Parfitt Cresswell, an expanding regional legal firm with offices in London, Berkshire, Surrey, Sussex and Kent has today announced that a significant interest in the company has been transferred to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).  While different forms of employee ownership have become increasingly popular in the UK, due to their proven[1] impact on competitiveness, profitability, sustainability and staff well-being, it is unusual for a law firm.

Parfitt Cresswell was first established in 1908. It was acquired by the current owners in 2007. At the time it employed just 8 people in one office in Fulham Broadway. Since acquisition, the firm has grown to 9 offices and now has a team of over 100.

Group Director Nigel Harper explained why they’ve transferred shares to the EOT: “Over the years, our fantastic team has built the business with us. We want them to share in our success. We set up the EOT to safeguard our shared legacy and promote the well-being of everyone associated with our business, today and in the years to come.”

EOTs are a simple route to employee ownership whilst safeguarding the future of the company. Employees attain an indirect beneficial interest in the business and can share in the success of the company through the use of tax-free bonuses up to £3600 per employee per year.

Across many industries EOTs (and other forms of employee ownership) are now recognised as a highly effective route to increase productivity, manage succession and to ensure the long-term success of companies. However, the legal sector has been slow to adopt them. Of the approximately 9,500 solicitors’ firms in the UK, it has been estimated that (as of June 2023) just 20 were employee-owned, in most cases through an EOT.

Parfitt Cresswell also continues to trade using the legacy names of some of the firms it acquired: Max Barford and Co, Colemans, Jevons, Riley and Pope, Charles Coleman and Co, Copley Clark and Keene Marsland.  The firm works in the areas of family law, commercial and residential property, wills, power of attorney, probate, trusts, dispute resolution, tax planning and employment.

[1] Source: Multiple studies over the last 15 years. Including UK Government and the Ownership Equity Enquiry.