Poll reveals Slaughter and May as outside investors’ firm of choice

Slaughter and May has emerged as the most attractive law firm prospect for outside capital investment, following a poll of readers of The Lawyer.

The Lawyer’s weekly online poll, which can be found at www.thelawyer. com/lawyernews, revealed that 34 per cent of respondents would prefer to invest in Slaughter and May if proposals made in the Clementi Review to allow external investment in law firms were implemented.

DLA was the second most popular of the five firms offered, with 23 per cent of the votes, while 19 per cent of people said they would place their money with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

The remaining two firms, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and Finers Stephens Innocent, received 17 and 7 per cent of the votes respectively.

BLP is seen as one of the leading candidates to take an interest in outside capital should external investment be introduced, although DLA is also considered likely to take up the option if it completes its transatlantic merger with Piper Rudnick. Barclays director Marke Lane explained that this was because outside capital could be a useful option for funding further growth, further acquisitions and diversification of the firms’ businesses.

Other reasons for introducing external investment include the kudos of being the first, enabling partners to capitalise on their investment, and increasing staff incentives by offering shares.