Russell Jones & Walker (RJW) has never been a firm to shy away from making a bold statement. The biggie was when it swooped for volume personal injury brand Claims Direct. That deal reinvigorated a dying business and put RJW on another level.
Critics carp that RJW will do anything for a headline, but much of this is pure snobbery born out of the conservative nature of most partnerships and a lack of knowledge about what the firm does.
In any event, RJW’s critics now have more ammunition. Earlier this year the firm made another statement of intent, albeit one that was probably missed by most of the market. In March RJW made its first-ever lateral equity partner hire, bringing Gary Gallen, formerly a partner at Hull-based Andrew Jackson, straight into the firm’s inner sanctum. Why would the firm break with tradition and make such a move? Today’s lead cover story answers that question.
Gallen has been working on the concept of the Hiscox-underwritten brands 4ExpertProtect and 4ExecProtect for the past three years. He joined RJW specifically to have an appropriate platform from which to launch them.
Chances are Gallen had a meeting of minds with RJW chief executive Neil Kinsella, who has always prided himself on knowing exactly what his clients want and then doing his damndest to deliver it.
With Claims Direct and RJW’s other volume arm 4Legal that has meant focusing on the high street. Now Kinsella and co have revealed they believe they can extend their bulk concept to lawyers too.
Exactly how far they can extend it and how successful it will be no one knows. But already the new products are being talked about as potential post-Legal Services Act investment vehicles (a subject that seems to have gone rather quiet during these past few months of economic turbulence).
It might also soothe the natural tension between the volume side of the business and the commercial partners - including fraud, employment and media - who have been suffering at least from the perception of being sidelined in recent years.
Then again, the whole thing could crash and burn. But one thing’s for sure - Kinsella can never be accused of being afraid to take a risk.