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The U.K.’s first publicly listed law firm continues to power ahead, with Gateley announcing that its revenue increased 19 percent and its pre-tax profit soared 44 percent in the first half of the current fiscal year.

The firm has been on a sustained expansion drive since raising $45 million in an initial public offering in June 2015, which valued the firm at more than $150 million.

Gateley launched a new office in Reading, a large town to the west of London that it says is of growing importance to its regional U.K. clients, and has also used the IPO proceeds to finance the acquisition of professional businesses that service the firm’s existing clientbase. Earlier this year, Gateley paid $3.3 million for tax incentives advisory business Capitus Ltd, and followed that deal by acquiring property consultancy Hamer Associates for $2.5 million in September. The firm is now on the hunt for other targets to further broaden its offering—particularly a HR consultancy, which would work alongside its existing employment practice.

The IPO hasn’t just helped transform Gateley’s business; it has been highly lucrative for the firm’s equity partners, too. They received a $30 million windfall when the firm first went public and earned an additional $8 million from selling their shares in the practice last year, with five board members pocketing more than $400,000 each by offloading stock.

Gateley is one of several U.K. law firms taking advantage of a change in legislation permitting professional investors and nonlawyers to hold equity stakes in law firms—something that, despite decades of debate, is still not possible in the United States.

Northwest U.K. regional firm Knights, which has a referral relationship with Hogan Lovells that sees it handle some of the global law firm’s lower-value work, has increased its revenue by 400 percent since it became the first British law firm to take on external investment in 2012.

But while external investment has been a clear shot in the arm for these businesses, and despite the obvious attraction of partners being able to monetize their contribution to and ownership of their firm, Big Law remains unconvinced.

Large law firms account for only a handful of the more than 550 ABSs currently operating in the U.K., and most only made the switch to enable them to promote nonlawyer executives to the partnership. The vast majority of ABSs are small practices or legal services businesses established by corporations—another development introduced by the new legislation.

There could soon be some new external investment deals, however, with litigation funders Burford Capital and Woodsford both recently announcing that they are seeking to buy stakes in U.K. law firms.

Merging U.K. Firms Offer Trainees Cash To Defer

Nice work if you can get it: Incoming trainees at CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang have been offered 10,000 pounds ($12,600) to defer their start at the firms for six months.

The firms, which recently agreed to combine next May in the U.K.’s largest ever legal services merger, have committed to honoring all existing contracts and said that the deferral is voluntary.

Those that do agree to defer will be given the option to take part in a CMS corporate social responsibility project or study for a postgraduate qualification, with the firm offering 5,000 pounds ($6,300) of financial support towards course fees.

This is far from the first time that future trainees at U.K. firms have been paid to delay their contract. The practice was relatively widespread during the recession in the early 2000s and the more recent financial crisis, and has also been used by firms to help manage staffing levels in response to challenging or unpredictable market conditions.

Shortly after the merger was announced, the three firms informed their more than 800 support staff that their jobs would all be under review. Sources say that support departments could be cut by as much as a fifth.

Government Agrees To Disclose Brexit Plans Before Process Begins

The U.K. government has agreed to demands from politicians to disclose its plans for leaving the European Union before the formal Brexit process begins.

U.K. prime minister Theresa May made the concession ahead of a parliamentary debate on the issue, which was scheduled to take place today. The motion was tabled by the opposition Labour party, but May faced a possible rebellion from pro-EU members of her own Conservative party.

The Supreme Court is currently midway through a historic lawsuit over whether the U.K. prime minister has the power to start the country’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The U.K. government is appealing a landmark High Court ruling that parliament must be allowed to vote on the triggering of Article 50, which starts a two-year deadline for an EU member to complete its exit from the political bloc.

The Scottish and Welsh governments were recently given permission to join the appeal, which is currently being heard by all 11 Supreme Court judges—the largest panel in the court’s 140-year history. The decision is expected in early January.

May has repeatedly reiterated her intention to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, meaning the U.K. would have to leave the EU by early 2019.

But if the government’s appeal fails, U.K. politicians, the majority of which wanted the country to remain within the EU, could delay or even block the process.

The EU’s chief negotiator yesterday set an October 2018 deadline for completing Brexit negotatiations.

