Combining other professional services with legal is delivering, says Gateley

Waldie: Acquisition pipeline is strong

Providing other professional services alongside legal advice is bringing in work from new and existing clients, listed law firm Gateley said today in the wake of its half-year results and latest acquisition.

Revenue grew 24% to £62m in the six months to 31 October 2021, with underlying adjusted profit before tax up 14% at £8.5m. The profit margin was 13.7%, 0.4 points better than pre-pandemic.

Gateley this week also announced a deal to buy trade mark and patent attorneys Adamson Jones for £2.5m, the 11th acquisition – nine of which were non-legal services businesses – since Gateley became the first law firm to list in June 2015.

It is the first for the firm’s business services platform, one of Gateley’s four divisions. The others are property, people and corporate.

Last September, Gateley bought Tozer Gallagher, a practice of chartered quantity surveyors and construction consultants, to add to Gateley Vinden, its property and construction consultancy acquired a year earlier.

Group chief executive Rod Waldie said: “There is clear evidence that the diversity of service lines across the lifecycle of clients’ operations on our property and people platforms is helping us to win work from new and existing clients.”

While legal services revenue grew by 22% to £54m in the first half, income from consultancy non-legal services jumped 34% to £8.3m.

Average fee-earner headcount was stable at 794 and Gateley is looking to fill 75 new roles at all levels in the coming months. In all, 72% of staff are either share or option holders.

Mr Waldie added: “Our balance sheet remains strong, and we are committed to investing in our platform strategy, to seize attractive growth opportunities. Our post-period-end acquisition of Adamson Jones is very recent evidence of this.

“Our acquisition pipeline is strong, and we are actively engaging with opportunities for further growth across each of the platforms.”

Adamson Jones provides patent, design and trade mark protection advice in the UK, Europe and around the world. It has 25 staff headed working in Nottingham, Leicester and London.

In the year ending 31 March 2021, it generated revenue of £3.6m. The £2.5m purchase price is being paid half in cash and half in shares.

Gateley told investors: “The acquisition sets a solid foundation for the development of complementary business services with an IP and brands focus, working alongside the existing team within Gateley Legal, and enabling the business to widen its scope in an area where it already has a well-established and continually growing client base.”

Mr Waldie said the deal meant Gateley has now acquired consultancy businesses on all four platforms.

“This strategy continues to differentiate Gateley, to widen our breadth of services and enhance our appeal to both existing and potential clients.”

Gateley has declared an interim dividend of 3p, compared to 2.5p for the same period in the previous financial year.

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