Categories:North West

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

  • Print
  • Comments (342)

Readers' comments (342)

  • 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

  • Nice timing. As far as I recall the insolvency Act applies to LLPs, and that there is a section in there relating to transactions at an undervalue - perchance the handing out of a "tax efficient" 15m for nothing ? As connected parties this relates back how far ? Now let me think. Oh yes, two years. I wonder what date in 2008 they took their wedge ? Before July do you reckon ?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • That's one insolvency Mr Buchanan won't be putting on his CV.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This guy even had the temerity to pursuade the IT & Facilities heads to contribute to the firm by making them 'partners' whilst it was going belly up. There again greed makes some people blind and deaf I suppose so no real sympathy for them either. I hear the IT director has bailed out as well to one of the take over firms leaving his staff begind as well - nice one.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What a nice change it makes to see people resisting the urge to blow their own trumpets.
    The ex Halliwells corporate recovery team have been involved in the largest LLP failure this country has ever seen but not one of them has taken the opportunity to refer to this on the Gateley Wearing website. It warms my heart to see such restraint.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • it's presumably the case this chap was the 'mastermind' of the Halliwells disaster? But it is a shame that more is not said about the other 4/5 board members at the time 'that' decision was made. Instead they have managed to flee like rats leaving a sinking ship to other firms, largely unnoticed. In fact, other firms have played on their coups in the legal press. No doubt these ex board members will be now be exclaiming how halliwells was horrendous and that they've had a lucky escape, generally playing the injured party. The reality is they put the jobs of many at risk (and canned the livelihood of many support staff) without a care in the world.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anyone out there with any IT nouse able to set up an online petition to have these people investigated?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Hang on: (1) Risky property deals enhancing profits but storing up risk for the future (2) borrowing money to make distributions to equity partners (3) "its OK, lads, we will grow our way out of this" attitude to massive debt (4) partners kept in the dark by a management cabal (5) Finance Director leaves and is replaced with a junior appointee (6) Schemes to get capital from non-equity partners (7) Profit announcements which later turn out to be questionable (8) Disastrous "mergers" (9) A financial mess (10) A "management" who claimed credit in the boom years but blame everyone else when it goes wrong. Is this Halliwells 2009/2010 or Hammonds 2004 (Pre-Peter Crossley, I stress)? The parallels are astonishing and should be noted by all partners in all firms.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Re "Corporate Recovery's" comments: they seem to be experts in advising businesses in distress, and on giving advice about directors' duties.
    Are the duties owed by the management of an LLP very different from those of a company director? Reasonable skill and care, anyone?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Come on Ian give us all another good laugh. We all know that you will be enraged by these comments. Please again exercise your right of reply so that we can all again roar with laughter. Where is that good old affable Ian we have read about so often in the press? Where is blunt speaking Alec?
    Give us more, try and win our hearts and minds by further protestations, where is your commitment, man? You are not going to take all of this lying down are you? You are a fighter not a loser. Come on let rip.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Mr Austin yet again attempting career suicide, I would imagine your new employers won't be best pleased with their new found stardom and certainly some of the belittling they're getting, that should pull in the new clients eh!
    However lets not forget that he was not alone in his actions and those who were involved know who they are, and are here challenged to defend there actions and maybe offer some form of an apology to the staff they once lorded over screaming and shouting from their ivory towers, I WANT I DON'T CARE, like little school children.
    In response to the said Hack, talking about non biased reporting and everyone being entitled to an opinion, do you not think that the staff of Halliwells are entitled to a proper investigation as to how their jobs have been sacrificed for the greed of so few, so where are these so called investigative journalists who like to seek the truth in the name of honour faith. Or are you all just to worried that you might miss out on a few free lunches or dinner parties if you upset the wrong people. Maybe your editors are frightened of losing one or two big advertising accounts if you turn over the wrong stone. Typical how the MEN were there to report the success of Halliwells during the golden years but have been very low key when it comes to hundreds of employees seeking the facts and an explaination of the truth. So sharpen your pencils and get your note books out as it doesn't look like the authorities will invoke an investigation and start giving those who deserve the truth, the real facts.
    "Never has so much been sacrificed at the expense of so many for the pleasure of so few"
    "success is the ability to go from one failure to another without the loss of enthusiasm"
    I recall hearing quotes like that in the past! different era I suppose.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Has anyone looked at the Heatons website? The pictures are priceless, especially the two of men sitting at a table grabbing their heads in despair -- probably Heatons management re-thinking the decision to hire Austin. The photo of the grown man on a scooter at the Trocadero is not bad either. Looks like a very serious firm. What is it with all these guys from third-tier law firms thinking they can conquer the world?...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • With all the money this guy "trousered" (you Brits are hilarious), you would have thought he could afford a decent haircut.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anon at 4 August 10.19 is quite right. The board members at the time and all of those equity partners who took the cash should be named and shamed and held to account - the recent Lawyer article only named those who were there at the death. The "clever" ones who took the cash and ran are equally responsible for the whole sorry mess.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I love the challenge issued by Anonymous | 4-Aug-2010 3:36 pm -- well done!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Everyone has missed the key point:
    If Ian Austin is such a money grabbing b***ard, how come he lives in Ormskirk?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Skint Halliwells Partner. You're not alone and, more to the point, you're spot on. Austin's "woe is me" diatribe speaks volumes about his lack of integrity and judgment. Who was it who informed his partners the very day tax was due last July that the cupboard was bare because tax reserves had been raided and used for working capital? Who was it who told those partners " hey, don't worry, we've used the HMRC Time to Pay Scheme so no tax is due even though we have the funds to pay"? And who was it who bullied and cajoled anyone who complained into keeping shtum? Ian Austin, Ian Austin and ian Austin.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • http://www.thelawyer.com/ian-austin-on-the-uncertainties-of-director-disqualification-ian-austin-is-a-litigation-partner-at-halliwell-landau/78379.article

