Liverpool firm becomes first family law ABS

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By Legal Futures

29 August 2012


Miller: need to recognise role of non-solicitors

A Liverpool-based practice has become the first specialist family law firm to become an alternative business structure (ABS).

Tracey Miller Family Law will use its new status to allow business development manager Anthony Hool – who is married to Ms Miller – to take a minority stake in the firm.

Mr Hool is the head of finance and administration, while chartered legal executive Sarah McCarthy is the head of legal practice. The firm claims to be the only one in the north-west to offer a ‘mobile’ service, promising to visit clients seven days a week.

Ms Miller said: “Our objective remains that of building a bespoke niche privately funded family law practice, providing first-class advice to individuals and families in the north-west. However, we believe that in order to achieve this objective we need to recognise the role of lawyers who are not solicitors and of business people whose expertise is in practice development.

“Hence our application for ABS status, the success of which will also enable us to take advantage of other opportunities which may arise in the future to adapt our business to meet our clients’ constantly changing needs.”

Mr Hool added that the motivation was to position the firm as a 21st century practice. Though there are no specific plans for further exploiting the ABS licence, he said the focus on acting for high net-worth individuals as well as those of more modest means could lead to the firm joining forces with the likes of an independent financial adviser or accountant.

The firm took consultancy advice on the application from Stuart Bushell of SIFA, who was previously a director of the Law Society. Mr Bushell said: “We are delighted to have been able to work with this excellent niche firm and have found the SRA application process to be meticulous and efficient. Tracey Miller’s success is further evidence that the practice development opportunities offered by ABS are as relevant to high street firms as to larger organisations.”

 

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Joint (ad)ventures in the legal sector

Nigel Wallis lo res

We all know that nothing in life is certain. As the actor, director and philosopher Clint Eastwood once said: “If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” He also said he’d tried being reasonable and didn’t like it. They should teach this kind of philosophy in law school. One thing in life is reasonably certain though. If you’re a law firm worth your salt, at some point you will be approached by another entity (most probably a work introducer) with a whizzy idea to ‘partner’ with you to ‘help you accelerate your growth’. In commercial speak this means, ‘we’d like to keep feeding you work but we’d also like to share in your profits’. The arrangement may be pitched to you as a joint venture – a win-win no less.

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