RJW’s 4 Legal start-up to target bulk claims market

Russell Jones & Walker (RJW) has launched a company aimed at fast-tracking bulk claims work in a bid to become the leading player in the high-volume claims market.

The firm, which last year relaunched Claims Direct with a £5m advertising campaign, will aim to build the ‘4 Legal’ brand, which will sit alongside RJW and Claims Direct.

Claims management company Claims Direct will work directly with consumers, 4 Legal will focus on high-volume work and RJW will deal with specialist private client claims.

RJW head of public affairs Louise Restell said: “4 Legal will initially be focused on personal injury [PI], but we’re hoping to build it to be able to deal with anything that can be delivered in a high-volume package with a low level of professional input.” The company will also deal with work traditionally handled by the firm’s PI practice, including work referred to it by trade unions. Claims Direct will also refer cases to 4 Legal where possible.

Restell said RJW aims to develop a business model that ;owns ;trademarks capable of competing with non-legal brands on a level playing field.

This will stand it in good stead when the Legal Services Act 2007 comes into force in 2011, she said, as it should better position the firm to take on non-legal investment.

Restell added: “When the alternative business structure framework comes into being, 4 Legal will be able to access the outside investment which the Legal Services Act will allow.”

For the time being, 4 Legal will continue to be managed by RJW chief executive Neil Kinsella and the firm’s management board. However, it is anticipated that 4 Legal will eventually have its own board and management structure.

Last week (14 April), The Lawyer revealed that Cardiff firm Ergo Solicitors was the first firm to explicitly state that it will float on the stock exchange following the full implementation of the act.

Irwin Mitchell has also been boosting its volume claims work in anticipation of the act. This latest move by RJW will pitch the two firms squarely against each other in the run-up to 2011.