    The Lawyer does not seem to have posted a link to this article.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • did you not see the palais in Omskirk, Mr Knowles?
    Could someone repost the rof pictures of the pleasure palais? All that was missing was the Jaguar charabanc.....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nigel Knowles' Sly Grin | 4-Aug-2010 5:11 pm
    That's probably one of his houses across the world.
    Full declaration of Mr Austin's assets would help.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • oh and the flat in St Katherine's Dock and the one in New York - how could we forget those essentially items in a Managing Partners' briefcase. But Austin regards himself as a "Player". Wonder where all this puts him now in the playing stakes, afterall, self-pity isn't really very attractive is it?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "The entrepreneurial Ian Austin has combined an astute hiring and merger policy with an infectious enthusiasm and ambition, to put Halliwells back on the map as a serious UK player".

    http://awards.legalbusiness.co.uk/pdfs/manpar.pdf

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Bring-on the litigation...but can Mr Austin and his merry band afford it?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Come on Ian, feed the flames with some more ill judged comments. I really hope that you have not learnt your lesson because you make me laugh out loud. How about a quote like "that firm had the best of me" or "when the seagulls follow the trawler it`s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea"

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The problem is that it's one rule for a small high street firm run by ethnic minorities and another rule for the national firms. The SRA should have intervened but they didn't have enough staff or a possible firm on panel to deal with this. Then the white knights BLG, HBJG and HD come galloping to the rescue salivating at the prospect of non-existent riches. The partners disappear off into the distance with their ill-gotten gains. 3 months time all will be forgotten. Easy money.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Though it doesn't for a moment detract from his monumental hubris, greed and sheer stupidity there is a tiny grain of truth in what he says - at least he and a few others did stay to the final curtain. What about all the others who pushed off? How about Ms Liversidge, former Sheffield head, for example? I'm not aware of any other former Halliwells' equity partner who marked mass redundancy by posting a jaunty music video to Youtube. The crass insensitiivity is truly staggering. It doesn't suggest much by way of humility or, (like Austin) the first inkiling of recognition of what they have done.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • ‘I gave my life to that practice’-

    this reminds me of Mrs Overall, Acorn Antiques after she got sacked "Does a faithful dog expect to be kicked? That show was my life."

