DLA Piper’s Knowles’ personal investment in LawVest revealed by filings

DLA Piper chief Sir Nigel Knowles’ investment in alternative business structure (ABS) LawVest has been revealed by a Companies House filing, showing he holds around a 1 per cent stake in the company.

Nigel Knowles
Nigel Knowles

News that DLA Piper’s co-chief executive Knowles and a small number of other partners and staff had a personal stake in LawVest – the parent company of fixed-fee chambers Riverview – provoked outrage in pockets of the firm’s partnership, who felt they had been kept in the dark about the arrangement (27 February 2012).

According to the filings, which were posted on 21 June 2012 and are accurate as of 27 May 2012, DLA Piper’s joint chief executive Nigel Knowles holds 333 ordinary shares as well as a further 2333 ordinary shares which are held by trustees of his pension fund, IPS Pension Builder. Shares appear to have been issued in two batches, costing either £1 or £30 each. The shares give Knowles just less than a 0.9 per cent stake in the company, which has issued 298,926 shares in total.

As a firm, DLA Piper holds 62,500 shares, equivalent to around 21 per cent of the business.

A number of other lawyers, former lawyers and directors at DLA Piper also hold shares. London restructuring head Michael Fiddy holds 833 shares while Sean Mahon, an independent director on DLA Piper’s global and international boards, holds 1666 shares. International restructuring head Stephen Halladay holds 1,166 shares and London-based corporate consultant Bruce Westbrook holds 332 shares. Former senior partner Roger Lane-Smith holds 666 shares, while DLA Piper’s Leeds corporate group head Jonathan Procter holds 500 shares.

The filings also show that Outer Temple Chambers’ strategic development head, and Riverview Law’s head of business and international teams Richard Lissack, holds 1666 shares.

LawVest’s non-lawyer chief executive Karl Chapman, meanwhile, holds 22,473 shares.

DLA Piper declined to comment.