Newest ABS urges small firms to consider succession planning benefits


Grunwell: we needed to put succession in place

Small firms should consider the benefits of alternative business structure (ABS) status as a way to handle succession planning, the senior partner of one of the latest licensees has said.

Richard Grunwell, one of two equity partners at Yorkshire-based Pinkney Grunwells, said the conversion process began in September last year to enable a new-look management structure in the future.

Hailing the “flexibility” of ABS, he predicted that many small firms will have to address the the succession issue or face “closing the doors” during the challenging times in the legal sector.

Mr Grunwell said: “This is about extending our own partnership to people who work here, with a view to succession planning. We are at a point where we’ve got quite a few women in the profession and not all of them want to be equity members of the firm.

“Therefore we’ve decided that as the equity partners get older, we didn’t want to find ourselves in the position of needing to find a successor in double quick time. So ABS means we can end our practising certificates and still own the firm.”

Mr Grunwell said the next generation of lawyers within the 50-employee firm could buy into the equity as normal if they preferred. But converting to an ABS meant he could “sit at home as a shareholder” while the firm is run without his direct involvement.

He added: “Around the country a lot of smaller firms in accountancy, law and other professions are finding themselves tied in without a buyer. It will be a matter of closing the doors or carrying on with no succession in place.

“We’ve taken the view that we needed to put succession in place and acted early to address it. It seems a logical move.”

The firm has 10 partners and four offices in Yorkshire, covering private client work, children, property, and civil litigation.

It boasts clients in the niche ‘potash’ mining sector and is currently acting for landowners interests in relation to plans to sink a mine between Whitby and Scarborough, having acted for mining companies in the past.

Mr Grunwell ruled out the possibility of external ownership or acquiring other businesses to add to the mining and agricultural capabilities.

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.

Reports

No larger firm can ignore the demands of innovation – that was the clear message from our most recent roundtable: “The law firm of the future”, sponsored by LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions. It comes in many forms, predominantly but not just technology, and is not simply a case of automating process. Expertise and process are not mutually exclusive.

Blog

9 November 2018

Seeing the ability in disability

There is much readily available research about the tremendous value that having a diverse workforce brings to the legal profession. This includes drawing from a wider pool of talent and avoiding ‘groupthink’.

Read More