Revenue, profit and staff numbers up at Co-op Legal Services

Hurley: Digital advances

Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) saw turnover rise 11% to £22m in the first half of 2022, its 10th year as an alternative business structure, as it works towards more than doubling its income in the coming years.

CLS said the increase was driven by all of its practice areas but particularly by opening 23% more probate cases than in the same period last year. Profits doubled to £4m.

We revealed earlier this year that CLS’s aim was to become a £100m operation over the next five years, particularly through accelerating growth through the business-to-business partnerships it was forming.

CLS was one of the first three ABSs licensed in March 2012 and seems to have come out of the other side of a turbulent few years in the middle of the last decade.

Managing director Caoilionn Hurley said: “The advances we’ve made in the digital space over the last few years and the number of partners we are now working closely with have contributed to this success.

“Nearly 50% of our clients came to us through digital channels in the first half of 2022. Our growing library of digital tools, support and contact channels is helping us support more clients in whichever way works for them.”

More clients were also coming from partner referrals; by 30 June, CLS had over 50 partnerships in place.

The increased case volumes has in turn meant recruitment and over 100 new staff started at CLS in the six months, including solicitor apprentices.

“In 2021, we streamlined our assessment processes to offer new routes into the legal profession,” Ms Hurley wrote in the Co-op’s half-year report. “By doing this, we opened up legal careers to a wider range of colleagues from non-traditional backgrounds, as sector specific experience was no longer a requirement to join our team.

“We continued to hone and develop our essential criteria for recruitment in 2022, which helped us recruit this high number of new colleagues.”

This contributed to an increased number of disabled and LGBTQ+ staff, she said, while training meant 30% of roles were filled by internal candidates.

Ms Hurley also pointed to increasing customer satisfaction, with a score of 87.2%, up 1.7%, and a Trustpilot score of 4.8.

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