First-of-its-kind file buying service launched to help struggling law firms

A brand new file-buying service has been launched by law firm Gibson & Associates Solicitors to help legal firms extract value from files.

Law firms and solicitors across Ireland looking to exit from a certain area of law, retire or reduce cost base will be able to sell and transfer their casework to the Dublin-based Gibson & Associates.

Daireann Gibson, managing partner at Gibson & Associates Solicitors, said: “The legal sector is likely to feel the effects of COVID-19 for some time after the pandemic ends due to the levels of unbilled and unpaid work.

“Prior to COVID-19, the legal sector was already changing at an accelerated pace, but the impact of the virus on countries and economies is forcing firms to reconsider their business strategy, as well as think about what the legal workplace of the future will look like.”

The legal sector has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic with a significant reduction in new instruction and payment of fees. This has resulted in law firms that aren’t faring well amid economic uncertainty having to cut salaries, focus on collecting debts, and deferring distributions to try and raise additional capital in reaction to the unprecedented challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Law firms will struggle to pull back their profitability after the pandemic. They should be focusing on what they are good at in terms of specialisms and really going after that work by creating sensible marketing programmes, including reaching out to clients to ask what their needs are at this time of uncertainty.

“My prediction for the future of the legal sector is that there will be a heavier focus on online activity and consolidation to reduce the cost of running a legal practice and meet the needs of clients by offering a more specialist service.”

Gibson & Associates has maintained business entirely through COVID-19, ensuring all staff have been given the opportunity to work during the lockdown and, ultimately, serve clients during this uncertain time. As a result, they have turned their attention to helping other law firms in Ireland that may be struggling by launching a file buying service – the first of its kind in Ireland.

Speaking about the service, Daireann said: “We have always had an approach to growth through acquisition by helping firms looking to exit the market. Traditionally, it has been difficult to exit the business due to Professional Indemnity Insurance challenges/costs, as well as there being difficulties in determining value due to business structure. We wanted to create a solution that works for all parties.

“The problems experienced by law firms due to coronavirus are largely to do with cash flow as files have to be funded over a protracted period of time and credit is not freely available in the sector, which makes liquidity a major challenge. Additionally, significant investment is required in technology to support clients’ demands and the way clients now want to interact with legal service providers.

“So far, we have had positive experiences with the eight firms we have integrated. There have been challenges but, generally, the transition is seamless if all parties work together to achieve a common purpose.”