Slater & Gordon buy Russell Jones & Walker

Slater & Gordon buy Russell Jones & Walker

Ok, why is this big news, why am I writing about it and why would it be of interest to anyone.. particularly those that have never even heard of the two parties involved.

Because this takeover is a big step, it’s a big step for the legal profession in England and it will cause ripples in the traditional legal community. It is also a huge opportunity, for marketers, IT professionals and business service providers.

First a little about Slater & Gordon and why this is a game changer. Slater & Gordon are a large (read massive) legal power house within Australia. The first law firm to become publicly listed and a ruthlessly efficient operator in their field. S&G pioneered the concept of a branded firm and built their brand on asbestos litigation. Buying up and integrating smaller players in the market, S&G have grown from this profitable and hugely successful approach to become one of the most recognised brands (in Australia).. just drive in to Melbourne and you cannot miss the huge Slater & Gordon building in the centre of town – it has a huge sign on the site afterall !

Efficiency in the legal sector

Yes, Slater & Gordon  are hugely successful and ruthless for their clients. However they are also smart and well organised. I know this from first hand experience having had some dealings with a couple of providers of Law Practise Management Software providers in Australia with experience of Slater & Gordon.

Anyone waiting for a tale of unpaid invoices and ripping off the little software house, stop reading now. What I was told was something I did not expect from a law firm, and with experience in the telecommunications and finance sectors (often cited as the most IT efficient) had never seen. S&G had analysed their own IT platforms and the common platforms used in firms throughout Australia.

Deciding to grow by acquisition, S&G’s IT dept. had been tasked with building a process that could absorb COMPLETELY the customer base, matters details, ledgers, workflow and basically subsume the entire risk and legal operations (the core) of any practise, using any of the common software platforms into the S&G process within 30 days…. that’s 30 days to completely integrate an acquisition into the S&G process, no downtown, no data loss, complete integration and transparency within 30 days; an awesome concept.

Did they do it? Yes they did and it allowed S&G to buy up, integrate and brand rapidly throughout Australia.

Why is this important? It’s important because it struck me. As a Marketing & IT person, it struck me that this demonstrated a remarkable insight into the legal profession. That it’s not about the law, the stuffy books and old world language. But that it’s a business, it has to achieve efficiency, it has to streamline the humdrum business process and it has to be different.

So S&G enters the UK

Yes, Slater and Gordon bought itself a space in the UK market. The announcement states nothing will change in the organisation of Russell Jones & Walker and that the management team remain unchanged. However, look at the transaction in more detail; £8.8M of the £36.4M purchase price is deferred for up to two years and dependent upon performance target being met.

Also note that RJW owns the Claims Direct brand name, a market leader in personal injury claims and a market, based on their own history S&G know well and will want to expand.

About mgeddison

Digital Marketeer, Sales

Posted on March 26, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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