Slater & Gordon (S&G) has announced a commitment of more than £500,000 to help fund research into the social and medical issues that impact its clients.
The newly created Slater & Gordon Social and Medical Research Fund will be a not-for-profit research and educational fund established to support information sharing amongst healthcare professionals in both the UK and Australia.
There will be a provision for financial support for on-going efforts to understand and tackle asbestos-related disease as part of the firm’s support for the victims.
This latest headline-grabbing move by the alternative business structure will see a commitment from S&G of more than £565,000 over the next six years and there is also the possibility of further donations of funds from clients, it said.
The news came as S&G completed the acquisition of John Pickering & Partners, a well-known north of England firm specialising in chest and asbestos disease work. Also last week it confirmed the details of the acquisition of Pannone’s consumer law practice.
Neil Kinsella, head of UK at S&G, said: “Today is an important day for us as John Pickering & Partners becomes part of Slater & Gordon and to mark this we have decided to also announce the news that we will be launching an international fund for research in to the social and medical issues which impact clients of the firm.
“Not only will we be combining our experience and talents to mean that we are in the best possible position to offer clients world class legal services, we will also be in a position to use the Slater & Gordon Social and Medical Research Fund to support information sharing amongst healthcare professionals and provide us with a platform to advocate for change of behalf of our clients.”
The fund will be managed by an advisory board to be appointed over the next few months and will comprise of representatives of S&G and independent members, either drawn from social and medical research across the UK and Australia or with experience in understanding the needs of clients and “the capability gaps”.
Meanwhile, fellow alternative business structure Minster Law – which is owned by insurance group BGL – has continued its expansion by opening a London office.
The York-based practice said the expansion formed part of its “growth drive to become a market leader in multi-track and catastrophic personal injury”.
The new 30-strong team is aimed at “enhancing the service [Minster Law] offers southern-based clients”.
Minster, which was only formed in 2006, employs over 800 people in York and Wakefield mainly in personal injury – it handled more than 40,000 claims in the last financial year – but also in employment, wills, probate and conveyancing.
Managing director Stuart Ramsey said: “This is a key milestone in the growth of Minster Law and further enhances our strategy to become a market leading multi-track and catastrophic personal injury firm.”
David Downie, group director for legal services at BGL, added: “The opening of a new London-based office is a further signal that BGL is committed to investing in our legal services business. In addition, we are planning continued recruitment across all of our Minster Law sites in 2014 – alongside further exciting developments in our plans to define and lead the consumer legal services market.”