Professional Practice

We understand that any professional services firm typically has two key stakeholders that they have to keep on side: the Lender and the Regulator. We have the skills to manage both these and other key stakeholders effectively, giving you the time and space to resolve your issues as efficiently as possible. As well as working with firms, we can help any of the parties involved in the process – for example, lenders achieving the best available financial outcome, or individual partners concerned about issues such as personal bankruptcy.

Often, when a firm is facing financial challenges, the situation is not as bleak as it seems. We encourage firms to tackle any issues as soon as possible because the earlier that you address a problem, the wider the range of solutions available to you.

The solution might be around improving your cash flow or gaining more time to pay key creditors to help you trade through a difficult period. Or maybe you want to sell part or all of your business. We can help you to find the right partner and then guide you through the whole process, including carrying out due diligence checks.

If you have difficulties that attract the attention of your Regulator, we can also help with that – fielding enquiries, reassuring the Regulator about your position, and buying time to manage your situation effectively. The last thing that any professional services firm wants is to enter an insolvency process. However, if that is the only or best option for you, we will be your side throughout the process to provide support and advice.

Our expert team has the experience and industry contacts to help with the whole range of services that you may need – whatever your situation. We will also provide you with one main contact who will manage the entire process for you, bringing in expertise as and when it is needed. We understand that one of the most stressful aspects of having financial issues is coming under pressure from multiple parties – whether for payments, updates or reassurance that you will deliver.

While the worst case scenario for a solicitors’ firm – and their lenders – is to be subject to an intervention, if a situation is managed carefully, we can help to ensure that this is not the outcome. If a firm is intervened, the SRA will try to pursue the partners through to bankruptcy to recover costs which can be prohibitive. The recent collapse of a 2 partner firm incurred estimated intervention costs, for which the partners were liable, of £2 million, and the estimated costs of a larger law firm which collapsed were over £6 million. We can support partners in these circumstances, helping them to achieve the best outcome possible.

Specialisms
Relevant Experience

 

  • Supporting professional firms facing financial challenges, who face additional pressures in the form of regulatory actions against partners or firms, including the risk of an Intervention by the Solicitors' Regulation Authority (SRA) for law firms.
  • Having worked closely with the Regulator, we understand the steps to take to ensure pre-emptive regulatory action is not taken to a firm's detriment. Keeping the Regulator informed, so as to avoid unpleasant surprises, and provide the requisite comfort that clients' interests are protected. Having been closely involved with the regulatory supervision of all the large firm financial collapses, we are uniquely placed with this inside track knowledge and experience. 
  • Genuine in depth experience - we have been heavily involved in the supervisory regulation of Cobbetts, Challinors, Manches, Linder Myers, & Davenport Lyons, as well as a significant number of law firms who are not in the public arena because their financial position recovered with our support and guidance.
  • Explaining the outcome of an Intervention to both lenders and firms, in terms of impact on security, the statutory charge and the substantial intervention costs incurred, which the Regulator may seek to recover from partners. If it had been intervened, Cobbetts was costed out at £6m. The recent collapse of a two partner firm incurred intervention costs of £2m. 
  • Proactively managing a firm's relationship with their Regulator, including drafting compliance and contingency plans will help to avoid regulatory action. We can advise individual solicitors on their best route to preserve their practising certificates, including circumstances when an insolvency process may be envisaged. 
  • We have the expertise to support lenders, firms and partners in these circumstances, helping them to achieve the best possible outcome.

 

Key Contact

Sam Palmer

Partner

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+44 (0)7843 265360


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