The legal market continues to contort ahead of the April reforms, with a law firm leaving clinical negligence work and a deal for a medical reporting agency falling through.
Hertfordshire firm HRJ Law has sold a number of clinical negligence case files for a six-figure sum to acquisitive Hull-based practice Neil Hudgell Solicitors.
Geraldine Kennedy, managing director of HRJ Law, said pending changes to funding clinical negligence claims had prompted a decision to focus on other areas of practice. “This move enables us to develop our commercial and private client work,” she said.
Nearly two years ago Neil Hudgell Solicitors launched a website called ‘We buy any files’ and since then it has bought four other legal practices outright, caseloads from seven other firms and there are three more deals in the pipeline.
They include a £1m-plus deal with Solihull-based Forum Law Ltd to acquire its high-value public liability and clinical negligence work, as well as the PI files of north Yorkshire-based Williamson Hill and the PI and clinical negligence caseload from former Peterborough-based Carters Solicitors,
Managing director Neil Hudgell said: “Huge changes in the legal landscape mean many lawyers are exiting personal injury and clinical negligence practice or leaving the profession for good. My own practice, on the other hand, is one of those actively looking to acquire firms or caseloads as part of our growth strategy…
“Two years ago, we had to go out of our way to stimulate interest. Now we are fielding 12-15 enquiries a week and I don’t expect to see that lessen any time soon.”
Meanwhile, legal support services business Impact Holdings (UK) plc has pulled out of a planned £1m acquisition of a medical reporting organisation due to the uncertainty in the personal injury market.
In September, Impact – which provides short term funding solutions, loans administration, accounting, IT and infrastructure support services – announced that it had signed heads of agreement to buy Medical Legal Appointments Ltd and its parent company DACH, which in 2011/12 had a turnover of £4.7 million and profit after tax of £165,000.
However, last week the company released a statement that the deal is not going ahead at the present time, citing “the recent announcements regarding the fixed cost regime in the personal injury market and the uncertainty this creates”.
Impact said it “continues to pursue other avenues as part of its strategic realignment to become a provider of services to the legal and professional sectors”. It also operates in the property based bridging and development market.