Newly listed Australian law firm plans to follow Slater & Gordon to UK


Australia: issue of timing and acquisition is being debated, says Shine

The newest listed law firm in Australia – and the third biggest personal injury practice in the country – is eyeing up an acquisition in the UK, it has emerged.

The fast-growing Shine Lawyers listed last week and saw its share price instantly increase by a half, and is now looking to follow in the footsteps of Slater & Gordon.

Managing director Simon Morrison told The Australian newspaper: “We have been looking [at the UK] pretty closely for about a year and have looked at a number of firms – one in particular we are very close to at the moment. The issue of timing and acquisition is being debated around our board table.”

Shine began life in 1976 as a country practice in Queensland and through both organic growth and acquisition has since grown to over 600 people located across 40 offices throughout Australia. It has a formal alliance with internationally acclaimed environmental advocate Erin Brockovich.

It is the third law firm to list after Slater & Gordon and Integrated Legal Holdings, which both went public in 2007.

Mr Morrison told the newspaper that the fragmented nature of the UK personal injury market offered an opportunity for new entrants like Shine. He said the existence of claims management companies “has created a culture of dependency among British firms for incoming work” and as a result of the referral fee ban “British lawyers are going to have to re-learn how to communicate with their customers”.

Mr Morrison said that while listing had given both Shine and Slater & Gordon access to capital that was not available to traditional partnerships, the two had different strategies – while Slater & Gordon is moving into non-personal injury consumer work, Shine is remaining focused on litigation, albeit that it is moving into areas beyond personal injury.

Mr Morrison and executive director Stephen Roche, a former managing partner, were the main beneficiaries of the listing, and have 65% of the practice, which on listing had a market capitalisation of A$155m (£100m).

Its 2012 revenues were A$85m with net profit after tax of A$15m and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of A$24m. Revenues are projected to grow to $A102m this year and $A115m in 2014.

As with Slater & Gordon, the Shine prospectus made it clear to investors that the firm has a paramount duty to the court first, and then to its clients. “Those duties prevail over Shine’s duty to shareholders. There may be instances where Shine and its lawyers, in exercising their duties to the court or to the client (or both), act other than in the best interests of shareholders. An example is in settlement negotiations where Shine’s duty to its client would be favoured over any short-term cash flow or funding needs of Shine’s business.”

Slater & Gordon entered the UK last year by acquiring Russell Jones & Walker and earlier this month announced its intention to buy three more personal injury practices.




Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog


The hot graphic design trends in the legal sector

As we recover from an unprecedented 19 months within our sector, marketing teams and clerks’ rooms are keener than ever to try out something new in the promotion of their businesses.


What challenges will the Bar face in the next five years?

As we look towards the end of 2021 and at how the Bar has adapted to the harsh realities of the pandemic, the question beckons as to what the future holds.


The rise of cyber-criminal threat for law firms since Covid-19

The global coronavirus pandemic, and the rise in people working from home, has unfortunately provoked a growth in cyber-crime. The UK government estimates that the cost of cyber-crime is £27bn per annum.


Loading animation