Adrian Biles: “I’m delighted” to be back building a legal business
The former Ince boss Adrian Biles is back at the helm of a London legal firm, having acquired Child & Child. He tells Andy Silvester why he believes in the firm’s potential.
“I’M NOT sure I had a day off,” a cheery Adrian Biles tells me when he’s asked what he’s been doing since he left the listed law firm Ince in mid-September.
Biles perhaps would have been entitled to want some time to reflect.
In just shy of a decade he grew Gordon Dadds – later Ince, after a takeover – into what was for a time London’s largest listed law firm.
But rather than a neat exit befitting somebody who had overseen years of success, Biles left suddenly in September due to what the firm rather vaguely called a “conflict of interest”.
That came after a well-publicised boozy meal in a Cardiff restaurant attended by a number of senior lawyers and Biles’ father, John, who served as Ince’s head of finance.
In short, it can’t have been an easy few months.
But ever chipper, Biles the younger – who has come to City A.M.’s offices fresh from his first meeting with the team at Child and Child, the Belgravia law firm he’s just acquired, is resolutely looking forward.
“Nobody wants to have bad press. But part of being the chief executive of a public company is you’re going to get some,” he says.
“You’ve got a profile, you’ve got a requirement to communicate, and all of those things come with a price.” Biles is now excited about going back to what he reckons – and what the track record suggests – he does best.
“I think my skill set is as a business builder, and I took the business [Ince] as far as I could.
“I had done what I could and perhaps more than I should.
It’s very good for me now to go back to what I’m very good at, which is the business building bitAdrian Biles
Biles’ acquisition of Child and Child in a pre-pack deal allows him to build up the firm in a similar way to that he managed at Gordon Dadds – and he’s excited about what some might see as a gamble.
Some of the legal profession, he reckons, are “risk averse”.
“The idea that you will take a Child and Child, take it on as it is, and you think it’s got value and you really believe in it – that attitude isn’t that common,” he says of the industry.
“But that’s my attitude. I see the value in the people, I see the value in the brand and I see the potential.”
Biles’ personal contribution to the deal – a six figure sum – is part of his commitment to growing the London firm, but the “real investment” is going to come in bulking out Child & Child’s personnel.
“We are going to be very active looking for the very best possible people we can attract to the firm.”
BACK ON THE HORSE
“I’m delighted to be back in business. I’m a guy who doesn’t like to be inactive. It doesn’t suit me to sit around and self-speculate,” reckons Biles.
He is already full of ideas for Child and Child – maintaining its London footprint and doubling down on existing strengths in everything from family law to party wall disputes.
His job as he sees it is to win the “hearts and minds” of the team at Child and Child and make it a place that people want to join.
His father, John, will again be nearby – taking on a “supervisory” role on what Biles calls the”numbers side”.
Another run, then, for Adrian Biles?
“I think it can go all the way,” he says of Child and Child. With a laugh, Biles is off into the City to start on another legal adventure. Few would bet against him making a success of it.