New Law Solicitors LLP

Origins

The motivation behind NewLaw was the opportunity to break out of the traditional partnership model which most law firms operate under which makes it very difficult for them to take risks, invest in long term projects and react quickly to changing environments. The founders wanted to develop a business that worked on a more corporate structure, that could be agile and quick to react to the changing environment and that could reward everyone who contributed to its growth. In addition, the Legal Services Act was about to become law and the view was that this would change the way in which legal services are purchased and delivered and add a new competitive dimension that lawyers had never really had to worry about before – from external businesses seeking a slice of the legal services market. The Legal Services Act also opens up the possibility of legal businesses being acquisition targets for those seeking to enter this sector. From the beginning, the business has been structured and positioned with potential entrants to the market, to take full advantage of the opportunities that these changes will bring. The strategy has been to work with businesses that might seek to enter the legal market place, to provide them with a platform from which they can do that, or a partner to work with so that they don’t have to.

Our main challenges when starting the business

The business is very "work in progress" intensive with high acquisition costs paid up front. The average life cycle of a claim is 7 months and it had to fund the acquisition fees and the working capital in a growing business without much support from the bank. The credit crunch hit just at the time that New Law was seeking to accelerate its growth to take advantage of the opportunities available. Instead of being able to continue to grow at the rate envisaged, it had to slow its growth quite considerably which, in turn, meant that NewLaw became cash positive very quickly and able to fund growth plans from cash generated. Managing rapid growth was also a problem as the business has almost doubled in size every year and the recruitment and management challenges that this has posed have been enormous. Recruiting the best people into each role has meant being extremely choosy about who is taken on and to ensure that the company recruited the right team with the right attitudes, law graduates have been employed and trained them an in house development system.

Success Factor

The ability to align the whole of the business behind the objectives for the firm and the way in which those objectives are to be achieved; offering partners and clients innovative deals to win work and secure long term contracts, by making long term contracts more profitable for business partners; and delivering demonstrably better results to corporate and individual clients than its competitors.

The Future

NewLaw will continue to grow its personal injury work through strategic partnerships with insurer and broker clients. It is aiming to grow from 20,000 referrals per annum to 30,000 over the next two years, and the development of the profile of the catastrophic injuries team is also a key strategic goal for the firm over the next two years. NewLaw has recently established a private client team, providing wealth planning, probate and estate management services to its existing personal injury clients which, over the next 12 months, will offer those services to other strategic partners and their clients. Finally, NewLaw’s Business team has developed a completely new partnership model under which it recruits solicitors who have the ability to build its own client base and work stream, providing the funding for the development of their business and sharing the profits from their efforts with them.