Law Society president embraces ABS status

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By Legal Futures

15 March 2013


Publicity: Rapid Solicitors sponsors a British superbike team

A virtual firm that is looking to share profits with its consultants and a leading personal injury practice have become the latest alternative business structures (ABSs).

Scott Moncrieff & Associates, the firm known as Scomo founded by Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, has 50 consultant lawyers, who work from home on a wide range of private client matters. The firm has now become a limited company.

Scomo’s owners are listed as Ms Scott-Moncrieff and a company owned by her. She said ABS status would allow the firm to reward its fee-earners by offering them the opportunity to become shareholders in the business and able to receive dividends.

She said: “ABS is one of the ways in which law firms can operate in the future. What they should be thinking about is what they want to do in the industry, how they can get there and what the best structure is for them.”

Rapid Solicitors, which has four offices in Hull, is led by non-lawyer Andrew Baldwin, and partners James Burrell, Andrew Good and Victoria Fear, who is head of legal practice.

It advertises rather than pays for work, and sponsors British superbike team PBM – known as Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki – as part of its publicity.

The firm recently recruited ex-Tesco senior manager Mark Speirs as head of finance and administration in what it described as a “major coup” – bringing with him experience in strategic planning and implementation.

The expanding practice acquired more office space in December to create extra room for visiting doctors and barristers. It installed its own medical consulting suite so that clients have the choice of visiting the firm or using its mobile service.

Mr Baldwin said: “Our reward for a decade of investment in marketing, staff training and technology has been steady organic growth, whilst remaining on a solid financial footing. We now employ close to 200 staff and serve the whole of England and Wales.

“We steered clear of aggressive high-risk growth strategies and focused more on re-investing our profit and so we’re ready for the new regime.

“Modifications to our industry are cyclical and so we expected to have to change our model at some point in the future.

“We’ve planned flexibility into our business and survival from now on means being adaptable and open to new ideas, possible investments, joint ventures or whatever. One thing that will be rigid is our commitment to the strategies that have served us well so far.”

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has now handed out 111 ABS licences.

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