The biggest brand name to enter legal services and one of the country’s first alternative business structures, Co-operative Legal Services (CLS), has announced strong revenue growth for 2012.
The Co-operative Group’s preliminary results for last year, released this morning, showed that CLS’s revenue was up 12.8% to £33m, delivering a profit of £26,000 “in this start-up phase, after absorbing significant investment for growth costs”.
This would place CLS at 76th in The Lawyer magazine’s table of the top 100 law firms by turnover.
The Co-op said its intention is to create “compelling co-operative alternatives for customers needing professional services in each of the areas in which we operate, while retaining relentless focus on great customer service, value for money and innovation to ensure we deliver our services as efficiently as possible”.
On legal services, it said: “We continue to deliver our ambitious growth plan. Year-on-year investment in people, infrastructure, processes and marketing grew significantly and helped to drive revenue growth…
“Even more encouragingly, our probate volumes were up 55%, while our new family law practice has gained market share quickly with caseloads up significantly. Overall, Legal Services made a small profit following continued significant investment for future growth, changes to both the pricing of services and the nature and duration of cases.
“We are working to become the number one legal service provider in the UK and are creating thousands of new jobs in the process.”
CLS focuses on six areas of law: family, will writing, probate, conveyancing, personal injury and employment.
Group chief executive Peter Marks said: “The Co-operative Group is a great business. We have a fantastic brand, talented people, loyal customers and over seven million members. We have effectively pursued a strategy of building strong positions in our chosen markets and are coming through the worst economic downturn I have seen in 40 years in business.
“Our ownership model means we have and can continue to take decisions for the long term. The strength of our capital position enables us to absorb short term losses. We know we are making the right strategic decisions which will enable us to make the most of the significant opportunities which lie ahead for the group.”