News UK Law firms Halliwells to appoint administrator; BLG and Hill Dicks vie for assets By Margaret Taylor 25 June 2010 12:01 17 December 2015 16:14 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer Anonymous 25 June 2010 at 12:49 confirming what we all have known for a long time. Reply Link Spinningfields Landlord 25 June 2010 at 13:16 So, from being a firm ‘on the rise’ to a firm about to enter administration what happened in between ? Is this all about the debt or are there deeper internal issues at play? Reply Link Anonymous 25 June 2010 at 13:45 Oh dear wot a shame, i was in the first round of the cull. Pretty nasty i can tell you. Reply Link Anonymous Lawyer of London 25 June 2010 at 14:01 We all know about this… Reply Link Anonymous 25 June 2010 at 14:08 I find this a sad time for the many employee’sof halliwell’s who may be about to lose their livlyhoods through the unreserved greed of a very few, I hope those few can live with their conscience as I’m sure they won’t be bumping into any former employees at the job centre or the benefits office. Reply Link Anonymous 25 June 2010 at 14:39 Anyone who knows the firm or has worked there knows that the firm is built in the utter greed of a selected few. You reap what you sow. Good riddance Reply Link Joan 25 June 2010 at 14:53 After what my so called collegues got up to and they know who they are. Have a nice life! Reply Link Anonymous 25 June 2010 at 15:27 Wonder whose next if the banks are pulling the rug on law firms – watch them players fall… Reply Link Anonymous 25 June 2010 at 15:32 I was wondering what took the bank so long. Reply Link Greg Arious 25 June 2010 at 15:42 Its interesting that they have still been hiring at partner level up to quite recently, both in London and the regions to replace the many, many people who have walked. I’m afraid those new recruits only have themelves to blame for joining this firm given its well publicised problems. Reply Link Litigation Queen 25 June 2010 at 15:47 Being taken over by BLG sounds like “out of the frying pan and into the fire”!! Reply Link TOO BIG TO FAIL! 25 June 2010 at 16:39 How ironic the bank involved is the RBS; when I questioned it in mid-2007 about protection of my assets I was told it was too big to fail; it didn’t see what was coming but I did and moved just in time! The RBS was involved in aggressive market activity, poor merger decisions, and not being able to see what was coming around the corner, just like Halliwells, perhaps these two were made for each other! Reply Link Anonymous 25 June 2010 at 16:45 “Anyone who knows the firm or has worked there knows that the firm is built in the utter greed of a selected few. You reap what you sow. Good riddance” Totally agree. A horrible firm full of horrible people. Reply Link Manchester lawyer 25 June 2010 at 16:50 I thought their new offices looked very expensive Reply Link Andrew 25 June 2010 at 16:51 I have been a commercial litigator in Manchester for about 10 years now, and I have never heard anyone with a single good word to say about Halliwells. They epitomise everything that is currently wrong with the legal industry. I hope their deserved and abject failure serves as a detererrent to others. I have every sympathy for their many hundreds of dedicated staff who risk losing their jobs to enhance the PEP of a handful of soulless nerds, who are wasting their time pursuing money anyway because they don’t have the first clue how to enjoy it. Reply Link Anonymous 25 June 2010 at 17:15 Almost as shocking as the demise of Halliwells is the prospective evolution of Blg into a pile em high sell it cheap operation. Reply Link aahafezi 25 June 2010 at 17:20 There seems to be common thread running through 90’s insurence practises.This is a 3rd insurence firm in my wrking life experiancing difficulties. Reply Link Anonymous 25 June 2010 at 17:24 ‘Average profit per equity partner (PEP) fell by around a third to below £300,000′ There’s a term that needs definition! ”Profit’ should really mean what’s available for distribution after paying what the partner would receive if he/she were an employee? Reply Link City Gent 25 June 2010 at 17:58 Good riddance to bad rubbish. Of all the commercial firms I have ever dealt with Halliwells were consistently the most unpleasant, pointlessly aggressive and generally objectionable. Manchester is better off without them. Reply Link Annoymous 25 June 2010 at 18:09 This is such a bad time, it not only affects the employees but also a knock effect to families and extended families and friends. Reply Link Insider 25 June 2010 at 22:07 Well done to the management team that took the view that it was a good idea to take £21M out of the Firm immediately prior to the much anticipated downturn. Your greedy stupidity has resulted in a number of decent hard working people to default on their mortgages and have money worries for years to come. You should