The troubles facing Challinors, the solicitors with offices in the East and West Midlands, are huge – see this report from the Birmingham Post. It may be that some kind of “flat pack” administration deal may be possible to rescue some or all of it, but this is not the place to discuss the business aspects.
What concerns me here is the staff of the firm. I spoke not so long ago to someone who had been at Blakemores, who told me of the shock they felt when that firm went under. At Challinors, there is at least some warning, but that leads to uncertainty which tends to be stressful. For example, should staff start applying for other jobs immediately, or wait and see? Can they really afford a holiday, and if they go, will they return to find a locked office door?
One thing they really need to do is maintain work, and especially professional, standards. Whatever happens to the firm, it would not be good to emerge on the other side with the threat of being struck off!
The possibilities for action are:
1.Wait and see, then follow one of the possibilities below, and/or
2. The “more of the same” job, which most people will choose. Birmingham Law Society has a scheme with Bell Cornwall and with Badenoch & Clark to provide job search facilities. Some will use their contacts to accelerate the process.
3.A few of the qualified staff may consider setting up their own firm. Working for yourself is quite different to being within a fairly substantial firm, so it requires thought and planning. It is not for everyone.
4. Some will use the position as a catalyst to change direction to a different career or to setting up a non-law business. Again, this is not something to take lightly, and particularly not with a romantic view of what is involved.
These are decisions that need to be made, but it is not easy getting them right while under stress, and sometimes an external ear is useful. These are all issues where we can help, so if you face something similar, contact us using the form below.
In any event, updating the CV makes sense, as well as thinking through some “what if..” scenarios.
And just think of the stress the partners face.