‘Alternative’ law firm Halebury, a specialist business and sport law firm, has announced plans to formalise that tag and become an alternative business structure (ABS) after substantially bulking up its team.
The firm, a practice with headquarters in London but its freelance lawyers working from home or clients’ offices, wants to use the ABS structure to bring non-lawyers into management and attract external investment.
The plan is to use the money to double in size in the next 12 to 18 months; Halebury now has 15 fee-earners after hiring employment lawyer llana Swimer from Herbert Smith and two telecoms and media specialists – Caroline Ford from ICT service provider Damovo UK, and Marissa Jones, previously at Honda Motor Europe. It has also brought in Helen Burness from Hardwicke Chambers as business development manager.
Co-founder Denise Nurse, who is also known as a TV presenter, said the firm had expanded in line with its business plan since launching in 2007 and that now was the time to step up growth. New clients include Ericsson, Nike and the Bangladesh Cricket Council, while it also counts sports personalities Ben Ainslie and Rory McIlroy as clients.
External investment would take the form of either a joint venture with a company that has a complementary business or pure funding – Ms Nurse said talks she has held so far showed that the fact Halebury does not have a traditional law firm structure makes it more attractive to outside investors. “There’s not so much to unravel,” she explained.
While being able to place non-lawyers in the management structure of the business would take their involvement “to a whole new level”, Ms Nurse hinted that the finance, brand, IT and people management functions could become client facing as well.
Co-founder Janvi Patel added: “These latest appointments will be the first in a series of new joiners to Halebury over the next year. We spend time in getting our recruitment right and demand great experience coupled with real entrepreneurship.
“Clients receive a combination of hands-on commercial and legal advice from senior lawyers at a competitive rate; solicitors enjoy working with great clients on the front line, with full autonomy and complete flexibility to run their practice.”