Warrington-based Stobart Group’s new legal services business, which was launched in May, is performing well beyond expectations according to group legal director Trevor Howarth.
Speaking to reporters in Manchester yesterday (1 August 2012), he said Stobart Barristers, which has been set up to connect businesses and the public direct with barristers, was generating four times its targeted revenue after just three months.
“This has come at a good time for people buying legal services,” he said.
“There has been a reduction in legal aid, with solicitors holding onto more cases, and there is a large appetite from the Bar to deliver the work.
“In terms of revenue [for Stobart Group], we are talking about substantial seven-figure sums in year one.”
Stobart Barristers, which offers access to 1,200 specialists around the UK in any area of law, operates a fixed-fee pricing model, where people can pay as they go during a litigation process.
The new division was formed following Stobart Group’s decision to employ its own barristers without a solicitor in 2008, which has led to savings in its legal fees.
Members of the public, or businesses, have been able to engage directly with barristers since the introduction of Direct Public Access legislation in 2004, but the practice has been slow to take off.
Howarth added: “Barristers don’t have the infrastructure to deliver the service.
“For the first time we offer all of that – paralegals offering the administrative support, for example.
“We have done it ourselves for four years, which has enabled the team to understand how to make this work as a business model.”
The division operates with a staff of 20 on King Street in Manchester and there are plans to grow headcount in the next 12 months.
It also marks a new avenue of growth for the group, which is best known for it logistics capability.
“We became FSA-regulated earlier this year,” added Howarth.
“We also have our own HR team we can put into other people’s businesses to manage a problem for them.
“People recognise what we are doing these days. They saw us move across sectors, such as into Southend Airport, and they can now see the result of that. I think business services are a natural extension of the business.”
Source – Insider News North West – 2 August 2012