Knights' investor James Caan sets out lofty ambitions to break into UK top 20

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  • 9.26 you are so wrong.
    The partnership model is not fit for purpose and is an inadequate business vehicle if you want to grow and retain capital in the firm. The future lies with corporate structures.
    Whilst individual lawyers may aspire to becoming a partners, clients could not care less about titles. Clients are interested in service, price and expertise not labels.

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  • I'm not sure how Knights will stand out from all the other 'full service regional' firms out there. Even if your strategy is to merge with other firms, rather than grow organically, you still need to have the clients, the work, the culture and values and the financial stability etc. for other firms to want to merge with you. Altneratively you go for the firms in trouble who need to be taken over to survive, but I'm not convinced merging with a bunch of firms on the verge of administration is a sound business plan either.

    That said, the no-partner model is quite interesting and it will be interesting to see how other firms/clients react to that.

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  • Some odd comments here about the partnership point. Who would choose not to be a partner if it was on offer? Who would say “No thanks, I do not want the extra money and responsibility, but I am happy for my peers to make it and then start to tell me what to do”. Just because it is now harder than ever to make partner does not mean that 99% of solicitors would not take up the role if it was on offer.

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  • @ Anon 1:34. The point is that some commentators no-one will want to work with a firm with no partnership prospects, yet the reality is that there are many firms out there at the moment where there are very slim pickings as far as partnership prospects are concerned anyway.
    You then look at the pay distribution of a top heavy partnership (complete with demand for high PEP) and that of an equity financed model. There well be more pay at non-partner fee earner level in an equity financed business than a traditional firm where junior fee earners are billing 5+ times salary to make sure PEP is maintained.
    Therefore, despite many of the profession wanting to be partners, they are beginning to realise that the statement "you will reap the rewards of partnership one day" is barely worth the breath it is carried on. Once that penny drops, many fee earners may be happy to trade higher pay now against the thin and uncertain prospect of making partnership at some point in the longer and more distant future.

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  • Anyone who qualified after 2002 must question whether a career in law is right for them.

    The chances of getting partnership are now very slim. The age you will get partnership keeps on going up. The salary provided to new partners is low. The likelihood of equity is low. PEP is currently falling in most firms.

    Yet, when someone offers an alternative strategy they are derided. May I suggest that a meritocracy based firm is an excellent idea, rather than the current situation where good fee earners work long hours to keep old partners in place (who never made the same commitment in their good years).

    Good on you James Caan and David Beech.

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  • @Anon 4:59, wise words indeed. Of course, changing to a meritocracy in an existing firm would involve some turkeys voting for Christmas - which is why Caan and Beech know that making inroads in the legal services sector is currently relatively easy for new-starters who are prepared to innovate against outdated business practices.

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