McClure Solicitors

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by McClure Solicitors's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from McClure Solicitors is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

mcclure-solicitors.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
18 | MCCLURE SOLICITORS
AndrewRobertson,
Managing Director
McClure Solicitors are a private-client legal firm based
in Glasgow, Scotland. Founded in 1853, they have 15
offices throughout the UK. McClure provide a unique
service to their clients as they offer clients a free will to begin
with, before offering other services afterwards. Managing
Director Andrew Robertson explains that their unique model has
worked well for them for a number of years, and discusses how
their set-up has allowed them to raise £30 million per year.
Following our foundation in 1853, McClure functioned like a standard legal firm until
1984. We were based in Greenock in the west of Scotland and provided mainly private
client services. I joined the firm in 1971 and decided to start providing wills free of
charge for a donation to charity in 1984. We still offer an excellent service that potential
clients need, but if people do not give us work we are not able to grow our business.
Since I took the decision, the company has never looked back. We now have 15 offices
in the UK and cover the whole of England, Wales and Scotland, with a Glasgow city
centre office as our central processing unit. We currently employ 91 staff, who are
managed by Stewart Moore, a co-director. We have a small management team of
six, which is made up of three men and three women. Each department is headed by
a manager and as a result of two recent developments, our volume of work and our
requirement for staff has increased significantly in Q4.
Our business model
McClure offers free wills for a voluntary donation for a charity of the client’s choice.
This service comes at a significant cost to us and does cause us a fair level financial
risk. All of our wills are free, regardless of how complex they are. We do not employ
an upper age limit and we will make home visits free of charge if necessary. This is
embodied in our ethos – “no cost, no catch, no excuse”.
We are partnered with 114 charities, all of whom refer their service users and
supporters to us. 45 per cent of our free will clients take a power of attorney and
ten per cent take a family protection trust (FPT). We developed the FPT in 2002 and
currently manage about 18,000 trusts. Our FPTs are used for various purposes, but
principally they allow flexibility in the distribution of estates on death. Our experience
is that some clients need a trust to back up their will. Our free will scheme generates
around 900 new clients per month. The income from the POAs and the FPTs funds
the free will scheme and the volume of clients from the free will scheme creates the
volume of POAs and FPTs. Our other services include estate agency, conveyancing,
probate, point of need, financial services and inheritance taxplanning.
Culture
Our staff enjoy working for a company that is going forward and where no two days
are the same. They are very much involved in the development of the business and are
AT A GLANCE
MCCLURE SOLICITORS
»Managing Director:
AndrewRobertson
»Founded in 1853
»Based in Glasgow, with 15
offices throughout the UK
»Services: Private-client legal
firm offering a free will service
»No. of employees: 91
McClure Solicitors
19MCCLURE SOLICITORS |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
encouraged to take responsibility for their
own work. Everyone, be they a director
or a clerk, knows that without good
service, any business, but particularly ours,
will fail. It’s not that we are regulated by
the Solicitors Regulation Authority for
England and Wales and The Law Society
of Scotland for Scotland; we are de
facto regulated by our charity partners.
Over half of our business comes from
the charities. They are understandably
risk averse. If we don’t continue to
impress them and their supporters, our
business will suffergreatly.
Accreditations
Our main accreditation is that more and
more charities and other introducers
want to partner with us. In addition, in
November last year we were awarded
“High Street Firm of the Year” in the
Scottish Law Awards. In October,
we were shortlisted as Law Firm of
the Year and Highly Commended for
Excellence in Business Development by
TheLawSociety.
Communication
We have invested heavily in technology.
Our branch consultants input their client’s
data directly onto our server. Everything
is electronic apart from the principal
documents. We are a paperless office.
Our consultants have monthly team
meetings either in person or by Skype.
At each client meeting, the consultant
completes a detailed attendance note,
which is checked by a director, particularly
in relation to questions of capacity. At the
end of each piece of work the clients are
sent a feedback form, which is usually
completed electronically. Around 98 per
cent of those who respond are happy
with the service.
Financial challenges
Our largest financial challenge is that our
only certainty is the cost of the free will
scheme. The resulting paid-for services
are not guaranteed. Our management
team therefore monitor the volumes
of appointments made, appointments
sat, sources of work, services taken and
income received on a daily basis. If there
is a train coming, we need to see it in
advance. Having said that, the nature of
our work is recession-proof and Brexit-
proof. We are confident that clients
will continue to need the services we
provide. We do “think outside the box”
and can adapt where necessary.
Our future plans
We intend to continue to develop our
business. This is inevitable anyway as
more introducers – particularly charities
– wish to partner with us. We would
not refuse them even if we wanted to
and we will have to employ additional
staff and open other branch offices to
service that need. Our aim is to raise
£500,000 in cash for charities and £50
million in legacies in a full year.
I believe that our business model
is unique in the UK. Other solicitor
companies might begin to try and
emulate us, but we are happy with that,
as the market is so large that there is
plenty of room for multiple players.
One in four of our free will clients
leave a legacy for charity. That’s about
four times the UK average. If every will
writer, whether solicitor or non-solicitor,
achieved that, legacy income for
charities would quadruple. This would
help charities to do so much more good
work, taking some financial pressure off
government and making us all feel that
little bit better about ourselves.
Management team
receiving the Highly
Commended Award
at The Law Society
Excellence Awards
I believe that
our business
model is
unique in the
UK

mcclure-solicitors.co.uk

This article was sponsored by McClure Solicitors. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister