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Quindell lessons: Is the legal profession compatible with capital markets?

Colin Gibson explores whether the situations which arose at Quindell and Slater and Gordon point to deep-rooted challenges for the future of the legal services market

13 April 2017

There is no doubt that in the decade since the Legal Services Act 2007 was introduced, the increased investment in alternative business structures has benefitted clients by driving competition, innovation and efficiency.

But confidence in this brave new world of external investment has been shaken by the tale of Quindell and Slater and Gordon, two legal services firms where hubris and overreach resulted in significant investor losses and the possibility of insolvency that could have put thousands of live cases at risk.

In both situations, listed status enabled and arguably drove behaviours that are not best suited to legal business models or client interests. It appears that serious issues were caused by management’s need to demonstrate a relentlessly positive growth narrative and to support this with aggressive approaches to funding, acquisi...

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