Thomson Reuters just announced that The Co-operative Legal Services has selected MatterSphere to support its front office matter management needs. The Co-operative Legal Services is a major UK consumer brand which has recently been awarded an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) licence to provide legal services as a result of the Legal Services Act.

Thomson Reuters won the multi-year contract with The Co-operative Legal Services at the end of a competitive bidding process. The Co-operative Legal Services selected MatterSphere to support its launch into the family law business, which it plans to offer to the public later this year. MatterSphere (originally part of FWBS which was acquired last year by Elite) is an industry-leading practice and matter management platform and is available as part of Thomson Reuters’ Elite suite of integrated management solutions.

MatterSphere integrates with ELITE 3E, Elite Enterprise, and many other financial management and document management platforms and is embedded in the Microsoft Office environment to unite operations and promote collaboration across the enterprise and with a firm’s clients. In addition, its mobile capabilities enable access to case files, action activities, and file time records from an iPad or smartphone, which brings a higher level of client service.

The Legal Services Act marked the biggest shake-up in the UK legal market for generations with the introduction of the ABS in October 2011, which for the first time allows external ownership of law firms. The Co-operative, the UK’s largest mutual business with more than 7 million members and annual revenues of more than £13bn, is the first consumer brand to have obtained an ABS license.

“We are absolutely delighted to have secured this groundbreaking agreement to support The Co-operative Legal Services as it embarks on expanding its legal services offering to the public,” said Tim Harty, vice president, Thomson Reuters UK & Ireland Legal business. “The Co-operative Legal Services is paving the way for a greater emphasis on efficiency and value for money, and to provide tangible benefits that can be passed on to the customer. Thomson Reuters is uniquely positioned to offer an unequalled range of solutions and services to help meet their customers’ needs.”

“The Co-operative is committed to playing a leading role in the provision of legal services to consumers in the UK. We are entering the family law market this year and require a reliable software solution that can be implemented on time and easily integrated to help us manage a range of everyday activities, from billing to reviewing case files,” said Ian Mackie Sales & Marketing Director of The Co-operative Legal Services. “We chose MatterSphere for the degree to which it can be easily customised to meet our specific requirements and seamlessly integrated into our telephony and online functions, and importantly, for its proven track record of successful implementation”.

The Co-operative Group is a major food retailer and provider of professional services operating The Co-operative Bank and The Co-operative Insurance. It plans to  become the largest consumer law business in the UK which will sit alongside the number one funeral services provider, the third largest pharmacy chain and one of Britain’s largest farming operations. It offers a wide range of consumer legal services, including Will writing, employment law and probate, through The Co-operative Legal Services, which currently has 470 staff with rapid expansion planned, and annual billings of circa £40M.