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As many of you will already be aware and may have seen in the press, we are making preparations for the implementation of the Legal Services Act in October this year. We believe the Legal Services Act will create exciting growth opportunities for strong, well-financed legal services businesses to accelerate their growth plans and we intend to be at the forefront of these changes.

Our aim, subject to regulatory approval, is to become a registered Alternative Business Structure (ABS) at the earliest date possible (which is currently 6 October 2011) and to seek external investment to support our strategic growth plans. As a firm, we look to be ahead of the game in how we operate and to provide our clients with the highest levels of service. We’ve always looked to be innovative and forward thinking and believe that becoming an ABS and bringing in external investment will be the best way to do this.

We have therefore restructured our operations. Irwin Mitchell LLP remains the operating business and service provider for work in England & Wales. A new Executive Board of the firm has been established to which Mark Higgins and Craig Marshall, known to many of you, have been appointed.

In addition, following discussions with the Scottish Law Society on what would be the best regulatory framework for the firm to operate within Scotland, we have also created Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP, which handles all of our Scottish business.

Irwin Mitchell has always had a clear strategy that puts its clients at the heart of its business. We believe that our recent announcement to become an ABS, seek external investment, and the internal changes outlined above will help us to realise this vision and enhance the service we are able to offer. In the longer term we believe the changes and external investment will allow the firm to develop new products and services and provide an enhanced service to our clients.