Last fall, a 150-year-old British corporate services provider and legal publishing company transformed itself into a licensed law firm thanks to permissive UK legislation. Jordan’s Ltd. successfully applied for an Alternative Business Structure license from the Solicitors Regulation Authority, allowing the company to add a corporate law division to its ongoing range of services in support of UK businesses.
Jordan’s Corporate Law launched with seven lawyers in addition to the company’s existing corporate governance staff. In an article in the U.K. publication Legal Futures, Debbie Farman – head of the new corporate law division – said that the move was a “natural progression” for Jordan’s. She said that the company will offer “non-contentious” legal advice relating to corporate and commercial law, corporate governance and compliance outsourcing.
Although both Ms. Farman and – in an earlier article that also appeared in Legal Futures – Jordan’s divisional director Paul Townsend have insisted that the intention is not to compete with existing law-firm clients, the question remains: if traditional businesses are going to morph into licensed law firms, what business processes, pricing policies, innovations and other strategies will they introduce for the benefit of traditional law-firm clients? Will they create a competitive edge that yesterday's law firms will be unable to touch?
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