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Capita makes long-awaited move into legal services with Optima deal

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Outsourcing business Capita has made its long-anticipated move into the legal services market by setting up a wholly-owned subsidiary and unveiling plans for its first acquisition.

Capita Legal Services will “provide regulated and non-regulated legal services for lender, insurance, government, legal and corporate markets," the company said.

Its purchase of the English business of Optima Legal Services is subject to approval by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the granting of an alternative business structure licence.

The deal will give Capita Legal Services a 600-person strong team, including 150 legally qualified personnel and 50 solicitors.

Based out of offices in Bradford, Newcastle and London, Optima Legal provides legal services for property transactions, debt recovery and litigation services.

James Cowan, Head of Capita Legal Services, said: “Because of the way globalisation and the recession is driving the agenda towards efficient, effective and value for money services, clients require greater streamlined legal panels and more effective in-house legal teams.”

Philip Robinson, Senior Litigation Partner at Optima, said: “This is an exciting time for Optima Legal, Cost Advocates and all our clients. Capita’s ownership will allow us to accelerate our growth plans and build a stronger business and service proposition.”

The Optima Legal deal includes its subsidiary Cost Advocates, a legal costs drafting and negotiation services business.

According to The Lawyer magazine, in 2010 the SRA ordered Capita to sever its links with Optima Legal after the regulator concluded that the companies' relationship breached rules on non-lawyer investment at the time.