ince rip

"Please...if a Biles tries to revive me...turn it off."

Ince Gordon Dadds has filed for administration, while its ex-CEO has registered multiple company names relating to Ince as part of an apparent bid to reclaim the firm.

The listed law firm’s shares were suspended on 3 January when it was unable to produce its accounts, and it announced on Wednesday that after almost four months its audit remained “uncompleted”.

Ince said the length of BDO’s auditing process had put “increasing pressure” on cash flows and that when a major creditor decided it would “no longer continue to support the business” the Ince board concluded it had "no choice" but to place the company into administration. 

Ince has asked the court to appoint an administrator, Quantuma, to run a firesale of the business “as soon as possible”.

The firm’s 2021 accounts, the last filed, showed that Ince employed 208 fee-earners and 218 support staff, although ROF understands numerous redundancies have been made since then.

Ince was once an esteemed City shipping firm, but collapsed in 2018. Staff voted it the Golden Turd, and it was snapped up in a pre-pack administration deal by Gordon Dadds, a listed firm run by Chief Executive Adrian Biles. 

Biles, some of whose relatives occupied senior positions in the company, renamed Gordon Dadds as Ince. In 2022 the firm made headlines when John Biles, then the company's finance chief, became embroiled in accusations that a member of Ince’s leadership team had harassed a waitress at a boozy restaurant meal. John Biles later left the firm, which insisted the departure was an unconnected, planned retirement.

A bombshell market announcement revealed in June 2022 that Ince had lost £5m as a result of a ransomware attack the previous year, which it transpired had shut down Ince’s time recording systems and compelled staff to work on paper for several weeks. The firm confirmed that it was in such dire financial straits that it had been unable to repay a loan, and that it would have to sell elements of its network, close offices, and make redundancies in order to raise £8.6m to prop up the business.

Biles, who was controversially awarded a £500k bonus in 2021, was replaced as CEO and later dumped out of the firm in September 2020 due to a “conflict of interest”. The impression of managerial dysfunction was compounded when it emerged that John and Adrian Biles had both been in the process of suing Ince, which had itself counterclaimed against the pair until a settlement was agreed.

Ince shares were temporarily suspended in 2021 when it announced that it was buying Arden Partners, a broker which was also its nominated advisor. The role was required to be independent under AIM rules, a fact that appears to have escaped Ince and which resulted in a halt to trading while Arden resigned and a replacement nominated advisor was rustled up before the company could be subject to summary delisting.

Donald Brown, Arden's CEO, replaced Adrian Biles at the top of Ince, but he and Managing Partner Jenette Newman proved unable to stop the slide despite a slew of disposals. Eyebrows were raised when Arden, purchased for £10m, was subsequently sold for just £1m, with Ince disclosing that it had proved loss-making.

The company’s shares were suspended for a second time on 3 January 2023 when Ince was unable to produce its financial results for 2022.

Ince said initially that "the complexity of historic and legacy accounting issues" meant its new auditor, BDO, required "more time to conclude their outstanding audit work", but that it expected the issue to be resolved by 31 January.

When that deadline passed, the firm announced a “short delay”, then asked for "approximately two more weeks", then predicted “early March”, having blamed issues in its Hong Kong office, and then stopped giving deadlines altogether. 

In the meantime, other events provided hints of the frantic fund-raising, cost-cutting and chaos behind the scenes. 

While the audit remained unforthcoming, Ince sold its 15-person Bristol-based personal injury wing for £1.3m, disposed of its Gibraltar office for £490k, split from its Germany branch, revealed that it had omitted in error to disclose that Newman held a million shares in the business, and lost its Senior Partner.

Now the firm has crumbled, leaving hundreds of employees in limbo.

The company's latest nominated advisor resigned on Thursday, triggering a one-month countdown to delisting, while the FTSE confirmed that the company would be deleted from the FTSE UK Index next Tuesday. Shareholders outside of Ince were left stunned. “Very painful for me”, said one. “I had/have thousands of shares at an average of 49p. Ouch.”

“Easy to say, with hindsight, we should have done more DD”, said another shareholder who failed to read ROF: “However as the largest quoted law firm (at one time), shareholders including Legal & General and with a history dating from 1866 I do not think this could have been predicted”.

