Slater & Gordon sets out to become the biggest name in UK consumer law
There must have been a collective sigh of relief at Slater & Gordon’s London HQ recently when the firm reported a 10 per cent rise in UK revenues, to £46.1m, to the Australian Securities Exchange.
The first-of-a-kind union has high hopes for consumer market domination and, from a financials perspective, it’s off to a good start. By the time the Aussie-listed consumer giant acquired legacy Russell Jones & Walker (RJW) in January last year it had seen revenue jump by 190 per cent since 2007 and established itself as a household name Down Under. At RJW, by comparison, revenues were stalling and the firm was on the lookout for investment.
There are, of course, other contenders for the consumer crown. Quality Solicitors and the Co-op have already made bids to establish reputations as legal service providers to the masses. Arguably, the biggest competitor to Slater & Gordon is Irwin Mitchell, a firm that has already launched an ad campaign. With a longer history and broader disciplinary reach, it may just pip the Aussies to the post.
An advertising campaign is far more likely to hit home and Slater & Gordon is in the privileged position of having already cracked the market in Australia – COO Cath Evans and UK head Neil Kinsella claim the brand has 80 per cent unprompted recognition there, a level unheard of in the UK, where around 12,000 firms are battling for a slice of the market.
It is acting for those who were victims of Jimmy Savile as well as running Thalidomide litigation, but do the public remember who acted for who at the High Court? As Slater & Gordon prepares the launch of its UK brand-awareness campaign the question is – will it be able to replicate the level of awareness it has in Australia? Until now, the firm has relied on high-profile litigation and mainstream press coverage to cement its reputation in the public psyche as high-quality everyman litigators.
Then again, if the rate of Slater & Gordon acquisitions continues as it has been, it may not be too late – take a look at our bolt-ons table for details of the growth spurt so far.