Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2012 (Revised September 2013)

Creating the First Public Law Firm: The IPO of Slater & Gordon Limited

by Benjamin C. Esty and E. Scott Mayfield

Abstract

Slater & Gordon (S&G), a midsized Australian law firm with a high-growth consolidation strategy, had an initial public offering (IPO) scheduled for May 2007. Due to a series of regulatory changes in Australia in recent years, the IPO provided an opportunity for S&G to become the first publicly-traded law firm in the world. The firm and its underwriters had just issued a prospectus and were now in the process of lining up investors for the offering. Gloria Rosen, a portfolio manager at Freemantle Securities, was trying to decide whether to buy the stock for her small-cap growth fund. With only a few days left to place an order for the offering, she had to decide whether to invest and, if so, how much to invest. To make her investment decision, Rosen had to understand the value implications of the firm's business model and its growth strategy, as well as the relevant risks.

Keywords: IPO; Mergers & Acquisitions; law firm; valuation; value drivers; growth strategy; revenue recognition; corporate governance; roll-up; consolidator; Initial Public Offering; Valuation; Consolidation; Mergers and Acquisitions; Financial Strategy; Growth Management; Corporate Governance; Business Strategy; Legal Services Industry; Financial Services Industry; Australia;

Citation:

Esty, Benjamin C., and E. Scott Mayfield. "Creating the First Public Law Firm: The IPO of Slater & Gordon Limited." Harvard Business School Case 213-019, October 2012. (Revised September 2013.)