A former partner of law firm Aberdein Considine, Rob Aberdein, is the driving force behind a new, technology-driven Scottish professional services firm.
Aberdeins is being launched with more than £1 million of backing and ambitions to shake up the legal scene north of the border.
Mr Aberdein is putting up a significant portion of the finances himself, while five other Scottish business figures are also investing.
While its core will be legal practice, the firm is targeting rapid expansion by creating and acquiring businesses already operating in professional service areas including estate agency, property letting and finance.
Mr Aberdein left Aberdeen-based Aberdein Considine – co-founded in 1981 by his father, Harvey – about three years ago to become the youngest ever equity partner at English law firm Walker Morris.
Aberdein’s board is led by chairman Tom Barrie, the former managing director and owner of logistics company Currie European.
Mr Aberdein, 40, said: “The Aberdeins name will become an umbrella for a wide range of professional services, done differently.
“We are about to deliver the biggest shake-up to the Scottish legal scene in decades.
“The sector is awash in traditional firms that are top-heavy with partners whose main focus is on maintaining their income, while the work is often delivered by overworked junior staff. A generation of young lawyers no longer find this attractive.
“That’s before you even talk about the clients, who feel almost constant resentment at the perceived arrogance, lack of responsiveness and value-for-money they get from their legal firms. Many sectors of the profession have an image problem.”
He added: “Our intention is to be disruptive and we know that won’t make us popular with everyone, but this is long overdue.
“Others who promised change have ended up turning into exactly the kind of firm they set out to displace. That won’t happen with Aberdeins.”
With 10 staff and offices in Renfield Street, Glasgow, and Rutland Square, Edinburgh, the firm intends rapid expansion, driven by planned acquisition of well-established but under-invested legal firms.
The initial financial target is to achieve a turnover of £10m by the end of 2022. The focus will be on conveyancing, wills and executries, powers of attorney, litigation, debt recovery, family law and accessible corporate law for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Mr Aberdein, who is managing director of the new firm, said Aberdeins would use technology to meet the changing demands of individuals and small businesses across law and other professional services to “reflect the 2020s, not the 1950s”.
Inspired by technology success stories, he is billing the new business as a mash up of app-based challener bank Monzo, Tesla, the electric car company headed by US billionaire Elon Musk, and Harvey Specter, the charismatic central character in legal drama Suits, which launched Meghan Markle’s career.
Mr Aberdein added: “When I speak with people about what we want to achieve it is this description that grabs their attention and makes the hair on the back of their necks stand up.
“Further market research has validated what I’ve always believed – that clients are ready for something different.
“We want to be able to communicate very easily with clients and have all of that linked to third-party services. Clients want to communicate via WhatsApp and Messenger, yet many lawyers still want to mail out a letter.
“We’ll be looking to break down the traditional legal process to deliver an experience that’s fit for the 21st Century.”