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A fifth of the UK’s top 40 firms are interested in forming ABSs

15 February 2012

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

A third of the UK’s top 100 law firms are interested in becoming multi-disciplinary practices, according to recent research.

Among the top 40 firms, 20 per cent said they may try to tie up with non-legal practices in the next two years.

Two of the top 40 firms confirmed that they are “likely” to join forces with a non-legal practice in the next two years and to seek external financing of up to £50m in the coming five years.

A further six firms said it is “possible” that they will create a multi-disciplinary practice within two years and raise up to £20m in financing in the next five years.

“While we are unlikely to see magic circle firms tie up with their equivalents from the surveying or accounting fields, we could see a number of ‘silver circle’ mergers across the professions,” notes Giles Murphy, head of professional practices at Smith & Williamson, which conducted the survey.

Three of the top 40 firms said they are also considering a public listing, while a further three have private equity under review.

The survey obtained responses from 65 of the top 100 UK firms, of which 27 belonged to the top 40.

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