The successful launch of a new law firm is an immense challenge at the best of times, but when it coincides with a dramatic economic crash, it would seem nigh impossible. Ten years on, and Verisona Law is testament to what a combination of focus, diligence and nerve can achieve.
“We closed the Havant office in 2013 to expand our space at 1000 Lakeside, reduced overheads by streamlining various processes and introduced new technology,” explained Hart, who was made chief operating officer in 2016. “I am so proud of the results we have achieved from our investments.”
So what’s next?
“Getting everything in order was always going to be a long process, but overcoming the initial challenges of the 2008 crash meant we had to prioritise,” said managing director, Sue Ball. “‘The plus side was that perhaps we were more diligent, aware and thoughtful – there was, and is, never a moment’s complacency.
“We were delighted to announce our merger with Donnelly & Elliott Solicitors in Gosport in October, which will present an exciting new chapter where we can recruit the best legal talent and continue to attract new clients with all we have to offer.”
It’s October 2008 and while the US mortgage crisis unfolds, banking giants collapse and revelations from the financial sector lead to a global economic recession, a group of lawyers celebrate the successful merger of two Portsmouth legal firms.
Dyer, Burdett & Co in Havant and Gray Purdue in Waterlooville were of equal stature, number and acutely aware of the challenges facing high street practices. Having both decided to incorporate in 2005, their similar mind-sets led to discussion, a successful merger that created Verisona Law and the agreement to open a third, commercially-orientated office.
As the second tenant of 1000 Lakeside, Verisona Law’s launch party attracted over 400 people, including clients, local dignitaries and politicians, all curious to learn more about the new venture.
“I remember one guest referring to it as a ‘wonderfully optimistic event’,” recalled founder and now chairman of Verisona Law, Michael Dyer. “Of course the business climate was of serious concern, but I think it was our display of defiant confidence that attracted a wave of new corporate clients.”
Verisona Law soon discovered the need for commercial services in Portsmouth and quickly earned a reputation for forward-thinking with innovations such as the appointment of a CEO in 2010 to oversee the organisation.
However, it was in April 2013 when the firm found itself in the national spotlight. After providing the business support, legal representation and financial management needed by a consortium including Pompey Supporters Trust, a historic ruling in the High Court not only saved the future of Portsmouth Football Club, but also won the firm a variety of awards in recognition of the ground-breaking precedent for club ownership throughout the sport.
Soon after, Verisona Law embarked on an internal overhaul, led by the then chief financial officer, Maria Hart. Originally part of a team of just two people, Hart took responsibility for efficiency, internal systems and building a team of support roles in IT, marketing and compliance.