The leader of one of the UK’s biggest practices has predicted just three firms will hold up to 40% of the personal injury market in future.
Andrew Grech (pictured), managing director of Australian-owned Slater & Gordon, said consumer habits, technology and the availability of credit will help a handful of market leaders emerge.
But that did not mean small firms cannot have a place in the legal services sector of the future, he told the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers conference today.
‘Certainly there is consolidation going on in professional services and the legal profession is not immune to that,’ he said.
‘In the UK there will end up being two or three quite large organisations sharing 30-40% of the consumer legal services consumer market. We hope to be the leader of those three firms.’
But he added: ‘I don’t predict the end of small practices at all. If they’re very good they will flourish because clients want quality.’
Grech’s firm, which is listed on the Australian stock exchange, has expanded rapidly in the UK since acquiring Russell Jones Walker two years ago, with the likes of parts of Pannone and Fentons also purchased.
But he denied that the firm’s structure and funding might cause an issue with conflict of interest or interference from shareholders.
‘I have never been asked a single question by an investor that relates to a case we’re conducting. What investors mostly care about is continuing being in business and it’s very hard to do that if you don’t have a practising certificate.
‘Remind yourselves that all of the breaches of confidence of clients have occurred in partnerships. If it were true that [a partner] structure was the great protector of values and ethics of our profession then why is that so?’