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The Legal Services Act has got all sorts of people in the legal market excited, but few more so than former Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) partner Andrew Pena, the man behind Cubism Law.
“There’s great potential with the new regulations for improving services to clients,” says Pena. “Having non-lawyers as shareholders in law firms - or multidisciplinary partnerships - is attractive to clients.”
At Cubism the business model is the thing. What may sound like a virtual law firm is, in fact, nothing of the sort. Cubism is a limited company that recruits senior lawyers with established client lists in the region of £200,000-£300,000. It then provides office infrastructure on one site for each of the so-called ‘consultants’ to work under the Cubism brand for a fee, either £3,000 or 30 per cent of income.
“In the traditional law firm partners can’t build an asset that they can later sell on and there’s no return on investment,” argues Pena. “There is with Cubism.” Pena adds that the Cubism model is “very scaleable” and will not require external investment. Instead the plan is to launch a franchise over the next few years in regions such as Birmingham and Manchester.
Pena launched a version of Cubism in September 2006, having left FFW in December 2003 to work in-house for franchising business Jani-King.
Cubism in its present form launched last year.
It currently has seven consultants and two equity partners, generating a turnover of around £2m.
“The name ‘Cubism’ is inspired by the art movement as we think this is about lateral thinking, or what we call ‘inside-out thinking’,” explains Pena.
That thinking has also led Cubism to offer a one-stop shop for contentious work. To this end the company has formed joint ventures with Crown Office Chambers for commercial litigation and New Square for insolvency.