The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has named Parabis Law as its 20th alternative business structure (ABS). Parabis Law is backed by private equity firm Duke Street—and is the first ABS to adopt this model.
The Parabis Group specialises in claimant and defendant insurance law work, operating through its two brands, Plexus Law and Cogent Law.
Parabis Law LLP is part of Parabis Group, which offers a wide range of complementary non-law services to the insurance sector alongside its law services. The group has developed over the past 10 years or so to become a significant force in the insurance sector. In the financial year 2011-2012, Parabis Law LLP, which employs 1,184 people, achieved a £108million turnover.
Parabis CEO, Tim Oliver, commented: "We are excited about the possibilities that being granted an ABS licence now opens up to us. This is a great day for all connected with Parabis.
"Admittedly, at times, we have felt frustrated at the time it has taken to secure our licence but we are very pleased with the robustness of the application process. We look to the SRA as our regulator to ensure legal services are delivered in a safe way by good quality professional organisations and for the protection of the public. The ABS licensing process has given us great confidence that the SRA is fully committed to discharging that obligation."
Samantha Barrass, SRA Executive Director, said: "Licensing ABSs provides the opportunity to stimulate competition, innovation, and choice for consumers of legal services. Parabis Law is the 20th ABS that we have licensed and the first ABS to be created through private equity ownership. It is a good example of the type of innovation that the liberalisation of the legal services market has enabled."
An ABS is a business providing regulated reserved legal activities but which has either, or both, non-lawyer owners and managers. Traditionally, law firms have had to be owned and managed only by lawyers.
The non-lawyer ownership and management of legal services providers—under the Legal Services Act 2007—was one of a significant raft of reforms designed to liberalise the regulation and provision of legal services in England and Wales. The reforms will increase competition and provide consumers with greater choice and access to legal and related services.
Details of all of the ABSs licensed by the SRA are available at www.sra.org.uk/ABSregister.