S&G eyes sale of property, group actions and financial planning arms

Slater & Gordon: Two main departments

Slater & Gordon (S&G) may sell off its conveyancing, collective actions and financial planning departments as it undergoes a major structural and management reorganisation.

The national law firm – which is never far away from a headline about its internal goings-on – is reorganising the business around two main departments: essential and specialist legal services.

Essential legal services, led by Jenni Baldwin, is made up of the more high-volume, transactional services: fast-track road traffic and employer/public liability claims, Jigsaw Law – the personal injury law firm it bought in 2020 – and S&G’s Scottish operation.

Specialist legal services, headed by Madelene Holdsworth, covers multi-track road traffic and employer/public liability claims, clinical negligence, industrial disease, abuse and public inquiries, military, travel, Compass Costs, Court of Protection, family, employment, and will, tax, trusts and probate.

In a statement, S&G said it was making these changes “to take advantage of our market-leading position in specialist legal services and increased market share in volume personal injury.

As a result, it was “reviewing a number of options” for the future of the collective actions and residential conveyancing practices, as well as its financial planning arm Adroit, “including a possible sale of those parts of the business”.

“We are supporting these teams closely through this process,” S&G said.

The possible move away from collective actions comes despite the firm saying it was the recent successful settlement of the Volkswagen emissions case on behalf of over 71,000 claimants that had “enabled us to invest and refocus our business so that we take full advantage of the opportunities to consolidate in a market that has changed significantly over the past few years”.

Several senior managers are also leaving. David Whitmore will be retiring as chief executive, while continuing in a non-executive, advisory role, while chief people officer Raminder Grewal, chief marketing officer Dane Stanley, and chief commercial & insurance services officer Matt Jarvis will be leaving the business.

Nils Stoesser, currently chief financial and operating officer, will become chief executive. Formerly its chairman, he joined S&G operationally in 2019 from Anchorage Capital, the hedge fund that has owned the firm since 2017.

Several offices have been closed under Anchorage’s ownership and staff numbers have also fallen.

In its most recent annual results, for 2020, S&G saw group revenue fall by £35m to £158m, and EBITDA drop from £16m to £10m, which it blamed on Covid-19 and decisions to exit non-core business areas, including the group’s medical reporting and rehabilitation business.

Lizzy Comley, formerly chief legal, data & compliance officer, has been promoted to chief operating officer.

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