Nabarro partner sets up niche practice for SME advice

A corporate partner who left Nabarro in January has set up his own niche practice catering to SMEs.

Martin Finnegan
Martin Finnegan

Martin Finnegan, an M&A lawyer specialising in advising AIM clients, has launched Causeway Law with former Treasury Solicitor’s Department employment litigator Claire Thorogood, his wife.

Finnegan left Nabarro at the end of January 2012 and established Causeway Law in February, having got an offer to work on retainer from a financial services client.

“I act as their in-house counsel and they involve me in every aspect of their business, more so than you would typically see as a lawyer in a big firm,” said Finnegan. “I spend around half my week working for that client, managing their legal function leaving me time to develop Causeway’s practice as well.”

Finnegan added that he left Nabarro on good terms and would still refer work to his old firm.

“The legal market is changing so rapidly,” said Finnegan. “Clients are so much more open to the idea of boutiques now: if you have the pedigree, clients are very open to using you. Clients are much more sophisticated buyers of legal services now, too. I would never have thought two years ago that I would’ve done this.

“The mid-market for corporate lawyers is very competitive. Of course, it’s tough for me too but as a smaller firm you can be more fleet-footed, have fewer overheads and you don’t need to chase transactions that even when landed are very hard to do profitably.”

Finnegan hopes to expand the practice to around five lawyers in the next year or two.

News of his firm’s launch comes shortly after two disputes partners at Hogan Lovells announced that they were leaving to start a litigation boutique (20 March 2012).

Finnegan joined Nabarro from McGrigors, where he was head of capital markets, in 2008 (7 July 2008).