The alternative business structure created by former Stobart Barristers legal director Trevor Howarth has snapped up a second criminal legal aid practice, with Howarth telling the Gazette he hopes to announce news of a third acquisition shortly.
Six months after acquiring high-profile firm Kaim Todner Solicitors, Manchester-based One Legal has now acquired London firm Guney, Clark & Ryan. The deal was completed yesterday.
The firm has around 20 fee-earners. The firm’s directors will not transfer across to One Legal, Howarth (pictured) said. There will be ‘minimal’ redundancies in terms of back-office staff. The Gazette understands that the firm’s building in Green Lanes, north London, belongs to the partners and will be sold at a later stage.
Although the north London practice will come into the One Legal fold, it will continue to trade as Guney, Clark & Ryan.
Talks between the two began around a month ago. Howarth said the north London practice approached him but stressed that the firm had ‘no debt at all’.
Howarth left Stobart in April 2014 to concentrate on One Legal, which he jointly founded in 2013 with employment barrister Tim Edge.
One Legal was granted an ABS licence in 2013.
Howarth and Edge were also granted an ABS licence for Two Legal Services Limited, based in Lancashire. Howarth said there will be developments with this particular venture, which will have nothing to do with the criminal legal aid market, but he declined to provide further details.
Howarth said One Legal was ‘nimble enough’ to react to any changes, such as the Ministry of Justice’s announcement last month that it had earmarked two more London courts for closure.
‘If you’re an established high street practice in one location, with substantial overheads and fee-earners, and the government announce court closures, that’s where the difficulties lie,’ Howarth said.
‘We can adapt to what government policy is today, not what it was in 1975.’