ABS unveils acquisition strategy

LawStore: bid to build network

Alternative business structure MTA Solicitors is bidding to grow its national network by acquiring firms with “good lawyers and good client bases” and attaching them to its centralised support and resource infrastructure.

It comes as another acquisitive practice, Birmingham-based DBS Law, has cut its staff’s working week by two and a half hours as a reward for the firm’s performance.

MTA said it plans to use its extensive in-house resources – including its multiple ancillary non-legal businesses – to support and develop small and medium-sized firms from an operational, financial and strategic perspective, while encouraging them to retain their brand and client relationships.

The MTA model sees put new management and business structures in place for acquired firms before introducing new business via its national marketing network “to give these firms a new injection of life”. MTA has been busy building its LawStore brand, which started initially as a shop in a Bromley shopping centre.

Managing partner David Green said: “With the recent seismic shift in the way the law is regulated and the ways in which consumers can access legal services, some firms are being left behind and, as we are seeing already, are dying off completely without help. This is a massive waste, in my eyes, of what are good lawyers with good client bases.

“As a now established ABS, we would like to work with these firms, to give them the central support and resources that they need to develop their business. At MTA we have the IT, HR, financial and marketing resources to offer these firms and in turn we are then expanding our geographical reach, which will help us develop some of our other brands, such as LawStore, our high street and online service.”

MTA – which currently has offices in London, Kent, Manchester and Cambridge – has been busy diversifying away from its core personal injury business. It recently acquired volume property practice Solex Legal Services; relaunched its online debt recovery and credit control business, Positive Collections; launched Legal Advance, a paid-for upfront legal membership club; and unveiled plans to develop its LawStore brand into a national network.

DBS Law recorded a turnover of £5.4m for 2012-13, an increase of £250,000 on the year before. The firm has been pursuing an aggressive growth strategy since 2008 under the leadership of CEO Rob Bhol and income has grown by 170% in that time.

DBS Law is actively seeking to acquire law firms around the country “to broaden its service base”; it recently bought Birmingham firm Hearne & Co and Andersons in Nottingham and Leicester.

Earlier this year DBS Law also became the first and only law firm to be awarded the customer service excellence standard by the Cabinet Office.

Mr Bohl said: “Our growth strategy relies heavily on the hard work of our staff and their willingness to be flexible. During the last five years we have asked them to take on new skills, adapt to the application of new technology, and to focus relentlessly on improving customer service.

“All our staff diligently applied themselves to improving productivity and this has paid great dividends for the business and for our customers. So we have decided to reward them with a shorter working week without any loss of pay to improve the quality of their lives.  Needless to say, It’s been received well by all the staff and I’m sure it will lead to even greater success for us in the future.”

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