Sheffield firm set for administration; BDO called in

Five equity-partner Sheffield-based conveyancing firm Ashton Morton Slack has filed to go into administration.

Administrators BDO was appointed on Friday on the administration of the firm, which had a turnover of £7.5m in 2008 and which also advises on business, personal injury and private client work. BDO partners Dermot Power and Graham Newton are advising.

The news of the current financial troubles comes three months after the law firm relaunched its financial services venture with Burley Financial Services. Northchurch Financial provides financial advice in a wide range of areas including retirement planning, wealth management, estate planning and employee benefits packages. Northchurch Financial is understood not to be affected by any potential administration.

The law firm was also one of 30 outfits that made money from providing advice to coalminers who suffered from respiratory diseases and vibration white finger. However, it was found to have been overpaid and was subsequently forced to repay £1.45m of the revenues (3 September 2007).

While last year four partners – Jeremy Brooke, Edward Hartley, John Hodgson and Balginder Kaur – were referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in respect of their handling of the miners’ compensation claims.

Two of the partners in question were fined £8,000 each and two were fined £4,000 each and were ordered to pay costs.

There was no answer at the firm’s offices today when called by The Lawyer.

Head of Addleshaws professional services and LLP group Richard Linsell commented: “I think that, sadly, 2011 is going to see a substantial number of law firm administrations.”