RJW has been acquired by Slater & Gordon - the world's first publicly listed law firm - for £53.8 million (approximately $AUD80 million). The acquisition took place on 30 April 2012 following the approval of an Alternative Business Structures (ABS) licence by the UK Solicitors Regulation Authority. The law firm notified the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) of its ABS licence approval on the same day.
Slater & Gordon was amongst the first organisations to be granted an ABS licence by the UK regulatory authority.
RJW and Slater & Gordon and announced their plans to join forces and capitalise on changes in the UK legal landscape in January of 2012, following 12 months of negotiations and due diligence.
RJW Chief Executive Officer Neil Kinsella said his team knew that changes were required to stay "at the forefront of a changing legal landscape" and Slater & Gordon was the "perfect partner" law firm.
Mr Kinsella said: "This is an exciting new chapter in our history, and an important step towards us achieving our ambition to become the largest and most trusted brand for personal legal services in the UK.
"We are in the midst of a changing landscape in the UK and we want to be at the forefront of that change - both in a regulatory sense and in service delivery.
"One thing that will not change is our commitment to make access to justice available and affordable to all, because that's a common goal that we share with Slater & Gordon and it's one of the things that attracted us to them in the first place."
Slater & Gordon Managing Director Andrew Grech said it was the optimum time to enter the UK market because of the changes in ownerships laws and impending changes to the personal injury sector.
Mr Grech said: "Firms which do not adapt will simply not be able to compete effectively over the long term.
"This partnership gives RJW security so that they can continue providing a first class legal service, but it also gives them the resources needed to develop and grow whilst retaining and attracting talented people in a way that would not have been possible otherwise."
Mr Grech said Slater & Gordon would support its UK business to continue to grow and meet the needs and expectations of their clients into the future.
He continued: "We have jointly identified the opportunities that will come as a result of the changes in the UK market and have already benefited from sharing our knowledge.
"The potential to share technology and have greater resources to retain and attract additional talented people will underpin our future success."
RJW equity partners have exchanged ownership of a traditional partnership for share-ownership in Slater & Gordon Ltd. The partners will hold Slater & Gordon shares for a minimum of four years. RJW has traded as 'Russell, Jones & Walker part of Slater & Gordon Lawyers' from Monday 30 April, 2012. The acquisition includes RJW's Claims Direct brand.
About Russell Jones & Walker:
With over 85 years of experience, Russell Jones and Walker Solicitors are considered one of the UK's leading law firms with over 420 employees in 10 offices nationwide. Its focus has always been to provide accessible, affordable legal services for individuals, such as spinal injury victims in need of a personal injury solicitor. It also offers services to those needing to make an asbestos compensation claim, as well as other employment law services. Neil Kinsella is one of the country's leading commentators on the changing face of the legal profession and aims to ensure that the firm remains at the forefront of it, irrespective of the likely new competition.
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