Pensions law is a highly specialised field of work and only a few firms, mostly in the major cities, have their own departments specialising in the subject, yet at some time or other pensions issues come into almost all solicitors’ practices. This may happen rarely but, when it does, the firm needs competent and experienced advice and may need it immediately. Firms who do not have the specialisation available in-house must therefore make a decision.
On the one hand they could cope on their own with a combination of general commercial and legal experience, common sense and the help of the client’s pensions adviser or actuary. On the other hand, they could call on the services of one of the large corporate practices to take care of the pensions issues.
The first option is becoming increasingly risky and less practicable as the law becomes more complicated, clients become more aware of the range of pensions issues and actuaries and other pensions advisers become more reluctant to be responsible for legal advice. The second option almost certainly provides the required expertise, but this answer too has its problems: the relatively high costs associated with the status and overheads of a "city" type practice, the reluctance to involve a heavy-weight player and the fear that the solicitor’s client might stay with the larger firm for other work.
I offer a pensions law service as an alternative.
I offer my services to solicitors on an as and when needed basis, either as a freelance "pensions department" working directly with and answerable to the instructing solicitors or working in parallel with the referring solicitors but taking my instructions directly from their client. In other cases, where the referring solicitors cannot act for both parties because of a conflict of interest, they can continue to act for one party, say the employer, whilst I act independently for the scheme trustees.
As a sole practitioner, I do not wish to act for any such client generally or to undertake any role other than to provide specialised advice and work or the resolution of the conflict of interest. Solicitors can be confident that I will not "poach" their clients or continue to advise or work for them beyond the agreed terms of reference.
My commercial and corporate law experience covers a wide range of work in private practice spanning over 30 years, in the last half of which I have increasingly specialised in pensions law.
I consult and advise by telephone, fax etc as overleaf and in person at the address on my home page, at the client’s premises, at convenient city centre offices or, where there is no conflict of interest, the referring solicitors’ offices.
typical pension issues
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