International law firm Allen & Overy’s partnership has voted unanimously to convert to a UK Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). Allen & Overy becomes the first international firm to become a UK LLP.
Allen & Overy LLP, as the firm will be known from 1 May 2004, took advantage of new legislation which came into effect in 2001. Since that time, the firm has been working to ensure a seamless transition.
Most of Allen & Overy will operate within the LLP structure from 1 May with the exception of its offices in Spain, Luxembourg and Hong Kong, which must remain outside the LLP for tax and regulatory reasons. The aim is to move these offices into the LLP structure as soon as is practicable. A key success in the conversion process was overcoming German regulatory hurdles by achieving agreement from the German tax authorities to recognise the UK LLP as tax transparent.
The UK LLP provides Allen & Overy with additional protection for its partners’ personal assets, in addition to the traditional indemnity insurance cover which will remain in place.
Richard Turnor, who heads up the firm’s Professional Partnerships Group,
“After careful consideration of both the US and UK LLP structures, we decided the UK LLP was more robust from a liability point of view. Our key goal was to convert to a structure that would be recognised internationally as a limited liability body corporate, rather than a partnership. Although the conversion process for an international firm is complex, the UK LLP combines flexibility with protection and we believe that more international firms are likely to consider this option.”
Senior Partner Guy Beringer commented:
“We believe that the LLP structure provides the right platform from which to continue the development of our business. It offers stability and transparency and we consider this to be in the long-term interest of our clients and our staff.”