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START-UPS OR UPSTARTS?

May ended on a brighter note for the Legal sector with the news that Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) has vowed to create around 3000 jobs over the next five years. We look at the reaction from to this and the month's other big brand start-up from Stobart.

As is often the case with big announcements like this, CLS' plan to create several thousand new roles around five regional hubs met with a torrent of comment and opinion from readers of the trade media. Both Law Society Gazette and The Lawyer's coverage of the story quickly built up a battery of 'my ten cents' worth' reflecting how some believe this could be representative of positive change, while others seem to think it's a sign the good days are over.

"The level of snobbery towards these sorts of announcements never fails to astound me,"wrote one reader of the Lawyer. "3,000 new jobs has to be good for the sector yet all people can talk about is substandard services."

While another anonymous commentator, pointed out one of the market's other new entrants, saying: "Co-Op....Stobarts.....who's next to make a law factory?"

Indeed, the latter comment returns the spotlight back to one of the more surprising brand entrants of the year, as Stobart Barristers launched its offering which is designed to provide public access to advocates nationwide.

It seemed that a few jokes made in the direction of everyone's favourite logistics company was impossible to resist and labels such as 'lay-by barristers' were joined by suggestion for the taxi-rank rule of appointing advocates:

"Presumably the Bar will have to rename the taxi rank rule. Will the next truck in line please leave chambers to pick up their client from Court Number 1?"