Rugby star Gareth Thomas tackles legal recruitment
The August riots that swept across London cost millions in clean-up costs and police overtime but did have a positive effect on one Canary Wharf-based company.
Legal recruitment firm Sean Smith Associates saw demand for its services boom as firms across the capital sought staff to cope with the increase in court cases.
With business growing its expanding its operations in One Canada Square.
Director Sean Smith said: "During the riots we placed over 100 criminal lawyers, so crime does pay for some people. When you get a recession our business goes through the roof. Crime will always go up.
"We've already got £2million worth of business on the books for next year. We're going to be very busy, so I want to increase our staff from the 14 we have now to 60 or 70 in 2012."
Smith, 41, himself a former lawyer, admitted he's done well out of legal recruitment. He counts 20 "magic circle" firms as clients, but he wants to help small firms struggling with stringent cuts to Legal Aid.
He said: "We're launching a free service this month for any firm with less than four fee-earners or turnover of less than £250,000.
"A lot of small firms which have to meet the Legal Service Commission franchise requirements simply cannot afford the costs associated with legal recruitment. It would wipe out their profits.
"It's important, otherwise we'll end up with 10 super-firms doing all the work and the quality of service will go down."
Smith, a self-made millionaire, has recruited former Wales and British Lions captain Gareth Thomas to work at the company following his recent retirement from the game.
Smith said: "Gareth wants a serious business career. He's starting off doing the photocopying and everything else, but he's the most determined man I've ever met and I have no doubt he'll make a success of it."
Another project for Smith is taking part the next series of Secret Millionaire. Details are under wraps but it excites him.
He said: "I'll learn a lot about myself because you have to survive on £5 a day and I'm not sure how I'll manage that. I don't know where I'll be going, but it will be the most exciting eight days of filming."
Go to seansmithassociates.com.