Society's News

BLS features in Bristol Post oldest thriving companies in Bristol

Excerpt from the article: How Bristol’s oldest companies are still thriving after more than 100 years in business They include the city’s last-surviving chocolate maker a wine merchant and a tannery. Why do some companies struggle to survive beyond a year while others flourish for hundreds? Although more than 90 per cent of small companies in Britain will survive one … more

The President’s Charity of the Year 2017/18

                      Please see Freewheelers Leaflet 2017 for the fabulous work these volunteer riders undertake to assist the NHS in moving vital supplies and equipment  around the county. Who knows which one of us or someone we know may have already benefited from their amazing work?

BLS Member discount offer on GCHQ certified Social Engineering Course – 8 August

Red Goat Cyber Security are offering Bristol Law Society members a 15% discount on their upcoming GCHQ certified Social Engineering course at Imperial College on the 8th of August. This interactive half-day cyber security course helps you identify and prevent social engineering attacks such as phishing and impersonation by placing you in the position of the hackers to enable you … more


Justice First Fellowship: Training Contract Applications Now Open!






The Justice First Fellowship Scheme was established in 2014 to support the next generation of students committed to public interest and social justice issues who want to pursue a career in social welfare law.

It offers training contracts (applications now open) and pupillages (not currently open) to the social welfare lawyers of the future.

Find out more

You can find details of all of the roles on our Jobs page.

Organisations offering training contract opportunities via the Justice First Fellowship include:

  • Avon and Bristol Law Centre
  • Bhatt Murphy
  • Child Poverty Action Group
  • Ealing Law Centre
  • JustRight Scotland
  • Southwark Law Centre
  • Suffolk Law Centre
  • The Speakeasy
  • Turpin & Miller LLP

Applications must be submitted by 17 September 2018.
Apply Now

Save up to 45% on your PII Premium with JLT

Click here to open links to download forms JLT PII Premium Advert


Trustees required for Bristol based Education Charity

ASDAN, is a national education charity doing great work to help develop life skills for youngsters (based in Bristol). They’re looking to appoint a number of new trustees to their board, including a Chair.

Their plans to expand the Board of Trustees includes bringing on board a broad mix of people (ages, career interests & social backgrounds), in particular those with a legal or professional services background.

If you are interested please see the  ASDAN Trustee Pack  which outlines the opportunity in more detail.

Court Notice :To all Family Lawyers that attend the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre

To all Family Lawyers that attend the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre  – 8/8/18

Due to delays being experienced with the filing of orders in private and public law proceedings, the Designated Family Judge has directed that this order be added to all notices of hearing with immediate effect which is shown below.

It is very much a last resort for the court to arrange compliance hearings but it is important that the order is filed in a timely fashion to allow the court to progress the case or conclude the case if a final order is made.

These actions simply cannot be achieved without the order being filed.

Note to Solicitors in Private and Public Law Family proceedings:

If you are directed at the conclusion of the hearing to submit a draft order for approval, the draft order must be submitted for approval by the court within 48 hours of the hearing.

In the event that the order is not so submitted, the court may grant a further 5 working days for this to be done. However, if the order is still not filed by the end of that extended period, you will be required to attend before the Designated Family Judge, His Honour Judge Wildblood QC, to offer an explanation as to the delay.

BLS Annual Awards Dinner – Vote for your Chambers of the Year!

Nominations are in and 5 local Chambers have been nominated for the BLS Chambers of the Year award at our annual dinner.

Like last year, we are asking the lawyers and clients who use the chambers to give us the reasons for who they think should win! The anonymous results will then be used together with the nomination forms to assist the Judging Panel in deciding who should be BLS Chambers of the Year 2018.

Take the survey here!


Law Firm VWV Has ‘A Grand Day Out’ with Wallace & Gromit in Support of Bristol Children’s Hospital









A proud sponsor of the Gromit Unleashed 2 trail, award-winning law firm VWV yesterday organised a day of fundraising activities tailored to each of the Wallace & Gromit films, raising £700 for the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity, Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal.

