Law firm set for growth with £15m private equity investment

Plexus Law, the Leeds-headquartered law firm, has secured a private equity investment of £15m from Origin Equity.

Plexus is a specialist, defendant law firm that provides legal services to insurance companies, corporates and public sector bodies.

In addition to its Leeds head office, Plexus has six further offices across the UK with over 1,000 employees, including 119 partners and 655 fee earners. The firm generated £6m of profit after payments to partners on £56m of revenues with net operating assets of £29m for fiscal year ending 31 March 2018.

Two members of the team at Origin Equity, Gavin Loughrey and Olivia Roberts, will join the Plexus Board whilst the firm’s existing management will maintain ultimate control of its running.

The announcement of the Origin investment follows the recent appointment of Fiona Scott to the position of CEO of Plexus. Scott joined Plexus in December from Kennedy’s where she worked for four years as finance director.

As Plexus CEO, she works alongside Andrew McDougall, who stepped into the role of senior partner following Scott’s appointment; commercial director, Tim Roberts; and the senior management team.

Senior professional indemnity specialist Gordon Walker has also been appointed as partner. Walker was previously head of the Leeds office at Clyde and Co, and will be building Plexus’ professional indemnity capability in Leeds.

Scott said: “Origin’s investment will accelerate our organic growth across the UK and Ireland, support our efforts to secure talent through lateral hires and enable us to further explore how we utilise and invest in technology.

“We are in a really strong position to take on this investment. Plexus is cash rich, overdraft free and has an impressive client roster. The decision to opt for private equity investment rather than looking at a merger, IPO or becoming highly leveraged with debt, was influenced by a number of factors, notably that this approach doesn’t compromise management control.

“In addition, the fact that it is a cash equity purchase ensures that it does not expose the business and its partners to the risk that a highly leveraged, debt funded buy in or IPO might – particularly in the current economic and political climate. It’s also important for us to ensure that we don’t preclude future talent from taking a stake in the business.”

A spokesperson from Origin added: “We are delighted to be supporting Plexus in their strategic growth and believe we can help the firm’s senior management team consolidate Plexus’ position as the go-to independent defendant law firm.

“We can also help the team further exploit advances around data management, analytics and next generation case management processing, three areas in which they have already made great strides.

Plexus Law was advised by Squire Patton Boggs (contract, legal due diligence and tax structuring), RSM ( tax and accountancy) and Mark Farlow of Atlantra (corporate finance advice).

Origin Equity was advised by PWC (commercial, financial, tax, and IT due diligence), Macfarlanes (contract, legal due diligence and tax structuring), and Aon (insurance due diligence).