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Rowe & Maw has advised big five accountant Ernst & Young (E&Y) on its historic conversion to Limited Liability Partnership status in a coup for the highly rated partnership team’s practice.The accountancy firm is in the first wave of partnerships to register under the Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2000, which became law in April this year.The instruction represents a coup for the Rowe & Maw professions group, which is also advising City solicitors Kemp & Co on its conversion to limited liability status (Legal Week 28 June).Partner Richard Linsell led the Rowe & Maw team, although E&Y fielded a substantial in-house team on the deal. Simmons and Simmons, led by partner Tim Barnard, advised E&Y on the property aspects of the transaction.“The project has been extremely well organised and managed,” Linsell said.“There may have been some unforseen events in going first but if there were, they were really minor.”The quick conversion of E&Y to an LLP, which caps the personal liability of partners’ private assets in a professional negligence claim, is a further boost to the acceptance of LLPs in the UK.However, since the introduction of the new regime only a handful of law firms have so far said they will take advantage of LLP status.A Legal Week Big Question survey of 100 leading lawyers, conducted in April, showed that 96% of practitioners had not decided either way although 72% said they thought LLPs would be good for business. Only 2% ruled out a conversion.

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