Legal Business Blogs

Becoming a partner: Mishcon de Reya acquires ABS licence to include non-lawyers in partnership

Mishcon de Reya has become the latest firm to acquire an alternative business structure (ABS) licence from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), a move that was prompted by bringing up to four key employees into the partnership.

Having applied for the licence last July, the firm was granted approval on 12 February and will become an ABS structure on 10 April. With over 300 fee earners, the firm made the decision to apply to bring key employees into the partnership who are currently part of the board or senior management team. This includes chief operating officer Bambos Georgiou, business development director Elliot Moss and head of human resources Vanessa Dewhurst.

Managing partner Kevin Gold (pictured) told Legal Business at the time of the application: ‘They are all regarded as senior partners anyway. Now the possibility exists for them to join the partnership we intend to invite them to join.’

Other proposed changes to the firm’s structure includes bringing all partners into the equity and converting to a limited liability partnership at the end of autumn this year. Following the conversion, the partners will contribute capital and it is likely that a band system will be put in place depending on the seniority of the junior equity partner. Having registered as an LLP in 2008, which has remained dormant, the firm had 65 fixed-share partners and 37 equity partners at the time of its application. By removing fixed-share partners, it will bring the firm in line with HMRC rules on partnership taxation.

Other firms lining up for an ABS licence included insurance specialist Kennedys which received approval from the SRA last year, allowing the firm to retain four non-lawyers as partners and the opportunity to partner with non-lawyer services.