Law firm Gateley plans to float this year

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GATELEY, which has an office in Yorkshire, could become the first UK law firm to float on the stock market, it was confirmed today.

The Sunday Times reported that Gateley has appointed bankers to advise on a £130m London float this summer. Gateley is working with the capital markets bank Cantor Fitzgerald on a listing.

Yesterday, a Gateley spokesman confirmed that the report was accurate and “it is going through that (flotation) process”.

The firm’s management has met City fund managers to outline plans to join the junior AIM market.

Birmingham-based Gateley entered the Yorkshire market in 2012 and now has 28 staff based in Leeds. Last year, Gateley moved its Leeds office to prepare for expansion, which could see it more than double its headcount.

The firm moved to a 7,500 sq ft office in Minerva House on the city’s East Parade, which can house around 70 staff, from its previous office in Toronto Square, Leeds.

In late 2014, William Ballmann, corporate recovery partner and head of the Leeds office, said the firm’s Leeds office has become “a genuine success story for the region”.

Gateley could be the first law firm to go public since the Legal Services Act of 2011 allowed outsiders to take equity stakes in law firms, creating major opportunitties for expansion.

There has been speculation that Irwin Mitchell, which employs around 1,300 staff in Leeds and Sheffield, is also planning an initial public offering, after appointing new advisers earlier this year.