One of the few firms to emerge from the wreckage of Metamorph has vowed to do everything it can to stay in business.

Parrott & Coales, based in Aylesbury, is one of three firms owned by the Metamorph Group which have not been closed down by the SRA. The regulator has intervened into six firms across the country in the last month which traded under 14 different names, on each occasion acting to protect client interests.

But the SRA has stressed that Parrott & Coales, as well as Buckinghamshire firm Brown Solicitors and Hampshire practice Beeton Edwards, continue to trade and are not subject to any restrictions.

Richard Sauvain, managing partner of Parrott & Coales, told the Gazette it had been a ‘rollercoaster’ in recent months but that staff have rallied and are determined to preserve the 250-year-old firm.

‘It is terribly sad – when we were in Metamorph we got to know a lot of the solicitors from other firms, and they have gone from being colleagues to not being there anymore. It is really strange feeling to go from being part of this big group to almost being on our own.

‘Everybody feels that we owe it to the tradition and history of this firm [to keep going]. Everyone gets on so well that we knew it would be such a shame to go our separate ways. If there is a chance we can save this firm we must try and give it our best shot. The team spirit is amazing and I am humbled by the response of people here – they have never grumbled but have really stepped up.’

Richard Sauvain

Sauvain: 'If there is a chance we can save this firm we must try and give it our best shot'

Parrott & Coales, which has 32 staff and offers a full range of services, had sought different ownership options after two of the three previous owners wanted to retire.

The firm was introduced to Metamorph and was sold on the idea of preserving its identity, and keeping a degree of independence and autonomy.

Sauvain said the links with a larger group helped to provide a safety net during lockdown but became a problem once reports came in that some staff at other firms were not being paid. Crucially, Parrott & Coales retained its own bank account, and control over the IT and case management systems.

Nevertheless, with so many reports of financial problems in the wider group, staff were naturally concerned and sought reassurance.

‘We have had regular meetings with all the staff and I have always believed in being open with them,’ said Sauvain. It was too important not to share with staff. They have been incredible and so loyal. Everybody has pulled together – it would have been so easy for a lot of them to go but we have kept the core of the staff together.

‘Everybody in the local legal community knows about it. Locally we get on very well with other solicitors, they have been very supportive and given us lots of encouragement.’

Talks are ongoing about transferring ownership of the business, and in the meantime the SRA has visited the firm and agreed it can continue practising.


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