The Co-operative announces plans for 3000 jobs in Legal Services

The Co-operative announces plans for 3000 jobs in Legal Services

The Co-operative today announced plans for the creation of 3,000 jobs in its legal services business, as it continues to expand.  The announcement will make the Co-operative, which already has interests in professional services, the largest consumer law business in the UK.
In March the Co-operative became the first major consumer brand to be granted ABS status under the Legal Services Act.  As a result it is able to offer legal services previously only offered by solicitors.  
Peter Marks, Co-operative Chief Executive said that over the next five years the Group will open five regional hubs across England and Wales, and set up a new family law operation in London which is due to launch later this year.  This is in addition to the current operation which is based in Bristol, employing 450 legally trained and support staff.  It is planned that 90% of the new roles will be legal, with 10% made up of support staff.
It is aimed that many of the roles being developed will be offered as legal apprenticeships and there will be opportunities for study leave as the Group are keen to use the expansion to offer opportunities to young people.  
It is also planned that a trial of legal and funeral planning services through 30 branches of The Co-operative Bank and Britannia will be widened to all 330 high street branches.  
Peter Marks comments:
“We already have a 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.  Over the next five years we want to fundamentally change the face of legal services and make access far easier — today’s announcement underlines that ambition.
“We intend to be totally customer focussed and will help customers navigate the legal world so that they are much more comfortable with the experience and the outcomes.
As well as family law, Co-operative Legal Services will offer a comprehensive range of consumer services, including will-writing, probate and estate administration, conveyancing, personal injury, family law and employment law services.  These services will be provided through either a telephone service, via the web utilising new functionality, or through selected face-to-face services.  
Peter Marks explains:
“When the new legal services legislation was drafted it was envisaged that it would enable a new range of businesses to enter the closed world of legal services.  Our ambition is to provide a service that will stop people feeling daunted by the prospect of having to work with a solicitor.  
“We believe that the presence of the Co-operative’s trusted brand and values, our UK wide branch network, first class people and services together with fair and fixed pricing options, will enable customers to find it much easier to access expert legal advice from someone they trust.”
The Co-op is a major business name, with at least one food store in every postcode area.  It is also a major financial services provider, and is the number one funeral services provider in the UK.  This means that the business has a large potential market to advertise to, and a name which is already associated with professional services.
As the Co-operative looks to move into conveyancing services, traditional firms may need to find ways to market themselves more strongly to potential clients.
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