Jacoby & Meyers lays out twin-track approach to UK expansion


Miller: brands are the future

American consumer law firm Jacoby & Meyers (J&M), which last year laid out ambitious plans for the UK, will take a twin-track approach to expansion, with both branded offices and affiliations with existing practices, its newly appointed chief executive has revealed.

However, Gabe Miller told Legal Futures that J&M – which is working with London law firm MJ Hudson to develop the business – has yet to find the right opportunity to launch in the UK.

Last autumn, J&M also launched a major growth plan to spread across the US, with a new model that allows lawyers interested in working with the firm the chance to choose their own level of participation, while having J&M’s marketing, technological and administrative support.

They can own and operate a local/regional J&M office, become a branded affiliate – akin to an American Express travel agency, where the agency retains its own brand, Mr Miller explained – or become a “referral sponsor”, pooling referrals across the network.

He said J&M has been “overrun with interest” and indicated that a similar approach will be used in the UK as it starts its global roll-out – J&M said last year that it is positioning itself to become the world’s largest privately-owned, full-service consumer legal group. “We’re not saying ‘Give you your practice or brand – the real value is to be both what you are currently and [part of] Jacoby & Meyers.”

Emphasising the importance of brand – “brands are going to drive the market place for consumer law” – Mr Miller explained how wealth management providers in America decided to join a franchise run by Merrill Lynch. “They realised they had to join ’em rather than fight ’em; clients like that their adviser has Merrill Lynch behind them.”

He said J&M was more interested in finding partners in the UK who would buy into the firm’s philosophy, rather than who just wanted to be bought. It is possible J&M will look for an acquisition, but he indicated that it was not his preferred route: “We’d be competing with everyone else who’s consolidating. If I’m simply another buyer, the only reason to do a deal with Jacoby & Meyers is if I pay more.”

While J&M has brought litigation in the US to remove the blocks on non-lawyer ownership of law firms, he said “we’re not waiting around to be successful [with that]”.

“We’re building a structure that would allow for outside investment right now,” Mr Miller said. “It’s possible to do it in the US – it’s not easy, but there are ways that are ethical and defensible.” However – with interest from UK funds in backing legal ventures – he acknowledged that setting up in the UK would potentially enable the firm to funnel external investment back to the US practice. But this would just be a side effect: “We interested in the UK for the UK market.”

Andrew Finkelstein, one of J&M’s national managing partners, said: “It is great progress to have Gabe leading Jacoby & Meyers at such an important time, as the firm seeks to expand its services, not just in the United States, but also around the world.”

Tags:




Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog


A new route to practice rights for chartered legal executives

Following approval from the Legal Services Board in May 2022, CILEx Regulation has launched an alternative route for chartered legal executives to obtain independent practice rights.


NFTs, the courts and the role of injunctions

In May, news broke that a non-fungible token was the subject of a successful injunction made by the Singapore High Court. The NFT in question is part of the very valuable Bored Ape Yacht Club series.


Matthew Pascall

Low-value commercial cases – an achievable challenge for ATE insurers

There are many good claims brought for damages that are likely to be significantly less than twice the cost of bringing the claim. These cases present a real challenge for insurers.


Loading animation