Spotlight On… Jon Lawley
Meet Acuity Law Corporate Healthcare partner Jon Lawley
When he left university with a Politics and Modern History degree, Acuity Law Corporate Healthcare partner Jon Lawley wasn’t 100% sure what he wanted to do – but he knew it when he saw it.
“I worked briefly in the civil service after university, working closely with lawyers in private practice on property transactions. I liked the look of what they were doing and found that their roles were having a positive impact on real people. Having gained some work experience, I went back to university to undertake my legal studies and have never looked back,” he recalls.
“Healthcare is an exciting sector because it has a real and tangible impact on everybody. It affects me as much as it affects the person on the street, and it’s something I can understand as a recipient of the service it provides”
An appreciation for the value of real impact has stayed with Jon throughout his career. As a firm, Acuity has always been active in the healthcare sector, particularly for clients in the dental and care sectors. Jon’s involvement in healthcare began as a trainee, but over the years, he has become an expert in dental. Notable successes include his relationship with Portman Dental Care, a major Acuity client for which Jon is lead partner, and Jon now heads up a team of 20 people across three offices, all of whom are dedicated to dental M&A transactions.
“Healthcare is an exciting sector because it has a real and tangible impact on everybody. It affects me as much as it affects the person on the street, and it’s something I can understand as a recipient of the service it provides,” he explains.
“We’re up against firms who are much larger than us, which says a lot about our standing in the market”
Through membership of organisations like the National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants and Lawyers, he has been able to further consolidate and develop his specialism, which now includes non-corporate work for individual dental practitioners, as well as strategic M&A for acquisitive dental corporates.
Ripples in the dental market
These are interesting times for the dental sector, Jon observes. Brexit has contracted the talent pool of overseas dentists able to work in the NHS, exacerbating the resourcing issues faced by the NHS at a time when UK-based dentists are not necessarily available to work in the UK either.
“As in most sectors, there has been an understandable re-evaluation of priorities by the dental workforce in the wake of Covid, with UK-based dentists changing their working patterns and hours to prioritise their personal focus,” he says.
With the NHS competing with the allure of the private sector, together with Bupa’s ongoing large-scale disposal of NHS practices, the market is somewhat atypical.
“These events have caused a big ripple in the M&A market for dental practices. You now have a lot of practices being put up for sale, which first-time buyers or even associates can take on, but that will have a knock-on for regular deals, because the prices are now distorted,” he explains.
“NHS practitioners themselves may well find themselves looking at how they diversify into private practice, with the uncertainty over the future of the NHS contract,” he adds.
Experts in the business of healthcare
The Acuity Corporate Healthcare team is pleased to be advising market-leading clients as they navigate uncertain waters, and we are gratified by our nomination in two categories at this year’s HealthInvestor Awards: Legal Advisors of the Year for both Private and Transactional work.
“We’re up against firms who are much larger than us, which says a lot about our standing in the market,” says Jon.
“We have a team structure that allows us to take on large-scale M&A portfolios and private equity-backed clients who need to do deals in a certain way, within a certain structure, in a certain timeframe. We’ve been doing that for 10-15 years now, and our nominations are testament to the hard work of all the team.”
On the private side, Acuity is able to draw on the wider skillsets available within our full business-to-business offering, comprising experts in corporate, commercial, litigation, employment, regulatory matters and more.
Our subscription-based Acuity Counsel Service is also available for healthcare clients who wish to outsource legal expertise on demand, from routine legal assistance to substantial projects.
“As a firm, we are experts in the healthcare sector,” says Jon.
“Whatever department you go to you’ll be able to have an informed conversation with someone who understands your business, understands the sector and understands what’s required.”