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Rural firm in Cumbria among latest ABSs

London-based Mishcon de Reya, a rural firm in the Lake District, and a firm that currently carries out no reserved legal work at all are among the latest businesses to obtain alternative business structure (ABS) licences from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Mishcon de Reya is one of the larger practices to date to be licensed. With 93 partners and legal directors, it has more than 300 fee-earners at its offices in London and New York, and has Microsoft, Prada, Peugeot and Pfizer among its clients.

The firm will become an alternative business structure on 10 April. It is reported to have applied for a licence from the SRA back in July last year so as to bring non-lawyers into the partnership. However, the firm declined to explain the thinking behind the ABS when contacted by Legal Futures.

Jarret Brown, a partner and property fraud expert, will be the firm’s head of legal practice. The firm’s website said other partners already turn to him for advice on professional conduct. Mayank Patel, an accountant and the firm’s finance director, will become the head of finance and administration.

Temple Heelis, a firm which describes itself as a “Cumbria specialist”, has also obtained an ABS licence. The firm has offices across in Kendal, Windermere and Ambleside.

Temple Heelis Financial Services, an independent financial adviser, is partly owned by the law firm. The financial services operation advises on pensions and inheritance tax, among other things.

When Temple Heelis DR Limited becomes an ABS on 1 April, Roger Broady, a consultant and the firm’s compliance manager, will become head of legal practice. Richard Moore, the firm’s senior partner, will be head of finance and administration.

Meanwhile, solicitor Helen Heselwood has obtained an ABS license for her Preston-based probate services firm, Heselwood & Grant Legal Assist Limited.

The firm’s website makes it clear that neither solicitors nor accountants are required to administer estates and the firm aims to help people do it themselves, while referring them to “highly reputable and skilled” solicitors if necessary.

Among the services on offer are valuation of property, preparing estate accounts, help with disposing of assets and dealing with liabilities, and advice on specialist insurance.

Paul Goward, partner and head of property at West End firm Joelson Wilson, has obtained an ABS license for Goward Property Law. The licence will go live on 18 March. Mr Goward will be HOLP and HOFA.

Meanwhile in Essex, Michaels & Co is already up and running as an alternative business structure, while Wykeham-Hurford Shepphard & Son – based in Battle, East Sussex, but with two offices in Kent and another one in Brighton – has operated as an ABS from the start of this month.

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