Knights’ investor James Caan sets out lofty ambitions to break into UK top 20 By Katy Dowell 22 July 2013 00:03 17 December 2015 11:55 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 22 July 2013 at 09:26 This firm will never get into the top 20, what solicitor would be happy to progress their career at a firm with no partnership prospects. Rather than hit the top 20, I predict that this firm will quietly disappear in the next few years and Caan will pull out. Reply Link Anonymous 22 July 2013 at 09:34 I wonder if Challinors is available for purchase? Reply Link Anonymous 22 July 2013 at 11:57 Without some big name lawyers, it’s going to be very difficult for Knights to do more than become a high street chain, slogging it out on low margin work. Reply Link Bob 22 July 2013 at 13:33 There we have, in a nutshell, at 9.26, one of the biggest hurdles facing the legal profession. Who says partnership is the right structure for a law firm? Reply Link Anonymous 22 July 2013 at 15:40 @Anon 9.26: You fail to recognise that there are a lot of traditional partnerships where the “prospect of partnership” line used on fee earners is wearing a bit thin. For most fee earners the prospects of making partnership are worse than they’ve ever been. So the self-confident view from partnership level about Knight’s likely demise may not be so readily shared by non-partner fee earners. Reply Link Anonymous 23 July 2013 at 10:08 Has the legal profession learned nothing from Dickinson Dees? They used to make grandiose statements like this. It doesn’t impress anyone. It just hikes up expectations and makes the firm look foolish when it fails to meet its own hype. Reply Link Anonymous 23 July 2013 at 11:59 Knights look like the new “Quality Solicitors”. Stacy Solomon to sing at the next office opening? Probably. A long mooted merger with Bond Dickinson that never happens? Probably. I guess there must be some value in these gimmicks. For example, they’ve managed to get a few column inches by making a crazy statement. Reply Link Jess 23 July 2013 at 12:38 @anon 9:26am – I echo the two comments above re. partnership. I’m sick of being told that to not particularly want to be a partner is to lack ambition. Complete tripe. I have ambition to rise in my profession. I have ambition to learn. I have ambition to become a respected solicitor in my chosen field. I also have ambition to earn more money as I become more experienced. Why do you have to be a partner to earn the money you deserve as an experienced solicitor and have greater control over your flexibility in working? No reason at all, other than an outdated approach to business structures. Beyond that, what does partnership bring you…? Management responsibilities. If I had ambition to be a business manager I would have gone into business management unsurprisingly. I have no interest in that whatsoever. It’s great that some people want all of the additional things that come along with being a partner in an old-style firm; the good and the bad. I don’t. It doesn’t mean I lack ambition as a solicitor. Reply Link Anonymous 24 July 2013 at 11:53 Apart from the partnership point, what are Knights going to do that is so different from any other law firm? Mergers? That is very radical! Just saying that you want to be a top 20 firm is not enough, what are they going to do to get there apart from just quoting James Caan’s name constantly and merging? It is a bit of joke…….. Reply Link Anonymous 24 July 2013 at 15:31 Knights can be a top 20 firm. Just get rid of most of the staff. Divert all of Caan’s legal work through the organisation. Write to the top 20 and offer to sell the firm to them. Job done. Growing into a top 20 firm is impressive. Being taken over by a top 20 firm is less impressive. Reply Link John carruthers 24 July 2013 at 17:17 9.26 you are so wrong. The partnership model is not fit for purpose and is an inadequate business vehicle if you want to grow and retain capital in the firm. The future lies with corporate structures. Whilst individual lawyers may aspire to becoming a partners, clients could not care less about titles. Clients are interested in service, price and expertise not labels. Reply Link Anonymous 25 July 2013 at 13:22 I’m not sure how Knights will stand out from all the other ‘full service regional’ firms out there. Even if your strategy is to merge with other firms, rather than grow organically, you still need to have the clients, the work, the culture and values and the financial stability etc. for other firms to want to merge with you. Altneratively you go for the firms in trouble who need to be taken over to survive, but I’m not convinced merging with a bunch of firms on the verge of administration is a sound business plan either. That said, the no-partner model is quite interesting and it will be interesting to see how other firms/clients react to that. Reply Link Anonymous 25 July 2013 at 13:34 Some odd comments here about the partnership point. Who would choose not to be a partner if it was on offer? Who would say “No thanks, I do not want the extra money and responsibility, but I am happy for my peers to make it and then start to tell me what to do”. Just because it is now harder than ever to make partner does not mean that 99% of solicitors would not take up the role if it was on offer. Reply Link Anonymous 25 July 2013 at 17:34 @ Anon 1:34. The point is that some commentators no-one will want to work with a firm with no partnership prospects, yet the reality is that there are many firms out there at the moment where there are very slim pickings as far as partnership prospects are concerned anyway. You then look at the pay distribution of a top heavy partnership (complete with demand for high PEP) and that of an equity financed model. There well be more pay at non-partner fee earner level in an equity financed business than a traditional firm where junior fee earners are billing 5+ times salary to make sure PEP is maintained. Therefore, despite many of the profession wanting to be partners, they are beginning to realise that the statement “you will reap the rewards of partnership one day” is barely worth the breath it is carried on. Once that penny drops, many fee earners may be happy to trade higher pay now against the thin and uncertain prospect of making partnership at some point in the longer and more distant future. Reply Link Anonymous 29 July 2013 at 16:59 Anyone who qualified after 2002 must question whether a career in law is right for them. The chances of getting partnership are now very slim. The age you will get partnership keeps on going up. The salary provided to new partners is low. The likelihood of equity is low. PEP is currently falling in most firms. Yet, when someone offers an alternative strategy they are derided. May I suggest that a meritocracy based firm is an excellent idea, rather than the current situation where good fee earners work long hours to keep old partners in place (who never made the same commitment in their good years). Good on you James Caan and David Beech. Reply Link Anonymous 30 July 2013 at 14:08 @Anon 4:59, wise words indeed. Of course, changing to a meritocracy in an existing firm would involve some turkeys voting for Christmas – which is why Caan and Beech know that making inroads in the legal services sector is currently relatively easy for new-starters who are prepared to innovate against outdated business practices. Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.