Global communications company BT has been awarded an alternative business structure license from the Solicitors Regulation Authority to launch BT Law Ltd.
It will provide legal services to corporate customers, initially in the motor claims market, but with an eye to expanding into other areas of law.
BT Law incorporates the existing claims management business BT Claims, which handles more than 35,000 corporate fleet vehicles. It offers “an in-house end-to-end motor claims solution for businesses from incident notification, through investigation and resolution and now including full litigation management”, the company said.
The new business – with offices in London, Bletchley and Sheffield – is headed by Miles Jobling, who will become director of BT Law while also continuing as head of litigation and employment law for the BT Group.
BT said it planned to grow its legal arm over the coming years and, based on demand, “will look to expand selectively into additional areas, such as public liability and employment law for corporate customers”.
The business will also work closely with another subsidiary, BT Fleet, which provides fleet management, vehicle maintenance and accident management to corporate customers.
Mr Jobling said: “The advent of ABS has changed forever the whole landscape of legal services. With our experience and market credibility we had already built a team with significant legal and claims-handling expertise.
“This licence now gives us the perfect platform to take this much further forward and means we can deliver whole new areas of support for our existing clients as well as hopefully developing many new relationships.
“As we carry the BT name we understand just how important it is to best represent and protect our clients’ brands, which will remain as a main component of our service strategy.”
SRA executive director Samantha Barrass said: “BT Law is a welcome addition to the legal services market. The SRA has now licensed more than 100 ABSs and this number continues to grow, which means more choice for customers.”
BT, which first announced its plans to apply for an ABS licence in February 2012, has shown increasing interest in the legal market and r, an IT company working with legal and accountancy firms.
It joins the Co-op, AA, Saga, Direct Line and Eddie Stobart as one of the well-known non-legal brands that have entered or announced plans to enter the legal market since ABS licensing began.