ABS: Russell Jones & Walker

The SRA has announced that Russell Jones & Walker have been authorised as an ABS organisation. You may recall that they were taken over earlier this year (pending this step) by Australian firm Slater & Gordon. They themselves were pioneers by being the first law firm in the world to float on a stock exchange.

So RJW manage to be the first foreign owned ABS and the first floated ABS in the one day.

While this has been on the stocks for some time, and is therefore not a surprise, it shows that any assumption that ABS just means “Tesco” is wrong. The implications are much wider, as indeed is illustrated by the NewLaw and other authorisation.

Gazette report here, The Lawyer here.

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ABS: Cardiff Law Firm Authorised

News that PI firm NewLaw of Cardiff and Glasgow has been granted an ABS licence by the SRA. It is the first legal disciplinary practice so authorised.

Apart from not being Tesco, what is interesting is that the firm was formed in 2004 with this pretty well in mind. This gives them an advantage of not having to change from a traditional partnership approach, and the attitude “we have always done it this way”. And with 250 staff (57 solicitors) across 2 offices, they are already doing quite well.

What joint ventures do they have up their sleeves? We will have to wait to find out.

The Lawyer report here.

The Benefit of Holidays

First day back after a week in Croatia (wet, but warm, thanks for asking). I am still trying to settle back in and catch up on what I should be doing.

But I am still feeling the benefit of an active holiday in a new place, and forgetting about work. The stress level is down!

The benefit is more than that. I have met a number of new people, some of whom had interesting stories. So I know more about the arguments on climate change, about life in rural Ireland and about art.

So although this was in no way business related, the holiday also had the benefit that networking can have of opening up my ideas.

The moral? Make sure you take a break from time to time, and switch off the email!

Birmingham – an American City?

“These folk never have a minute to themselves. They work as if they must get rich by the evening, and die the next day. They are generally intelligent people, but intelligent in the American way”

Alexis de Toqueville on the people of Birmingham, 1835

When I first moved to Birmingham, my boss described it as an American city. Nothing to do with the accent, but more the attitude. And de Toqueville shows that this is nothing new.

Birmingham starts again and rebuilds itself, physically and metaphorically. Sometimes the results may not quite work, for example the 1960’s planning. Yet the city is willing to undo for example the moving of pedestrians underground.

Is it losing this attitude? There is some sign that it is. I have taken part in several discussions over the impact of an elected mayor, where there are suggestions that this is a panacea. My own view is that the people of Birmingham need to develop themselves and the city, and that can start today.

What do you think?