Lyceum targets legal sector

The firm has appointed a heavyweight legal advisory board to benefit from deregulation in the sector, which it expects to trigger a “big bang” of takeover activity.

UK mid-market firm Lyceum Capital is looking to tap buyout opportunities in the legal sector following deregulation of the industry.

Jeremy Hand:
legal sector
“big bang”

The firm has recruited three legal industry figures to join its newly formed legal industry advisory board: Tony Williams, Paul Hewitt and Richard Susskind.

The firm is attempting to benefit from the 2007 Legal Services Act, which is expected to set off consolidation in the legal sector.

Lyceum Capital’s Jeremy Hand said while the legal reform, would not come fully into force until 2011, there were structures which would allow Lyceum to partially acquire law firms in anticipation of this change.

Hand said: “2011 is the curtain [when a legal mergers and acquisitions “big bang” will begin] but we’ll be building a position in the sector and I think the present opportunity is very real and very significant. You can create structures which allow you to work within the Law Society approved framework.”

Hand said: “There is a raft of businesses in the mid-market and those firms are looking to move forward faster and better. Some of them will want to take advantage of the things that private equity brings. There are dozens and dozens of companies in the sector and I’ve been talking to lots of people.”

Williams was a managing partner of law firm Clifford Chance from 1998 to 2000. He undertook the reorganisation of the firm and completed its mergers with US law firm Rogers & Wells and with German firm Punder. He then became managing partner of Andersen Legal and head of its UK practice. In 2002 he established legal management consultant Jomati Consultants.

Susskind is an independent adviser to law firms, in-house legal departments and national governments. He has published numerous books including The Future of Law and he writes as a columnist for UK newspaper The Times.

Hewitt is chairman of consultant YSC, senior non-executive director of insurance underwriter Kiln Group and a non–executive director of financial group Co-operative Financial Services and aviation company GMT Global Aviation. He worked for four years at Co-operative Group rising to deputy group chief executive. He was finance director at UK motoring company RAC and building company Redland.