Following Co-operative Legal Services’ (CLS) announcement earlier this year that it was going to start recruiting on a biblical scale by creating some 3,000 jobs, the company has now created a roster of barristers’ chambers to give it access to ‘every court in the land’. They don’t do things by halves at the Co-op.
CLS has brought in the barristers to help with its family-law service, which it launched earlier this month offering advice on divorce, child protection, mediation and financial issues for a fixed fee and promising clients (or is that customers?) no jargon and no “nasty surprises”.
Five sets have signed up with CLS, agreeing to work for fixed fees: Manchester-headquartered St John’s Buildings, Nottingham-based St Mary’s Chambers, 3 Paper Buildings, 4 Paper Buildings and 14 Gray’s Inn.
“The real issue is the lack of justice for ordinary people in this country,” said CLS director Christina Blacklaws. “Most people can’t afford the top lawyers. There’s a real fear around the cost of accessing lawyers and legal services. We aim to be transparent and offer that fixed-fee service.”
But already debate has kicked off on TheLawyer.com. Not everyone, it seems, is as confident as the Co-op that low cost and client satisfaction can go hand-in-hand. One thing’s for sure: targeting adversarial work like divorce may well wreak havoc with its ‘good for everyone’ slogan.
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