The backdrop to the workshop is the significant changes affecting the legal profession brought in by recent legislation intended to deregulate the legal market, allow entry to new models of legal advisers and reduce the cost of legal aid on the public purse. This has foreshadowed a number of high profile insolvencies of law firms over the last two years. The failures are accelerating with the difficulties many law firms have experienced in obtaining professional indemnity cover by a 30 September deadline, without which law firms cannot practice.
The workshop provided a perspective into what is happening in the profession, using experts with an inside track. We gave guidance on how best to address a failing firm and, more positively, how more astute practitioners are changing their game to take advantage of the new horizon.
The recurring themes were that all law firms are affected by the new environment. Staying the same is not an option. Early engagement with financial stakeholders and regulators is key.
The event was chaired by Portland director, James Tickell, who is leading the firm’s services in this area, who introduced expert speakers Nick Oliver from Verisona Law and Viv Williams from 360 Legal Group.
Nick Oliver – See here for bio and contact details
Nick is a well-known and highly regarded insolvency litigation director with major South Coast law firm Verisona Law. He acts for insolvency practitioners, lenders and others in relation to insolvency situations including those affecting law firms. He has been engaged only this week by the liquidators of a high profile law firm which has just been placed into liquidation. Nick has also been liaising with the Solicitors Regulation Authority as it revises its approach to failing law firms in the light of some hugely expensive recent interventions that exhausted its annual budget in the first quarter. Nick shared with the audience his take on the changes in the landscape, the causes for the recent failures and the involvement of the SRA including its view about good and poor behaviours.
Viv Williams - See here for bio and contact details
Viv is the lead director and founding shareholder of 360 Legal Group, a specialist consultancy for legal practices in areas of strategy, management, business development, marketing and systems. He has been involved with many turnarounds, reconstructions and mergers involving legal firms and is well known to bank intensive care units. Viv rounded off the workshop by giving his own personal outlook on the longer term future of law firms, giving a more positive spin to counter the current mood of despondency. He projected that law firms, with the quality training that underpinned their services, still represented a strong and enduring brand. He explained that those existing practices who were prepared to change, adopt a more business-like approach in the management of their firms and use the deregulation to their advantage were ultimately more likely to be the eventual winners and not necessarily the new entrants.
If you would like to further discuss, please call James Tickell on 01489 550454 or either expert speaker using the contact detail links shown above.