Co-op set to become ABS pioneer

Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) has announced that it intends to apply to become an alternative business structure (ABS) on 3 January, the day on which the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) finally begins accepting applications.

The SRA has only just received approval to regulate ABSs (1 December 2011), despite the Legal Services Act entering into force in October. It will start accepting applications from 3 January after the order designating the SRA as a licensing authority comes into force on 23 December.

CLS has already hired a family law team in the run-up to its conversion to the new structure, with the practice expected to be up and running in the middle of next year (2 November 2011).

CLS managing director Eddie Ryan said: “We are working extremely hard with the Solicitors Regulation Authority in preparation for the introduction of ABSs and we look forward to being licensed so that we can provide a full range of legal services to our members and customers.”

The Co-op has been open for a long time about its intention to become an ABS (1 April 2011).