Australian law firms to make IPO history

Three small West Australian firms are set to make legal history with a proposed IPO and listing on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

Perth-based Integrated Legal Holdings (ILH) plans to raise $14m (£5.6m) through the IPO and intends listing on the ASX on 12 December according to a prospectus filed with the ASX on Monday (9 October).

ILH plans to spend $10m (£4m) of raised funds acquiring the Perth-based legal practices of Talbot Olivier, Durack Zilko and tax law boutique Brett Davies Lawyers.

Under the structure, the firms will continue to operate under their own brands, but will come under the umbrella of ILH. The group also plans to acquire information provider Law Central and management consultancy Professional Services Development.

West Australian six-partner corporate boutique Steinepreis Paganin is advising ILH on its IPO, which opens on 17 October and closes 27 November.

ILH, chaired by former Australian federal treasurer John Dawkins, who served under the Keating government between 1991 and 1993, said it intends to acquire more law firms following its listing.

Australian law allows non-lawyers to control ownership of firms based in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.

The Clementi Review of the UK legal services regulatory framework made floating UK law firms theoretically possible, but none have yet made the move.