News in brief: pre-pack saves law firm, Pannone’s white-label arm wins contract, and more

Pre-pack sale saves firm

More than 30 jobs have been saved after the assets and business of a long-established West Country law firm were sold by administrators.

Eastleys Solicitors – which has offices in Paignton and Brixham – will continue to trade after being sold to Paignton law firm Recompense Ltd. It means the jobs of 33 employees and two partners have been secured.

The firm of solicitors, which had a turnover of £1.2m in 2011, specialises in private client work as well as conveyancing, civil and commercial litigation, and family and children work.

Antony Fanshawe, a partner at business recovery firm Begbies Traynor’s Southampton office, which arranged the sale, said the immediate concern had been to secure the jobs of current staff. “Whilst the business had run into financial difficulties, we wanted to ensure we secured the jobs of staff and put arrangements in place to enable what is a long-standing practice to continue to undertake its work. A sale out of administration was the best solution for the business and for those working within the firm.”

Morton: delighted to win contract

Pannone’s white-label arm wins Aria contract

Aria Assistance, the newly launched, independent firm that has evolved from the management buy-out of the UK and Ireland arm of Europ Assistance, has appointed Manchester firm Pannone’s Affinity Solutions, to provide legal advice and services support.

Aria said legal services form “a key part of many of the innovative assistance-based services, insured and uninsured”, that it is bringing to market.

Affinity Solutions is Pannone’s white-label and commoditised services arm and won the Aria Assistance business in a competitive five-way tender. “Affinity Solutions demonstrated legal skills, experience and services that are complementary to our core product set,” said Peter Dingle, Aria Assistance’s commercial director. These include expertise in international markets.

Affinity Solutions will provide Aria Assistance with legal expenses work, public liability defence, recoveries and a legal helpline.

Pannone partner Andrew Morton, head of Affinity Solutions, said: “We are delighted to be working with Aria Assistance, which is rapidly consolidating its promise to innovate and lead in the travel insurance and assistance market.”

Consultancy merger

Law firm management consultants Cambridge Strategy Group and Venturis Partners have merged, forming a new firm under the name Venturis Consulting Group.

The new firm brings together nine consultants based in London and Amsterdam who have worked as external consultants or in senior management positions for major law firms. It said plans are well advanced to add further consultants in the coming months in the US and Asia, possibly through a combination with another consulting firm.

Venturis Consulting Group will provide integrated advice ranging from strategic planning and practice development to organisational design and implementation.

Founding partner Rob Millard, formerly senior strategy manager at Linklaters, said: “This is a market-driven merger. We took a sounding from managing partners and directors of top firms and then looked for the best teams to deliver against their requirements for analysis-based insight and operational excellence.”

The other founding partners are Tim Hanson, formerly IT strategist at Linklaters; Eric Staal, formerly business development director at Clifford Chance; Gerard Tanja, formerly of Clifford Chance and McKinsey & Co; David Temporal, a well-known adviser to law firms for over 20 years; and Simon Thompson, the former global chief operations officer of Linklaters.

Gateley partners with insurer

National law firm Gateley has teamed up with global insurer ACE Group to create a legal advice service for businesses and senior individuals.

The new service will provide individual and business ACE customers, who currently have a directors and officers (D&O) or employment practice liability policy, with access to a free legal helpline. It will offer guidance on all employment law issues, as well as the legal aspects and considerations surrounding D&O regulation, both before and during a claim.

Simon Milton, UK and Ireland D&O manager for ACE, said: “By providing concise and practical guidance on day-to-day legal issues, our helpline offers clients proactive support in advance of any claim. The service is designed to help our clients better mitigate disputes and manage the often significant expense of defending claims. Uniquely, all advice given is non-obligatory, so it is up to the client whether or not they choose to implement it.”

Small firm insurance focus

JLT Specialty Limited has launched a two-to-three-partner professional indemnity insurance service through an exclusive new arrangement with Aviva.

JLT partner Mike Perry said: “After considerable research we have decided to initially focus on sole practitioners and smaller firms as research indicates these practices are likely to find the renewal process more difficult and are most likely to benefit from the efficiency, fairness and quality we will be introducing.” JLT will accept any proposal form.

SRA issues e-mail warning

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has issued a warning that the e-mail address and mobile telephone number 07924 551313 are not legitimate contact details for solicitors practice Acer Solicitors.

The SRA said that a number of individuals have been sent e-mails purportedly from Matthew Shiels of Acer Solicitors from that address relating to obtaining the benefit of an abandoned investment.

Acer Solicitors is a genuine firm and Matthew Shiels a solicitor and recognised sole practitioner of Acer Solicitors. The office is located at Warwick Corner, 42 Warwick Road, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 1HE. The firm’s legitimate telephone number is 01926 866644 and the legitimate e-mail address is

Any business or transactions through the e-mail address of, or via the telephone number 07924 551313 are not undertaken by a solicitor’s practice or an individual authorised or regulated by the SRA.

The telephone number and e-mail server address were also used in a similar scam involving London firm Guy Clapham on 12 July, according to the SRA.



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