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Staff at listed law firm sign up to discounted share options

Beech: People all running in the same direction

Some 192 staff at listed law firm Knights have subscribed for options over the firm’s shares at a discounted price.

The options have an exercise price of 161.52p, which represents a 20% discount to the closing middle market price of 201.9p on 23 November 2018, which was the trading day before the invitation to participate was made.

The options have a contract start date of 1 February 2019 and are exercisable from 36 months thereafter.

Knights went public on 29 June at a share price of 145p. It peaked at 215p on 19 November, and has since eased back, closing yesterday on 180p.

The grant of options forms part of the firm’s savings-related share option scheme for 2018, which was open to all permanent employees.

Some 192 employees out of around 450 elected to participate, and options over a total of 900,785 shares were granted today.

Speaking at last month’s Legal Futures Innovation Conference [1], chief executive David Beech said the success of Knights was based on creating one culture among the workforce, where every piece of work is run by teams – which “share work across different experience levels and different cost levels, between partners, associates and paralegals”.

He said most of the hard work of creating a single culture was done at the start. He continued: “Every job has a team structure behind it.

“We’ve gone away from what you see a lot in professional services firms: people competing with each other – to very much one with people all running in the same direction.”

Meanwhile, in a short trading update earlier this week, Redde plc – the accident management company that owns NewLaw Solicitors and fellow alternative business structure Principia Law – told investors that the group’s “positive start to the year… has carried through into December”.

It continued: “Sales again show an increase over the corresponding period last year reflecting continued growth in trading volumes and as a consequence, trading profits are ahead of the corresponding period last year.”

Anexo Group plc – the credit hire and legal services business that also listed in June and owns Liverpool law firm Bond Turner – has posted its own positive trading statement, predicting that profit before tax for the 2018 financial year “will be ahead of current market expectations”.

It has also opened a new office in Bolton, housing a 25-strong team. The office will also accommodate a new team of specialist credit hire litigators.

Executive chairman Alan Sellers said: “The expansion of Bond Turner and the new regional office will allow us to not only process our existing cases at a faster rate but also to take on more cases, which we believe will have a positive financial impact for the group going forward.”

The shares listed at 100p and closed yesterday on 117.5p, having been as high as 137p in October.

Finally, NAHL Group – the listed parent of National Accident Helpline – has named Caroline Brown as its next non-executive chairman. Steve Halbert, who has chaired the group for nine years, is stepping down at the end of January.

Ms Brown – a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants – has served as senior independent director for several AIM businesses and currently holds directorships at Georgia Capital plc, Luceco plc, Earthport plc and Hydrodec Group plc.