Co-op Legal Services ramps up recruitment ahead of ABS conversion

Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) today (12 January) launched the largest recruitment drive in its history ahead of its intended conversion to an alternative business structure.

Eddie Ryan
Eddie Ryan

In December the retail giant formally announced its intention to launch an ABS when the Legal Services Act went live on 3 January (7 December 2011).

CLS said it aimed to fill 150 new positions across the business as it continues its expansion in the consumer legal services market.

The majority of the positions will be at its Bristol operation while others will be based at its new family law unit in London. CLS launched its family office in November following the hire of three senior family lawyers, including TV Edwards family partner Christina Blacklaws as head of strategy and policy (2 November 2011).

CLS managing director Eddie Ryan, who has been the driving force behind CLS’s conversion to an ABS, said: “We have ambitious plans for our business and we want people with ambitions to match. The Legal Services Act will change the way in which legal services are delivered in England and Wales and we’re going to be playing a leading role in the new era.”

It comes as Pannone announced the closure of offices in Hale and Alderley Edge in Cheshire in addition to up to 12 fee-earner redundancies at its Manchester head office (10 January 2012).

In April last year The Lawyer reported that Pannone’s longstanding relationship with the Co-operative was in doubt as the retailer looked to ramp up its legal services division (11 April 2011). At that point Pannone was listed on the Co-op’s website as its sole provider of personal injury services other than those claims relating to road traffic accidents.