Hudgell Solicitors say a management restructure will ensure the firm responds positively to changes within the claims industry – ensuring it is a ‘beneficiary and not a victim’ of new regulations.
It has seen highly-experienced lawyer Amanda Stevens appointed as chief executive, in a role which will see her shape the growth of the business alongside founder and managing director Neil Hudgell.
A new business strategy, backed by the senior management team at the business, has been communicated to staff in London, Leeds and Hull this week.
Mrs Stevens, who has a background in leading business strategy from her days as an NHS manager and as a partner at Charles Russell and Irwin Mitchell before joining Hudgell Solicitors in January 2016, says it is all about the business building on its recent rapid growth, and grasping the opportunities presented by change.
“There has been a lot of talk about uncertainty in the claims sector, but what Hudgell Solicitors have been traditionally very strong at, and will be so in the future, is identifying times of change as opportunities,” she said.
“When you come to a crossroads, you need to have planned your path and know where you are heading, and why. That is what this is all about. It is about ensuring our firm is a beneficiary of the changes, not a victim.
“I joined Hudgell Solicitors because it was a firm which was always progressing and looking forward and innovating. It is prepared to change things and lead, and that for me is very exciting for me to lead as we put our plans into place.”
The restructure at the top of a business which, for the most part of its 20-year history has been influenced by Mr Hudgell himself, comes on the back of months of planning of the senior management team.
It also follows Mr Hudgell choosing to take a three-month sabbatical from the business in 2016, allowing him time to focus on the firm’s future direction at a time of impending change across the industry.
“Hudgell Solicitors is very much a different law firm today to the one it was five years ago, and very different to what it was two years ago even,” added Mrs Stevens.
“It is a firm which started as a local business which has grown into a top 150 law firm in the UK, a firm which is recognised as a specialist leader in its field nationally. With that comes a need for change in the business strategy and direction to reflect that.
“That has been a major focus of the senior management team for many months now, and we have agreed a strategy and direction for the business which is very exciting and we all believe will take us to the next level.”
It is not the first time in recent years that the firm has reviewed its practices and direction in order to make the most of law changes which put a squeeze on the claims industry.
Whilst others sold off their personal injury cases and focus on other areas of law in the wake of the Jackson reforms in 2013, Hudgell Solicitors viewed it as an opportunity, launching an aggressive acquisition strategy through the launch of www.webuyanyfiles.co.uk
It saw the firm take on caseloads from lawyers, insolvency practitioners, accountants and other professionals, with more than 6,000 files acquired at a cash consideration of around £5m.
Once again, with significant change ahead, acquisition is part of the planned strategy as Hudgell Solicitors looks to further strengthen its position.
Mr Hudgell says Mrs Stevens will now head-up various new projects as part of the firm’s new strategy, including developing its management information tools, and undertaking a full analysis of the customer journey.
She will also oversee the costs, ‘mentoring and talent identification’ within the business, and lead the development of the firm’s rehabilitation services – an area of work in which she has played a key national role by twice overseeing revisions and updates to the Rehabilitation Code in 2007 and most recently 2015.
Last year, Mrs Stevens received national recognition when being awarded the ‘Outstanding Individual Achievement’ prize at the Rehabilitation First Awards in London.
Mr Hudgell says he will be working with individual members of the firm’s senior management team in ensuring the smooth running of their departments going forward, as he has returned full-time to the business.
“Ours is an industry never short of change, and it’s rarely change that is seen at first glance as for the better. However, experience tells me that out of challenge comes opportunity, webuyanyfiles.com being one such example of that,” he said.
“Consistently we are having to do more for less, and without compromise to the quality of service we offer to our clients.
“We are lucky to have an excellent staff, with forward-thinking ideas to bring to the table. That enables us to stay agile and adapt our business model to changing needs.
“The next stage of development for us is in terms of efficiency savings and automation, enabling us to service more clients and continue delivering a first class service in our three locations, so that we can maintain our national position in the areas of work in which we specialise.
“I for one am very excited by the innovations and changes we are implementing and I know our team will do as they have always done before and work to further strengthen the business and help it maintain and grow our market position in times of change.”