Monday, 3 August 2009


I read today in "The Lawyer" that Addleshaw Goddard was setting up a consultancy to advice other law firms on their strategic options. Interesting...

On one hand I'm very pleased that there is a recognition in Addleshaws that this needs to be done and that firms need to consider their strategy. On the other hand, however, I have a few concerns about this plan.

Addleshaw's record is perhaps less impressive that it might like as a springboard for launching this advisory service - I believe that "The Lawyer" states elsewhere on the site that AG suffered an 11% drop on revenue and 31% drop in PEP, which is rather worse than average. Usually firms would use performance which was much better that the average to launch a product such as this. What do this new group know about running a business? It is business management skills which tend to be missing from UK law firms. There is no doubt that the lawyers know their stuff - sadly their stuff rarely includes the detail behind running a multi-million pound, international company.

I also have concerns about Addleshaws offering business advice to other law firms. Before saying anything else, I should like to state what I hope is a very obvious conflict of interests. I have my own consulting firm which advises law firms, and so I'm speaking ill of a competitor. Having said that, I am independent - I do not work for a law firm. If I did, however, I'd be worries about getting advice from another law firm - even if it was hidden behind "chinese walls" from the lawyers in that firm.

I'm not sure that this is a good idea - or that it will work. If, however, it helps to raise awareness of the need for external advice for law firms, then I say "thank you" Addleshaws! Any law firm which would like completely independent advice is welcome to get in touch.

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