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Channel Islands professional services group Mourant has scored a first in the legal market by incorporating as a limited company.
The new structure combines Mourant’s three financial and professional service lines, but the law firm Mourant du Feu & Jeune will continue to operate as a partnership. Law firms are not yet able to incorporate under UK and Jersey law.
Mourant chief executive Nicola Davies did not rule out the possibility of Mourant du Feu & Jeune incorporating in the future, when such a structure is permitted.
As a limited company, Mourant has issued shares to senior executives as well as to every employee through an employee share plan. All of Mourant du Feu & Jeune’s equity partners are also shareholders.
Davies said the group had chosen to incorporate because “we’d got to a size and stage of development in the business where we needed to”.
The move is intended to aid Mourant’s continued expansion into new jurisdictions, as well as offering employees more of a financial incentive.
Davies explained that incorporation was preferred over limited-liability partnership (LLP) status as the latter would not have widened the ownership of the business. “The business has become much more multidisciplinary. The partnership model just becomes increasingly difficult to operate,” she added.
Mourant was advised on the conversion by HR and consulting firm Hewitt Associates, as well as accountants Ernst & Young. A core team of eight worked on the incorporation for 18 months, and external costs were, according to Davies, “a six-figure sum”.