Legal referral and support network Connect2Law has announced the heavyweight appointment of David Jabbari to the new role of chief executive. Jabbari (pictured) will join the executive board and become a partner at Pannone, which established Connect2Law in 2001.

Jabbari was until recently chief operating officer at Clyde & Co, after brokering the merger with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, of which he was chief executive. He was previously global head of knowledge management at magic circle firm Allen & Overy.

Connect2Law has 2,600 UK member firms with combined turnover of £1bn. The network is co-ordinated by 20 leading regional ‘hub’ firms which have Connect2Law business development managers. The entity also has 17 dedicated staff split between London and Manchester.

Jabbari wants to establish the network as ‘the UK’s leading legal brand, across every postcode’ and ‘defend the value of independent high street firms’ in the competitive market ushered in by the 2007 Legal Services Act.

Connect2Law, which is free to join, offers member firms a range of support services, including information services, on-demand training, professional indemnity insurance and cost control.

Jabbari plans to strengthen this offering to provide members with a full practice management suite to improve back-office processes. He also intends to turn Connect2Law into a consumer-facing brand which brings new work to members. At present, Connect2Law offsets costs through the ‘pooled buying’ services it provides to members. Options on financing its development will be presented to members as it expands.

Connect2Law would consider becoming an alternative business structure only ‘if member firms saw benefit in that’, Jabbari said.

‘While we will consider whether external funding is the best route to advance member firms’ interests, we will not pursue a course that commits us to short-term and cosmetic returns to private equity,’ he added.

‘Connect2Law’s member firms have an excellent reputation in their local areas. They are committed and expert professionals who know the law inside out.

‘This is why I believe Connect2Law has the potential to become the UK’s leading legal brand.

‘As part of Connect2Law, firms will gain both a supportive brand identity and greater efficiency in their internal processes,’ he said.

Jabbari declined to identify the main potential rivals in his sights, and whether Connect2Law will be going head to head with the likes of Co-operative Legal Services or QualitySolicitors.

He added: ‘We do not see anyone in the market at the moment as an obvious competitor to Connect2Law given the geographical reach and quality of the firms who are Connect2Law members. We exist to promote the value of an independent solicitors’ profession covering every postcode in the UK.’