A firm with grand ambitions to acquire high street practices says it is ready to begin the offensive.
Metamorph Law, set up by strategy consultant and former commercial solicitor Simon Goldhill (pictured), has been granted an alternative business structure licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
The firm says it is now ready to use its £4m war chest – first revealed last October – to enact plans to buy up to 60 practices.
Goldhill said: ‘Becoming an ABS is an important and necessary step that allows us to operate our business model in this market. With this licence in place we are now in a position to proceed with our acquisition plan.
‘We have a number of discussions currently under way. Some are in an advanced stage and we expect the first deal to be completed within the next few weeks.’
Metamorph Law is licensed to acquire, own and manage other existing firms in the legal market.
The business was created as a vehicle to consolidate high street practices focused on private client work.
Metamorph Law says this market – focused mainly on residential conveyancing, wills, probate, family law and some routine work for local businesses – is worth around £8bn a year, but it still largely delivered by 8,000 small 1-4 partner high street firms.
Managing director Bob Labadie, a former director at Co-op Legal Services, said the ABS application process took less than three months in total – an indication of the regulator's satisfaction with the business model.
‘The SRA appeared comfortable with our business model and structure,’ he added. ‘They conducted a thorough investigation of our intentions and of the all the individuals involved in significant management or with material ownership interests.’
In May, the firm agreed a joint venture with Assure Law, which had taken up a small stake in the business originally. Assure Law chairman Tony Stockdale became executive chairman of Metamorph, with other senior members of Assure Law in finance, technology and HR also taking on dual roles.