A law firm owner says he is considering setting up a franchise model once the pandemic crisis ends, as personal injury work shifts away from city centre offices.

Hudgell Solicitors executive chairman Neil Hudgell said remote working could enable his firm to bring in fee-earners across the country who would rarely set foot in the office. 

Neil Hudgell, managing director, Hudgell's

Neil Hudgell

Managing director, Hudgell Solicitors

Hudgell said his firm, based in London, Hull, Manchester and Leeds, has adapted to a new way of working and sees opportunities to work with lawyers wanting more flexibility in future. The remote lawyer model has been embraced by many new entrants but rarely by established practices.

‘What I feel this approach will do is open up an opportunity for us to simply look to recruit the best talent, no matter where they are based,’ he said. ‘Our role will always be to provide them with the managerial and technical support they need to do their jobs as effectively and efficiently as possible on behalf of our clients, wherever they are.’

Hudgells has a website, webuyanyfiles.com, for picking up cases from firms either shutting down completely or closing their PI department. So far it has completed 40 deals and paid £8m in total.

Hudgell said the firm had already received approaches from practices wanting to offload their files as they prioritise their work. ‘Some firms could find it difficult to restart when things return to normality as they have furloughed a large percentage of staff,’ he said. ‘I feel we’ve perhaps hit a watershed moment where I believe some firms will decide enough is enough.’