The iconic charity event is seeing 67 original sculptures descend on Bristol from 2 July to 2 September 2018, raising money for the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity and the Special Care Baby Unit at St Michael’s Hospital. Gromit Unleashed 2 follows the success of the Gromit Unleashed and Shaun in the City arts trails, which saw two of Aardman’s most loved characters raise over £6 million.

On Wednesday 4 July, VWV staff dropped their usual business trousers and popped on the “wrong trousers” for one day, donating £1 each towards The Grand Appeal. The waterfront based law firm also organised a drawing competition for the little ones, who designed their very own sculpture before a panel of lawyers crowned the best “budding inventors”. Finally, after th

e winners of a “Grand Day Out” raffle were announced, members of the firm’s IT team bravely volunteered to have their legs waxed for the fantastic cause!

Highly committed to its corporate social responsibility, the firm plays an active role in the community. For example, last February, ‘Partner Pandemonium – A Jungle Challenge’ saw seven of its Bristol partners go head-to-head in some gruesome trials, with all proceeds going to Ronald McDonald House, Bristol.

Since the launch of Gromit Unleashed in 2013, and as part of the previous art trails, VWV has seen Sir Gr

omit of Bristol take residence in its office at Narrow Quay House, and also sponsored a Shaun – Beach Boy. This year, the firm is sponsoring the sculpture of Long John Wallace, on Cascade Steps.

Helen Haskell, Corporate Partnerships Manager at The Grand Appeal said:

“It was wonderful to see everyone at VWV get behind the Gromit Unleashed 2 trail in support of Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal this week!

VWV have supported the charity for over 20 years and we are thrilled that they have sponsored a sculpture on all 3 of our award winning public arts trails. All money raised from the event will help us to support sick babies and children from across the whole of the South West of England and beyond so huge thanks go to everyone.”

Simon Heald, VWV Managing Partner, commented:

“We are so lucky to live in such a wonderfully creative city, and as a Bristol headquartered law firm, we are proud to support a charitable initiative that brings so much to the community.

Raising money to support sick children and their families at Bristol Children’s Hospital is something our staff are truly passionate about. We are delighted to be able to give something back to the Bristol community.”

Annual Awards Dinner 11 October 2018


Interactive Brochure See full details of the event, awards and sponsors

Booking Form Deadline 20th September 2018

The Nominations deadline has now passed. watch this space for the shortlist 7th September!

BLS looks forward to warmly welcoming you to our flagship awards dinner on 11th October 2018.

Diversity & Inclusion Forum – 10 September, 4-6pm

The Law Society would like to set up a forum group for firms in the area of diversity & inclusion, with a presence in the South West. If you have an interest in attending the first meeting to review how to proceed please reply to 

Burgess Salmon have kindly agreed to host the first meeting and we are grateful for their hospitality

The group is intended to offer a forum for those working within firms on the area of diversity and inclusion, to share best practice and network. The Law Society will also attend and share information and assistance to support the group’s members. So far we have received a very positive response in terms of the value of such a group, from a number of firms with whom we have already spoken to, I do hope that you will attend to review how your firm may benefit. We have also put together terms of reference which will guide/inform the forum D&I regional – TOR

The first session is as follows;

Venue – Burgess Salmon, One Glass Wharf, Bristol BS2 02X
Timings – Monday 10 September 2018, 16.00pm – 18.00pm
Agenda – SW forum Agenda



St George’s Bristol – 10% off for Oz & Armonico Drink to Music for BLS members!





















St George’s Bristol is a registered charity no. 295178

BLS is delighted in conjunction with St George’s Bristol to offer 10% off for Oz & Armonico Drink to Music for Bristol Law Society members!

St George’s Bristol, on Saturday 8 September 2018

Much admired wine critic and broadcaster Oz Clarke joins Renaissance/Baroque specialists Armonico Consort for a highly entertaining evening investigating the deliciously colourful links between wine and music.

Music is served with three country-specific glassfuls — an English ale with Purcell, a German Riesling with Bach and Handel, and after some Monteverdi and Vivaldi, a Chilean Cabernet with the most upbeat South American Baroque dance music. Ideal for client entertainment and team building.

