Legal Tech Pioneer Mishcon To IPO, All Staff To Be Shareholders

Mishcon de Reya, which was one of the first law firms to launch a legal tech incubator – MDR LAB, is moving forward with plans to list on the stock market in London. As part of the IPO every member of staff at Mishcon would become a shareholder in the listed business, which is a great way to democratise ownership of a legal business.

Yesterday it formally announced that its partners had voted to list on the London Stock Exchange, potentially at the end of 2021. Mishcon expects to report revenues of c.£188m ($262m) for the 12 months to April 9, 2021. The exact IPO valuation is not known yet.

As part of their ongoing and post-IPO strategy the firm stated it was committed to ’embracing emerging technologies to transform the way it does business’, which is great to hear.

And they will also ‘accelerate its expansion in the provision of legal and advisory services and invest in high growth potential opportunities contiguous to its current operations’.

Mishcon added that they are now ‘five years into its 10-year strategy [which includes] continuing to provide venture capital funding to legal tech start-ups‘.

It will join a growing number of UK law firms to list on the stock market (see previous analysis – ‘How Are Listed Law Firms Doing?‘). Australian law firms have also been allowed to do this. That said, in most markets across the world such a move still seems extremely novel.

However, in the UK, law firm IPOs have become a regular event and they raise few eyebrows, as listing is seen primarily as just another way for a business to raise capital…..which of course, that is mostly all that it is – and it’s not an ethical armageddon that some lawyers might have feared in the past.

Kevin Gold, Executive Chairperson, Mishcon de Reya, said: ‘I am delighted that the leadership team is mandated to explore a public listing as we look to further develop our offering to clients. It will enable us to invest in talent, our core areas, our allied services, as well as technology and Asia. I am also proud that my partners have decided to award shares to all staff. It means every single one of our people will have a meaningful stake in our business.’

Congrats to them. And it looks like some of the additional capital may help to fund more legal tech initiatives, and perhaps also support more investments in legal tech companies.

The democratic ownership aspect, i.e. everyone has some shares, is also welcome. Artificial Lawyer especially likes the way that this approach helps to break down the lawyer vs ‘non-lawyer’ aspect inside firms, as in most cases only the equity partners, i.e. senior lawyers, can actually own part of the business. So, who knows, maybe this will have a much broader beneficial impact beyond just raising capital for growth.

[Note: Artificial Lawyer is currently on holiday and will be back in the office on Tuesday, May 4. Have a great long weekend everyone. ]

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