Prepare the wheelbarrow
‘Fat cat’ insults are often hurled at the legal profession on both sides of the Atlantic, but generally the targets are the pin-striped and fob-watched million dollar or sterling earners at the top-flight global firms. But this week, a relatively unknown member of the profession from the provincial city of Newcastle is in the line of fire as perhaps the UK profession's biggest earner.
The Lawyer newspaper has pinpointed Jeff Winn -- the founder and managing director of personal injury-specialist law firm Winn Solicitors -- as preparing to load a wheelbarrow with £10 million in personal remuneration at the end of Britain’s financial year this April.
New model practice
Few outside of the northeast city will have heard of Mr Winn, a former criminal defence lawyer, or his firm, says the newspaper. But in the 10 years since the practice has launched, it has managed to rack up a profit-per-equity partner figure that would make the eyes of even the partners at blueblood magic circle firm Slaughter and May water.
That booming success, says the newspaper, comes on the back of the reformed personal injury market and the growth of conditional fee agreements. Mr Winn’s law firm specialises in road traffic cases and is at the forefront of the new model of practice, incorporating low traditional overheads and high-efficiency commoditised working practices.
He is looking to formalise the firm’s position at the vanguard of modern practice, having applied to the English regulator for alternative business structure status that will allow the law firm to accept third-party investment.
However, the newspaper points to some cloudy weather on Mr Winn’s horizon, as the UK government plans to overhaul personal injury legislation this spring by abolishing referral fees and slashing legal fees for ‘low value’ road traffic cases.