Following the announcement that DMH Stallard and Riverview Law have signed a formal strategic alliance I thought it would be interesting to get Tim Aspinall’s view on this bold move. To read more about Tim please click here
What is the connection between Riverview and DMH Stallard?
DMH Stallard and Riverview Law have a shared vision for the way that legal services should be delivered. Like us, Riverview Law were keen to capitalise on the rapidly changing market and had innovative ideas for doing so. We have what Riverview Law needs to grow even faster, including a large experienced team with a great reputation for delivering services efficiently. Riverview Law has what we need to grow, including a strong brand, sales and marketing. Both of us believe in fixed pricing and Legal Advisory Outsourcing.
The truth is we have been working together for some time now having already undertaken a number of market tests where both DMH Stallard and Riverview Law pitched for work that neither of us could have won independently. The market tests clearly demonstrated that for a wide range of requirements – from complex litigation to high level technical advice – the alliance is a winning formula.
Who made the first approach; you or Karl Chapman (CEO of Riverview law)?
Initially it was me who made contact with Karl. It was clear from an early stage that Riverview Law’s outlook matched how we had been positioning DMH Stallard for some time. We know that the delivery of legal services needs to change so it seemed like an obvious conversation to have. As it turns out it was!
What do you both get from this arrangement?
That’s a good question.
Because of our shared philosophies the alliance brings a perfect arrangement to capitalise on the Riverview Law model and brand and DMH Stallard’s legal heritage and experience in areas such as M&A, commercial property, disputes, employment and other areas of business law.
It gives each business the opportunity to offer more services to customers, work together to win new business, develop existing business and create new fixed price products.
Added to this over time we can take best practice from both firms to create a very powerful legal force combining traditional law with modern delivery – exciting isn’t it?
Do you think the relationship will stay as a strategic alliance or could it become a merger?
The legal market is undergoing significant change and in order for both organisations to take full advantage of this change and provide customers with the services they need we have decided that there are some areas where it makes sense for us to work together Our strategic alliance achieves our goal of extending our offering to customers and right now the alliance is our core focus.
We will, however, both continue to win and deliver work separately and run independent businesses under our respective names.
What do you see as the main challenges for you both as you move forward together?
I think some people feel that expecting a traditional law firm to work alongside a disruptive innovator like Riverview will be our biggest challenge, but we don’t see this as an issue more of an exciting opportunity. Perhaps it will be dealing with all the extra work we’ll generate together, but that’s the kind of challenge we’d both like to have!
DLA Piper own 21% of Riverview Law – do think this will create any competition issues?
DLA Piper is one of the largest and most innovative law firms in the world and so we would be flattered to find ourselves competing against them. Riverview Law naturally briefed DLA Piper and their other large shareholder, AdviserPlus, and both organisations were and are highly supportive of the alliance.
Riverview have some very advanced technology at their disposal – will you be using any of it?
We have been investing in technology for some time now and have similar BI (Business Intelligence) software to them. Getting accurate management information to our clients is an increasing need that we have both responded to and are happy with the results. One thing we may look to leverage between the two firms is CRM. Riverview operate a very advanced version of Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM system which we are going to be taking a serious look at.
Will there be other strategic alliances in the future?
We have a strong working relationship with Riverview Law but we are both independent businesses pursuing our own strategies. Our focus is on making the new alliance successful, but who knows what might happen in the future.
If you have one message for the legal profession what would it be?
If you could take a sneak preview of the legal profession in 5 years’ time I think you would be looking at a completely different landscape than the one we have today. The legal world is changing at a frightening pace and those firms that can’t adapt in parallel are going to be left behind. I have no intention of letting DMH Stallard be one of them.
I happen to know DMH Stallard very well (they are a client) and as regular readers will know my relationship with Karl Chapman stretches back to the early 90’s so I will watch this relationship with interest in the coming months.
DMH Stallard are a well thought of traditional law firm with a great track record and a strong brand in the south east.
Riverview are a disruptive force in the marketplace especially in their use of technology and processes. By bringing the two together I would expect to see a very interesting hybrid emerge which could potentially be even more disruptive than either could achieve alone. Time will tell I suppose.
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