In April 2013, Bobby Dhanjal Legal Services (BDLS) was opened, becoming Leicester’s first Alternative Business Structure. It is also the first in the UK to be opened by a financial advisor- Bobby Dhanjal of Bobby Dhanjal Wealth Management (BDWM).

In 2012, a change in the legal profession meant that non-legally trained people were allowed to own and manage a law firm. BDWM were very aware of this change at an early stage and applied to open BDLS early in 2012. The reasoning behind the application came from the thought that solicitors need to be proactive rather than reactive and that solicitors should have a business acumen, as well as a legal knowledge. This is filtered down from the solicitors, through to the paralegal staff, who are initially appointed as Business Development Managers to build business skills at the outset of their appointment. The role of a Business Development Manager is very exciting as it is diverse, as one day a BDM could be focusing on marketing, the next day it could be legal work. Being a BDM involves much more than being a paralegal. The intention is that the BDMs will be Directors themselves one day.

The nature and structure of the ABS allows for a better standard of service for the client. Not only can each company carry out work for clients in their respective field, the client can elect to instruct the sister company. This way, clients have easy access to both financial and legal assistance very quickly and where quality assurance can be provided. This is an approach which has proved effective, particularly with our commercial clients, who need advice quickly rather than the traditional approach of waiting days for an appointment.

The involvement of BDWM from a management viewpoint has a significant impact on BDLS. Influences from the wealth management are implemented at BDLS, such as a brand with which there is an already established goodwill, structured business meetings, plus a marketing team who deal with promotion. In addition, staff are rewarded with bonuses at all levels, which are dependant on meeting targets not based on billing alone, and there is an emphasis on development, personal and professional. The latter is heavily encouraged.

Thus far 2013 has been rather surprising. It has been a very busy period during which we have secured international and national clients, implementing our ethos of being quality assured but commercially driven with our approach. The remainder of 2013 is going to be an exciting period for Bobby Dhanjal Legal Services. The company will be growing, as we have plans on opening new offices and we are embarking upon on new projects with our clients. We remain as driven and committed as one the first day we opened for business.

This article represents the views of the author and not of the Law Society.

If you have any queries regarding Alternative Business Structures, please contact julie.mamou@lawsociety.org.uk