William Eichler 21 March 2018

North Yorkshire launches council-owned law firm

North Yorkshire County Council has become the first local authority in the North to trade its legal services.

The council has set up First North Law to enable it to trade its legal services with other public sector bodies and the private sector.

It will be offering services across a wide range of fields, including education and schools law, adult and children’s social care, employment law, and debt recovery.

The decision to set up the law firm was driven, the council said, by its ‘determination to protect as well as transform frontline services.’

The local authority’s trading arm The Brierley Group currently generates sales of around £95m, and contributes £2.2m towards the council’s costs and adds £3.6m profit on top.

‘We are the first authority in the North to trade in legal services,’ said Barry Khan, the council’s assistant chief executive for legal and democratic services and managing director of the company.

‘Our team is a highly professional body and as we work for a local authority with an outstanding record in areas like children’s services, and in transforming services and organisational delivery, people can be confident that we work to the highest standards and with great integrity.

‘We believe other private and public bodies, including the voluntary sector, will benefit from having a trusted and extremely competitively-priced law firm at their disposal.’

‘Our launch of First Law North will only serve to increase our competitive edge,’ said county councillor David Chance, North Yorkshire’s executive member for legal services.

‘We intend to use the wide-ranging knowledge and expertise built up over many years by our legal team to offer an excellent commercial service for the benefit of both our customers and taxpayers.

‘Our development as an ambitious and commercial council that can generate its own income means we can continue to protect the frontline, deliver top quality services into the next decade and make a difference to people’s lives.’

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