Law Firms

Halliwells Folds After Renting ‘Fancy-Pants HQ’; Did MP Have ‘Too Much Vision'?

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The British law firm Halliwells had record profits during good economic times, but now it has filed for administration and is in negotiations to sell its assets to rival Hill Dickinson.

Some attributed Halliwells’ problems to its new high-rent headquarters in Manchester and its decision to distribute most of a property-related windfall to partners rather than invest it in the firm, the Lawyer reports.

A separate column in the Lawyer suggested the firm’s managing partner had “too much vision,” saying the goal was to make Halliwells into a national law firm in the mold of DLA Piper. The article also questioned management decisions. “Halliwells’ obsession with a fancy-pants HQ in Manchester said more about management ego than anything else,” the story says.

Meanwhile, the Manchester Evening News reports that a former top solicitor at Halliwells has been accused of embezzling from clients. A court has granted Halliwells’ request to freeze the assets of the now-disbarred solicitor, Martin Roberts, as it investigates. Roberts, 40, has moved in with his father and is now unemployed, the story says.

Roberts is accused of using fake invoices to steal more than 90,000 pounds from clients, which translates to more than $134,000.

“I was going through some bad times,” Roberts told the Manchester Evening News. “My marriage was falling apart, I was drinking too much and I didn’t respect my colleagues any more. But that’s no excuse.”

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