The Co-operative Group has announced that it is to create some 3,000 new jobs in its Legal Services division as part of its expansion after the introduction of the Legal Service Act last year.
Under the new law non-legal businesses are permitted to sell legal services as Alternative Business Structures.
The moniker ‘Tesco law’ is somewhat misleading, as Britain’s largest supermarket chain has so far stated that it has no plans to join the market.
The Co-operative on the other hand was the first major player to announce their involvement. The Co-op already offers a diverse range of products including banking and financial services, pharmacies and funeral directors.
Co-operative Legal Services employs some 450 staff in Bristol. Their chief executive Peter Marks this week announced that they will open five regional centres across England and Wales. The group will also open a new family law division in London.
Customers will be able to access basic advice through their high street bank branches and those of the Britannia Building Society.
Speaking about the expansion, Mr Marks explained that the Co-operative’s reputation supported their drive into legal services.
“We already have a first-class reputation for delivering professional services. We see the law as yet another area where a Co-operative solution can be successfully applied for the customer’s benefit,” he said.
The announcement states that most of the jobs will be in legal service provision, with around 10% of the new positions being filled by support staff.
Services offered by the group include personal injury, family and employment law, wills, trusts and probate. Most of the services are available for a fixed fee, removing some of the fear generated by enormous solicitors’ bills in the past.
More and more firms are responding to the competition by offering fixed-price services, something which should simplify the market for consumers in future.
The Co-operative announces plans for 3,000 jobs in Legal Services (The Co-operative Group)
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