Delegates at last week’s Legal Futures Innovation Conference 2017 in London came away with a more positive perspective on alternative business structures (ABS) thanks in part to the experience shared by Leonard Curtis Legal Director Andrew Gregory.
In a session entitled New Kids on the Block, Andrew, who works within the Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group (LCBSG), talked about why he joined Leonard Curtis, the pros and cons of a law firm owned by non-lawyers, how the relationship works, and what the increasing trend for external ownership means for the future of legal services.
Andrew said the key to providing legal services within a pro-active multi-disciplinary context was the lack of unwanted interference from non-legal owners.
This was a point supported by Graham Neyt of LHS Solicitors, part of the US legal insurance provider, Markel Corp, who shared the platform.
Andrew commented: “ There has been very little outside influence exerted at any stage since we launched and our owners have always been very keen to ensure we complied in every way possible with best practice and the regulatory framework in which we operate.”
Just 18 months from launch Leonard Curtis Legal has experienced significant growth and now employs six fee earners from its Manchester city centre offices.
Andrew again: “It was an honour to have the opportunity to lead the debate on this important and high profile issue. The ABS is most definitely the future and we are well placed to develop and grow our range of services as a result.”
Richard Collins, executive director of strategy and resources at the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Vice President of The Law Society, Simon Davis, said that it was good to see people embracing the change in regulation.
Andrew again: “They acknowledged that we are clearly servicing a need which has not previously been met by existing legal providers.”
Gary Cook of Booth Ainsworth who attended was positive. “Andrew is building confidence in the model both from inside the legal industry – as this conference demonstrated – and making great strides outside it as business owners recognise the benefits of a discreet set of services from one source.”
Dan Booth, director of LCBSG, was part of the management team whose vision it was to bring in Andrew and start realising a multi-disciplinary approach. He said the credibility of the service is entirely down to giving Andrew and his team the freedom to do what they do best.
“Andrew was well established in his field and well known in the market. We just provided a framework for development and opportunities from our existing client base.
We have been delighted with the speed of progress and market interest shown so far.”
Leonard Curtis Legal provides national law firm expertise within a holistic advisory approach to SMEs UK wide, whilst working closely with their colleagues at LCBSG. They are providing a range of services at low cost entry point and bring fresh thinking around commercial issues. Main work streams thus far have come from legal requirements around company set ups, contractual and employment issues and litigation.
Andrew concluded: “Artificial intelligence and increasing impatience with a lack of a multi-disciplined approach from the next generation of clients is likely to drive a more unified approach from the professions.”
Legal Futures is the leading news resource tracking the fast-evolving legal landscape. Written by professional journalists, it provides cutting-edge daily news coverage on alternative business structures, new market entrants, regulatory change and innovation in all its forms. The Innovation Conference is an annual fixture giving the platform to ‘game changers’ in the legal profession and driving debate on how legal services will be delivered in the future.
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