First legal plc raises £30m through flotation

The creation of the first legal public limited company (PLC) in England is a welcome new way to open up the market, says the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Gateley Plc, which specialises in commercial law and employs more than 340 legal professionals in England and Dubai, raised £30 million in June when it was admitted to trading on AIM, the London Stock Exchange’s market for smaller, growing companies.

The SRA tailored its regulatory approach to factor in the risks and other issues associated with a PLC structure and advised on the systems and controls needed by this type of business.

Paul Philip, SRA chief executive, said on 15 July “It is good to see the emergence of new business models bringing investment into the sector. Our work with Gateley Plc on their flotation is part of our commitment to freeing up firms to do business, supporting competition and development.”

Andrew Evans, partner at Gateley Plc added: “We started working with the SRA early on in the process as we were both walking some novel pathways, and the flotation involved some tricky issues around the interaction of the Legal Services Act and the Code of Conduct.”

In a statement issued on the first day of trading, the company said its transition from a limited liability partnership to a PLC would provide the platform for its “anticipated organic and acquisitive growth strategy.”

The move underlines the ongoing evolution of the legal services sector. As solicitor practices respond to a changing environment – including challenges created by cuts in legal aid fees – Moore Thompson can provide expert advice to support ongoing financial efficiency and assist with broader strategic issues, including practice development, business structures, acquisitions, mergers and sales and exit strategies

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