hang your heads in shame. Of course you will not even give them a second thought. All those who took the money should hang their heads in shame. Greedy stupid selfish spivs. I wonder whether the administrator looks at the reverse premium fiasco. I suppose it depends on whether he is truly independent or a “in and out” merchant brought in by his mates. Reply Link Anonymous 25 June 2010 at 22:09 On reading about this I was put in mind of the great William Golding and his work “The Spire”. This was a tale of the hubris of a provincial priest who stuck an unfeasbly large and unwieldy spire on an unsuitable church that was built on reed foundations. Of course the whole building collapsed. The provincial priest claimed that his actions were to the greater glory of God. They were, of course, always to the greater glory of him. Spinningfields is Halliwells’ spire. I have observed some of the comments on this board. I know that there are many good people there who did not deserve this embarrassment. Reply Link Laura Biding Citizen 25 June 2010 at 22:21 I was likewise told that the firm was “solid” and “too big to fail”. Monumental greed, arrogance and incompetence at senior/management level has choked the life out of a once fine firm. The day of reckoning with director disquals and worse lies in wait. Reply Link Anonymous 25 June 2010 at 22:48 I worked in london and witnessed the bullying,sexual harrassment, and outright greed first hand. The partners know who they are – no better than criminals. Reply Link Fellow professional 25 June 2010 at 23:55 I am not surprised that Halliwells have succumbed to their knees and the banks have called time on their ‘debts’. Oh the irony that it is RBS that is instigating this administration. I have a reliable source who has informed me that this demise could have been prevented had it not been for the greed of the partners who believed in short term hedonistic gains and lavish offices rather than pragmatic and prudent investment for the future. I have met staff at Halliwells some who are decent professionals but the majority are so arrogant that they believe they are superior to everyone else. Having been through redundancy in an top 10 accountancy firm myself I understand the emotional strains and stresses one has to endure. My sympathy are to those decent, honest, ambitious and genuine professionals who will now have to consider looking for another job. The winners of this disaster will of course be their competitors. I say well done to the other firms who were pragmatic and shrewd with their monies in the good times. Let this be a lesson to the other law/accountancy firms. Reply Link Anonymous 26 June 2010 at 07:55 The whole firm has been brought down by the greed of a few who swooped in, took as much as they could and then left. They should be named and shamed. Hundreds of people are going to lose their jobs and livelihoods. It’s all very well saying that th firm as a whole were “unpleasant” but show a little sympathy for the employees who have played no part in their downfall. Reply Link Anonymous 26 June 2010 at 09:11 As others have pointed out – there are very few people with a good word to say about Halliwells and their fall seems to have been accelerated by greed, arrogance and aggression. I’m currently reading “How The Mighty Fall” by the great Business writer Jim Collins. He identifies the 1st 3 steps in corporate faliures as being Hubris Born of Sucess, which “kicks in when people become arogant”; Undisciplined Pursuit of More (Spinningfields anyone?) and Denial of Risk and Peril – I noticed a new appointment at Halliwells only last week (poor soul). I supose Halliwells provides a great example of these steps. As for next steps: Whilst BLG have had their problems, they maintain a reputation for better end Insurance work. What remains at Halliwells looks more like knockabut RTA/EL/PL stuff. Meanwhile Hill Dick Partners must be licking their lips at the prospect of what such an acquisition will do to PEP. Whilst Halliwells will have different clients to HD and higher levels of penetration in certain accounts, there will be considerable overlap in client bases and I suspec t this will be a case of 2+2 = 3, rather than 2+2 = 5. That is to say, the extra staff/Partner costs will probably not be justified by a proportionaly high leap in turnover. Reply Link Anonymous 26 June 2010 at 10:22 Its the suppliers who will feel it first, thank god we got shafted by a rival supplier. Its probably saved our business, what comes around goes around. You know who you are. Reply Link Anonymous 26 June 2010 at 19:17 Greed !! Reply Link Anonymous 26 June 2010 at 19:21 Greed plays a big part in this. Reply Link Ex Halliwells Lawyer 26 June 2010 at 21:12 Good riddance!! I can safely say Halliwells was the worst firm I have ever worked for, I left in 2009 just before the 4 day imposed week and round of cuts, it was the