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Lawyers learn about alternative business structures in action

6 May 2010

The founder of the world’s first virtual law firm is to speak at a conference looking at the impact of alternative business structures on legal services in Scotland.

Andrew Woolley set up his “alternative business structure” 14 years ago and now has 19 home-based lawyers working with clients from Kazakhstan to Singapore.

He will address delegates at the Law Society of Scotland’s Conference on Alternative Business Structures at Glasgow's Crowne Plaza, tomorrow (Friday 7 May).

Mr Woolley started Woolley & Co as a corporate law and private family law practice, but sold the corporate law arm some time ago, to concentrate on private client work. The majority of clients are looking for divorces or have other family law issues they need the help of a solicitor to resolve.

Administration

The 19 lawyers do the majority of administration themselves. A small amount of digital dictation keeps the work flowing smoothly when the lawyers are particularly busy, and for clients who call rather than email, there is an outsourced receptionist and administration team of three who keep the Woolley & Co website up-to-date.

The keynote speaker at the conference will be Professor Stephen Mayson, Professor of Strategy and Director of the Legal Services Policy Institute at The College of Law in London. He will talk about his work on alternative business structures in England and Wales and strategies for firms for the future.

An expert panel will also offer different versions of the future of the profession; and three recently qualified will share their insights for using social media and other technology in a legal setting.

Ian Smart, President of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “While the debate about ownership of alternative business structures continues to produce widely divergent views, we are aiming to give delegates a balanced view of alternative business structures which already operate, such as Andrew’s. He has adapted his business using technology to successfully offer a legal service to clients around the world.”

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