Fast-growing fee-share law firm targets international expansion

Mezzle: Adil Taha (l) and Mel Kang (r)

A fast-growing fee-share law firm is eyeing up international expansion after establishing itself in the Middle East.

Mezzle, which says it is the only leading consultancy firm set up by a lawyer who has actually been a consultant himself, has boosted its ambitions by hiring, Adil Taha, the global head of operations at fellow consultancy firm gunnercooke.

Mezzle went live in September 2021 and has 46 lawyers on its books – 36 in the UK and 10 in the UAE.

It is the brainchild of former gunnercooke solicitor, Mel Kang, and Raj Sumal, formerly of Flint Bishop and DAC Beachcroft.

Mr Kang said they planned to develop the model “significantly” following Mr Taha’s appointment as commercial director.

“Opening in the Middle East last year showed us that there is significant appetite for the model elsewhere in the world.

“As in many areas of legal practice, UK lawyers are leading the world in developing consultancy firms and we have identified significant opportunities in other countries, including the US. Adil’s experience will be invaluable here too.”

Fee-share firms are increasingly looking overseas, with LOD and others to have expanded internationally.

Mr Taha, who has a private equity and investment banking background, played a key role in turning around London law firm Child & Child as its chief operating officer in 2019 before launching consultancy firm Kingsley Wood and then joining gunnercooke to help drive its international expansion, including into the US for the first time.

Mr Kang said the US was a market Mezzle has longer-term ambitions to enter.

He continued: “Mezzle has reached a significant moment, where we need to build on the initial excitement and growth and solidify our market position as offering something different to lawyers who want to work, or already are working, as consultants.

“It says a lot about what we have already achieved that Adil has left one of the biggest names in the market for a two-year-old start-up.”

Mr Kang has spent the last 13 years in consultant firms. “None of the leaders of other consultant firms have been consultant lawyers first,” he said. “I speak and breathe the language of a consultant lawyer.”

The solicitor acknowledged that fee-share firms could look similar from the outside but said what distinguished them is how they executed their strategy.

“Before Google, there was AOL, Ask.Jeeves and so on. Then Google came along, having learnt from these pioneers, and built something more efficient and executed it better. When it comes to consultancy law firms, Mezzle is what Google is to the tech search engine world.”

Consultant-based operations were still “too often seen as a road to retirement”, he added and said he wanted to change this perception.

Mezzle looks for lawyers who are in their 30s and 40s with at least 10 years’ post-qualification experience. They work on a proprietary platform, Mezzle Cloud, with paralegal support available. Consultants keep 70% of their fees up to £500,000 and 80% thereafter.

Mr Kang said the aim was to help consultants build their own brands: “Clients go to the individual, not the firm. We want to help the individual.”

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