Friday 27 April 2012 by Michael Cross
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has cleared the Australian takeover of top-100 firm Russell Jones & Walker by licensing it as an alternative business structure (ABS), it announced today.
RJW, acquired by Slater & Gordon earlier this year, is the fifth ABS firm to be authorised by the SRA. The entity will be the first foreign-owned ABS, and the first to be part of a stock exchange listed company.
'The SRA is delighted to announce the licensing of Slater and Gordon as the latest ABS. This new licensed body combines a wealth of legal services in RJW with the experience of the Australian law firm Slater & Gordon,' the regulator said.
Melbourne-based Slater & Gordon announced the acquisition of RJW, including its Claims Direct claims management brand, in January in a deal worth £53.8m. The takeover was predicated on RJW achieving ABS status. Andrew Grech, Slater & Gordon managing director (pictured) said: 'This is the optimum time to enter the UK market because of the changes in ownership laws and impending changes to the personal injury sector.'
RJW, established in the 1920s to gain compensation for injured steelworkers, has around 425 staff across 10 locations. About 60% of its revenue is in personal injury litigation. It also has employment law and a family law practices. The main RJW offices are in London, Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham.