Equity not guaranteed for McGrigors partners post-merger

Close to a third of McGrigors’ equity partners will be forced to prove themselves to regain their equity status when the firm merges with Pinsent Masons.

According to a source close to the firms, around 20 equity partners at McGrigors will become transitional partners at the merged firm, meaning they will have more points than fixed share partners and some guarantees in relation to remuneration, but will fall short of the status afforded to full equity partners.

The transitional partners will then have two years to prove themselves before the combined firm’s management decides whether or not to make them up into the equity.

According to The Lawyer UK200 2011, McGrigors had 57 equity partners and an average profit per equity partner (PEP) of £247,000. Pinsents, meanwhile, had 109 equity partners and an average PEP of £400,000.

A spokesperson for McGrigors said: “Like many firms, ours will operate a highly flexible partnership model which reflects the changing shape of the legal sector. However, we don’t comment on confidential partnership matters.”

Pinsent Masons agreed to merge to create a £282m firm earlier this month (6 February). The merger will go live on 1 May and the firm will be known as Pinsent Masons.

The news about transitional partners comes as the firms unveil the new management line up at the merged firm. The board will comprise Pinsents’ senior partner Chris Mullen, managing partner David Ryan, finance director Steve Hancock, head of client strategy Alastair Morrison, as well as McGrigors’ managing partner Richard Masters, who will become head of client operations.

Pinsents will also have a non-executive board comprising two Pinsent Masons partners and two McGrigors partners, one of whom will be McGrigors’ senior partner Kirk Murdoch.

In a statement, Masters said: “I’m pleased to be taking on the role of head of client operations in the combined business. Our clients often speak to us about providing our services in new and different ways, and in this role I’ll be responsible for innovation in the way the combined business delivers services to clients both in terms of operational efficiency and pricing strategies. The composition of the board shows that clients will continue to be at the heart of the new firm.”