Employees now own £16m turnover law firm

A Yorkshire law firm has become entirely owned by its employees after its three shareholder directors agreed to sell the business to an Employee Ownership Trust.

Ison Harrison, which has a network of 16 offices throughout the region, was founded in 1978 as SC Harrison & Co, merging a decade later with Ison Driver & Furness, to form Ison Harrison.

Forty-three years later it now employs more than 230 staff across Yorkshire. The firm, which has an annual turnover of £16m, represents around 20,000 clients each year.

Directors of the company opted against a traditional business sale or merger options, choosing an employee ownership trust instead with the workforce now owning 100% of the business.

Under the new ownership model, the management structure will comprise of eight directors with five new directors welcomed to the existing Board including James Thompson, Gareth Naylor, Jenny Bland, Sarah Laughey and Richard Coulthard.

Jonathan Wearing, who has been head of the firm for 15 years, remains managing director with Richard Timperley and Dominic Mackenzie, the other two shareholder directors, remaining as finance director and head of private client respectively.

Wearing said: “By becoming an employee owned business and extending the breadth and reach of the Board we feel we are really well set up for whatever the future holds.

“Employees will have a greater influence over the future direction of the firm, will financially benefit from the ongoing success of the business and continue to deliver unrivalled client service in the multitude of private and commercial arenas in which we operate.

“It will allow us to involve and reward everyone, attract talent in the region and demonstrate a genuine point of difference in a competitive market.

“In short, converting into an Employee Ownership Trust is great news for every single employee of the firm and everyone now has a stake in the business and can share in the success and profits that are made going forward.”