Highlighting the growing importance of technology for law firms, south west firm Foot Anstey has used its alternative business structure (ABS) licence to bring IT director Duncan Eadie into the partnership, promoting him to equity partner.
LB100-firm Foot Anstey, which has offices in Truro, Taunton, Plymouth, Exeter and Bristol and became an ABS last April, is an all equity partnership, with 45 UK partners and 182 UK fee-earners. Eadie’s appointment follows that of Foot Anstey’s commercial and financial director Duncan Ralph, who was promoted to partner in May 2013.
The move is an unusual one with other non-lawyers to join partnerships usually being finance directors or involved in operations and business development. Other firms to similarly take advantage of having an ABS licence include Mischon de Reya, which became an ABS in February this year and brought its chief operating officer, business development director and head of human resources into its partnership, and Kennedys which has four non-lawyers as partners.
Commenting on Eadie’s appointment, John Westwell, Foot Anstey’s managing partner, said the move was evidence of the firm’s focus and commitment to technology. Foot Anstey has made a seven figure investment in a new practice management system, due to launch later this year – a significant amount for a firm which had total revenues of £32m in 2014/15.
Westwell added: ‘We are delighted to welcome Duncan into the partnership. His well-deserved promotion is a recognition of the strategic importance of technology to our business, in delivering high quality services to our clients now and in future.’
Firms who have been granted ABS licences by the Solicitors Regulation Authority are able to appoint non-lawyers as partners under the Legal Services Act 2011. Other IT directors appointed as a partner include the head of IT at Winckworth Sherwood, Christel Aguila.