Monthly Archives: September 2010

Keeping an eye on the Property Market

With the residential property market still very uncertain, but HIPs gone, there will probably be a different balance at this year’s 15th Annual Property Forum Dinner.   It’s an event worth attending, with a good number of the most experienced people from all sides of the property market likely to attend.  Amongst the speakers this year are Phil Jenks, former COO at HBOS and Richard Barnett, Senior partner at Barnetts – whose opinions we have had a lot of respect for over the years here at Inpractice UK.

Simon David’s comment about past events quoted on the forum website is a fair reflection of  the events I’ve attended here:  “I have always found the Property Forum Dinner a great occasion – there are very few events that you can attend where you are able to meet those heavily involved in the property world in a relaxed and entertaining environment and this is certainly one of them. It allows the invitees a chance to share ideas, catch up with old colleagues and most importantly to grab the mic to get things off your chest!!”

There is usually some kind of spat that adds more interest … and the food and the wine are pretty good too!  For more information and to book  a place go here >>

Allan Carton

Tap into the best free advice you can get

Lawyers often go around in circles in internal discussions about what they could do to win more business and clients.  The solution is easy – ask the clients you want to work for and the referrers you want to work with just what they want from you.  But how many firms do this?  

Taking this approach, you can open up new opportunities, retain clients that are considering other options, demonstrate commitment, bring your people closer to clients, educate them ….

Read more here.

Update on Collaborative Legal Practices in the NW

As per earlier postings, this initiative is about defining business models that can bring groups of smaller firms together to collaborate in a way that enables them to provide a more competitive legal service. They can then capitalise on the changes being introduced by the Legal Services Act, new technology and the changing expectations of clients. 

The project is now well under way, but we still need more lawyer involvement.  During July and into early August, Allan Carton has met and will be meeting one-to-one with lawyers who are potential participants in the groups; the aim here is to get a better picture of their current business, their plans and thoughts on this initiative.  Also under discussion are  innovative approaches to make this work including  involvement with other interested organisations that can play a part in turning any proposed structure  into reality.  There will be a series of half day group discussions and focus groups in Manchester on 10th and 19th August, bringing together the people from legal practices and other areas that could get involved to explore options and issues. What will this really look like, why do it, how does it work, how do we overcome obstacles, tackling compliance, how do we make it happen etc.

In early September there will be a  report back to our Manchester partners on the feasibility of making this happen in this area with a plan of action to create the feasible options.  The group is already working on 4 versions of the  business model, defined by focusing on the needs of the potential clients that each will service.  For all participants, an essential benefit of this type of proposition is the variety operational improvements and cost savings that can be achieved as part of a larger, actively co-ordinated group. For some, these may be the only benefits they want, to reduce costs, making a direct impact on bottom line profits.  For others, shared marketing and business development capability will be an essential component.  This may come just from introduction of clients within the group and effective management of client relationships;  or this could extend to more investment in promotional initiatives and joint ventures through the group.

So there are a wide variety of possibilities and different levels of collaboration that will suit different types of firm.  Firms with up to 30 people are requested to get involved in the exploration of the options.  Bear in mind at this stage that:

  • It is intended that the participants in any group will own shares in the group itself – so they will benefit from both the improvement to their own business and of any additional profit the group generates.
  • There is no cost whatsoever in getting involved in this initiative as the partners involved are funding this early stage.
  • It is envisaged that participating firm will retain theirown identity as a participant in the group.
  • Getting involved in the discussion does not commit anyone to take part in any of the groupings that will flow from this initiative.
  • Anyone involved will learn from the experience, whether your business decides to get actively involved in a collaborative group established beyond September or not.
  • You can limit your time involvement to a one-to-one meeting and attending half day forum on 17th or 19th August in the centre of Manchester.

We are particularly interested in the following types of legal practice, with up to 30 people in total operating within the 10 Local Authorities that make up Greater Manchester:

  • Niche” practices specialising in one or more area/s of law, where the focus is exclusively or almost exclusively on specialist area/s of work – whether working for individuals or commercial clients.
  • Specialist criminal practices in particular
  • Small legal aid practices providing a range of services

Just getting involved in these preliminary meetings on 17th and 19th August will extend your knowledge of some of the more innovative options available to help develop your business, even if you don’t get involved in any of groups that flow from this project beyond September.

To participate in this please contact Allan Carton at or on 0161 929 8355