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Irwin Mitchell is the first top-20 UK law firm authorised to convert to an ABS

The firm is also the first to have a ‘multi-licence’ application endorsed

20 August 2012

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Irwin Mitchell’s application to convert to an alternative business structure (ABS) was authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) this morning.

The top-20 firm is the largest UK law firm to have been granted an ABS license to date.

It is also the first to have been granted a ‘multi-license’ by the SRA. Five different entities have been approved within the Irwin Mitchell Group.

Irwin Mitchell’s multi-license covers: Irwin Mitchell LLP; Irwin Mitchell Trustees Limited; Irwin Mitchell Trust Corporation Limited: Ascent Collections Limited, and Coris UK Limited.

Glyn Barker, the former UK vice-chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, has also been approved by the SRA to serve as chairman of Irwin Mitchell’s parent company, IMCO Holdings.

Irwin Mitchell reported a 6.8 per cent increase in turnover to £183.7m for the financial year 2011/12. It announced last April that it would seek ABS status.

“This is a major step forward for Irwin Mitchell as a group,” said Irwin Mitchell’s group chief executive John Pickering.

“It’s a very significant day for us, an important milestone which positions us well to take advantage of the opportunities which we think will arise from the changing legal landscape.

“We can now push on with our plans for growing the business. Conversion to ABS status sends a clear signal that we intend to move forward with our strategy.”

The firm, one of the largest in the UK, employs over 2,200 people across seven offices in England and owns the Spanish legal practice Irwin Mitchell Abogados.

In May 2010, Irwin Mitchell was one of the first law firms to convert to legal disciplinary practice status, promoting non-lawyers to its equity structure for the first time.

The SRA has authorised 19 alternative business structures to date, including Irwin Mitchell.

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