Hiscox to underwrite compliance push for post-LSA era. Russell Jones & Walker (RJW) has moved a step closer to realising its post-Legal Services Act (LSA) ambitions by signing a deal with insurer Hiscox that will see it offer a Claims Direct-style service to a more specialised market.
RJW is launching 4ExpertProtect and 4ExecProtect, which will be underwritten by Hiscox. The services will be marketed at lawyers and will offer 24-hour access to specialist advice on niche areas such as white-collar crime.
The scheme is expected to kick-start a shift towards law firms commoditising their commercial offerings in a bid to target new clients.
RJW chief executive Neil Kinsella said: “We’re trying to make legal services affordable for businesses and individuals within businesses.”
RJW already has a number of established brands, including Claims Direct, which targets the mass personal injury market, and 4Legal, which targets high-value volume work. The firm wants to capitalise on their success by creating further divisions that could be ripe for external investment.
“It’s a repositioning of the RJW brand so we’re perceived in a new way more of a commercial brand,” Kinsella explained. “Routes to market are extremely competitive and that’s going to get more intense after the [LSA] comes in. This vehicle is one way of generating a new route to market.”
The firm has broadened its distribution channel by marketing the new service via insurance brokers Heath Lambert and Lockton. It is believed that RJW is the first firm to use major commercial brokers to market its services.
Initially RJW will target individual lawyers, directors and officers who need compliance advice. The service will be provided by the business crime and regulation practice, which until now sat outside the volume area that is so central to RJW’s model.
“It means we can continue to grow that side of the business,” Kinsella said.
In early 2008 the firm lost two key fraud partners to rival firms. Manchester fraud head Neill Blundell defected to Eversheds, while financial fraud star Judith Seddon joined Clifford Chance.
Sources said the moves were triggered because it was felt too much time was spent on the volume business.