One of Yorkshire’s leading law firms has marked the second anniversary of becoming employee-owned by awarding all qualifying 270 team members a £4,000 profit distribution.
The firm also posted its most successful trading period ever for October last year, making 2023 its most successful and profitable year in its 46-year history.
Ison Harrison became one of the first regional law firms to become a 100% employee-owned business in January 2022 after the three main shareholder directors agreed to sell the business to an Employee Ownership Trust.
The firm, which employs more than 250 staff across the region, posted a record turnover of over £22 million last year, up 16% from £19 million in 2022, as well as achieving numerous other business milestones. The firm’s commercial division’s turnover increased from £1.35m to £2.7m, the legal aid team secured the prestigious Legal Aid CAPA contract helping double department turnover to more than £2.5m for the year, and the property division saw turnover increase to over £6m despite the volatile housing market.
The firm experienced a healthy level of growth in the number of new clients that it acted for with over 20,000 new clients instructing the firm throughout 2023. The firm has also once again achieved Lexcel accreditation, the approved legal industry quality mark for client care, compliance and practice management.
2023 saw the opening of the firm’s 18th office, in Doncaster, the firm’s second in South Yorkshire, with plans for further expansion across the region in the first quarter of 2024. The firm’s 19th office, located in Queensbury, Bradford is due to open to the public in February.
As a result of the firm’s strong financial performance, individual profit distributions approved by Ison Harrison’s Board of Trustees saw all eligible employees receive a tax-free distribution of £4,000 each, an increase of £400 on the £3,600 payment last January.
Managing director Jonathan Wearing, commented: “2023 was our second year operating as an employee-owned business and what a year we’ve had in terms of achievements and overall performance. Distributing an increased bonus to our employees beyond year one’s payment reflects the drive and dedication shown by everyone throughout the year and is a true demonstration of the motivation that employee ownership can bring. Everyone contributed to delivering a record year for the firm last year which has put us in a great position to ensure that the coming year will be equally, if not more, successful and eventful.
“The move to employee ownership has been hugely positive for the firm and it’s encouraging to see such investment in making the initiative so successful. As the firm continues to expand and underpin its significant presence across Yorkshire, the flexible structure that employee ownership provides offers the perfect platform for future growth, attracting fresh talent as well as providing stability for existing staff.
“Switching to employee ownership has had a big impact on the way we do business and how we engage with our staff which in turn has boosted financial performance. The switch has been a resoundingly positive move for every single employee of the firm. Everyone now has a tangible stake in the success of the business and can share in future success and profits, just as they did last year.”
Ison Harrison employs more than 270 staff across Yorkshire, offering the broadest range of legal services in the region. The firm’s commercial division now advises businesses from across all sectors in transitioning to an employee-owned business.
The firm has over 10 Law Society accreditations including Lexcel, Clinical Negligence, Family Law, Immigration & Asylum, Conveyancing Quality and SRA Higher Courts Rights – civil and criminal.