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Labaton Sucharow might not be a name particularly familiar in the UK market, but that might be about to change.
The US securities class action outfit has been increasingly pounding the pavements around the country recently in an attempt to raise its profile and snare potential clients in the shape of pension funds with US investments.
“We know we’re late to the UK market,” admits of counsel Dominic Auld. “We’re not English-qualified lawyers so we’re not about to appear in the UK courts. This is about us looking to pick up UK and European-based clients who have investments in the US where things go wrong. At that point, we’ll act for them.”
The Lawyer wondered whether these potential clients were receptive to Auld, a man who cheerfully admits that he has effectively moved from being a lawyer to a salesman for his firm.
“Some are, some aren’t,” he replies. “The responses range from ’why are you sitting here in front of me?’, to ’I know what you do and I’m interested’, to ’X firm’s doing it for us so go away’. I roll the dice every time.”
The refreshingly candid Auld is most likely to appeal to clients that want their lawyers to get straight to the point.
“There’s no such thing as an unmotivated litigant,” says Auld. “These people lose money every day. It’s what makes them angry that counts. What makes them angry is if they think they’ve been ripped off. That’s why I’m trying to meet as many institutional investors in the world as I can.” Auld is also beating down doors across Europe and Australia. “If I knew there were some on Mars,” he adds, “I’d be there too.”
Auld is equally up front about his firm’s business model.
“I say, ’Why am I in Bradford sitting in front of you? Because, you know, I’m not from Bradford. Here’s how we make money, this is our business plan.’ Yes, it’s a marketing approach. But the key is that client reach is global. Anyone who trades in the US has won the class action lottery. If they wish to be a plaintiff, they’re in.”