Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Solicitors at risk as 2,000 UK law firms ‘could go bust’ warns Association of Business Recovery Professionals

WHEN law firms feel the pinch, clients better watch out … as the Association of Business Recovery Professionals (R3) warns some TWO THOUSAND law firms are at risk of financial failure. The news may bring a tear to some & joy to others as mergers, manipulation & major spats between firms take care of the stragglers & financially weakened law firms deserted by their client base for those all too unfathomable reasons best left unexplained.

Summer could be sentencing time for many solicitors

Over 2,000 law firms at risk of failure in the next 12 months

By the end of this month, partners in law firms will have to make their second tax payment for the year. Unlike many other businesses, Limited Liability Partnership (LLPs), Partnerships and Sole Practitioners are not directly assessed for tax on the business’ profits but will commonly arrange to settle individual Partners’ liabilities. Ideally, a tax reserve fund will have been maintained for this purpose but this is not always the case.

Lee Manning, R3 President, comments: “This requires very careful planning and steps should be taken to apply for a reduction of payments on account if earnings are expected to reduce over the coming year. This time of year is known to put real cash flow pressure on firms and more often than not we see a spike in banks being asked to fund taxation liabilities. The legal services sector is a very crowded market and so firms that are not competitive are unlikely to thrive. Careful planning and management of taxes can help give businesses an edge and make this time of year less daunting.”

Furthermore, research by R3 using data from Bureau van Dijk’s ‘Fame’ database, finds that over 2,000 law firms are at risk of failure in the next 12 months – this equates to 29.1% of firms in the UK and Ireland, higher than the cross sector average of 21.8%. One of the main challenges they are being faced with is The Legal Services Act – which has earned the moniker ‘Tesco Law’. It legislates for Alternative Business Structures (ABS), the point of which is to make legal services easier to access by allowing non-lawyers to invest in and own legal businesses. However it poses a threat to the legal services market as we know it, particularly for small high street firms.

Lee Manning continues: “Traditionally a firm would practice a range of different areas of law. With the introduction of ‘Tesco law’, new specialist firms will begin to emerge and they will be difficult for the high street to compete with, partly because small practices cannot afford the level of branding and marketing that these new firms will be able to take advantage of. It is also unlikely that they will have the resources or the technology to compete with these Alternative Business Structures. Law firms are operating in a challenging environment and the marketplace seems to be getting tougher and tougher. We would urge any firms that are worried about their financial future, to seek professional restructuring advice before it is too late.”


Anonymous said...

There is a God after all, Christmas come early. Perhaps there would be less chance of them going bust if they looked after their clients the way they look after their colleagues.

I have no compassion for lawyers. The more that go bust the better.

Anonymous said...

The message is simple, get your money out now.

Anonymous said...

As the first poster tacitly suggested - if lawyrs provided the Scottish Public with an honest, decent and truly independent service many of their problems would disappear.

However not one of them is prepared to use their vote to alter the mandate of the pernicious Law Society of Scotland's which allows it to maintain an iron grip on the profession and who may or may not practise law.

Anonymous said...

Well they should look on the bright side. David Cameron will provide work placements for them if they cannot get jobs. After twelve months unemployment they will be able to work for nothing as a punishment for all of the hell they have caused clients over their careers.

For every one that closes I will have a Dram and a big cigar to celebrate their demise. Could not happen to a nicer bunch of bastards. I hope they are closing because public trust is ebbing away. You will reap what you have all sown.