Would you like to work at a factory firm?

Less than two months after the no-win no-fee era was forcibly shut down (1 April) and the repercussions are being borne out by what appears to be a fresh merger frenzy in the personal injury world.

It is clear that some firms have positioned themselves to make a pre-emptive strike in buying up bulk business in a pile-them high sell them cheap deal.

Take Parabis, the insurance firm that converted to an ABS last August after a £50m cash injection from private equity house Duke Street. With that pot of cash the firm can be offer a safe haven to a firm that might be assessing a future without recoverability in conditional fee arrangements.

This morning it revealed details of a merger with Greenwoods.

In 2007, three years before the then Master of the Rolls Sir Anthony Clarke asked Lord Justice Jackson to review civil litigation costs, Greenwoods was declaring that it would grow aggressively after launching in Manchester. Now it appears that the firm is looking for safety in numbers.

Another Manchester stalwart, Russell Jones & Walker, last year rebranded to Slater & Gordon after being acquired by the Australian-listed firm. A year down the line and the firm is bulking up by acquiring Simpson Millar, Goodmans Law and the personal injury practice of Taylor Vinters.

Could these firms, considered by many to be the factory end of the profession, be moulding the business model of the future? Are they future contenders to be shortlisted for The Lawyer Awards?

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