Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) has confirmed that it intends to submit its bid to become an alternative business structure (ABS) on 3 January 2012 – the day the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will begin accepting applications.
CLS managing director Eddie Ryan said: “The Legal Services Act will change the way in which legal services are delivered in England and Wales and we are looking forward to playing a leading role in the new era.
“We believe that the presence of The Co-operative’s trusted brand and values together with a combination of first class products and services will provide customers with greater accessibility to legal advice and better value for money.
“We are working extremely hard with the Solicitors Regulation Authority in preparation for the introduction of ABSs and we look forward to being licensed so that we can provide a full range of legal services to our members and customers.”
The SRA says it hopes to issue the first ABS licences in the second half of February.
CLS was set up in 2006 and has since grown to a £25m-plus business employing 400 staff, placing it in the top 100 law firms in the country by turnover.
CLS currently covers personal injury claims, will writing, probate and estate administration, conveyancing and employment law. Last month it announced it is to enter the family law market  next year. However, we recently revealed that Jonathan Gulliford, one of the architects of CLS, has left the business .