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The RAC is set to hire up to 150 lawyers in preparation for the deregulation of the UK legal system.
Eddie Ryan, managing director of RAC Legal Services, told The Lawyer that the company is bolstering the number of its in-house lawyers in order to handle more legal work and offer a wider range of services to its members.
The RAC plans to launch a new company called RAC Law once the deregulation bill has passed through parliament. Ryan said the RAC is looking at a number of different options and that it had not ruled out taking over an entire law firm.
Ryan denied that the move would result in less work being outsourced to RAC's 24-strong legal panel, which includes Clarke Willmott, Lupton Fawcett, Ward Hadaway and Blake Lapthorn. He argued that, with the expected increase in legal work, there should be sufficient work for the panel to handle.
Currently, the RAC is only allowed to offer members advice on personal injury cases. But it would like to become the largest provider of legal services in the country, offering advice on property law, wills and probate.
The final government report on deregulation is due to be published in December 2004, with changes coming into force two years later.