Claims management company First4Lawyers has opened its panel of law firms to tender for the first time to cope with increased consumer demand.

The marketing collective currently provides work for around 40 firms picked through industry recommendation.

But the company said a marketing campaign featuring TV presenter Andrew Castle (pictured) has increased business significantly, meaning the current panel needs to expand for both personal injury and clinical negligence work.

Business development head Chris Rodgers said the company is accepting applications, after a period of due diligence, from firms turning over more than £2.5m.

He said: ‘Our decision to open up the panel will benefit those smaller firms that have managed to effectively navigate the legislation changes post-[Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act] but want to improve their access to potential clients. 

‘These firms have proven adaptable and able to provide a service that clients still want, despite the reforms. We see no reason why they should be muscled out of the market because they lack the marketing power of larger practices.’

The company has insisted it uses only ethical advertising methods despite the restrictions placed on the industry by last year’s ban on referral fees.

‘There remains no shortage of claims out there and the reforms have not altered the fact that our collective marketing scheme is one of the most effective ways to attract them,’ added Rodgers.