Cheshire law firm opts to become employee-owned business

Robin Charrott and Louise Halford

A Cheshire law firm has become an employee-owned business.

Evolve Family Law took the step in a deal supported by North West law firm Brabners.

The family law specialist, which was established in 2015 by Robin Charrot and Louise Halford, is now 100% owned by a newly established employee ownership trust (EOT) which will look after the interests of the firm’s 13-strong team.

The deal will preserve the future independence of the £1m+ turnover business, which has offices in Holmes Chapel and Whitefield, with both founding directors continuing to play an active and long term role in the firm as it pursues further growth under employee ownership.

The transition to employee ownership was supported by the corporate team at Brabners, led by employee ownership specialist Stephen Hadlow.

Evolve acts for a wide range of UK and international clients, including high net worths, on family matters such as finances on divorce, cohabitee disputes, nuptial agreements, child arrangements – including relocation and abduction – wills, estate planning and probate.

Employee ownership is one of the fastest growing business succession solutions in the UK, following the introduction of EOTs by the Government in 2014.

One in every 20 private company sales is now to an EOT, with Evolve Family Law joining a network of EOTs in the UK that includes Richer Sounds and Go Ape.

Robin Charrot said: “Over the past seven years we’ve grown the firm sustainably while bringing new people into the fold to share in our success.

“Our priority has always been looking after our clients and co-workers rather than maximising profit, and that sentiment has been at the core of our decision to become an employee-owned business, which will provide a platform for everyone to contribute and benefit as Evolve grows in the future.”

He added: “Louise and I could have sold the firm to an outside party, but we decided that this would not provide the best outcome for our clients or our staff. We have no plans to step away from the business, so we’re looking forward to helping Evolve prosper under employee ownership while we continue to support clients with transparent, trusted advice for years to come.”

Stephen Hadlow, at Brabners, said: “Employee ownership has become an increasingly attractive and popular option for business owners, particularly so since the pandemic.

“At a time when markets continue to consolidate, it offers a route for businesses to preserve their independence and culture, as well as create a long term, sustainable pathway for succession. With businesses putting a greater focus on their employees, wellbeing and CSR, we’re expecting more and more firms to move to employee ownership models in the coming months.”

James de le Vingne, chief executive of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), said: “We congratulate our member Evolve Family Law on its transition to employee ownership, securing the ethos, values and culture of the business, as well as rooting jobs in the North West.

“Businesses that give employees a stake and a say in the business build trust and shared responsibility, uniting leaders and employees behind a common purpose, and leaving businesses in a better position to flex and adapt.”

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