Revealed: the most tightly guarded equities in The Lawyer UK 100

Ward Hadaway and PricewaterhouseCoopers-tied firm Landwell have emerged as having the most tightly held equity out of the UK’s top 100 law firms.


Ward Hadaway and PricewaterhouseCoopers-tied firm Landwell have emerged as having the most tightly held equity out of the UK’s top 100 law firms.

According to exclusive research conducted for The Lawyer UK 100 Annual Report, released on 6 September, only 25 per cent of each firm’s total partners take a share in the equity.

For Landwell, only four of its 16 partners are part of the equity, which in the last financial year enjoyed a spread of £540,000 at the top and £240,000 at the bottom. This year, Landwell made up only its second equity partner since its inception in 1997. The first equity partner promotion occurred in 2002-03.

At Ward Hadaway, only 12 of its 48 partners share in the equity. A restructuring has left all 12 equity partners on parity at £265,000.

The move earlier this year, which saw the firm ditch its performance-related remuneration structure in favour of a return to lockstep, has resulted in a zero equity spread, with all partners on equal remuneration.

DLA has the most tightly held equity of the UK’s top 10 firms, with 30 per cent of the firm’s 374 partners classed as equity partners.

Most tightly held equities in the UK 100
Rank UK 100 Firm No of partners No of equity partners Equity partners (%)
100 Landwell 16 4 25
1= 91 Ward Hadaway 48 12 25
3 48 Weightmans 72 20 28
4= 7 DLA 374 113 30
4= 78 Howard Kennedy 63 19 30
6= 73 Dickson Minto 15 5 33
6= 68 Farrer & Co 55 18 33
8= 64 DWF 56 19 34
8= 87 Martineau Johnson 41 14 34
10 88 ASB Law 45 16 36
 
Source: The Lawyer UK 100 Annual Report