Saturday, 6 August 2011

Simon Edwards


Simon Edwards anticipates Somme-like slaughter
Another chap who doesn't pull his punches is Simon Edwards, proprietor of Prolegal.  Over the last six years, Simon has been building a very forward thinking legal business. Prolegal has all the good things of a traditional legal partnership - regulated advice, senior lawyers hired in from respected firms offering high-value-add in addition to commoditised services - but without the fusty business and decision-making structures that prevent so many firms from being responsive to market change and client needs:  Prolegal is a company rather than a partnership, with plans to make each practice area a separate LLP beneath the corporate umbrella, to give area heads the autonomy and flexibility to run their parts of the business as they see fit.


But you should hear him on the subject of regulation and the advent of ABSs, as I did this week. This man has very strong views!


"It's simply not a level playing field. The high level of regulation we have to comply with, and the level of insurance we have to stump up, is just a joke when you consider the new potential fly-by-nights who will be able to set up shop under an entirely different regulator and with an almost non-existent level of cover and scrutiny. We know there are people out there who think setting up a legal business is a piece of cake and who simply see the advent of ABSs as a licence to print money. They should have a very rude awakening. We are expecting a Somme-like slaughter as these business set up shop for a short stint before being closed down by the regulators - assuming of course the regulators have the resource to get round all the new entrants in the marketplace in good enough time. The tragedy is that the biggest casualties in all of this will be the consumers."

Quite an apocalyptic vision of the future. But sadly, he does have a point...

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Good to catch up with Evening Standard Court Reporter Paul Cheston.  Having got to know each other on various cases and stories over the years, one of  the things we enjoy doing from time to time is running media training together, focussed on ‘PR around cases’.  Rather than presenting to Kysen clients, this week Paul came in to coach the Kysen team.  Mayer Brown’s in-house PR Charlotte Ward joined us for the session, wanting to meet Paul in person as he’d quoted her partners in his coverage of the Star Wars case.

Always love Paul’s favourite example of a statement on the steps of court that won the war for the headlines, when the case itself was lost – Private Eye editor Ian Hislop after losing a defamation case to ripper wife Sonia Sutcliffe:

“If that’s justice, then I’m a banana”

The headlines ridiculed the decision to award Mrs Sutcliffe a then record-breaking £600,000 in damages to such an extent that she voluntarily offered to take only half.  The power of the press….

A more recent example of course was the Hackgate foam pie man this Summer on the steps of court after his conviction.  Even though he’d just been given a 6 week custodial sentence, his televised “I’d just like to say that this is the most humble day of my life”, beamed all over the world, managed to mock Rupert Murdoch all over again!


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News from the Edinburgh Festival which kicked off this week.  Oddest story so far is undoubtedly showbiz reports of John Malkovich no less, Oscar-winning actor of more than Than 70 years, personally handing out flyers on Edinburgh's Royal Mile for a show he's directing at the Festival: Julian Sands in a Celebration of Harold Pinter.

As Mr Malkovich is working so hard to promote the show, we thought we'd give him a hand.

You can buy your tickets here