A novel form of law firm has opened a headquarters in Cardiff with the help of a £325,000 grant from the public purse, the Welsh Assembly Government announced today.

Commercial firm Carbon Law Partners provides a brand name and support services to self-employed partners who can keep at least 70% of their billings, founder Michael Burne (pictured, left) said. It currently has 10 partners, including former members of Allen & Overy, DAC Beachcroft and Eversheds. 

The grant, coupled with £200,000 raised by the firm, allows Carbon Law Partners to move from its initial base in Cowbridge to Cardiff city centre, which the Welsh government is promoting as a centre for professional services. The grant is on condition that the firm creates 25 jobs over two years in Cardiff, including 5.5 roles by October.  

Burne said that he is confident of beating that target: 'We have already created five of those roles and the folks are here. We expect to add at least three more before October.'

Burne said that Carbon's business model is 'designed to appeal to lawyers who want more freedom and control over how they build their practices backed by industry leading support services'. Partners will receive between 70% and 90% of their fees, depending on the amount billed. The firm plans to recruit 50 partners over the next five years. 

Resources provided at the Cardiff 'hub' include a secure hosted platform, state of the art practice management system, compliance management tools, an online legal library and precedent services as well as support staff to handle billing and credit control.  

The Welsh economy minister, Edwina Hart, said: 'The legal sector is a key element of the rapidly growing financial and professional services sector in Wales and one we want to develop and expand. We are actively identifying opportunities for UK and international law firms to base high-quality and cost-effective support functions in Wales.'