If ABS was the story of 2012, Russell Jones & Walker was one of the main protagonists, having announced its acquisition by listed Australian firm Slater & Gordon right at the start of the year.
For UK general counsel Rebecca Bell (scroll down for video interview), who project-managed the transaction on the UK side, the announcement was the culmination of months of hard work – and the beginning of a whole lot more.
“I’d done a lot of project management for the firm in the past, but this was so important to the partners. Because it concerned the future of the business it was quite full-on,” recalls Bell.
Having overseen a small team that carried out due diligence before the deal became public knowledge, from the January announcement Bell worked closely with the SRA to ensure the firm gained its ABS licence by 27 April.
“We were one of the first [to apply for a licence] so it felt a bit like we were guinea pigs, but I liked that,” says Bell. “The biggest highlight of the year was when the licence came through from the SRA. I still remember how happy I was. It was such a relief and I knew everything else would fall into place.”
Now the excitement of the Slater & Gordon deal has died down a little, Bell has moved on to her next challenge: taking charge of all risk and compliance issues for the firm as its compliance officer for legal practice.