A new law business has been created promising a way out for lawyers and partners who fear for their firms' future.
Lawyers Inc. is offering to take over firms - as well as individual lawyers - for a share in turnover and in return provide back-office, insurance and compliance support.
Set up two years ago and self-financed by university friends David Tucker, former chief executive of National Law Tutors, and commercial litigation lawyer Martyn Caplan, a former partner at Pannone, the new venture will help firms to close down but let them continue to work in their current office space with existing clients.
They can also retain their name for up to two years to run alongside the Lawyers Inc. brand.
Lawyers Inc. will provide compliance officers, indemnity insurance and loans to help the cost of overdraft repayments or redundancy settlements for support staff. In return, partners and fee-earners will become self-employed 'consultants' in the business and give on average 20% of their gross fees to Lawyers Inc..
The business is targeting 15 acquisitions in its first year.
Caplan said: 'We want to make it an exciting profession again, and get back to the business of lawyers providing quality legal services and making a good living out of it.
'This rids them of the administrative and political heartache of running a business. Everything behind the scenes is taken care of and they never have to worry about negotiating with the bank or their insurance broker again.'
Lawyers will not take on firms working predominantly in criminal or personal injury and all solicitor applicants will be required to disclose their claims and complaints record during the vetting process. Applicants with a poor claims record will usually be declined.
The company, licensed as an alternative business structure by the SRA, employs around 26 risk, compliance and quality managers to minimise the risks of misconduct.
'Lawyers Inc. is not looking for firms that are falling apart,' added Caplan.
'We want to work with well-managed firms which are facing increasingly difficult challenges, whether it's technological, financial or insurance, and are wanting a way to ensure a strong structured future with real growth potential.
'We are not looking to simply paper over the cracks. Instead we are seeking to fundamentally change how a modern law firm can operate.'