Telecoms giant BT is planning to diversify into the legal services market for business clients following its claims management arm's application to become an alternative business structure (ABS).
In December 2012, BT applied for the trademark "BT Law" to be registered for legal services - the Huffington Post UK has been told the services won't be rolled out to consumer clients, but will instead be reserved BT's business clients.
A BT spokesman told HuffPost UK: "We are waiting for the grant of our ABS licence which is proceeding through the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Currently BT Claims handles claims relating to BT's vehicle fleet and its other clients.
"When we get our licence, BT Claims will offer its services to other corporates, insurance companies and brokers who share the same values as it and see this as an opportunity to improve their approach to the way in which they manage claims. BT Claims will not be going into the consumer market."
BT is among 100 companies who have applied to the SRA for ABS license applications. Sometimes referred to as 'Tesco Law' in the legal press, the new reforms to the Legal Services Act which sparked the new trend is predicted to start a revolution in the retail legal services market in England and Wales.
The biggest name already in the public domain is the Co-op group, which the SRA granted a licence to in April 2012.
The reforms also mean law firms can seek external investment - two of the other early ABS licence recipients were a high street firm in Oxfordshire, John Welch and Stammers, and a sole practitioner in Kent, Lawbridge Solicitors. Both are bringing in non-lawyer partners as their practice managers.
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