A practice set to make history as the first UK law firm to float on the stock exchange has said it will avoid the pitfalls of other professional services businesses that have gone public.

Top-50 firm Gateley intends to list on the Alternative Investment Market in an initial public offering (IPO) expected to raise £130m. The firm, which has six designated members, has appointed bankers to advise on the flotation.

Slater and Gordon is already listed in its native Australia and others have joined existing listed entities, but Gateley will be the first to list from scratch.

Chief executive Michael Ward (pictured) said the firm will use the cash raised to acquire new businesses and attract lateral hires: ‘There is no difficulty pitching a business which has been profitable and increased revenue for the past 10 years.’ Ward said the partners – who will become multimillionaires if the IPO succeeds – will be locked into the firm for five years.

However, the fate of accountancy firms such as Vantis, which went into administration years after listing, still looms large. Samantha Steer, head of large law strategy for Thomson Reuters UK legal business, said Gateley’s move will be closely watched by firms just below magic circle level.