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There are no cookie-cutter ABSs

There is still no identifiable proven model of an ABS one-stop shop that new entrants to the market can copy, writes Stuart Bushell

6 October 2015

In the early 2000s, when the Legal Services Act was just ?a glint in David Clementi’s eye, some of us talked well ?into the night on what multi-disciplinary practices might look like. The model we had in mind was some variation of the one-stop shop. 

We imagined large modern offices populated by solicitors, accountants, financial advisers, surveyors, and others, offering a variety of client services in a seamless fashion. It will shortly be four years since the first alternative business structure (ABS) received its licence, so it is a good time to see how the reality measures up to our fertile imaginations.

There are now around ?600 ABSs of many types, approximately 70 per cent of which are licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Of these, relatively few look very like one-stop shops. Most ABSs are not new businesses at all, but rather ?they are old businesses ?with non-lawyers made into partners, members, or directors. ?Of those offe...

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