Alternative business structures
RSM has become the largest firm of accountants outside of the Big Four to launch a legal practice with an alternative business structure licence. The UK’s seventh largest provider of audit, tax and consulting services – which has revenues approaching £300m a year – will target mid-tier and owner-managed businesses with RSM Legal.
The first private equity fund to invest in a high street law firm that has now put money into a ‘dispersed’ law firm has said it is “business as usual” despite Brexit and it would welcome further approaches from solicitors.
National law firm Setfords Solicitors has become the latest to take external investment after securing a £3.75m injection from the Business Growth Fund (BGF) to support its expansion plans. It has taken a minority stake, the second time it has done so with a law firm after putting £5m into McMillan Williams in early 2015.
A boutique commercial firm with strong links to south-east Asia has become an alternative business structure as part of its growth plans, which include forming an alliance with several Middle East law firms.
Barnet and Harrow councils in London have renewed their shared legal service, HB Public Law, a year early, preserving the alternative business structure that has the biggest local authority legal team in the country. However, Fairpoint Group plc has seen its share price crash since issuing a profits warning about its legal arm.
A shared legal services between four local authorities in Norfolk is set to create an alternative business structure (ABS). Norfolk Public Law – which trades as nplaw – is choosing to add the ABS alongside its existing practice, rather than transfer everything into the new company.
AIM-listed law firm Gateley is keen to explore acquisitions of further non-legal businesses, it said yesterday as it announced that the revenue in the six months to the end of October was up by almost 19% on the same period last year. It has also poured millions of shares into an incentive scheme for partners.
A man who tried to get a vulnerable client to loan him money – shortly after the will-writing firm he worked for became an alternative business structure – has been banned from working in the profession after it reported him to its new regulator.
A multi-disciplinary alternative business structure is offering property clients the chance to be advised by a solicitor, accountant and architect at the same time. In addition to the deal with H&C Architects, Z Group is also continuing to expand its core areas with acquisitions.
Alternative business structures are far more likely to invest in their businesses than non-ABSs, research in the licensed conveyancer community has suggested. The survey provided an unprecedented snapshot of how this part of the legal market operates, including what it charges.