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

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  • I thought I saw Ian Austin in a restaurant, so made a point of talking to whoever would listen very loudly about the Halliwells collapse.

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  • How we all laughed when we read this....not. Why not take your medicine like a man Mr Austin instead of a self-serving spineless little bully boy. You took the gain, as they say, now take the pain. Are we really meant to feel anything other than contempt from a man that lacked so in the cojones department when push really came to shove? Why cant he spout his drivel elsewhere? Please dont give him any more column inches - he's had far too many over the years for his own good. Do you think his ego will be dented by what's happened? not a bit, all this is saying is "nowt to do with me, chief".

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  • He ought to be less arrogant now the landlord of st James court has demanded 3.5m in rent. Lol not so cocky now eh big man?

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  • Austin and 4 others gave personal guarantees on the old premises. He is going to lose a lot more than 700k
    My maths like his is really poor. What is 3.5m divided by 5?

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  • Why were the Halliwells partners stuck with Brown Street ??
    Because they had taken a reverse premium from the landlords .
    One guess what they did with it.

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  • What's the prospect of his being made bankrupt? I am not sure how the SRA view this, but it would mean the end for his time as a Trustee at Salford University.

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  • Not true re the g'tees. Alec C and 3 others (not Ian actually) are the named tenants at SJC because the lease dates back to pre LLP days and was never assigned to the LLP, presumably so it didn't show as a liability in the LLP accounts, it certainly wasn't an oversight. Makes the furore about 'assuming they would be released on leaving the LLP' all the more laughable, particularly as one of those who is objecting holds himself out as a property lawyer.

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  • So let us see what the maths actually looks like for some of the full members;
    Ian has helpfully indicated that he put in £700k. We may therefore be able to assume his capital account stood at that figure as with others on presumed maximum points and including the various cash calls. For the guarantors of SJC there appears to be a quarter of £3.5m ie £875k. It is already clear from the reported actions of Paul Thomas that he at least is not convinced the other members will be rushing to pick up their share of that figure.
    Can we also add claims for £20k by all the FSMs if there was any misprepresentation on the cash call and what about the tax?
    Can we also add claims by the admiinistrator for return of any recent distributions including the reverse premium?
    Were the full members taking out funds whilst the firm was trading at a loss and sinking under an ever increasing mountain of debt that it could not satisfy?
    Questions questions.

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  • And to the amounts above should be added those monies derived from activities associated with clients of Halliwells and personally pocketted by those at the top of the points. Non-executive fees, arrangement fees and investment returns many of which were not expressly sanctioned by , or indeed disclosed to , the partnership. Doing property or corporate transactions with Manc clients could be a little like tripping unawares through a minefield as one confronted the ordnance of undisclosed senior-partnerial interests. Halliwells was not like other large law firms in this regard and it is one area where this magazine's reporting has been deficient. Newcomers from large and small firm alike were constantly surprised by the lack of control over these "entrepreneurial" habits.

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  • It seems the partners all resigned from the llp on an hours notice leaving Paul Thomas and the other guarantors to take the pain. It seems the argument goes like this. If you are not a partner the guarantors can't seek a contribution. The guarantors ironically took the largest shares of the reverse premium so there is a bit of poetic justice to this. That having been said it displays the calibre of the people involved in this. Partnership and friendship means nothing to them. They ought to be ashamed of themselves but I doubt they have even given it a second thought.

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  • From my experience of the firm the principle of disclosing and accounting for secret profits obtained by partners was applied very differently according to who you were.

    I do recall a number of partners having problems in this area which appeared to be remarkably similar to situations that did not attract censure for certain others. It appeared to me that this was used as a tool to get rid of certain partners if their face had ceased to fit.

    This does however support what is suggested above as by doing this there is evidence of the principle being accepted by the management who will pesumably now need to explain why their situation was different if they are to defend a claim from the administrator.

    Perhaps we areall wrong about this and the relevant individuals will very shortly be stumping up large sums for the benefit of RBS, FSMs and others.

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  • It shouldn't be forgotten that not every partner at Halliwells can be tarred with the same brush and it was a minority who created this situation. The Liverpool office succesfully managed to protect the majority of its staff including the future trainees. All of those parties are extremely grateful to the people from the Halliwells Liverpool office for their help and support as well as all those involved at Hill Dickinson.

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  • When did the marketing firm 24/7 owned by Austin, Craig, Hills et al cease to receive payment for its services?

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  • any more news from Salford? Does Austin still loom large over the finances of the university or has he fallen on his sword?

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  • Unfortunately Austin is still looming large at Salford, and the University are refusing to clarify whether or not they will be considering his position:

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/halliwells_llpchair_of_audit_com#outgoing-78739

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  • Re 24/7

    An equally interesting question would be how much 24/7 was being paid for its services, and how much profit went to its owners as opposed to the people who worked for it.

    Does anyone know the correct name or company number for it, as there are a lot of 24/7 names at companies house. A look at the last few years' accounts might be interesting.

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  • 24/7 Comms Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales with number 5079956.

    www.247comms.co.uk

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  • Is he administrator reading these exchanges and taking note? If not perhaps it would be sensible to make sure he knows to check the relationship with any provider of goods or services to the LLP.

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  • I'm too cheap to pay to access those accounts - anybody care to communicate the jist of what secrets they spill (if any)?

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  • Funnily enough, and as previously disclosed by ROF, the shareholders of 24/7 were (at the relevant times) all equity partners (or former equity partners) and the former FD of Halliwells LLP.

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