A multi-service Midlands firm has used its new alternative business structure licence to issue a direct appeal to insurers to come on board with a joint venture.

Shakespeares, a firm with 680 lawyers and staff across the region, said it was ‘ABS-ready’ and looking to team up with any insurance firm wanting to enter the legal market.

In a statement released after the ABS licence was granted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the firm encouraged companies in the insurance industry to secure ‘a stake in fees and revenue which previously would have been exclusively held by their preferred legal provider’.

Last month’s ban on referral fees has closed a significant income stream for many insurers and some are looking directly to the legal sector to replace the lost revenue.

The likes of Ageas and Admiral have already joined with law firms, and Shakespeares partner Craig Wallace was explicit in wanting to join a similar arrangement with an intermediary.

Wallace (pictured) said Shakespeares had spoken with ‘a number’ of organisations in the insurance sector who were considering a legal function.

‘I am sure that for insurers in particular, an ABS will bring opportunities to drive efficiencies, improve processes and life-cycles and therefore reduce costs,’ said Wallace.

‘Already, heavyweights such as Admiral and Ageas have gone down the ABS route and we predict that there will be other similar announcements in the coming months.’

Shakespeares, whose ABS became effective on 1 May, is one of the largest existing firms to opt for an alternative status. The firm has 88 partners and posted a £48m annual turnover in its most recent financial results.

The firm said already has three non-lawyers on its board, including chief executive Paul Wilson and recently-appointed managing director Nick Brown, and remains open to the idea of employing more non-lawyers in the future.

The firm merged with Harvey Ingram in 2012 and operates from offices in Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Stratford-upon-Avon, Solihull, Milton Keynes and Newport Pagnell.