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The Co-operative is set to enter the family law market with the hire of a partner duo from London firm TV Edwards, including the firm’s managing partner Jenny Beck.
The company has hired Beck, head of TV Edwards’ family practice, as well as family partner Christina Blacklaws and lawyer Chris May, who currently holds the role of head of business development and strategy.
The practice will be up and running from the middle of next year.
The Co-op has been open about its intentions to make use of the Legal Services Act and has been looking to grow the size of its in-house division, Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) (11 April 2011). It has also been ramping up its legal hiring at its headquarters in Bristol (10 October 2011).
CLS is set to convert to an ABS provided it gains a licence from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Its managing director Eddie Ryan said in a statement: “We’re working extremely hard with the Solicitors Regulation Authority in preparation for the introduction of ABS’s and we look forward to being able to provide a full range of legal services to our members and customers.”
TV Edwards, one of the UK’s largest legal aid firms, merged with Blacklaws Davis earlier this year.
Beck said: “The Co-operative is a trusted brand and will be a trusted adviser. In doing so, we will aim to secure access to justice for all at a time when public funded services are contracting.”
Christina Blacklaws said: “These are challenging times for both society and the legal profession, and our new range of services will address the very real need which exists as well as reaching out to those who do not currently access family legal services.”
CLS was launched in 2006 and employees more than 400 staff covering personal injury, will writing, probate and estate administration, conveyancing and employment.