Chester law firm at forefront of industry revolution
4th January, 2013
Aaron & Partners has reinforced its reputation as one of the region’s most forward thinking law firms after being granted alternative business structure (ABS) status by the legal sector’s industry body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
We are the first commercial law practice in Cheshire to achieve ABS status, placing us at the forefront of one of the most significant developments in the history of the legal sector.
Having submitted our bid to the SRA in June 2012 our new status will take effect from 7th January.
Industry experts are billing the introduction of the ABS model, part of the 2007 Legal Services Act, as one of the biggest shake-ups to affect the legal sector.
Firms with ABS status are able to update their ownership arrangements away from shareholding partnerships that have traditionally dominated the legal sector, in favour of structures that can receive backing from external investors.
Following our successful ABS application Chief Executive Officer Andy Duxbury said: “We are very pleased to achieve ABS status, though for now at least, the way we operate will not change.
“However what it will do is put us in a position where we can react quickly and be flexible in seizing opportunities to be even more dynamic and client-focused as an organisation.”
Aaron & Partners set the trend back in 1990 by becoming the first firm in the country to have a non-lawyer chief executive. In 2006 Andy Duxbury joined the firm and in 2011 he became one of the few law firm chief executives in the country to be a non-lawyer partner.
Another non-lawyer, finance director David Gerrard, also became a partner as the firm changed its structure to that of a Legal Disciplinary Practice (LDP).
“All law firms that are currently set up as LDPs will eventually need to have ABS status,” added Andy. “As a forward thinking practice though, we wanted to be ahead of the curve.
“Our clients increasingly see us as business consultants who specialise in law, whether it be renewable energy, transport and logistics, waste management, planning or another area.
“This is vital because we strongly believe that most commercial clients value having a relationship with people whom they feel they can do business with, and who understand their industry. This is where our competitive advantage lies and the fact that we offer the services of a big city law firm, right here in Chester.”
Andy added: “We are pleased to report that we are performing extremely well. As we grow the practice further and continue to invest, our ABS status will be an important part of our profile.”