New alliance aims to help independent law firms compete with big brands

Williams: allowing partners to remain being lawyers

A legal business support firm and a legal training provider are creating an alliance to help independent firms resist the influx of big brand new entrants.

The 360 Legal Group, which works with around 700 member law firms, has joined forces with Central Law Training (CLT), a leading provider of courses and conferences.

The alliance is aimed at providing firms with a turnover between £5m and £25m the ability to compete in an increasingly competitive legal market, said 360 Legal Group’s CEO Viv Williams.

Mr Williams said that both organisations had been aware for some time of a demand in the legal market for a body that allows partners to remain being lawyers and spend time with clients, by providing their firms with the infrastructure to operate their business efficiently.

CLT’s managing director, Rob Farquharson, said that although new entrants and large firms have advantage of size and opportunities for efficiency, the alliance will aim to redress the balance.

Part of its objectives will be to generate new business for members and have a group professional indemnity scheme.

Another part of the alliance’s offering will include free business and compliance consultancy and support as well as access to offshore and onshore centres for low-cost legal work, outsourced provision of non-core activities such as software applications, training, marketing support and temporary or locum resourcing.

360 Legal Group and CLT said they held preliminary discussions with national brands that would like to enter the legal market but had been disappointed by the “standard of service” and had yet to find a national brand that could guarantee the same standards from various local independent offices. “This is a space which the alliance will aim to fill.”

Louise Gash, of 360 Legal Group, added that the pair will now put together a steering group of interested law firms to work with them on what they want from the alliance.

She said: “This alliance is geared towards independent firms rather than big brands. 360 Legal Groups is about helping independent firms to be more successful so that they can remain independent.

“We’ve not yet seen a brand which you can put on to a law firm that shows it can help with the growth of a business any more than a strong independent law firm.”

CLT and 360 Legal Group are holding meetings in early September to explain more about what the alliance can offer law firms. To find out more, e-mail or call 01275 465 540.

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