Co-op legal post £700,000 profit in 2015 after £5m loss

Co-op Legal Services have posted a small £700,000 profit for 2015 after a loss of £5 million in 2014.

The return to profit is being due to restructuring rather than anything else, as the group’s revenue decreased 14.3% to £18 million.

The biggest change however was the purchase of Collective Legal Solutions in December, strengthening the Co-op’s wills, trusts and estate planning services.

The group, which employs 355 staff in it’s legal services department, is braced for more challenges as the government’s reforms in Personal Injury, first tabled in George Osborne’s 2015 autumn statement, come to fruition.

The 2015 annual report said: “Buying a house, writing a will, dealing with the financial affairs of a deceased family member or going through a divorce are all part of life. We help our members and customers to deal with these events as quickly, helpfully and transparently as possible. Simply put, we aim to give people an outstanding service and in 2015 we took important steps towards improving our ability to do so.

“We appointed new experienced heads of probate, family law and personal injury to strengthen the Legal Services management team, and help us to develop our services and improve member loyalty. When added to investments being made in digital technology, they’ll help us to meet the needs and interests of our members across the UK.

“Our customers gave us a satisfaction rating of 88% for 2015. This ranks us highly among legal services firms. But we know we can do better. So we’re investing in technology platforms, workflows and training, sharpening our focus on dealing with legal issues quickly and effectively.

“Legal Services returned to profit, following 2014’s reduction in costs. Our investments in digital technology limited the profit to £0.7m but this was an improvement on 2014’s £5m loss. Revenue declined to £18m (2014: £21m) as personal injury volumes continued to normalise and as we shaped and refined the business back to core service propositions.

“Strengthening our Wills, Trust and Estate planning services, we bought Collective Legal Solutions in December 2015. With over 100 associates and support colleagues, this business provides face-to-face services to customers in inheritance-related legal matters throughout England and Wales. We intend to enhance our estate planning services further in 2016 by offering digital products. The addition of digital will allow clients access through their channel of choice.”

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