Top-50 accountancy firm becomes ABS

Legal Advice Centre: ABS targets small businesses

Top-50 accountancy firm Barnes Roffe has become the latest to gain an alternative business structure licence, Legal Futures can reveal.

The firm has set up Barnes Roffe Legal with the two name partners of central London commercial and employment law practice Howat Avraam – Matthew Howatt and Niki Avraam.

They are not currently commenting on the plans for the ABS, and the Law Society lists the pair as directors of Barnes Roffe Legal – Mr Howat as head of legal practice and Ms Avraam of finance and administration – as well as partners at their own firm.

Barnes Roffe Legal’s address is given as the accountancy firm’s east London office in Leytonstone. It also has offices in London Bridge, Uxbridge in west London, and Dartford in Kent. In all, Barnes Roffe has 19 partners and over 100 employees.

Meanwhile, Nottingham Law School’s ABS and ‘teaching law firm’, the Legal Advice Centre, has launched a business and enterprise law service to provide affordable legal advice to small businesses, entrepreneurs and charities.

A number of free events will also be held throughout 2017 to help for-profit and not-for-profit businesses and enterprises better understand their legal rights and obligations.

Centre director Nick Johnson said: “The number of people in self-employment is growing, as is the number of small to medium sized businesses, and legal costs can take a significant amount out of what may only be a small budget.

“This new service offers affordable access to initial legal advice on a whole range of topics, while also giving our students valuable commercial skills and experience.”

Dean of Nottingham Law School, Professor Janine Griffiths-Baker, added: “The Legal Advice Centre has been involved in a number of commercial advice projects, including the publication of two books on intellectual property, and we’re keen to grow this side of our service.

“The acquisition of an ABS licence has allowed the centre to expand and while our main focus is still pro bono, we’re now able to offer additional services for a small charge – with any profit going back into the work of the Centre.”

Pioneering virtual family law practice Woolley and Co, which has 23 lawyers across England and Wales, has become an ABS in order to promote a long-standing manager to director level.

Michelle Webley, who has been the practice manager since 2007 and with the firm since 1995, is now the managing director.

Founder Andrew Woolley, the ABS’s head of legal practice and of finance and administration, praised Ms Webley’s “significant contribution” to the firm.

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