Co-op cements ties with sets in Bristol

The Co-operative Legal Services has strengthened relationships with Bristol-based sets, signing new terms of agreement with Guildhall Chambers and 3 Paper Buildings.

The high street giant has made no secret of its plans to embrace opportunities presented by the Legal Services Act, which came into force last week (6 October). The company has been on a ­hiring spree at its Bristol headquarters and is currently home to 300 solicitors.

One Bristol-based source said chambers that have managed to get close to the Co-op are aiming to shore up an income stream ­directly from the consumer market.

“All chambers should see alternative business ­structures as an opportunity, because successful businesses are coming into the ­profession, giving barristers a new route to market,” the source added. “Many sets are struggling with cuts to legal aid and the knock-on effects of the Jackson reforms. This is a way of getting work direct from legal consumers.”

The sets were quizzed by the Co-op on their ability to offer a range of expertise, turn cases around at speed and offer fixed fees.