Categories:North West

Halliwells’ ex-managing partner: ‘I gave my life to that practice’

  • Print
  • Comments (342)

Readers' comments (342)

  • After presiding over the demise of a big firm in such spectacular fashion, I'd expect Mr. Austin to be in hiding somewhere, not coming out with a lot of self serving drivel as to how millions were trousered for reasons of tax effiency.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Credit where credit is due. Ian Austin has at least been prepared to give some comment to the press. What has happened to that star of the legal profession Alec Craig? Would he perhaps care to give us the benefit of his wisdom on the subject of his role as senior partner?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "If the writing was on the wall in December 2009 how does he explain recruitment and promotion of partners up to June 2010?"

    I assume the partners made up internally were fixed share equity partners/members. I assume lateral hires were a mixture of fixed share and equity. Fixed share equity partners/members are essentially salaried partners, but they lose employment protection as fixed shares, so can be dismissed unfairly, discriminated against, made redundant etc without redress, which can prove very useful if you think the ship might well go down, since you can limit employment claims by the longer-serving and better paid associates.

    Also, old-style partnership deeds invariably had a "good faith" clause in relation to dealings with partners, but LLP agreements often don't, so it probably isn't an SRA matter that fixed share equity partners/members weren't told about the property deal.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'd like to see panorama investigate this guy... anyone got any contacts at the BBC?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Credit where credit is due !?
    By giving the defensive and combative interview that he gave, all that Austin has done is demonstrate the extent of his poor judgement and complete lack of self awareness.
    The man was at the helm of the biggest financial failure of a law firm in the UK ever and a very big reason for that failure is that Ian Austin was hopelessly in above is head. I am pleased that he has found a home at Heatons because this is the size of firm that he is suited to - just as long as they keep away from any management functions.
    By the way, I note that Ian Austin does not comment on the firm's failure to lock in partners that trousered the reverse premium or on the number of senior partners that left the firm shortly after they received the reverse premium. There are only two possible explanations for this:- either those leading the reverse premium decison making process (includes Austin and Craig) (1) deliberately wanted the option of exiting shortly after they received their ill gotten gains or (2) were too stupid to appreciate the risks of partner departures. To be frank, I am undecided which of the two options applies because both are equally feasable given the characters involved.
    Interestingly, Austin also does not dwell on the shamefull campaign that he conducted in 2008 trying to persuade (or, perhaps, some would say bully) junior fixed share partners into making capital contributions to the firm - apparantly to give those junior partenrs a greater sense of ownership of the firm. Yeah, right, ownership of a verly large terd that was the progenny of Austin and Craig! At least the management had chutpah. If I remember correctly, the rate at which junior fixed share partner capital contributions were structured made an equity point approximately 50 times more expensive in the hands of a fixed share partner as compared to an equity partner.
    What more can I say - I spent a couple of years at Halliwells and enriched my vocabulary with two words that I had never previously used:- "spivvy" and "trousered" - something for which to be grateful to Mr Austin.
    BTW, referring to an earlier posting, to call Ian Austin a clown is to do a disservice to clowns.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • a classic case of a firm and its constituent parts (still) believing its own hype. I am ceratin they felt untouchable. They wanted to rival the prestige of their established peers but were prepared to cut corners to get there.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • While Stone Cold Ian Austin seems to be taking a lot of the heat - I'd like to remind the commenting fraternity here that there were many many more greedy members of the board who were simply not very nice people, and should share the attention.
    Yes, while taking a massive reverse premium when most of the Magic / Silver circle / Big 4 accountants had a recruitment freeze in anticipation of a recession should be frowned up - pushing in front of your hard working secretaries at the coffee machine without even a "hello" is down right scummy!
    Furthermore, despite a thinking they had a rosy future ahead the dastardly villains from downtown Spinningfields seemed to be prudent enough to mug-off newly qualified trainees with appalling salaries struggling pay mortgages.
    Looking forward to next weeks episode of "It wasn't my fault either..."

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Austin did not give his life give his life for that practice, he bled the firm dry but his individualistic, self-serving and reckless policies.
    I am beyond appalled that another firm would make him head of a department, let alone hire him after he was responsible for the death of Halliwells.
    It just goes to show that the people at the top always come out of things unscathed while everyone else suffers both financially and emotionally.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Reading Mr Austin's "last stand speech" potrays himself as a victim of the crime.
    Mr Austin, Mr Goodwin et al should be applauded for their audacity. Granted the other senior partners and management team should face the anger and despise of the professional public, but that will never happen.
    I am surprised though that the SRA or whichever organisation who is in charge of corporate governance in the legal field has not taken action against Mr Austin and his cronies for severe mismanagement. If they were directors/MPs/public figures they would have been "made to repent".
    Another question to the readers:
    "Please could you explain to me why SRA have not opened an enquiry into this horrendous affair?" Surely it would be in their interest that an investigation was undertaken so that the profession as a hold can learn from this sorry episode in the life of legal practices.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Shame on on you Ian. You'll take this disaster to your grave. The biggest law firm in UK history to go under thanks to greedy partners.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I just hope Ian Austin is more effective in defending his clients than he is at defending himself because that is the most pitiful explanation I have heard in a long time.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Someone once asked me who Harry Wells was

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I worked at "Happiwells" for many years and at the time had a great deal of respect for Ian. Any respect has long since diminished with recent events, but as mentioned let's not forget many (but not all) of the equity partners were involved in these bad decisions; greedy, rude and dreadful businessmen and just because Ian is the only one naive enough to raise his head above the parapet doesn't mean he's solely to blame.
    Where's Alec Craig...?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I agree and remember Ian from before the days of management. Can The Lawyer not manage to winkle Alec Craig from between the rocks?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • As I have stated previously you could not depart with a semblance of grace and keep a low profile.
    As for puttng your all into the firm, you were still trying to take out of the firm on your last day. Recall trying to get car cleaned on your final day. IT equipment!
    You and others in the firm should be ashamed of yourselves.
    There were a number of loyal staff at Halliwells who are now in limbo. If shafting people was an Olympic sport, you would score gold.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Mr Austin lists Debt Advice as one of his specialities on the Law Soc website - http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/findasolicitor/view=solicitordetails.law?id=134599&orgid=402773&SURNAME=austin&FORENAMES=ian&FIRMNAME=&POSTCODE=&searchType=S

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "I've lost everything".
    Well, no you haven't.
    Or, at least, you hadn't until you chose to give this pathetic "poor me" interview to The Lawyer.
    Until you did that, you could at least have retained your dignity.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Rumour has it that Alec Craig is presently hiding underneath the Bentley that he purchased after he trousered the Spiningfields reverse premium.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I would just like to add thank you for making my life and that of my colleagues' total hell over the last few months. We have now been sold to the highest bidder and been left without lifts, air con and even the small courtesy of a hoover over the last few weeks. The 4th and 5th floors now resemble Gollum's cave. I hope Heatons see you for what you really are - a huge bag of North West wind without even the guts to apologise properly. Good luck rattling around that pink house solo ...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Strikingly similar to some of the behaviour of partners who have runined DLA in the Middle East and then run off to leave others to deal with their carnage.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page |

Have your say

Mandatory Required Fields

Mandatory

Comments that are in breach or potential breach of our terms and conditions in particular clause 8, may not be published or, if published, may subsequently be taken down. In addition we may remove any comment where a complaint is made in respect of it. These actions are at our sole discretion.

  • Print
  • Comments (342)