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SRA announces first three “Tesco law” firms

Co-operative Legal Services, John Welch and Stammers and Lawbridge Solicitors Ltd have been confirmed as the first three law firms to operate as Alternative Business Structures.



Yuan Phoon, 29 March, 2012

The three firms will be the first to allow non-lawyers to invest and own a law firm.

Law firms previously could only be owned by legal practitioners. Under ABSs non-lawyers will for the first time be able to invest in and own law firms.

The new set-up means that law firms can seek external investment in new ways and possibly lead to law firms being floated on the stock market.

ABS’ have been commonly been dubbed as “Tesco Law”, as under the new ownership rules a supermarket chain such as Tesco could begin to offer legal services, although Tesco itself has denied that it is entering the legal market.

Eddie Goldsmith, partner at Goldsmith Williams, said: “These are the first of what I have no doubt will be many companies that recognise the potential of Alternative Business Structures.

“The diversification of legal services providers will generate increased competition which will force the market to become much more efficient. Pricing structures will change, technology will streamline processes and the customer will have a greater market choice.

“The industry is evolving and the new legal landscape will change the game, but for ambitious, entrepreneurial companies there are opportunities to be had. Those firms that do not embrace the change risk being left behind.”




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