Retiring and Restructuring Solicitor Firms: Exiting a Market

challenges facing the legal sector

Recovery First helps law firms withdraw from specific sectors of the legal market, most commonly the Personal Injury sector, whilst ensuring maximum value is retained by the law firm. We work alongside solicitors, accountants, insolvency practitioners, restructuring and corporate recovery specialists to ensure the most profitable outcome is achieved on any file transfer agreement.

There are many reasons why a firm of solicitors would wish to sell their work in progress files, with retirement and restructuring being two of the main reasons.

Typically, those exiting the legal industry sell their WIP in bulk to a single purchaser, often at a heavy discount.

At Recovery First, we offer an alternative approach to ensure you retain the maximum value locked up in your files through a fully outsourced, managed, and compliant run-off.


Restructuring solicitor firms

There are many reasons for law firms wishing to restructure, including financial distress, the retirement of Partners, and strategic decisions to exit specific practice areas of law to focus on more profitable areas. Selling work in progress files to exit a specific market can be a positive solution for restructuring firms. Whatever the reason, we can be flexible in our approach and work alongside the firm’s restructuring advisers to allow for a seamless exit from any legal market.


An example of how we assisted a restructuring solicitor firm

We recently assisted a law firm that made the strategic decision to exit the Claimant Personal Injury market. This firm wished to exit the market so that they could restructure and focus on more profitable areas of law following the 2013 changes to personal injury claims. Recovery First assisted the firm by allowing them to exit the market on a phased basis before the agreed upon final date, recovering more than 100% of the expected WIP value.

Using a phased approach allowed the staff in the personal injury department to focus heavily on the files which were capable of settlement before the final exit date. Files which were identified as being unlikely to settle within the required timescales were transferred to our panel of solicitors early using our usual file run-off method. A further review at a later date saw a further tranche of cases transfer to panel solicitors. Any cases that remained ongoing the month before the final deadline were transferred at that point.

This was a very successful project as we were able to recover over £500,000 of the work in progress value, which was more than our client had anticipated.


Retiring solicitor firms

We are often approached by retiring solicitors wishing to use our services. Retirement may lead to the closure of a law firm, or it may lead to a firm exiting a market due to the retirement of one or more partners within the firm.


An example of how we assisted a firm with a retiring solicitor

In 2014, Recovery First began working on a project which was provided to us through a referral from a risk management company. The project involved us assisting a small to medium-sized law firm whose personal injury department was overseen by one partner. The personal injury partner was retiring, and thus, the firm made the decision to exit the personal injury market. Recovery First assisted this firm by allowing them to exit the personal injury market whilst retaining their full WIP value for their personal injury files.

We were able to recover the full WIP value for this firm’s personal injury files whilst allowing the practice to continue working on other areas of law. The practice was originally offered around £20,000-£30,000 from other potential buyers, and they were therefore pleased when Recovery First were able to recover the full WIP value in excess of £70,000.

The project took around three years to complete using our typical run-off process, allowing the practice to continue as normal. The files were distributed to our panel of solicitors who took on the files prior to the PI Partner retiring. Recovery First also dealt with all accounting regarding the apportionment of costs.


How can Recovery First assist your law firm?

Recovery First is a great choice for those looking for a structured exit from any legal market and wishing to retain 100% of their recoverable WIP value due to retirement, restructuring, or for any other reason.

As well as assisting retiring solicitors and firms who are going through restructuring, we also assist many firms who are going through the formal insolvency process. We work alongside the insolvency team to come up with the right plan tailored to meet the needs of each specific firm.

Whatever the reason, Recovery First will ensure the most positive and profitable outcome is achieved. An additional benefit being that the firm’s clients not only get a seamless transfer, but they are also married up with a firm specialised in their particular needs. The unique scheme offered by Recovery First is suitable for law firms and professional advisors, including restructuring and insolvency lawyers, insolvency practitioners and accountants. Our team manage the transfer of files from start to finish, placing case files with an approved law firm so as to protect the integrity of the client’s case.

We guarantee 100% confidentiality for all clients. If you would like to find out more about Recovery First’s process, feel free to get in touch today via email (, telephone (0845 056 1258) or fill in the form on our “Contact Us” page, and we will contact you to discuss the process.

It's never too late to speak to Recovery First. Contact us now in the strictest confidence

Sally Dunscombe:

David Johnstone:


01357 440140

Manchester Address

106 Kennedy Building

Murray Street


M4 6HS

Registered Address: 

North Torfoot



ML10 6QG