“There are so many issues over the past 2 years that need investigating”, said a third, adding “I've already lost thousands on this company”. Some large shareholders are said to be considering legal action against the company, claiming it made misleading representations about their investments. 

Ince declined to comment, other than to refute via a spokesperson a rumour that Newman had gone on holiday for two weeks, and to clarify that she had actually been working seven days a week since Christmas.

A development which may worry remaining staff further is the suggestion, allegedly vocalised by Brown in a fiery all-staff update meeting this week, that Adrian Biles made a bid for the firm. He has already re-entered law by buying up failed private client firm Child & Child. Now Companies House shows he has also been busily registering company names: Ince & Co Legal Limited, Ince & Co UK Limited, Ince & Co London Limited, and Ince & Co Law Limited.

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Tip Off ROF


Show me the money 14 April 23 08:39

This firm needs to go swiftly into liquidation with Stephen "the terrier" Hunt of Griffins as the liquidator to dig out where the money really went to.

Trouble ahead 14 April 23 08:47

Err oops


City Boyce 14 April 23 09:04

Yet another example of when anyone considering joining / investing in a law firm should check ROF as a primary and reliable source of business analytics.

The cracks were there for all to see for Halliwells, Dewey Leboeuf, KWM, Ince & Co the first time in 2018 and - looking ahead - will include Rosenblatt, DWF, Knights and eventually Mishcon (where the owners make a mint on the IPO, extract all value from the listed firm via complex remuneration structures disinventivising key staff, laugh all the way to the Cayman Islands and then - as if by magic - the firm is worth jack sh!t and it collapses).

You heard it here first.

ShootyOriginal 14 April 23 09:30

Dewey Leboeuf was OK in Transformers.

Rubbish in the Indiana Jones film that we don't acknowledge and Constantine, though. 

Anonymous Anonymous 14 April 23 09:43

Robot lawyer takes its first court case: Hearing next month will see the defendant get advice from artificial intelligence using a smartphone app. The Robert Lawyers will take sales from the existing law firms. There will be more law firms closing.

Meloney Richardson 14 April 23 09:51

Sad to read about the demise of such a great law firm.  I worked there for 20 years from 1986 - and am so thankful for the opportunities the old guard afforded me.  I have much to be grateful for, it was once a great place to work.

CueAnon 14 April 23 09:54

@Shooty thats funny...

not funny for the staff who are jobless in the middle of a cost of living crises and an economy on the precipe...

Brexit has indeed delivered all the prospertiy that was promised 🙄

I don’t want to state the obvious but… 14 April 23 09:59

What a performance. Biles also conveniently left (and Ince had apparently now folded) before an investigation into the conduct of a former partner (now at [redacted]) sending (and later withdrawing) threatening cease and desist letters for a client they didn’t do (and still haven't done) KYC for was due to be published. Conveniently brushed under the carpet - apparently a common theme in the running of Ince. Morbidly fascinating.

InceLegend 14 April 23 10:18

The writing was on the wall in 2015. Made some financial decisions that were beyond stupid. 

Sumoking 14 April 23 10:32

“Easy to say, with hindsight, we should have done more DD”, said another shareholder who failed to read ROF: “However as the largest quoted law firm (at one time), shareholders including Legal & General and with a history dating from 1866 I do not think this could have been predicted”.


yeah, but that history going back to 1866 includes going bust in 2018, kinda feels like the warning flags were there 

Goethe_Cash 14 April 23 11:27

Strong buy.

Load up now and get the Lambo catalogue out in readiness for the big upswing.


Anonymous- 14 April 23 11:39

Having historically been at Ince & Co for a number of years and having to endure the painful transition to the Biles corrupt regime and their cronies (IGD), It pains me that the mismanagement over the last 8 yrs has put such a great blight on the previous 149 yrs of once a truly excellent law firm. I can now only offer the original Ince & Co staff whom have remained, the best for the future.


In the middle east 14 April 23 11:41

Ince lawyers in dubai are having the best time of their lives ….. and boasting about it on LinkedIn 

Goethe_Cash 14 April 23 13:39

Just to be clear, I do already own a Lambo, because I am definitely a very wealthy and successful man. I take great satisfaction from assuming your jealousy of that fact.

So when I talk about cracking out the Lambo catalogue in anticipation of massive returns from my latest great share dealing advice what I am of course referring to is the act of perusing it for one's second Lambo.