Contact Chris Johnson at cjohnson@alm.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/chris_t_johnson

The U.K.’s first publicly listed law firm continues to power ahead, with Gateley announcing that its revenue increased 19 percent and its pre-tax profit soared 44 percent in the first half of the current fiscal year.

The firm has been on a sustained expansion drive since raising $45 million in an initial public offering in June 2015, which valued the firm at more than $150 million.

Gateley launched a new office in Reading, a large town to the west of London that it says is of growing importance to its regional U.K. clients, and has also used the IPO proceeds to finance the acquisition of professional businesses that service the firm’s existing clientbase. Earlier this year, Gateley paid $3.3 million for tax incentives advisory business Capitus Ltd, and followed that deal by acquiring property consultancy Hamer Associates for $2.5 million in September. The firm is now on the hunt for other targets to further broaden its offering—particularly a HR consultancy, which would work alongside its existing employment practice.

The IPO hasn’t just helped transform Gateley’s business; it has been highly lucrative for the firm’s equity partners, too. They received a $30 million windfall when the firm first went public and earned an additional $8 million from selling their shares in the practice last year, with five board members pocketing more than $400,000 each by offloading stock.

Gateley is one of several U.K. law firms taking advantage of a change in legislation permitting professional investors and nonlawyers to hold equity stakes in law firms—something that, despite decades of debate, is still not possible in the United States.

Northwest U.K. regional firm Knights, which has a referral relationship with Hogan Lovells that sees it handle some of the global law firm’s lower-value work, has increased its revenue by 400 percent since it became the first British law firm to take on external investment in 2012.

But while external investment has been a clear shot in the arm for these businesses, and despite the obvious attraction of partners being able to monetize their contribution to and ownership of their firm, Big Law remains unconvinced.

Large law firms account for only a handful of the more than 550 ABSs currently operating in the U.K., and most only made the switch to enable them to promote nonlawyer executives to the partnership. The vast majority of ABSs are small practices or legal services businesses established by corporations—another development introduced by the new legislation.

There could soon be some new external investment deals, however, with litigation funders Burford Capital and Woodsford both recently announcing that they are seeking to buy stakes in U.K. law firms.

Merging U.K. Firms Offer Trainees Cash To Defer

Nice work if you can get it: Incoming trainees at CMS Cameron McKenna , Nabarro and Olswang have been offered 10,000 pounds ($12,600) to defer their start at the firms for six months.

The firms, which recently agreed to combine next May in the U.K.’s largest ever legal services merger, have committed to honoring all existing contracts and said that the deferral is voluntary.

Those that do agree to defer will be given the option to take part in a CMS corporate social responsibility project or study for a postgraduate qualification, with the firm offering 5,000 pounds ($6,300) of financial support towards course fees.

This is far from the first time that future trainees at U.K. firms have been paid to delay their contract. The practice was relatively widespread during the recession in the early 2000s and the more recent financial crisis, and has also been used by firms to help manage staffing levels in response to challenging or unpredictable market conditions.

Shortly after the merger was announced, the three firms informed their more than 800 support staff that their jobs would all be under review. Sources say that support departments could be cut by as much as a fifth.

Government Agrees To Disclose Brexit Plans Before Process Begins

The U.K. government has agreed to demands from politicians to disclose its plans for leaving the European Union before the formal Brexit process begins.

U.K. prime minister Theresa May made the concession ahead of a parliamentary debate on the issue, which was scheduled to take place today. The motion was tabled by the opposition Labour party, but May faced a possible rebellion from pro-EU members of her own Conservative party.

The Supreme Court is currently midway through a historic lawsuit over whether the U.K. prime minister has the power to start the country’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The U.K. government is appealing a landmark High Court ruling that parliament must be allowed to vote on the triggering of Article 50, which starts a two-year deadline for an EU member to complete its exit from the political bloc.

The Scottish and Welsh governments were recently given permission to join the appeal, which is currently being heard by all 11 Supreme Court judges—the largest panel in the court’s 140-year history. The decision is expected in early January.

May has repeatedly reiterated her intention to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, meaning the U.K. would have to leave the EU by early 2019.

But if the government’s appeal fails, U.K. politicians, the majority of which wanted the country to remain within the EU, could delay or even block the process.

The EU’s chief negotiator yesterday set an October 2018 deadline for completing Brexit negotatiations.

Contact Chris Johnson at cjohnson@alm.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/chris_t_johnson