ABSs: react or die – it’s time to cut out the “Fat Middle”

ABSs: react or die – it’s time to cut out the “Fat Middle”

By Catherine Gannon

What do all consumers want? Answer – 1) high quality products and/or services 2) low cost 3) tailored products and/or services 4) good customer/client care. The consumer legal market is no different.

The problem

The introduction of Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) has changed and looks set to further change the legal services industry quite substantially. Many ABSs have large marketing budgets with which to trumpet bucket prices reaching the ears of consumers meaning that traditional law firms have to alter their business models quickly if they are to acquire and retain clients.

Law firms like other businesses were riding on the crest of the wave for many years and recruited many solicitors for their qualifications, skills and experience and offered healthy salaries for those traits. After all, the fees imposed on the clients could fund this. When clients were walking in, there was less emphasis on whether solicitors had the right type of personality to develop work. There are therefore many solicitors in law firms who are expensive and do not bring in work but are good at doing the work and hence expensive – we will call these individuals, collectively, the “Fat Middle”. However, due to the economic climate and now the existence of ABSs, law firms have to work harder to acquire clients and to retain them whilst trying to save money wherever possible putting the Fat Middle at risk.

The market

Consumers want the quality that comes with good lawyers but for a lower cost. The

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About the author:

Catherine finds and drives through solutions to the full spectrum of complex problems clients need to resolve. As the founder and Managing Partner of Gannons, Catherine has presided over substantial growth of the firm, seeing turnover increase annually.

Managing Partner, Gannons

Expertise

Catherine finds and drives through solutions to the full spectrum of complex problems clients need to resolve.

As the founder and Managing Partner of Gannons, Catherine has presided over substantial growth of the firm, seeing turnover increase annually. Gannons posted record results last year and the current year is looking stronger.

Work and clients

With a tax and accountancy as well as legal background, Catherine stands out from the average lawyer and has the rare ability to put commerciality into practice. Catherine advises across all of the practice areas drawing on many years of experience to provide strategic and directional guidance.

Catherine is a regular writer and speaker for a variety of bodies including the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Institute of Tax, Institute of Directors, ESOP Centre and IFS ProShare.

Route to Gannons

After training at a leading accountancy firm, Catherine qualified as a solicitor and gained experience at the leading international law firms S J Berwin and Baker & McKenzie, before founding Gannons.

Professional memberships

  • Solicitor
  • Chartered Tax Advisor
  • Chartered Institute of Personnel Development
  • Institute of Directors
  • Employment Lawyers Association
  • IFS ProShare
  • Association of Partnership Practitioners.

Why I became a lawyer

The thrill of the deal and elevating a client’s position beyond expectations. Completion is always a great moment.