In these competitive times, all solicitors’ practices will be looking for new clients and new areas of work.
However, it is not always appreciated that winning the new contract may well put you in the same position as any other regular operator in outsourcing such as caterers, cleaners and facilities managers. Southport firm Barnetts were happy to win the Britannia Building Society work in 2007. The Society had previously used Lees Lloyd Whitley. The employment tribunal in Liverpool subsequently ruled that employees working on the Britannia contract at Lees Lloyd Whitley had effectively been transferred to Barnetts and that the firm were therefore liable for unfair dismissal.
The lesson to be drawn from this is that solicitors bidding for significant contracts ought to effectively undertake a due diligence process on their potential new clients before bidding. The main reason for a client changing lawyers is quality of service and/or cost. The ability to deliver results in these key areas could be seriously compromised if the new firm has to retain staff from their predecessors.