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Greedy equity partners. Was always a firm with a well deserved hard boys attitude. Looks like they got what they deserved - but unfortunately at the expense of the jobs of a lot of overworked and exploited staff. Someone should carefully examine that transaction - maybe the money will be clawed back. Lets see.
    Ian can not possibly be soley responsible for this. Decisions in law firms are taken by groups of partners.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Not many are favourable. I think even the most thick skinned moron would have got the message by now. Good luck Heatons, inspired appointment, you are now known for all the wrong reasons.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anyone noticed his maths are a bit adrift he lost everything and put in £700,000 but took, if reports are to be believed at least £1m as part of the property windfall and I am sure has had a pound or two of drawings in his time. Most of us would be lucky to earn £300K in our working careers.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Re Anonymous 9 Aug 2010, 5.09pm
    He may not have any cash, but his ill-gotten gains are in his SIPP, as are those of the other 40 equity partners.
    On the bright side, section 342A of the Insolvency Act 1986 allows a trustee in bankruptcy to claw back excessive pension contributions. Let's hope that something is done to make them pay something back.
    I would expect that if any of the equity partners do get made bankrupt, the legal costs will be competitive. I can think of a lot of people who'd willingly do the job for nothing.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What about the minimum £25k loans that partners were asked to take out whilst the firm was in serious trouble and that they are now personally liable for?
    The partners were bullied into signing these and were told that if they didn't sign you have no future at Halliwells.
    What about the six months of tax that Halliwells should have paid but instead raided so now partners owe 6 months tax?
    Six months tax plus minumum £25k loan. All done at a time that he must have known the firm was going bust.
    As for a property deal whereby they paid the highest rent so as to trouser £16m well that is beyond words. They received £21m and put only £5m back into the firm and pocketed the rest! Had they not done that then Halliwells would still be afloat.
    None of that money should have been taken as a bonus but if you are going to do that then take £5m and put £16m back into the firm because do you know what happens if you don't? Take a look at what has happened if you don't know.
    This is basic stuff that a corner shop owner could tell you.
    Time for businessmen to run law firms, not lawyers.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • so stop moaning and start suing

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • There is a lot of emotion here but do you honestly think Ian and his fellow equity partners care what you think? They have bought land, built houses and filled their pension pots. There are winners and losers in business. The 40 who took the money are winners and all of you who lost your jobs or foolishly poured money into the Halliwells money pit are losers. Common sense and a less gullible approach would have helped you to avoid these losses. Clever lawyers vs stupid lawyers and look who has won, they have got away with it because the stupid lawyers listened to the hype and failed to look properly at the financials

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Winners and Losers - that's a shockingly heartless answer. Are you autistic?
    Many employees - front office and back office - who competently and calmly got on with their jobs for many years - are now out of work. They're not 'gullible' or lacking in common sense - they simply did what they were asked to do - trust their employer, to whom they owed a duty of good faith.
    They were mislead, not misguided.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Is there a possibility the "stupid" lawyers were just lied to?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • winners and losers | 12-Aug-2010 9:55 pm, the remainder who 'foolishly poured money in' were told that if they didn't then they didn't have a future. They was no 'put this money in and reap benefits', it was more what would happen if you didn't.
    It isn't gullible and nobody put it in lighlty. There wasn't much choice.
    They are all losers because the 'clever' lawyers destroyed a business - how is that success?
    If Directors of a normal business behaved in the way these equity partners did they wouldn't be allowed to run a business again.
    Let's wait for the results of the bodies looking through this.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • We will miss the scallywags and their false profits and pep figures. Now Kennedys and their disturbing homo erotic video stars will have to be the laughing stock of the legal community

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • is that a defence? What happened if you refused to put the money in? Were you shot at dawn?
    Surely the lawyers could have requested financial information to enable them to evaluate the risk. Isn`t that a lawyers job?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If this is true then those who told the lies should be sued for misrepresentation, breach of contract and deceit.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Reading Ian Austin's comments again the sad thing is that he probably believes them.

    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)