best decision of my life. If you weren’t a partner you got treated like dirt and the partners greed was evident, they would stab you in the back in a heart beat. I won’t miss them good riddance!! Reply Link Anonymous 26 June 2010 at 23:32 I feel saddened for the many decent hardworking employees and their families who will now suffer because of the greed of their solicitor employers. I myself was an early victim of their arrogance and with the benefit of hindsight would suggest the removal of RL in 1996 unleashed all that is now apparent. Reply Link Anonymous 27 June 2010 at 13:19 I’m worried about my job… I enjoy working for Halliwells Reply Link Anonymous 27 June 2010 at 17:10 What really bought down this business was the bitching and squabbling of grown men behaving like teenage girls. How very sad. Reply Link James Nicholls - Nicholls & Co. Insolvency Special 27 June 2010 at 22:23 Who’s next? Reply Link Ex legal sec 27 June 2010 at 22:24 Well well well, how the mighty fall…. In my 30-odd years as a legal secretary, all I can say is good riddance to a bunch of ruthless shysters. Reply Link Gar Sole 28 June 2010 at 10:05 Interesting, given that one of their more senior worms decamped to DAC shortly before the fall…. Reply Link David Meynell 28 June 2010 at 10:56 What powers does a liquidator of an LLP have to set-aside earlier transactions? Assuming the distribution of £16 million on the property punt can be challenged this could explain why RBS have withdrawn “support”. Reply Link Anonymous 28 June 2010 at 11:32 “City Gent | 25-Jun-2010 5:58 pm Of all the commercial firms I have ever dealt with Halliwells were consistently the most unpleasant, pointlessly aggressive and generally objectionable. Manchester is better off without them”. Really couldn’t agree more. Nasty firm to deal with, they are the only firm I can think of that I am not sad to see go under. Reply Link Anonymous 28 June 2010 at 13:21 I worked at Halliwellsin a support capacity for the best part of my career and loved it there. I know many people can’t say that, but for me, that’s the truth. However, when they very recently decided I was no longer of any use, the way I was treated was beyond cruel and it has taken me a long time to get over how a once decent person turned so god damn horrid. But that was just one individual who should have behaved better., I can honestly say that I worked with many decent and hard working people and I know I am in the minority here, but there’s a part of me that feels very sad that this has happened….it could have been avoided. Spinningfields, you are a gorgeous building, but Halliwells should have stayed put on Brown Street. Reply Link Anonymous 28 June 2010 at 14:54 It is always sad to see the demise of a major law firm. It does not bode well for the profession as a whole and there must be a fair chance of another firm or two going the same way soon, in the present economic climate. Presumably yet another group of partners in a law firm will be knocking on the door of Ralli Partnership Law ! A silver lining perhaps for some but generally not good news. Reply Link family member of a Halliwells employee 28 June 2010 at 17:02 very sad to hear this news, I just hope all the lower level staff, who from what I hear are over-worked and under enough stress anyway (my husband included) aren’t tossed aside when someone new takes over. Reply Link Anonymous 28 June 2010 at 18:27 Good riddance. Reply Link Not bitter 28 June 2010 at 19:38 The irony of this article and most of the bitter, misinformed comments above is that Halliwells is not actually in administration – fact. If, it chooses to put inself into administration at a later date on the back of a merger/takover, that is something quite different. (Please note I am not a Halliwells partner!!) Reply Link Trainee Applicant 28 June 2010 at 20:01 I remember undetaking an interview at this firm two years back. I have never come across such pretentious individuals at all levels in my life. The firm honestly thought it was Magic outside of the circle but little did it know it was the fruit pip at the bottom of the bin! I’m ever so glad to hear of its disappearance in particular in Manchester where the firm felt they were by far the elitest! – Shame on those innocent individuals whose livelihoods hang by an uncertain thread. Reply Link Ex Halliwells 28 June 2010 at 20:34 As someone who formerly worked at Halliwells I can only concur with some of the comments here. The partners at this firm knew very little other than their particular field of expertise and displayed very little nouse when it came to handling the upcoming recession. The fact that some partners, like rats leaving a sinking ship will escape the turmoil that many others will face is the utmost in injustice. The firm and it’s partners deserve no sympathy…. Reply Link Dwain Dibbs 29 June 2010 at 08:28 I can tell you that the downfall of ‘H’ is as a result of one thing, sub-standard practice management by their support staff. Reply Link Anonymous 29 June 2010 at 11:41 Good riddance! Probably the worse firm ever to work for. People who had been there for years were promoted to director level even though they couldn’t do the job. I feel really sorry for the hard working support staff who will no doubt be the first to face the axe. The EP’s who shared the multi million pound payout for Spinningfields can all retire/move on with a big greedy smile on their faces. Reply Link Halliwells is not the exception 29 June 2010 at 14:17 I’ve worked in the legal industry for many years (and also had the inexorable joy of working at Halliwells) and I have to say the greed and general bad management is the norm at most firms. Anyone who claims otherwise simply isn’t privy to management discussions/the rationale behind decisions! Lawyers are right in there with bankers in terms of values/morals. It’s all about the money honey! The partners couldn’t care less about the staff as long as they come out unscathed (and of course it will be structured in such a way that the partners will). Reply Link Anonymous 29 June 2010 at 15:34 It is more likely than not that the decision to put the firm into admin was the partners’, rather than the banks’. From the banks’ perspective, the LLP will have little by way of tangible assets to secure the borrowing, with only debtors and WIP available as realisable assets, neither of which will realise anything like their face value. The banks’ best outcome would ordinarily be a refinancing, , particularly by providing additional finance to partners personally to invest in the LLP. I suspect that, with the exit of so many partners, coupled with poor profitability, the working capital shortfall was more than the partners were prepared to bridge personally. The admin route at least enables them, potentially, to draw a line under their personal liabilities at this stage, and gives them the chance to move on. Now that the unthinkable has happened, though, do not be surprised if there are not more such high profile casualties. I think we could all draw up a preety obvious list. Reply Link Anon 29 June 2010 at 16:07 City Gent | 25-Jun-2010 5:58 pm Of all the commercial firms I have ever dealt with Halliwells were consistently the most unpleasant, pointlessly aggressive and generally objectionable. Manchester is better off without them. You obviously never litigated (espec on disease work) against their Sheffield office, to whom the same description could certainly be applied. In fact, a friend of mine who was a litigation partner in their Manchester office once told me that even they couldn’t stand their Sheffield litigation colleagues. Good luck, Kennedys, when they join you! Reply Link Anonymous 29 June 2010 at 23:21 Anonymous | 29-Jun-2010 3:34 pm – I have to say that is probably the most rational and fair comment on here. Reply Link Anonymous 30 June 2010 at 08:26 Having worked at Halliwells for many years I was treated disgracefully by them as my time with them reached its end. The Partners are outragiously arrogant and they pack together like wild animals against anyone who raises an issue. I am not aware of any EP in the firm worthy of respect. I would hope that the EPs would suffer financially from this. Sadly however, it will likely be the poor staff who will pay the cost as the EPs will have covered their greedy backs without a care for anybody else. I am so glad I escaped that nasty little firm. I I wish support staff the best and EPs the worst. Reply Link Anonymous 30 June 2010 at 09:51 All the partners were class acts Reply Link Anonymous 30 June 2010 at 15:58 Ha ha ha ha ha….still cannot pick myself up off the floor since first seeing this story….good riddance! Reply Link Rhubarb & Custard 30 June 2010 at 16:21 The name Halliwells will die, but the characters who killed it will relocate, like a virus and carry on with the same behaviour in their new ‘hosts’, causing ructions, upsetting people, driving for cash over discretion. After all, if they join as equity partners they will have votes, have capital in your firm, and one day gain management roles and start to tell you what to do, just like they did in Halliwells – and we can see where that got everyone. Are not the firms thinking of hiring these partners asking for serious trouble by taking these people on board, even if they do have a book of business? It is perhaps the associates they should be bringining on if they can (although given market conditions God help the juniors.) Reply Link Anonymous 1 July 2010 at 20:30 I have been on the legal scene in manchester for over 40years and have seen a dramatic fall in what I call good practice within the profession. Seems Halliwells are none too popular with their own staff – always a recipe for disaster Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.