The trade union for doctors in the UK has been granted the right to provide legal services for its 154,000 members.
BMA Law Limited, created by the British Medical Association, will provide a full-service legal offering after being granted an alternative business structure licence this week by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Legal services will be provided either by the three-person panel of lawyers at the BMA or through a supplier arrangement with law firms across the UK.
BMA Law also has an agreement with Cardiff firm NewLaw to offer ‘triage’ services such as call centre help and back-office functions. NewLaw managing director Philip Dicken is named on the SRA register of ABSs as the head of legal practice for BMA Law.
Viv Du-Feu (pictured), director of legal services for the BMA, said the chance to offer legal services to members was an opportunity too good to miss. ‘The driver here is to enhance the membership benefit offering,’ he said.
‘It is a virtuous circle, as if we do make money that will come back into the BMA pot and be deployed for the members more generally.’
Legal services will be sold through the supplier firms at discounted rates for members and their immediate families, with fixed fees for areas such as partnership agreements and conveyancing. Non-members are also able to purchase legal services through the entity.
In England and Wales the firms signed up as suppliers are Mills & Reeve, DavidsonMorris, Capital Law, NewLaw and Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice. CCW and Carson McDowell are the suppliers in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.
BMA Law’s licence, which was granted within seven months by the SRA, was effective from yesterday but the full-service offer will be launched on 26 May.
As well as Du-Feu, formerly of Eversheds, the firm employs commercial and regulatory specialist Justin Quinton and corporate lawyer Robert Day. The legal team is likely to grow if the venture is a success.