A law firm is to launch a new alternative business structure which will see it offer financial advice as well as legal advice, subject to regulatory approval.
The firm, called Wildcat Law, is open to solicitors, barristers, chartered legal executives and paralegals of all levels of experience, and will offer independent financial advisers too as part of its private office service.
Founders of the firm are barrister Tahina Akther and chartered wealth manager David Robinson, formerly capability director at Coutts.
They said the aim is to offer a private office service for high-net-worth clients, along with contested probate, family, commercial and property law services.
Wildcat Law is currently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, as this allows the firm to hold client money, and is awaiting authorisation by the Financial Conduct Authority so it can provide financial services advice too.
It has five solicitors, three barristers and two paralegals, with two more solicitors set to join imminently, all working remotely.
Once it receives FCA authorisation, it plans to have 25 advisers across England and Wales within two to three years.
“We already have a number of advisers seeking to join us,” Robinson said. “Unlike most financial advice companies that rely on advisers generating their own leads or having an existing client bank; due to our integrated legal and wealth management proposition, our advisers will work alongside our private client lawyers.
“The exciting thing about that as a model, is that we will be able to recruit and train new advisers rather than just recruit from an increasingly decreasing pool of experienced advisers.”
Under Robinson’s direction, the aim is to build a similar network of independent financial advisers and look to do the same for accountants in the future.
He said: “We have serious growth ambitions that are limited solely by how quickly we can build the support for our lawyers – we believe the model is highly scalable and are talking to private equity about how they could help us expand.”
Wildcat Law said while other platform law firms focus on recruiting senior solicitors with client followings, it takes on more junior lawyers and offers them supervision, mentoring and the business development training they need to attract clients – as well as supporting them towards qualifications.
Akther, who is a social mobility advocate for the Bar and sits on the Western Circuit’s diversity committee, said: “Offering opportunities to talented lawyers, regardless of their qualification or level of experience, is a core founding principle of Wildcat Law. Too often, good people are overlooked in the legal profession.”
Depending on their area of law and level of experience, lawyers keep between 50 per cent and 80 per cent of their fees – typically it is 70 per cent, the firm said.
Akther added: “Platform law firms give lawyers control of their working lives. We want all lawyers to benefit from this for the benefit of clients. It is tradition that keeps the barriers up in the legal profession and we believe that innovation can bring them down.