Addleshaw Goddard earlier this year asked partners to return some profits handed out ahead of schedule in order to pay a tax bill, it has emerged.

The top 20 U.K. law firm requested that equity partners pay back some profits that had been distributed in late 2008. In October last year the firm paid out all equity partners’ quarterly profit distributions from the 2007-08 financial year — amounting to 12 million pounds ($17.6 million) in total — even though they were not due to be paid until November 2008 and February 2009. The unusual move, which occurred in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, was a response to fears that it may not have been safe to leave the money in the bank.

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