You may think it’s unlikely, but there have been some high profile cases in recent times where law firms have gone into administration and been bought over by larger firms.
Earlier this year, McClure Naismith went into administration after 189 years operating as a law firm.
These two cases and others like them are obviously a sad and worrying time for all involved. Regrettably, in the the case of McClure Naismith, 42 staff ended up being made redundant, with around 80 moving on to work for other firms.
What does it mean for you as a client?
There was obviously a reason why you chose a particular law firm in the first place, and when they’re no longer trading, it’s only natural to be concerned about what may happen to your documents such as wills and title deeds.
What are your options?
When you find out through the press or other avenue that your law firm has gone into administration, there are different options open to you:
- Contacting the administrator
If you’d like to get possession of your important documents as soon as possible, you can contact the firm of administrators that have taken charge of the firm. If you’re not able to find this out yourself, contacting The Law Society of Scotland should be your next port of call.
- Wait to be contacted
In cases of law firms going into administration, it’s common for other firms to buy them over either in whole or in part. In these cases, the firm that’s taken over your files and documents will write to you to ask if you want to be a client of theirs.
You will then need to make a decision about what you’d like to do. You may choose to move away because:
- The new firm is much larger and doesn’t have the same friendly and local approach
- You’ve never heard of the new firm and want to try somewhere else
- The new firm is more expensive for legal work than your previous firm
The issues above are also true for when firms complete takeovers without any administration involved.
Turning a negative into a positive
At the time, having to move your documents from one law firm to another may seem like a hassle, but it could actually work to your advantage:
- Peace of mind – a chance to have your will reviewed or amended (you may have been putting this off for a while)
- Costs – pay less when you do need any legal work done
- Convenience – use a firm that’s closer to your work or home
- Expertise – choosing a firm that specialises in the area(s) of law you need
What to do next
We’ve already helped some clients who’ve come to us because of concerns after their previous firms went into liquidation. In these cases, our services have included storing wills and title deeds (which we provide free of charge) and making amendments to existing wills.
If you value a personal, friendly approach from your lawyer, get in touch with me using the details below. We have a number of client testimonials which will give you an idea of how we work.