Alternative business structures
Stowe Family Law – which claims to be the largest specialist family law firm in the country – has become the latest legal practice to accept private equity investment after signing a deal with mid-market backer Livingbridge. The plan is to build a “larger national footprint”, opening up to 30 additional offices over the next five years – it currently has 10.
Most listed UK businesses with a strong legal element did not prove good investments in 2016, although litigation finance business Burford Capital and national law firm Gateley both bucked the trend in eye-catching fashion, a Legal Futures analysis has found.
Large law firms should consider becoming “general contractors” to manage their clients’ disaggregated legal needs amidst growing demand from in-house lawyers to use alternative legal services providers – with the Big Four accountants a threat “that cannot be overstated” – a new report has suggested.
A solicitor who lied to clients and ignored a High Court costs ruling has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and ordered to pay costs of nearly £100,000. His ABS was the first to be closed by the SRA on the grounds of a manager’s suspected dishonesty.
Lawyers must be prepared to give their clients advice rather than a range of options, the managing director of a fast-growing wealth management and legal services firm has said. The Progeny Group has doubled in size in the past year to 70 staff, including 15 lawyers, and aims to grow just as quickly this year.
Pioneering alternative business structure Triton Global has been acquired by national law firm DWF in a pre-pack administration deal that saves all 215 jobs. Triton is a multi-disciplinary insurance business combining legal advice, claims administration and loss adjusting that became one of the first ABSs to introduce employee ownership.
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.