A personal injury practice with offices in the north-west and midlands has become an alternative business structure (ABS) so that a top businessman can take a stake in the firm.
Adrian Fawcett, currently chairman of Silentnight Group – the UK’s market leading manufacturer of beds and mattresses – and caravan park operator Park Holidays, has been non-executive chairman of Smith Jones Solicitors since late last year.
He has also been CEO of General Healthcare Group, the UK’s biggest private healthcare provider, chief operating office of Punch Taverns plc and also sat on the board of the Department of Work & Pensions.
Mr Fawcett said: “We are delighted to have received confirmation of our ABS licence, which will now allow the business to develop more flexibly, with new customers and with productive business partnerships as we deploy our industry leading outcomes to the benefit of clients.
“Looking forward we see tremendous market evolvement as our service lines get recognised more positively for correcting and recovering costs that the impact of undesirable fault of third parties have caused to occur.”
Peter Jones, managing partner of the firm, which has offices in Burnley and Kenilworth, said: “We saw ABS as an opportunity to up the pace and broaden the base of the business. It meant that we could introduce people with a wider business experience and much wider business contacts in terms of finance as well as businesses with a wider access base to our sector.
“At the same time, Adrian was looking to explore opportunities in the legal sector because he was aware of the massive changes that were occurring and regulatory change provides opportunities. He looked at us and we looked at him and we decided that the fit was ideal.”
He said ABS status also gives the firm access to a wider capital base and the possibilities for further external investment.
In the meantime, Mr Fawcett’s involvement will enable the firm to find different routes to market.
“We have a policy of not seeking to discuss the detail until it has progressed, but very simply we have a number of very exciting projects underway and we see tremendous potential for growth through combining our expertise across a wide range of areas of personal injury work with market opportunities,” Mr Jones said.
“We are not simply an ‘RTA bucket shop’. We have expertise in a broad range of personal injury work. Our model has also been based on using grown-up lawyers rather than ‘kids on keyboards’ and this has helped us develop success rates which we believe are well above the industry average.”
Mr Jones added that the firm has also recently made a substantial investment in IT with the acquisition of the Proclaim case management system from Eclipse.
Meanwhile, Liverpool personal injury firm Camps has registered its fourth ABS – Accidentally Injured Legal Services – a joint venture with claims management company Accidentally Injured, after three other joint ventures were licensed last month.
A statement from the firm said: “This will allow us to develop further our relationship with this selected marketing partner. This is a positive strategic step, which forms an important part of 2020 Legal Limited’s evolution as a multi-branded legal services group.”
2020 Legal is the group holding company, which also last week launched public facing brand Your Legal Friend.