An award-winning Brighton business law firm is to license out its brand and back-office support to solicitors who want to set up their own practices.
The brainchild of Penina Shepherd, the founder of Acumen Business Law, the aim is to have at least 10 licensees in the south-east at the end of the first year ahead of a national roll-out.
The “Acumen Business Law Enterprise” is similar in concept to the business hub franchise  announced recently by Everyman Legal.
Ms Shepherd said that those interested in joining the firm had to sign up to its entrepreneurial ethos, which includes fixed fees for all non-contentious work.
Solicitors will be expected to have a proper office under the Acumen name – rather than work from home – and Ms Shepherd said s
he had negotiated a 30% discount from a national serviced offices company.
There is an initial set-up fee and solicitors will then pay a percentage of monthly turnover to Acumen. Support includes business development, marketing, structure, systems and processes, and compliance.
She said: “The Acumen Business Law Enterprise is all about sharing the firm’s proven and successful business model to give other entrepreneurial lawyers the opportunity and the freedom to drive their careers forward in a way that has not been possible until now.”
Ms Shepherd argued that the legal profession had been left behind by the way business has developed in recent times, and so she welcomed the introduction of alternative business structures.
“It is a brilliant step towards the opening up of the legal market to the rest of the business world. The world we live in is all about sharing; sharing contacts, networks and information and at last the legal industry can participate too.”
The solicitor launched Acumen in 2007 and it now has 15 lawyers working from two offices in Sussex. Among its innovative offering is an outsourced “legal director” service, which for £395 a month gives companies 35 hours of advice a year and discounts on any further assistance.