To be used as a utility vehicle on weekends on which your first is being serviced by mechanics and your hooker, no wait, I mean girlfriend, is driving the Maserati.

That is how I want you to know that I live my very enviable life in an Arabian backwater.

DWF employee 14 April 23 13:55

DWF management is super excited - it can buy Ince in a pre pack deal, rebrand as Ince (which despite its demise, has more brand strength than DWF) and then go down itself... Meaning Ince may actually go down more than once in its history...

Sad but true. 

Ince collapsed 14 April 23 13:58

I remember when he was a decent midfielder at Middlesborough.  Shame he's collapsed, wish him a swift recovery 

Anonymous 14 April 23 14:45

Having worked there … they  employ too many managers that bring in no fees and just make up lists!  I feel sorry for the staff left there having to go through this

Anonymous 14 April 23 14:51

The only reason for a traditional law firm to IPO is to enable senior equity to extract more money.

Anonymous 14 April 23 15:47

Anonymous 14 April 23 14:45

Having worked there … they  employ too many managers that bring in no fees and just make up lists!  I feel sorry for the staff left there having to go through this


I agree with this in its entirety.  Having worked for an amazing local firm which was absorbed by GD then morphed into Ince, it was painful to watch what the firm had become.  The reputation of Ince and its upper management is laughable and if the above is true about Biles buying the company back, I hope the remaining employees all run as fast as they can and find themselves new employment  as I couldn't think of anything worse.... but in true Ince fashion, I wouldn't expect anything else! 

Ex ince 14 April 23 16:31

The suggestion by a shareholder that this could not have been predicted is crazy and suggests a complete lack of understanding of the firm and the personalities involved. A good lesson in why not to invest in a professional services firm unless you know them well. In the 4 years since the prepack when GD bought ‘bust’ ince (interestingly the same administrators then as now 🤔) the firm has done 2 cash calls to raise multiple millions, devaluing the existing shares each time. That money has been bled out of the firm- I wonder where to- and this is the result. I can’t believe the current position is anything other than entirely predictable to anyone who knows the firm and understands the legal market. 

In any casket! 15 April 23 21:55

The firm’s fate was sealed once they onboarded the Biles, but the poor management leading to the Biles’ takeover should not be forgotten. 


Miss Appropriate 16 April 23 09:56

Billed by name, Biles by nature. Not to mention the absolute disaster that was the acquisition itself, the appointment of bizarre staff and the clear and obvious self interest here

Anon 16 April 23 17:18

Dedicated Old School Ince & Co folk still apparently think there is value in the brand "Ince"! 

Having gone bust twice in just over 4 years, and remember in 2019 they left behind £39 million of debt, it would appear the deluded Old School Ince & Co folks (who never accepted they were bust in the first place) remain firmly entrenched in their Ivory Tower (actually Aldgate.. so hardly "Ivory"). 


The "Ince" brand now has as much value as "Polly Peck", "Arthur Anderson", "Carillion" "Poundworld" [How apt]  and "BHS", to name just a few "fellow travelers".

Anonymous 17 April 23 08:03

Biles ensured the management, which had shown itself incompetent, would be well-paid for bringing the firm into his fold. He then assured their positions and in doing so ensured that those who had failed before, were free to fail again, and be better paid for doing so.

Why did he expect a different result in round two?

Gobblepig 17 April 23 13:02

@CueAnon 14 April 23 09:54 

What on earth does this have to do with Brexit, you tragic and obsessive weirdo?

Joint bid 17 April 23 14:08

I see significant upside from a Tony Stockdale/Biles family joint approach to buying it out of administration.  

Anonymous 17 April 23 14:29

That's funny, Joint Bid. I see the fat kid who got last in the sprint teaming up with another fat kid who got last in the sprint and finishing combined last in the three-legged race. Call it prophetic, if you will. 

Anonymous 17 April 23 22:49


You have to learn to ignore them. They're like Japanese soldiers marooned on remote Pacific Islands still fighting a war that their side lost almost a decade ago.

Or tormented spirits, who cannot pass across to the other side and so remain trapped in a purgatorial limbo to wail and rattle their chains forevermore. Haunting the living to put off fading into nothingness and vanishing from memory altogether.

They'll be wheezing out hackneyed catchphrases about the sides of a bus on their deathbeds.

There's nothing you can do to save them from themselves.

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