The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has shut down Follett Stock with immediate effect, with the loss of 30 jobs.
The Truro-based law firm, which has recently been subject of a winding up petition from HM Revenue and Customs, also had offices in Bristol, Exeter and London.
And yesterday the SRA declared the company insolvent and ordered it to hand over all documents and papers, as well as all money held at the firm.
An ‘intervening agent’ – Karen Thompson of Lester Aldridge LLP in Bournemouth – has been appointed to deal with the cases on Follett Stock’s books, while David Standish and John Milsom of KPMG have been appointed compulsory liquidators.
The SRA said it had been necessary to intervene to protect the interests of clients.
Helen Herniman, SRA director of client protection, explained: “In cases like these were the firm has become insolvent, we only intervene once all other options have been exhausted. We have had to intervene on this occasion as there was a clear risk to clients’ interests caused by the firm’s financial difficulties.
“The legal services market is facing a tough economic environment and other firms may find they are in a similar position. We’d urge all those who may be struggling financially to get in touch as soon as possible with either ourselves at the SRA, or other organisations that can offer advice such as their local law society.”
It is a sad conclusion for Follett Stock, which was run by Chris Lingard and Martin Pearse. It took the decision to expand out of Cornwall in 2009, opening an office in Exeter, then last year expanded further east, opening offices in Bristol and London.