DAS new legal chief launches panel review

DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Company has launched an extensive review of its legal panel, following the appointment of Kathryn Mortimer as its new head of legal services.

The Bristol-based company, which has an external legal spend of £80m, is reviewing its current panel of 20 law firms nationwide. The review is being led by Mortimer, who joined the company this month (October).

Mortimer said: “We’ll also be rationalising the panel. It could be that we keep the same number of firms, but that the work will be spread differently.”

Mortimer joins DAS from Capita’s legal expenses business in Colchester where she spent three years as head of legal services. Her hire follows an 18-month period in which DAS has had no senior in-house legal adviser.

DAS’s former legal manager David Kearns left the company 18 months ago to join Severn Law in Chepstow. He has advised the company as a consultant in the meantime.

Mortimer will now oversee the company’s 50-lawyer in-house legal team. She will also sit on its seven-member management board.

Mortimer said of the panel review: “I’m looking for people who can deliver good-quality services quickly, then report effectively back to us on the progress of claims to minimise expenditure. We’re not looking to reduce our legal spend, but we’re looking to manage that spend more efficiently.”

DAS Legal Expenses Insurance turned over £101m in the last financial year, and has offices in Bristol, London and Manchester. It also operates a specialist claims operation in Bedwas, South Wales.