Members of Bristol Law Society can receive 10% off tickets. When booking please use the promotion code LAW or if organising groups of 10 or more please call Ticketing and Sales Officer Luke Mallison on 0117 929 4929.






This Offer will also apply to all the Autumn Concerts when members quote LAW on booking.

Please go to for more details and to book.

There are also opportunities for Law Firms to get involved in fundraising and sponsoring St George’s events and with a new extension shortly due to open, an increased offering for venue hire too.

Milsted Langdon Forensic News – The Value of Lawyers –

Having undertaken a number of instructions involving the valuation of legal practices in the context of divorce cases, this article reflects on the value of goodwill in a typical law firm.

It is trite to say that the value of an asset is governed by what someone will pay for it but, in the context of a legal practice it is important to recognise that goodwill typically arises in one of two circumstances. The first is the admission of a new partner or new partners to an existing practice on terms whereby they “buy-in” by acquiring goodwill from the existing partners.

Sometimes the terms of these transactions are subject to provisions set out in shareholders’ agreements or partnership agreements that define the price to be paid, often on the basis of a formula reflecting underlying profits or assets. The incoming partners sometimes pay the existing partners as individuals but equally commonly they are required simply to pay money into the practice to fund working capital that is credited to their own capital accounts and which they are entitled to withdraw when they leave.

“younger partners are less willing to take on large debts”

When setting a value to goodwill in these circumstances affordability for the incoming partners is often an important issue. If a practice is keen to attract talented new and often younger partners it may be willing to compromise on the price it charges them as a cost of entry to prevent it from being prohibitively high. There is considerable anecdotal evidence that younger partners are not only less willing to take on large debts to fund a buy-in to a partnership but that increased housing costs mean that they may simply be unable to afford the levels of borrowing that older partners might have taken on in previous decades.

The second way in which goodwill can be realised is on the sale of a legal practice as a whole. In recent years such sales have been far less common than mergers. In a merger, typically nothing is paid by either party to the other whereas in a sale substantial consideration can sometimes be paid, albeit usually on an “earn-out” basis.

For example earlier this year it was announced that listed law firm consolidator Gordon Dadds Group acquired two Bristol legal practices for a total consideration of £2m of which £280,000 was paid upon completion with the balance payable over five years. The vendors warranted that the fee income of the enlarged business would not be less than £20m over those five years and any shortfall will reduce the consideration on a pound-for-pound basis.

Conversely the consideration increases if the fee income exceeds £20m, with the total payment capped at £6m.

“alternative business structure”

Typically it has only been firms that have been funded by external investment, such as Gordon DaddsGroup, that have been in the market for this type of acquisition with traditional law firms having little appetite for such deals. For that reason, in the absence of an acquisition by an alternative business structure, significant value is only ever likely to be paid for goodwill if the practice being acquired:

  1. generated an exceptional level of profit significantly above that necessary to remunerate its principals;
  2. benefitted from recurring fees from identifiable existing clients;
  3.  had a nationally recognised or regional brand; or
  4. had developed a reputation for a niche or specialism that would be difficult for someone else to replicate.

“diluted by the cost of run-off cover”

In any circumstances the value of the law firm is likely to be diluted by the cost of run-off cover that will have to be met unless the acquiring firm is willing to take on the historic risk of claims. Such cover typically costs about two and a quarter time the annual premium of the practice.

If no value is ascribed to the goodwill of the practice its value should be ascertained with reference to its net asset value. In those circumstances careful consideration needs to be given to the value of unbilled work in progress which is often reflected at less than its fair value in the accounts for tax-planning reasons, especially in relation to work undertaken on a contingency basis.
Ultimately many solicitors who are sole practitioners or partners in small firms are finding that the best they can reasonably expect on retirement is that they can realise their capital accounts for full book value in sharp contrast to small accountancy firms which continue to change hands for values approximating to one times recurring annual turnover.

Click ML Forensic Newsletter to see the full article with contact details