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Welsh lawyers pioneer hybrid ProcureCo

30 June 2011

A group of 15 solicitors’ firms and the biggest set of chambers in Wales have come together to set up a hybrid ProcureCo, in which the combined law firms and the chambers hold equal shares.

Nicholas Green QC, former chairman of the Bar Council, launched ProcureCos in May last year to allow chambers to use corporate vehicles to bid directly for work (see, 4 May 2010).

Ian Dodd, the former chief executive of Peel Court Chambers in Manchester now working as a consultant for Temple Chambers in Cardiff, said the hybrid solicitor/barrister ProcureCo anticipated the introduction of competitive tendering for criminal legal aid work.

Dodd said Temple Chambers already had a ProcureCo, Temple Chambers Law Limited, to bid for work.

He said the 15 law firms, including Lloyd & Rowe in Cardiff, were a mixture of specialist criminal legal aid firms and mixed practices. Dodd said they would create their own legal entity.

“Each of the entities will become equal shareholders in a third business, which will bid for and run the contracts,” he said.

“This is common practice in other professions in the UK. I call it a joint venture.”

Dodd said competitive tendering for criminal legal aid work was clearly the objective of the MoJ and the government, and he expected a consultation paper on the issue to be published later this summer or in the autumn.

However, he said the hybrid ProcureCo model would not be limited to bidding for legal aid work.

“People may think we’re premature, but our aim is to form a legal entity which can evolve as we learn more. There are tremendous opportunities out there for those with eyes to see.”

Nick Lloyd, partner at Lloyd and Rowe, said that by cooperating with Temple Chambers the firm believed it could provide a “more cost-efficient and targeted service” to clients.

Hilary Roberts, head of chambers at Temple Chambers, said that by combining litigation and advocacy within one legal entity, the “sometimes costly and time-consuming overlap between solicitors and barristers” could be eliminated.

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