Law practice celebrates year of success after move to employee ownership

A Yorkshire law firm has marked the first anniversary of becoming employee owned by recording the most successful year in its 45-year history.

Ison Harrison became a 100% employee-owned business in January 2022 after the three shareholder directors agreed to sell the business to an Employee Ownership Trust.

The firm, which employs more than 240 staff across the region, posted a record turnover of more than £19m last year, an increase of 14% on the previous year.

Based on the firm’s overall finance performance across the full year, individual profit distributions approved by the Board of Trustees saw all eligible employees receive a tax-free year one distribution of £3,600 each.

Throughout 2022, the firm experienced significant growth in the number of clients it represents, taking the number to over 20,000, and also opened a new office in Wakefield, further strengthening its presence in the region with the addition of its 17th branch.

Under the new employee ownership model, the management structure changed to consist of eight directors with five additional directors joining the existing Board.

As part of the move, newly appointed directors James Thompson, Sarah Laughey, Richard Coulthard, Gareth Naylor and Jenny Bland, joined the firm’s existing directors Jonathan Wearing, Richard Timperley and Dominic Mackenzie.

Managing director Jonathan Wearing, who has been head of the firm for 16 years, said: “The move to employee ownership has clearly been a hugely positive step for everyone at the firm.

“Many successful years of continued growth coupled with strengthening the firm’s footprint across Yorkshire may have put us on the map but in adopting a new structure, we’ve done something very different and established the perfect foundation for further growth and wider expansion.

“Under employee ownership our financial performance has improved, the number of clients that we act for has increased and everyone has directly benefited.

“We have also seen the opening of our 17th office, staff opportunities increase, departments diversify and even greater community involvement.”