National firm Irwin Mitchell has become the first multi-licensed alternative business structure, with five licences covering a range of its business operations.
The five licences cover Irwin Mitchell LLP; Ascent Collections Ltd, which offers field agency and debt collection services; Coris UK Ltd, which offers international assistance and insurance claims handling services; Irwin Mitchell Trustees Ltd, which accepts appointments as a trustee, executor and estate administrators; and Irwin Mitchell Trust Corporation Ltd, which accepts appointments to act as deputy from the Court of Protection.
Irwin Mitchell is one of the largest firms in the UK, with 60 solicitor members, five non-solicitor members, 75 salaried partners, and 20 non-solicitor directors and associate directors.
It employs over 2,200 people in seven offices in England, and owns the Spanish legal practice Irwin Mitchell Abogados, which has offices in Madrid and Malaga.
Irwin Mitchell was one of the first firms to convert to legal disciplinary practice status in May 2010, promoting non-lawyers to its equity structure, and was among the first applicants for ABS status when the SRA began taking applications in the first week of January.
Group chief executive John Pickering said: ‘It’s a very significant day for us, an important milestone which positions us well to take advantage of the opportunities which we think will arise from the changing legal landscape. We can now push on with our plans for growing the business. Conversion to ABS status sends a clear signal that we intend to move forward with our strategy.’
‘The reality of the move towards ABS’s is that the legal sector will simply have to begin operating like other sectors, which, from a client perspective, will be no bad thing,’ Fareeda Jaleel, founder of FRJ Business and Marketing Solutions, said.
‘It is vital that that legal firms understand their business and devise a proper strategy for moving forward, whether that is going for ABS status or simply understanding how best to capitalise on these market changes.’