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The £750 million rule of law: Famous litigators set to be largest IPO of its kind

Andrew Saks, Thursday, 29 April 2021

Lawyers are often synonymous with removing money from people's pockets rather than the other way around.

Especially those which are famous for acting on behalf of high profile celebrities and members of the Royal Family in divorce proceedings.

Today, however, prestigious British company Mishcon De Raya, famous for acting for Princess Diana in her divorce from future King of England, Prince Charles, along with various high profile celebrities with far more to lose than their shirt, is looking at a quite simply ground breaking issuance of publicly listed shares.

The intention of a law firm, especially one of this magnitude, to explore an Initial Public Offering (IPO) is very rare indeed in the United Kingdom, as the vast majority of law firms, even very large ones with offices in every city which are regarded as household names, follow the traditional corporate structure within the legal industry of being privately held partnerships, with senior lawyers becoming partners after long service with a firm.

Thus, the traditional ownership structure of most firms in that sector lies with a long list of partners.

Mishcon De Raya, which has throughout the years sought fame and notoriety via its involvement in a plethora of high profile, heavily televised legal representations.

After its well documented represntation of Princess Diana in 1995 by Mishcon De Raya lawyer Anthony Julius, the company went on to work on a challenge in 2016 in the High Court by Gina Miller, an investment manager and philanthropist, against the process of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union.

In 2019, the UK Court of Appeal overturned the Judgment of Mr Justice Warby dated 8 October 2018 which had refused Mishcon de Reya's client, Richard Lloyd, permission to serve a representative action on Google LLC. The claim related to what is known as the "Safari Workaround" which is Google's alleged unlawful and clandestine tracking of iPhone users in 2011 and 2012 without their consent through the use of third party cookies.

Its flamboyant and eloquent lawyers are equally part of Mishcon De Raya's debonaire image, which is perhaps another reason why it will be of great interest to see how they present themselves in front of public shareholders should the IPO go ahead.

In terms of the actual possibility of an IPO, the company has enlisted JP Morgan as its advisor for the public listing of its stock.

Executive chairman Kevin Gold added that listing would allow it to hand shares to junior staff, giving them more reason to stay. His view is that it will enable us to invest in talent, our core areas, our allied services, as well as technology and Asia.

Mishcon De Raya's estimated IPO value, if it proceeds in the latter part of 2021 is around £750million, making it much more valuable than its other listed rivals.

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