Connect2Law, the Scottish referral and support network for law firms, has announced its ambition to extend its market leading position with the addition of respected solicitor Stephen Vallance to the team.
Vallance – who formerly built up his own successful legal practice, Vallance, Kliner & Associates - will bring a new dimension to the network, operated by leading law firm Harper Macleod.
Anne Macdonald, Partner at Harper Macleod and head of Connect2Law in Scotland, said: "We're delighted that Stephen has agreed to join our team as we look to improve our service to members and work with even more of Scotland's law firms. Stephen has a wealth of experience and the distinct advantage of having been there and done it. He knows exactly the challenges facing smaller, independent firms and what they have to do to survive and thrive in a difficult market."
Vallance sold his interest in his law firm a number of years ago to pursue other avenues, including setting up the Live@Troon music festival, obtaining a pilot's licence, tutoring the next generation of law students and setting up his own start-up online legal services company with the assistance of Entrepreneurial Spark.
He said: "I was delighted that Harper Macleod recognised what I have to offer the industry, and I believe Connect2Law is a really good fit for me. I enjoy talking to people and talking about law, and I know from experience that most high street firms need some assistance in addressing the many issues they face. They need help to evolve, change and deliver their services so that they can survive and grow in the decade ahead."
Connect2Law has grown rapidly to represent more than 230 independent high street and rural-based law firms – around 19% of Scotland's legal practices - since it was set up in 2008. It allows independent firms to extend their services to clients by calling on specialists within Harper Macleod on a non-poaching, fee-sharing, referral basis – helping smaller firms to retain clients relating to work they couldn't otherwise carry out
52-year-old Vallance is a well known and respected figure in the Scottish legal industry, and is confident he has a lot to offer members in his new role, which will see him focus on firms in Glasgow and the West of Scotland.
At a time when law firms are feeling the squeeze just as much as many other industries, he believes he can provide value to Connect2Law members that they can't access elsewhere.
He added: "I have sat in the same chair as most of the people within the Connect2Law network. I have been there on the days when everything seems to be against you and at the age of 52 I like to think I'm much more empathetic than when I was at the coal face myself."
"If you were to step back in time just 10 years you would wonder why no-one had already thought of something like Connect2Law. What I like most about it is we are not about taking other people's business away and simply processing it for them. Connect2Law allows smaller firms to process things they couldn't otherwise deal with without our advice and support. It allows them to remain front of house on the work if that's what they want to do, and that's a fantastic service."