Scott Wilkes, the commercial litigation and insolvency firm established by breakaway Hammonds partner Robert Scott, and which opens today (30 September), has set up as a limited liability partnership (LLP)
The three-partner firm has opted for LLP status, said Scott, because that is what he would advise his own clients in non-legal partnerships to do. LLPs are formed to protect partners from taking on each other's liabilities should any of them face negligence claims. Scott said it was easy for the firm to become an LLP because as a start-up it is not burdened by an existing partnership agreement. "The beauty of setting up from scratch was that we just had to crack out an LLP agreement," Scott said. Two-partner firm Kemp Little converted to LLP status for similar reasons in July last year. The LLP was put in place when the firm moved from being a sole practitioner to a partnership and there was no original partnership deed to convert. Scott said the only potential glitch in opting for an LLP status is that it requires him and his two partners to officially be known as 'members' rather than partners. "We took advice from counsel and we are allowed to call ourselves partners as long it is clear on all our business communications that we are an LLP," Scott said. Scott left Hammonds three months ago but has just completed his gardening leave. He has set up Scott Wilkes with two senior assistants from Hammonds - Andy Wilkes and Tim Francis. The group joined Hammonds from niche finance firm Wildes last summer, when the national firm took on the bulk of the smaller practice.