ABS applications

The only practical way for a law firm to operate with a non-lawyer involved as a manager, owner or investor is to become an alternative business structure (ABS).  Armstrong Watson has supported a number of firms with their application to become licensed as an ABS and we currently act for seven separate ABSs on an ongoing basis.

We will help you to understand the process involved in the ABS application, and whether you should decide to proceed. We’ll manage the process from end-to-end, ensuring a smooth and seamless application.

We will provide fixed fees for each stage of the application process in advance which will be dependent on the level and scope of our required input.

  • Initial assessment meeting to consider the application process; to understand what is involved and to assist with the decision whether to apply
  • Provision of the SRA application forms for both the practice and the individuals, with guidance on how to complete the forms
  • Creation of the chosen structure vehicle
  • Review of the SRA forms prior to submission to the SRA
  • Preparation, or review, of integrated financial forecasts prior to submission to the SRA
  • Review and sense check of business and continuity plans and risk analysis and assessments prior to submission to the SRA
  • Meeting to assist with terms to be included within the shareholders’ agreement.  Suggestion of, and working alongside, corporate lawyers to prepare the shareholders’ agreement, and articles. Key items to consider will be whether there is a full market valuation for every change in share ownership, or whether a calculation mechanism linked to classes of shares can prevent that.  Other considerations will be profit sharing arrangements, and who will acquire the shares of retiring owners – usually the company or other shareholders; and how shares will be allocated to new owners and at what cost
Contact our Legal Sector Partner, Andy Poole, on 07828 857830 or andy.poole@armstrongwatson.co.uk to discuss how we can help you.

  Read more about the benefits of appointing Armstrong Watson

What is it?

A managed service to apply to become licensed as an ABS.

Who is it for?

Law firms interested in introducing non-lawyer involvement into their practice, or non-lawyers interested in the opportunities offered by the legal sector market.

What are the benefits for your firm?

  1. Raise finance from non-lawyer investment
  2. Reward and incentivise non-lawyer employees with partner/member/director status
  3. Potential to diversify and offer additional services
  4. Bring spouses into ownership which may generate tax benefits

What do I have to do?

Attend two hour meeting to plan the ABS application. Provide regular updates, information and draft plans. Action points from initial meeting.

What are the deliverables?

Your law firm becoming licensed as an ABS.

What is the cost?

£875 plus VAT for initial assessment and planning meeting. Additional fees to be agreed following the initial meeting in advance of services provided.

How long will it take?

Six months on average, but could be longer or shorter depending on the complexities involved.

Your Key Contacts

Andy Poole

Legal Sector Partner

07828 857830

Email Andy

Rosy Rourke

Legal Sector Director

07557 951148

Email Rosy

Tom Blandford

Legal Sector Director

07793 621951

Email Tom

Get in touch

To find out more about how we can help you or your business, contact one of our Legal Sector Specialists above.

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