Does Size Matter

There is much to say about the recent rash of high profile interventions and much of it is said, in the unusually lengthy comments thread, on the Gazette’s coverage of Blakemore’s closure in Birmingham. From a distance it is impossible to weight the impact of the various, alleged, contributory factors; these range from “flawed business model” to “management style”, and include external ones such as “Legal Aid cuts”, which gets a couple of mentions.

The human scale of it, over 250 jobs to go, is obviously, immediately most striking, especially to those of us working in comparatively small teams. One can only wish them all well.

Here however lies the only point I want to make, regarding the intrinsic truth, of the mainstream view, that “big is beautiful”.

This has underscored thinking about LA provision for years, “economy of scale”, “improved efficiency”, “value for money”, “market realignment” and so on. It was the unspoken “truth” known to those of us in the Franchising teams at the 90s LAB. It has translated into an essential “business plan” for a few, sometime successfully. It appealed to Lord Carter and was the received wisdom of previous attempts at BVT.

And yet market alignment has never consolidated in this direction and events such as these, makes one question if it ever will. Especially in large parts of the Country.

Ultimately is this desirable, even within the framework of understanding outlined above? Having spent 17 years in and out of hundreds of law firms I would say “No – big is commonly, not beautiful”.

Final thought; G4S, A4E and here Lawyers2you. Is the curse of the “number for a word” in a firm name at work here?

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