Incoming Dickie Dees senior partner to put ABSs at centre of strategy

Dickinson Dees’ newly elected senior partner John Marshall has said the firm’s management team will reassess its business strategy to deal with the challenges posed by alternative business structures (ABSs).  

Marshall was elected to the position following a ballot on 19 March, beating tax partner George Lyall and corporate partner John Flynn to the post.

Marshall, who has been with the firm since joining as a trainee in 1989, will take up the three-year post on 1 April.

“In common with the rest of the profession we’ve experienced a challenging trading period,” he said.

“The market has been difficult and the feeling now is that it’s the right time for us to be looking outwards and upwards, and at what shape business we want to have.

“We’ll be looking at what we’re doing as a national business and what opportunities there are for us to get involved in international work,” he added.

Marshall, who currently heads the firm’s commercial disputes team, said the introduction of ABSs was an opportunity for the firm to reassess its strategy, and that it needed to be “fleet of foot” to meet the challenges it presented.

“Even now it’s comparatively early days and it’s difficult to distil fact from rumour,” he said.

“It’s unlikely firms in the City will take up ABSs, but it’s also likely some firms in the regions will be involved as a means of achieving growth.

“As far as we’re concerned we certainly have no fixed plans, but are conscious of the fact others may well have, and we need a strategy in place to deal with it.”

Marshall will replace Robin Bloom as senior partner.

Bloom announced last year that he was leaving to head the legal team at Teeside-based Gibson O’Neill, which owns freight company Bulkhaul and the hotel, spa and golf club Rockliffe Hall.

Craig Monty will take over Marshall’s position as head of commercial disputes.

The firm’s announcement came as Jonathan Blair was re-elected as managing partner until September 2014.