

On Friday, DWF confirmed it was looking into the “possibility” of an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). In a statement the Manchester-headquartered firm said:

“If we were to proceed with an IPO, we believe that it would enable us to achieve our strategic objectives more quickly, while also enhancing our ability to attract and retain the best talent and to incentivise our people by aligning them through offering ownership within the business.”

If given the green light by the firm’s partnership, the float will be the largest in legal history (up to £1 billion) and could see a small number of DWF’s most senior lawyers receive £10 million each in shares.

Slater and Gordon was the first law firm to hit the stock market. The personal injury specialist went public with a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2007. Since then, a host of UK firms have followed Slater’s lead either on the LSE or the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) including Birmingham-based Gateley, virtual outfit Keystone Law and London duo Gordon Dadds and Rosenblatt Solicitors.

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25 Comments

Anonymous

I know this is seen as an innovative move but the involvement of shareholders has so much potential to cause solicitors to become conflicted.

Law firms are a profit and loss business but external shareholder pressure increases the risk of the profession losing sight of their professional obligations and may have a negative impact on valuable pro bono work.

(15)(0)

Anonymous

If law firms float, how will “partners” be rewarded? Currently they get the profits, will they be happy with a smaller cut as dividends go to external shareholders?
How will they motivate their associates if partnership is no longer a carrot to dangle? Share options in a company aren’t the same reward as becoming a partner.

(6)(1)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

When their associates improve their drafting skills, on this evidence.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Why was this removed?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

“Last week, Fieldfisher revealed average profit per equity partner (PEP) is up by 17% to £750,000, while annual turnover now stands at a healthy £207 million, an increase of 24%.”

Partners earning top whack and NQs get £63k ROFL.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

Such a grubby little firm

(3)(3)

Anonymous

£750,000 PEP is pretty good for a “grubby little firm”, you mong.

(7)(0)

The Mongolian Embassy, London

Dear Honourable Sir,

We would be most obliged to you if you would kindly refrain from using person of Mongol origin as term of abuse.

Such term does not encourage good relation between our countries.

With warmest personal salutation,

(25)(0)

Olgoi Khorkoi

Very good.

Anonymous

I’m not sure what you think grubby means, but it doesn’t sound like you’re in a position to make disparaging remarks.

grubby
adjective
involving dishonest or disreputable activity; sordid.

(0)(2)

Anonymous

What is fieldfisher even like? Mysterious firm

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Horrible by all accounts, I’ve heard.

(4)(0)

Peter Andre

Mysterious Firm?

(11)(1)

DWF Associate

How is DWF worth 1 billion whilst Fieldfisher is worth 800m?

If Fieldfisher’s valuation is right, DWF has to be worth half a billion.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Probably because they think their central services are good value for money rather than an excessive number of them constituting overheads.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

What next, will Irwin Mitchell be announcing their IPO next at a share price of £0.02 plus whatever you can find in your local landfill site?

(14)(0)

Anonymous

Rumours have it Irwin Mitchell’s IPO will be the biggest thing to hit the LSE this year – they’ve already lined up Slaughters, SullCrom and Skadden to do all the necessary heavy lifting.

Mark my words everyone, this will be HUGE. I’m talking north of £10bn YUGE.

(9)(0)

TheAcresOfFour

The Donald says it’s gonna be “huuuuug-ah, very impressive, the most amazing powerful listing you’ve ever seen. Simply incredible.”

(1)(0)

Fools gold

DWF’s valuation is comedy gold and assumes that institutional investors are as green as the grass.
There will be no float whether at 1 Billion or at some other ridiculous figure. If you want to know why then speak to somebody who understands what they are talking about before they start writing about it.

(2)(0)

DWF Associate.

It’s true – the fact DWF’s ‘top brass’ even have the audacity to suggest it says a lot about the narcissism at the top.

So, a law firm has IPO, partners make a mint, surely must be tied in for a number of years still. Then leave in droves with their relatively obscene amounts of money to play with.

Whilst the firm basically implodes. Again, the associates and support staff get shafted even more.

There is something very arrogant and fundamentally unethical about a law firm being able to have an IPO. It’s just not right.

But – what’s after the IPO? What’s the big money maker then? How far can the barrel be scraped.

Yes – DWF that’s pointed at you!

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Enjoy the “sense checked” appraisal results when they are released shortly then pal.

Expect people to continue to leave.

(2)(0)

DWF Associate

“sense-checked” haha, such a common word used at DWF.

It means – how can we gaslight our staff into believing they are SO lucky to work for us, despite being paid 20% less than THE MARKET RATE.

“Don’t go, I’ll honestly get you a pay rise NEXT YEAR. Stay – the people are SO nice here. It’s not always about the money.”

That the partners who say such spiel end up leaving for Addleshaws etc. So they, and their little workhorses can earn market rate.

(2)(0)

Possible but greed wins the day every time

Very true, you need to lock in the work generators with good salaries and shares and share options. If you don’t, they all walk and you are left with an asset-less PLC and a very disgruntled group of investors.
It can be done correctly but greed tends to take over with these things.

(1)(0)

In-House Lawyer

I have had the benefit of working at a couple of companies that have listed whilst I have been with them, I honestly don’t understand why any company would choose to list, other than for the shareholders/partners to cash in quickly.

As soon as external shareholders are involved firms become quite distracted, lose a lot of their focus and culture, and everything is driven by desire to provide a return on investment to shareholders.

Not only that, the senior leadership go from being ‘top-dog’ with freedom to make key decisions for the business, to being wholly accountable to the shareholders. The senior leaders that I have worked with in this context previously have all regretted making the decision to list, and have no desire to be involved with listed companies again.

(4)(0)

Comments are closed.

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