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Parfitt Cresswell: Pioneering employee ownership in the legal sector

Parfitt Cresswell: Pioneering employee ownership in the legal sector


Parfitt Cresswell, a prominent regional legal firm with offices spanning across London, Berkshire, Surrey, Sussex, and Kent, has made a ground-breaking move by transferring a significant interest in the company to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT)

This decision marks a notable departure from the conventional ownership structures prevalent in the legal industry, signalling a progressive step towards employee-centric governance.

Established in 1908, Parfitt Cresswell has undergone significant transformation since its acquisition by the current owners in 2007. From humble beginnings with just 8 employees in a single office in Fulham Broadway, the firm has expanded its footprint to encompass 9 offices and now boasts a team of over 100 professionals.

Nigel Harper, Group Director at Parfitt Cresswell, elucidated the rationale behind the transition to employee ownership, stating, "Our dedicated team has been instrumental in driving the business forward. We believe it's imperative for them to share in our success. By establishing the EOT, we aim to safeguard our collective legacy and prioritise the well-being of all stakeholders associated with our firm, both now and in the future."

Employee Ownership Trusts offer a streamlined pathway to employee ownership while safeguarding the continuity and prosperity of the company. Through this model, employees gain an indirect stake in the business and stand to benefit from tax-free bonuses of up to £3,600 per annum, fostering a culture of shared prosperity and collective achievement.

Despite the growing recognition of Employee Ownership Trusts across various industries for their positive impact on productivity, succession planning, and long-term sustainability, the legal sector has been slow to embrace this ownership model. As of June 2023, out of approximately 9,500 solicitors' firms in the UK, only a mere 20 were employee-owned, predominantly through EOTs.

Parfitt Cresswell's commitment to employee ownership is not only a testament to its progressive ethos but also underscores its dedication to fostering a collaborative and inclusive workplace culture. Moreover, the firm's continued usage of legacy names from acquired firms reflects its respect for tradition while embracing modern organisational principles.

Operating in diverse practice areas such as family law, commercial and residential property, wills, probate, and dispute resolution, Parfitt Cresswell remains steadfast in its commitment to delivering exceptional legal services while championing employee ownership as a cornerstone of its business philosophy. As the legal industry evolves, Parfitt Cresswell stands poised as a trailblazer in shaping a more equitable and sustainable future for legal firms and their employees alike.