Hextalls regroups as LLP following administration

Failed insurance firm Hextalls has unveiled its new management lineup as a limited company, with partner Alex Padfield appointed as managing director.

Hextalls was put into a prepacked administration in March following a spate of partner exits, which left the firm with overheads that outweighed its projected income for the 2008-09 year-end.

The partnership took the decision to set up a limited company to acquire LLP status, preventing Hextalls from ending up on the Law Society’s intensive care list and allowing the new firm to collect the LLP’s outstanding debts to pay off creditors.

Padfield replaces Dominic Lang as managing director, although Lang remains on the new board alongside litigation partner Matthew Hennessey-Gibbs and senior associate Julian Morris.

The firm has been forced to move away from its employment, insolvency, and IP practices, instead focusing on four key ­divisions. Commercial ­litigation is headed by ­Hennessey-Gibbs, travel and leisure by Padfield, while Lang is heading the shipping practice. Morris, a former general practitioner, will lead the employers’ and public liability practice.

“It’s been hard work, but you can feel that the atmosphere has changed,” Padfield told The Lawyer. “The ­problem with the LLP is that we had great lawyers but we didn’t have the ­management expertise.

“The new management structure has been set up for marketing and business development purposes and the file management will be done by lawyers. We need businesspeople to run the business.”

At the 2007-08 year-end Hextalls was home to 20 partners, whereas today there are just three with a staff base of 30.
Padfield said the pressure is now on to rebuild a strong team of lawyers.