ABS start-up led by CILEx Fellow bids for rapid growth

Wallis: flexibility of ABS attractive

A chartered legal executive has launched a start-up alternative business structure (ABS) specialising in personal injury but with ambitious plans for expansion into a variety of legal areas, including sports law.

Glenn Wallis, a CILEx Fellow, was granted a licence for Preston-based ABS Lawyers Limited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority last month, effective from 1 April.

Mr Wallis, the legal director, is both head of legal practice and head of finance and administration – only the third ABS to have a chartered legal executive in the roles.

The firm will focus on PI/road traffic accident (RTA) work in year one, and expand into commercial litigation, residential conveyancing, sports law, and debt recovery/insolvency work from year two.

Mr Wallis said he hoped to employ some half a dozen lawyers and “at least” a dozen staff within three years.

The firm aimed to be partially ‘virtual’, with some staff working from home “to keep down overheads” but would also maintain a physical presence through its Preston office. The plan was to create what he called a “virtual business environment” through use of the cloud and software-as-a-service – cloud-based applications as opposed to software installed on a firm’s computers.

The firm has three directors, including barrister-turned-solicitor Barry Simpson, who is a shareholder in ABS Lawyers. Mr Simpson counts among his specialisms RTA claims, credit hire, and sports law.

Mr Wallis has been a legal executive specialising in personal injury, contract disputes, debt recovery, and landlord and tenant disputes at Preston solicitors’ firm the Ellen Court Partnership since 1998. He qualified as a Fellow in 2008.

He told Legal Futures that the flexibility offered by the ABS structure was attractive given the “constant change in the legal landscape” and reforms-based volatility in the PI sector.

“ABS offers more flexibility in many respects than a traditional law firm. It’s something different…

“It’s going to be very difficult for solicitors in traditional firms to survive if the reforms are implemented in the way that the government wants,” he said.

The firm was “open” both to external investment and to linking up with non-lawyer professionals such as accountants, said Mr Wallis.

But he predicted that this year’s PI/RTA caseload “should give us sufficient financial ability to rapidly progress”.

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.


BSB entities offer positive future for the Bar
3 August 2020

The chambers of the 17,000 or so practising barristers in England and Wales face, arguably, their greatest time of challenge and controversy since advocates first took up arms in the early 13th century.

My lockdown legacy – what will yours be?
30 July 2020

As we go back to work, we will not – and should not – forget the lessons we learnt during lockdown. I really hope that we drive change as a result and create a positive legacy for our industry.

Loading animation