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Speechly Bircham and TLT Solicitors have won a test case in the High Court that paves the way for firms with private client practices to convert to LLP status. Speechly is now set to change to an LLP on 1 November.
On 6 April Mr Justice Lightman ruled that the Probate Registrar will have to recognise members of an LLP as successors to partners in a firm. Prior to this ruling, the Probate Registrars were not treating members as successor partners, making the appointment of partners as executors of wills invalid.
Speechly managing partner Michael Lingens told The Lawyer: "We're very pleased with the outcome of the case. Not only is it advantageous to the profession, but also it removes the potential uncertainty for clients."
If the judgment had gone against Speechly and TLT, any firm acting as an executor wanting to convert to an LLP would have to contact all of its clients to change the wording in their wills or forfeit its role as executor. This may mean contacting thousands of clients to offer free changes.
As first reported by The Lawyer (27 March), Speechly, led by private client partner Alison Meek, acted in a pro bono capacity for TLT. The action was backed by a consortium of 12 firms, which provided financial assistance. The Law Society also contributed to the costs.