DWF won the New Business and Service Delivery category at the 2019 FT Innovative Lawyers Awards Europe in recognition of becoming the first legal business to list on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, overhauling our partnership model to form a unique corporate structure.
We wanted to raise external investment from institutional investors in the UK and the US through an initial public offering on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. The listing would ultimately enable us to capitalise on the expanding global legal services market.
We transitioned from a partnership model to a corporate model, with partners agreeing to exchange their partnership interests for shares in the company and sell down a portion of their stake to contribute to the 25% “free float” required for a premium listing.
A unique post-IPO structure was developed, and we also developed a revised retention and compensation model for partners.
In March 2019, the business achieved what no other law firm has done before, becoming the first legal business to list on the LSE main market and the largest IPO in Europe in Q1 2019.
The transaction raised £75m which will support the next phase of our evolution, including supporting future acquisitions and up to £10 million to invest in IT systems and a global managed services platform.
We have also significantly increased the equity participation of our people, a key objective of the IPO, with more than 2,000 of our people receiving share awards.
The listing also provided significant, long-term support to the DWF Foundation, with partners donating a total of 1.8m shares, with a valuation at the time of admission in excess of £2.1m.