National firm to use ABS licence to target non-legal acquisitions


Jones: acquisitive business

National law firm Simpson Millar is eyeing up the acquisition of non-legal businesses as part of its expansion plans now it has secured an alternative business structure (ABS) licence, it has revealed.

The Leeds-headquartered firm, which has 10 other offices across England and Wales, said it expects to expand this network further, having grown both organically and via acquisition during recent years.

Simpson Millar has 31 partners and nearly 200 staff, and offers a wide range of personal legal services, with a particular focus on personal injury. In just the last few days it has launched a groundbreaking insurance-backed pre-paid legal subscription service.

Operations director Craig Jones said ABS status presents a range of opportunities: “Simpson Millar has for some years now been an acquisitive business. As an ABS, we will now be able to explore the opportunity to integrate other business types if and when it serves the demands of clients and in line with the strategic direction of the partnership.”

Managing partner Peter Watson added: “Rewarding the people who make Simpson Millar such an excellent place to work has always been important to me. As an ABS, we will have greater flexibility on how we retain, promote, incentivise and reward people. ”

Further, he said, the licence provides options for working with institutional introducers of work, particularly trade unions, “in a modern, creative and compliant fashion”.

Other firms that work with unions, such as Thompsons and EAD Solicitors, have already become ABSs as they all look at ways to work with their clients in a post-referral fee world.

Mr Jones said: “Application for ABS status was a logical step for Simpson Millar. This firm has historically been at the forefront of developments in the legal services arena; ours was the first firm to obtain Lexcel accreditation from the Law Society in 2000 and, more recently, the first to obtain the Diversity in Business accreditation. The ABS application was a demanding and meticulous process.”

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    Readers Comments

  • Jonathan Jones says:

    Interesting that they think they will retain Trade Union clients by setting up what is effectively a rival to Trade Unions – a subscription legal service…


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