Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) made a small profit in its first year as an alternative business structure on a 12.8% increase in revenue, the Co-operative Group’s financial results published today reveal.

CLS, established seven years ago, became one of the first ABSs in March last year and launched a new family law service in the autumn.

The results, listed under ‘specialist businesses’, show that in the year ending 5 January 2013 revenue from the legal services arm rose by 12.8% to £33m generating a pre-tax profit of £26,000.

In 2011, CLS made operating profits of £4.5m on revenue of £29m.

The Co-op said this year’s ‘small profit’ had been achieved ‘in this start-up phase, after absorbing significant investment-for-growth costs’.

In addition to family law, CLS provides conveyancing, will-writing, probate, personal injury and employment services.

The financial report claims that the volume of probate work rose by 55% over the year, and says the new family practice ‘has gained market share quickly with caseloads up significantly’.

It says: ‘Our intention is to create compelling Co-operative alternatives for customers needing professional services in each of the areas in which we operate, while retaining relentless focus on great customer service, value for money and innovation to ensure we deliver our services as efficiently as possible.

‘We are working to become the number one legal service provider in the UK and are creating thousands of new jobs in the process.’

Group chief executive Peter Marks said: ‘We have a fantastic brand, talented people, loyal customers and over seven million members. We have effectively pursued a strategy of building strong positions in our chosen markets and are coming through the worst economic downturn I have seen in 40 years in business.’