A personal injury solicitor with hopes of creating a national network of firms has redrawn his plans after a lack of interest from certain sections of the profession.

Paul Roberts, founder of north-west firm Porters, created eLawyers to establish a group of up to 10 firms in each practice area in nine regions of England and Wales.

The idea was to pool resources from each member firm to fund a £2m advertising campaign and distribute the resulting claims. But while some sectors showed a strong interest, Roberts said firms in some practice areas were reluctant to invest.

The business will now be stripped back to personal injury cases initially in the north-west, with eight slots available for up to four initial panels. Firms can, in effect, buy postcodes for around £2,000 a month and have exclusive access to claims that come in that area. The idea is being styled as a ‘fightback’ against the threat of alternative business structures seeking to disrupt the market.

Roberts, whose own firm will buy one of the slots, told the Gazette that member firms must prove they have the ability to comply with required service levels. If that is the case, eLawyers will work as a co-operative with each member getting all the work that comes in from their region.

‘It’s more of a joint venture rather than us acting as some sort of CMC. All we’re doing is letting firms piggyback on our brand and know-how,’ Roberts said.