ABS puts well-known criminal law firm into liquidation


Howarth: High Court claim

Well-known criminal law firm Kaim Todner closed its doors yesterday after One Legal – the alternative business structure that owns it – was put into voluntary liquidation.

Some 80 staff at the two businesses – as well as north London firm Guney Clarke & Ryan, which One Legal also bought in 2016 – are set to lose their jobs.

Its London caseload has been passed to Nicholls & Nicholls, and its northern work to Manchester firm Garratts.

One Legal bought Kaim Todner in March 2016 shortly after it announced its intention to close. One Legal’s boss is Trevor Howarth, who first made waves as founder of now-defunct Stobart Barristers.

A key issue is an ongoing dispute between Mr Howarth and Kaim Todner founder Karen Todner. Mr Howarth has brought proceedings in the High Court alleging that Ms Todner failed to disclose significant liabilities when she sold the firm, a claim Ms Todner strongly rejects.

Mr Howarth told Legal Futures that such liabilities kept appearing and putting a strain on the firm’s cash flow. “I put a lot of personal finance into this business – the question was whether to put in more or focus on pursuing the claim… We couldn’t have done any more.”

He said he “felt very sorry for the staff”, but predicted that the many “excellent solicitors” who had trained with the firm in recent years would be able to find new positions.

Ms Todner said it was “not surprising” that the firm was facing financial difficulties given what she said were internal events at the firm in recent times.

Stressing that she denied that she failed to disclose debts, she added: “It is One Legal that has gone into liquidation, not Kaim Todner. Kaim Todner has not traded for over two years.”

Mr Howarth’s original aim was to challenge the standard criminal law firm model, centralising the back-office function and providing a bespoke IT and case management solution, and freeing up the lawyers to focus on their work.




    Readers Comments

  • ian jobling says:

    Borrowing £2,900,000 from Andrew Tinkler to buy out the original shareholders cannot have helped. I am not too sure how Howarth could ever pay that back. Not too sure why you would buy out the original shareholders if the firm had such large undisclosed debts.


Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Reports

Our latest special report, produced in association with Temple Legal Protection, looks at the role of after-the-event (ATE) insurance in commercial litigation post-LASPO. We are at a time when insurers, solicitors, clients and litigation funders work ever more closely to create funding packages that work for all of them, with conditional fee and even damages-based agreements now part of many law firms’ armoury.

Blog

16 January 2020

Making Tax Digital throws spotlight on outdated legal IT systems

The first year of Making Tax Digital for VAT, known as the soft landing period, ends this April. During these first 12 months, firms without a compliant legal accounts package have used bridging software.

Read More

Loading animation