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30 APR 2012

Russell Jones & Walker approved as an ABS

By Hugh Logue, Newswatch Editor

Russell Jones & Walker (RJW) has been approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority today for a licence to become an Alternative Business Structures (ABS).

It follows the acquisition of RJW by Australian law firm Slater & Gordon's for £53.8 million in January.

RJW has stated that its ambition is to become the largest and most trusted brand for personal legal services in the UK.  

Slater & Gordon Managing Director Andrew Grech said it was the optimum time to enter the UK market because of the changes in ownerships laws and impending changes to the personal injury sector.

"Firms which do not adapt will simply not be able to compete effectively over the long term," Mr Grech said. 

"This partnership gives RJW security so that they can continue providing a first class legal service, but it also gives them the resources needed to develop and grow whilst retaining and attracting talented people in a way that would not have been possible otherwise."

As the owner of the Claims Direct brand, RJW generates the highest proportion of its revenue from personal injury work. However it has stated that it plans to grow its family law department along with other consumer areas of law. Speaking at the Legal Futures conference last week, Mr Grech revealed that Slater & Gordon are possibly looking to acquire more UK firms.    

From today, RJW will trade as ‘Russell, Jones & Walker part of Slater & Gordon Lawyers'. RJW have also registered their 'Your Legal Rights' website as part of their licensed ABS trading name. The website offers free access to basic information about legal rights in various areas of law and sells legal documents including a fixed price divorce pack.

The RJW equity partners have exchanged ownership of a traditional partnership for share-ownership in Slater & Gordon Ltd, the world's first publicly listed law firm. The partners will hold Slater & Gordon shares for a minimum of four years.

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