Top 30 U.K. firm Irwin Mitchell has appointed legal and financial advisers as it continues to move toward being one of the first law firms to accept external investment, reports Legal Week. The 520-lawyer practice has retained Norton Rose and Espirito Santo Investment Bank to advise on the potential raising of outside capital under a so-called Alternative Business Structure (ABS), which will be permitted for the first time once the Legal Services Act (LSA) takes effect this October.

"The LSA will create exciting growth opportunities for strong, well-financed legal services businesses to accelerate their growth plans," Irwin Mitchell managing partner John Pickering told Legal Week. "Irwin Mitchell intends to be at the forefront of these changes, and we have therefore taken the decision to seek external investment to further our ambitious plans for the business. Conversion to an ABS will broaden our access to capital and enhance our funding flexibility as we execute our strategic growth plan."

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