Co-op to create 3,000 new legal jobs across England
Up to 3,000 jobs are set to be created by the Co-operative Group as part of an expansion of its legal services.
The Manchester-based firm has said it intends to open five regional hubs across England in the next five years.
Positions will be filled mostly by legal staff, but other roles in IT, HR and legal support, are expected.
The group said the move would improve public access to legal services, including will-writing, conveyancing and personal injury claims.
The company's current legal services centre is located in Bristol, which employs about 450 people.
Sites for the hubs will include locations in the North West, North East, Midlands, South East and South West.
A new family law operation will also be set up later this year, in London.
The group confirmed it also plans to extend its legal services across all 330 high street branches of the Co-operative Bank and Britannia Building Society.
Group chief executive Peter Marks, said it would create the largest consumer law business in the country.
"We intend to be totally consumer focussed and will help customers navigate the legal world so that they are much more comfortable with the experience and outcomes," he said.
"Our ambition is to provide a service that will stop people feeling daunted by the prospect of having to work with a solicitor."
The Co-operative said its expansion had been made possible after changes to the Legal Services Act, which allows a major brand to offer a range of consumer legal services previously only available from private solicitors.