Strongly consider a ‘people-first acquisition solution’ if struggling to obtain PII

Dominic Weir

Dominic Weir, a Partner at HH Legal

By Legal Futures’ Associates HH Legal

Law firms struggling to secure a PII policy in the latest renewal round should consider all possible options – including a people-first acquisition solutionto protect employees and provide security for clients, according to fast-growth law firm HH Legal.

HH Legal is just one law firm that has grown overnight thanks to a considered, large-scale acquisition of a firm that struggled in the current climate. Dominic Weir, a Partner at HH Legal, bought Hepstonstalls in a pre-pack as cashflow problems at the firm were exacerbated by the pandemic.

Having saved 140 jobs through its acquisition of Heptonstalls in September, HH Legal knows too well the difficult decisions faced by firms as they look to pay mounting PII renewal fees: raise difficult-to-attract finance, eat into cash reserves or let service areas – and people – go.

Weir said: “When I acquired Heptonstalls, it was important we saved as many jobs as we could – especially in this, frankly, appalling year for job losses and cuts. It would have been easy for Heptonstalls to sell off individual chunks of the business and lose the goodwill of clients, talented employees and a good culture for the sake of a quick sale.

“I’ve not met one managing partner who doesn’t worry about their people – their future – and not want to protect them. We saved 140 jobs in the Heptonstalls acquisition, created a strong and positive culture in a short space of time and continue to grow. In fact, we’ve just launched a second national campaign to recruit paralegals and solicitors for our sustained pipeline of industrial disease work.”

While there might not be as many law firms struggling with the October 2020 PII renewal round as expected, there will be law firms that have failed to attract funding and will enter the 60-day cessation period at the end of November. Once that happens, law firms can’t take on new clients and are expected to prepare for an orderly wind-down.

“At this point, be realistic,” Weir advised, adding: “HH Legal is in a strong financial position to acquire more law firms, without breaking them up. In all honesty, our PII premium doubled. We just wrote a cheque but how many law firms can do that?”

Shane Hensman, also a partner at HH Legal, said: “We’re already in discussion with a number of law firms that are struggling to pay increasing premiums or haven’t secured PII as we look to support more firms and their people through acquisition. HH Legal has proved we can manage the acquisition process well; sustaining reputations as well as career opportunities for individuals.”

Weir added: “Good firms are struggling. It’s been a tough year and further reforms and the investment required to compete will make it even harder. It’s not a failure to protect your people and ensure your clients are looked after. An acquisition makes sense – but you need to find the right partner that values your people as much as you do.”

If you’d like to speak to HH Legal in confidence – whether you have secured a PII policy or not, please email Dominic Weir, HH Legal:


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