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DLA Piper has become a minority stakeholder in LawVest, a holding company that aims to launch into the alternative business structure (ABS) market next year.
The move gives DLA Piper a foothold in the commoditised sector, with the firm’s co-chief executive officer Sir Nigel Knowles taking on the role of non-executive chairman at the company.
Other investors in LawVest include AdvisorPlusBusiness Solutions and a number of private investors, including chief executive Karl Chapman and chief operating officer Adam Shutkever, who was formerly chief executive of Palatium Investment Management.
LawVest is planning to launch an ABS aimed at small to medium sized entities next year, when the Government is expected to approve the Solicitors Regulation Authority as a watchdog for the industry (6 October 2011). The company says that it intends to deploy its model of delivering legal services both through organic growth and acquisitions.
In a statement, Knowles said: “All law firms will have spent considerable time evaluating what impact the Legal Services Act will have on their strategic ambitions and its effects on the competitive landscape. This strategic investment is an innovative way of participating in and benefiting from the new environment, while protecting our clients’ interests in this sector of the market.”
The news comes in the same week that The Lawyer revealed that former Linklaters managing partner Tony Angel is to join DLA Piper as senior partner (26 October 2011).