Return of the accountants: KPMG and EY consider ABS

Return of the accountants: KPMG and EY consider ABS

Global accountants including KPMG and EY have the UK’s legal sector firmly in their sights as they consider their options under the Legal Services Act (LSA) in a move said by one tax partner at a leading City law firm to be ‘clearly a threat’.

Last month it emerged that KPMG is looking at an alternative business structure (ABS) conversion in a bid to expand its legal services capability. EY, meanwhile, has the position ‘under review’ and PwC is also understood to be considering its position. Deloitte was the only one of the Big Four accountants to deny any plans to set up an ABS.

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Guest post: In the ABS landscape, it’s all about the brand – oh yes

Guest post: In the ABS landscape, it’s all about the brand – oh yes

‘Tesco Law’ is a phrase that, thankfully, is finally dying out as the reality of alternative business structures (ABSs) takes hold, but what it represents – big brands entering the legal market – has become truer than ever this month.

First there was Direct Line Group’s long-awaited announcement of its plans to set up a law firm  and then it emerged the Stobart Group has added an ABS to its barrister service. Continue reading “Guest post: In the ABS landscape, it’s all about the brand – oh yes”

Comment: The ABS dilemma – join them sure, but shouldn’t you be beating them?

Amid all the hype surrounding alternative business structures (ABS) one story that emerged last month stood out – the aggressively-marketed Riverview Law’s eye-catching alliance with 48-partner practice DMH Stallard.

In an ABS market heavily focused on the high street and volume insurance work, the deal stands out for aiming to provide something different to corporate buyers of legal services. Continue reading “Comment: The ABS dilemma – join them sure, but shouldn’t you be beating them?”

Compare the ABS -BGL Group acquires Minster Law in vote of confidence for PI market

Compare the ABS -BGL Group acquires Minster Law in vote of confidence for PI market

The acquisition by comparethemarket.com owners BGL Group of leading personal injury (PI) firm Minster Law last week should be seen as a sign that the PI market is far from in tatters, according to Minster Law’s chairman, Adrian Christmas.

Minster Law is one of the UK’s largest road traffic accident (RTA) personal injury practices, employing over 800 people and handling more than 40,000 personal injury claims in the last financial year, making it the largest outright sale of a UK firm to date. Continue reading “Compare the ABS -BGL Group acquires Minster Law in vote of confidence for PI market”

Birmingham’s Shakespeares becomes 72nd ABS of 2013

Number of firms granted licences by SRA hits 2012 levels

The number of firms granted alternative business structure (ABS) status in 2013 has now hit the same level as for the whole of 2012, as Shakespeares became the latest mid-tier outfit to announce it has been granted a licence in mid-May.

Shakespeares was the 72nd firm to obtain a licence in 2013, the same number as obtained a licence in total in 2012 after the Solicitors Regulation Authority began accepting applications on 3 January. After a slow start, the first licences were granted in March 2012, when Co-operative Legal Services, Kent family practice Lawbridge Solicitors and Oxfordshire firm John Welch & Stammers became an ABS. 144 firms have now been granted ABS status.

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The ABS dilemma – join them sure, but shouldn’t you be beating them?

The ABS dilemma – join them sure, but shouldn’t you be beating them?

Amid all the hype surrounding alternative business structures (ABS) one story that emerged last month stood out – the aggressively-marketed Riverview Law’s eye-catching alliance with 48-partner practice DMH Stallard.

In an ABS market heavily focused on the high street and volume insurance work, the deal stands out for aiming to provide something different to corporate buyers of legal services.

The firms, which are in discussions about the impending launch of new fixed-fee products, will offer their respective clients each other’s services on a permanent basis, following a four-month trial.

Continue reading “The ABS dilemma – join them sure, but shouldn’t you be beating them?”

Disruptive Models: ABS tally for 2013 reaches 2012 level as Shakespeares becomes latest to convert

Disruptive Models: ABS tally for 2013 reaches 2012 level as Shakespeares becomes latest to convert

The number of firms granted alternative business structure (ABS) status in 2013 has now hit the same level as for the whole of 2012, as Shakespeares last week became the latest mid-tier outfit to announce it has been granted a licence.

Shakespeares was the 72nd firm to obtain a licence in 2013, the same number as obtained a licence in total in 2012 after the Solicitors Regulation Authority began accepting applications on 3 January. Continue reading “Disruptive Models: ABS tally for 2013 reaches 2012 level as Shakespeares becomes latest to convert”

DMH jumps aboard the Riverview Law bandwagon as ‘Tesco law’ challenger moves to widen service

DMH jumps aboard the Riverview Law bandwagon as ‘Tesco law’ challenger moves to widen service

Riverview Law will have addressed some of the criticisms of its fixed-fee legal services model with news today (13 May) that it has signed a strategic alliance with established south east law firm DMH Stallard.

A statement by Riverview Law – one of the touted and aggressively marketed of the ‘Tesco law’ challengers – said the alliance would cover a number of areas, including disputes, M&A and real estate. The alliance will see Riverview Law refer its customers to the 48-partner, 100-lawyer Brighton-based firm while allowing DMH Stallard to offer it clients the access to Riverview’s service lines. In the coming months, the two will combines to launch a range of fixed-fee services and products to the market.

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ABS rising – Slater and Gordon and Plexus announce four law firm acquisitions in a day

Both sides of the volume insurance market saw significant Legal Services Act-themed developments today as two of the most touted investor-backed law outfits announced four proposed acquisitions in a single day.

Plexus Law today (7 May) confirmed it is to merge with insurance dispute resolution practice Greenwoods, creating a £90m defendant insurance litigation business. Plexus is the defendant arm of the Parabis Group, the legal outfit that last year sold a majority stake in its business to buyout house Duke Street in a move expected to fund a war chest for expansion.

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Structural challenges – Risk Management Round Table 2012

Structural challenges – Risk Management Round Table 2012

The fifth LB/Marsh round table brought together a group of risk experts to discuss the practical effects of alternative business structures and who to appoint in key management roles created by the SRA.

The timing could not have been better – the fifth risk round table hosted by LB and Marsh took place at the end of March, just a day after the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) issued its first three licences for alternative business structures (ABS) under the Legal Services Act. Unsurprisingly, then, the topic of ABS and commercial law firms taking on external capital was high on the agenda.

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