One of the law firms that led the way in diversifying a personal injury practice into one handling a wide range of consumer claims has filed a notice to appoint administrators.
SSB Group, based in Sheffield and employing more than 150 staff, has suffered “ongoing financial challenges” and been marketed for sale. It has now lined up business advisory firm FRP to act as administrator.
Founded in 2007 as Simpson Sissons & Brooke, it has long sought to innovate – chief executive Jeremy Brooke told Legal Futures in 2016 that “the traditional law firm approach has a limited future”.
It created SSB Group in 2018, home to the law firm, SSB Law, as well as SSB Funding, SSB Insurance, SSB Financial and SSB Compliance. It employs over 150 staff.
The firm deals with business energy, cavity wall insulation, data breach, financial mis-selling, Japanese knotweed, medical negligence, mortgage mis-selling, pension mis-selling, personal injury, professional negligence, Plevin, timeshare mis-selling and unauthorised collective investment scheme claims.
SSB has specialised in taking on cases previously rejected by other law firms, saying it accepts 15% of such cases it sees and wins over 85% of them.
It has also taken on cases from other collapsed law firms, such as HH Law and Pure Legal.
Abbreviated accounts for the year to 30 April 2022 show that both creditors and debtors had soared from around £2.5m to £48m, and the firm took on £30m in loans during the year. Trade creditors were owed more than £15m, having been a negligible figure 12 months earlier.
According to Companies House, SSB Law satisfied a charge with VFS Legal – itself in administration – in August and has since registered new fixed and floating charges with Katch Fund Solutions.
In a statement confirming that SSB Law has submitted a notice of intention to appoint administrators, it said: “The business has suffered ongoing financial challenges and has been marketed for sale in order to secure fresh investment…
“Directors of the company are currently working with the proposed administrators to facilitate an acceptable outcome for clients and the company is in contact with the Solicitors Regulation Authority to ensure all standards and regulations are met.
“All clients will be contacted in due course and are not required to take any further action.”
Speaking at PI Futures last year in a session on diversifying beyond PI, Mr Brooke explained: “I admire people who make the law, but that is not my model. First we find something to copy, then we return to base and build something to deal with it.
“I’m a fan of Duncan Bannatyne. I look for an existing market, get into that market and try and do it better than other people.”
SSB was recently shortlisted for legal company of the year in the unLtd Business Awards for South Yorkshire.