The Co-operative’s legal arm Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) plans to offer 100 training contracts annually within the next five years.
Putting the numbers of trainees on a par with magic circle firms, the move will come as part of the Co-op’s plans to create 3,000 jobs in the legal sector as it aims to revolutionise how legal services are delivered on the high street.
CLS currently has four first-year trainees out of a staff of 475, with over fifty further employees who have completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC) awaiting training contracts.
At a press briefing on the plans, managing director Eddie Ryan confirmed that CLS has recently applied to the SRA to offer a further ten training contracts to current employees and that within five years it hopes to take on 100 trainees a year.
“But that would depend on our strategy, and depends on how many qualified solicitors we will need” he said.
In an announcement earlier today (24 May 2012), Group Chief Executive Peter Marks said CLS would also open five regional hubs around the country and the Co-op is extending its current trial of legal services and funeral planning services through 30 branches of the Co-operative Bank and Britannia to encompass all 330 high street branches.
The CLS family practice, the Co-op added, would open in London later this year.
The SRA approved the group’s plans to convert CLS to an alternative business structure in March (28 March 2012).