A new platform law firm has opened its doors to barristers, chartered legal executives and paralegals as well as solicitors, and is eyeing up external investment and other professional services.
Wildcat Law is an alternative business structure (ABS) set up by barrister Tahina Akther and chartered wealth manager David Robinson, formerly capability director at the bank Coutts.
Its aim is to offer a private office service for high-net-worth clients and what Ms Akther called “the mass affluent market”, along with contested probate, family, commercial and property law services.
It is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority rather than the Bar Standards Board, as this allows the firm to hold client money, and is awaiting authorisation by the Financial Conduct Authority so it can provide financial services advice too.
Wildcat Law currently has five solicitors, three barristers and two paralegals, with two more solicitors set to join imminently, all working remotely. They range from having 30 years’ experience to three.
While other platform law firms focus on recruiting senior solicitors with client followings, Wildcat Law said it would also take on more junior lawyers of all stripes and offers them supervision, mentoring and the business development training they need to attract clients – as well as supporting them towards qualifications.
Ms Akther, who practises from College Chambers in Southampton, is a Bar Council social mobility advocate and sits on the Western Circuit’s diversity committee.
She said: “Offering opportunities to talented lawyers, regardless of their qualification or level of experience, is a core founding principle of Wildcat Law. Too often, good people are overlooked in the legal profession.”
Depending on their area of law and level of experience, lawyers keep between 50% and 80% of their fees – typically it is 70%.
She said the model allowed Wildcat Law to offer an end-to-end service, including advocacy; for barristers, they could set the strategy and manage a case while using other members of the network to handle the day-to-day work at a more cost-effective rate.
They can at the same time remain in chambers for referral work, as Ms Akther is doing.
Ms Akther continued: “Platform law firms give lawyers control of their working lives. We want all lawyers to benefit from this for the benefit of clients. It is tradition that keeps the barriers up in the legal profession and we believe that innovation can bring them down.
“Wildcat Law offers lawyers the infrastructure they need to deliver the best legal advice to their clients – and we already know from the short time we have been operating that clients are responding enthusiastically.”
Under Mr Robinson’s direction, the goal is to build a similar network of independent financial advisers and look to do the same for accountants in the future.
He said: “We have serious growth ambitions that are limited solely by how quickly we can build the support for our lawyers – we believe the model is highly scalable and are talking to private equity about how they could help us expand.”
Ms Akther and Mr Robinson are married and the firm’s name was suggested by their son, as wildcats have a reputation for being small and ferocious.