The legal industry is still fragmenting. Pre-2008 it was an easier game: a buoyant economy, predictable government and a converging world flattened by globalisation and the internet. Law firms sought to be ‘global’ and ‘full-service’ and merged or opened offices accordingly. The business model was simple: bigger clients, bigger teams, higher utilisation, higher rates. Hold onto more rainmakers than your rivals and the fortifications of a professional monopoly took care of the rest.
What has evolved post-2008 is a buyers’ market that shows no signs of abating. ‘There’s more choice of providers now than ever,’ says Chris Fowler, general counsel (GC) of BT Technology. ‘Alternative providers have a far greater share of wallet. There’s more of them and a wider spread, and then you’ve got the Big Four coming into play. The key thing coming into focus now is choice.’ Continue reading “Arrested development – the legal innovation report”
Listed law firm Gateley has withheld more than £3m in shareholder payouts to keep hold of cash with activity dented by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The firm said today (24 March) it would cancel its interim dividend of 2.9 pence a share, which was due to be paid at the end of this month, in order to ‘maximise the group’s short-term liquidity’. The total interim dividend due to shareholders, including the firm’s partners, was about £3.4m, up more than 11% on last year. Continue reading “‘Impossible to predict’ coronavirus fallout sees Gateley cancel £3m dividend and suspend guidance”
Kennedys has become the latest firm to spin off part of its services offering and open up to external investment in a bid to rapidly scale across the globe.
The firm has today (26 February) launched Kennedys IQ, a technology and software services business owned by, but separate to, the LLP partnership. This brings together a decade’s worth of technology and data initiatives, such as its personal injury claims ‘virtual lawyer’ KLAiM, onto a platform it sells to clients. Continue reading “‘Doesn’t fit a law firm’: Kennedys looks to prove smarts with IQ technology arm spin-off”
Shares in listed law firm Ince Group fell drastically today (15 January) after the company called for an additional £16m in finance to reload its balance sheet following Gordon Dadds’ acquisition of the firm in 2018.
The placing saw shares fall almost 50% to 45p from 89p, before rising slightly to 47p. Ince sought the accelerated book build to ‘continue with its programme of partner recruitment, especially in the overseas offices to bolster and enhance their existing practices.’ Continue reading “Ince stock plummets as firm seeks £16m from shareholders”
Axiom Managed Solutions (AMS) has abandoned efforts to sell to new investors following its split from Axiom, instead rebranding as Factor following further commitments from existing stakeholders.
The legal managed services business was put on the market in early 2019 when the wider Axiom group unveiled plans to pursue an initial public offering (IPO), although that was ultimately abandoned in favour of a sale to Permira. Continue reading “Axiom break-off rebrands after failing to find a buyer as LOD launches second German hub”
Pinsent Masons has finalised two alternative legal services acquisitions, enabling the firm to launch its flexible lawyering business Vario in the German market.
The main acquisition for Pinsents is temporary resource provider Xenion Legal, which was founded in 2012 and is based in Frankfurt. The firm has also acquired Xenia, a sister company that operates an associated managed legal services business in Germany. Continue reading “Pinsents launches flexi-lawyering brand Vario in Germany following New Law acquisitions”
Allen & Overy has built on the success of its Belfast cost-saving centre with the launch of another in Johannesburg as Steptoe and Johnson has forayed into Hong Kong with the hire of a Clifford Chance (CC) team.
Set to open its doors in the first half of 2020, A&O’s Johannesburg Legal Services Centre (LSC) is hoped to emulate the success of the firm’s Belfast offering, geared towards cost-effective resourcing of transactions by legal professionals, associate solicitors and science analysts. Continue reading “‘Dynamic and excellent’: A&O chooses Johannesburg for second cost-saving hub as Steptoe launches in Hong Kong with CC pair”
Ashurst has teamed up with US-based law company Elevate and Cognia Law to offer clients flexible lawyering through the firm’s New Law umbrella Ashurst Advance.
The initiative launched today (8 November) and gives Ashurst access to Elevate and Cognia’s flexible lawyering pool, with the offering initially available in both the UK and Australia before being rolled out globally. The arrangement will also allow Ashurst’s clients to access particular expertise for secondees. Continue reading “Ashurst joins flexible lawyering bandwagon as DWF completes BT Law acquisition”
Reed Smith has made good on its plans to secure an alternative business structure (ABS) licence from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), but has ruled out the move will be part of a process to pursue an initial public offering (IPO).
The change in regulatory status also allows the firm to be owned or managed by those without legal qualifications, with Reed Smith eyeing a widened provision of service beyond conventional law. The change in structure will not change the firm’s limited liability partnership status, which includes a single partnership and profit pool in the UK, France, Greece, UAE and China. Continue reading “‘Not a chance’: Reed Smith rules out a listing as it lands ABS licence approval”
Industry pioneers are attracting public and private interest in alternative models
While many lofty predictions of New Law’s rise remain unrealised, the market’s traditional champions have all made major contributions to its growth in recent weeks. Flexible lawyering business Axiom engaged in a surprise private equity (PE) sale; US alternative provider UnitedLex turned over $350m in an impressive year; while Elevate achieved revenues of £76m in another record result. Continue reading “Growth and investment define New Law as frontrunners make big gains”