The first alternative business structure (ABS) to market itself as a firm offering both legal and accountancy services has been licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Direct Law & Finance Ltd is a firm of solicitors and accountants based in Brentford, west London. It launched in May 2012 but was not an authorised law firm up to this point.
Though there have been two firms of accountants which have become ABSs to add legal services to their offerings – Price Bailey and Brookson – Direct Law & Finance is the first firm to put law and accountancy side by side.
The firm, which did not respond to questions from Legal Futures, offers town and country planning, general litigation and swearing documents in the legal sector. Accountancy services include bookkeeping, management information, VAT, payroll and business plans. The firm’s masthead says it also offers consultancy services.
Felix Joseph, who has held legal positions with a number of local councils, is the head of legal practice, and Joanne Joseph head of finance and administration. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
In the ‘about us’ section of its website, Direct Law describes itself as a “dynamic company of solicitors and accountants”.
It says: “Our vast experience has been gained by advising in a range of disciplines from private individuals to multinational organisations, private companies, MPs, committee groups, central and local government departments, churches, charities and organisations, youth groups and sports clubs.”
There are now 171 ABSs licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and a further 38 by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.