A groundbreaking fee-share practice is to pay retiring lawyers 10% of the fees generated from their former clients for the rest of their lives and then their families once they die.
Lindsay Healy, founder of Aria Grace Law, said that lawyers’ “heads go pop” when they heard the offer, which he thought was unprecedented in the market.
He explained that he had asked other law firms and models what they did when lawyers retired or became permanently incapacitated. “They said they would take over running of those clients. The partner would have left the firm and so don’t get anything. It seemed really unfair.
“The clients that they’ve brought into the firm are their assets – their hard work created them.”
Mr Healy said the offer “should be particularly attractive to lawyers who have a book of business and are thinking they’ve got eight or 10 years left and that they need to think about they future.
“You have that security of knowing that, if I’m billing £1m, I’ll get £100,000 for the rest of my life.”
Aria Grace lawyers who refer clients to others at the firm receive 12.5% of the fees generated and Mr Healy said the lower 10% figure for retired lawyers reflected that there was “some management” involved.
Aria Grace Law is not a regulated law firm but its lawyers are individually regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Late last year, it became what is thought to be the first corporate law firm to become a not-for-profit community interest company, ensuring it donates all profits to charity.
Aria Grace Law first pledged to give all of its profits to charity and other good causes in 2020, as part of a commitment to “share the wealth between clients, lawyers and society”.
Its partners retain 90% of their fees, significantly higher than other fee-share firms. All of the net profits go to charity after the overhead costs have been met. Last year, it donated more than £200,000 to its charities.
Aria Grace now has 40 partners and Mr Healy said that could double by the end of the year – but stressed he was not looking to build numbers for the sake of it.
“We want really good lawyers so the clients don’t want to leave. The value then goes pumping straight downstream into the charity pots.”
He joked: “That satisfies my image of being the Bob Geldof of corporate law.”
In news from other fee-share firms, listed property technology company Smoove has hailed the “promising” early signs of its consultant lawyer proposition, saying it suggested “latent demand among conveyancers for a way of working that is flexible, innovative, and customer-focused”.
Smoove Complete is a platform for self-employed consultant conveyancing lawyers that began operating last October from Amity Law, the law firm the group acquired in October 2021.
Its recent annual results said 11 consultants had joined by 31 March; last month, the two owners of North-West law Alexander Grace Law closed their firm and took several staff with them to work as consultants at Smoove Complete.
The annual results said: “Smoove Complete targets a large addressable market of conveyancers and benefits from several favourable industry trends. We see this as an exciting pillar of our offering with great potential for scale and have already seen strong early feedback from the ecosystem of CCLs, introducers and consumers.”
Nexa Law has formalised its ‘House of Brands’ offer to consultants to market their services under their own business or personal brand.
Chief executive Nigel Clark said: “We believe we are unique in the flexibility we give our consultants on how they can go to market which allows them to continue to use their own brand if they have built up a law firm of their own.
“Alternatively, we are happy to use the Nexa brand to market themselves to clients and prospective clients.”
Nexa currently has around 20 differentiated brands on its platform, including Sherlock Legal, run by Kirsty Limacher, specialising in private client work, Jacobs Legal, run by specialist dentist solicitor Jonathan Jacobs, and Boldr run by Dan Jenkins and Matt Dunne, which provides legal services for all entities moving in the tech space, with a particular focus on Web3, blockchain and cryptocurrency.
360 Business Law has merged its US and UK operations into a single global brand and appointed an initial 25 country or regional directors in their local jurisdictions. The firm has more than 400 lawyers in over 75 countries and 35 US states
Chief executive Robert Taylor said: “Many of our clients work with us across multiple countries and regions. They know and recognise the 360 Business Law brand and we wanted to enhance that relationship and make it a more streamlined experience when they work with our international lawyers.”
Directors have been appointed in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Romania, Serbia, Switzerland and several US states.