Clifford Chance buys Carillion's Newcastle-based legal services arm

Clifford Chance (CC) has acquired the legal services arm of collapsed construction giant Carillion – Carillion Advice Service (CAS).

The firm is taking on 60 paralegals in Newcastle, who will create a new UK low-cost centre for CC. However, the deal does not include the roughly 10 CAS staff employed in Telford to carry out insurance claims handling work.

CC said the new base would work closely with its existing low-cost legal centre in India.

UK managing partner Michael Bates said: ”Our priority is always to ensure that we are best placed to provide the optimum service to our clients.  By working with the CAS team, we will enhance our ability to provide extremely cost-effective, efficient and high-quality service on a range of low complexity legal tasks, as an integral part of our overall client offer.

“To date, we have delivered this work either through our legal support centre in India, or through working with other third parties including legal outsourcers. The addition of the team in Newcastle, with their well-recognised expertise in unbundling, developing processes and applying the latest in legal tech, will enable us to provide clients with another option from within the firm.”

The CAS team will continue to be led by director Lucy Nixon, who will report into Bates and Oliver Campbell, CC’s global head of client services solutions, who is also responsible for the centre in India.

CAS was 75% owned by Carillion Construction, which is one of the six Carillion companies to have entered liquidation. As well as providing support services to Carillion, CAS also had external clients – including Carillion’s panel firms – for which it handles routine, low-cost legal work such as contract management, document review and due diligence.

Oliver Campbell added: “We have been very impressed by the CAS team in Newcastle. They bring a huge amount of expertise in areas that are already an important priority for the firm, such as legal tech and process-driven service delivery. Their client-centric culture, enthusiasm and proven entrepreneurialism is also a good fit and I see many opportunities for clients, and for both teams, as we move forward.”

Legal Week revealed last month that directors at CAS had said there had been significant interest in the managed services arm.

It is understood that there were initially about 20 buyers interested in acquiring the business. Before the collapse of Carillion, CAS had been in the process of applying for an alternative business structure licence. It was acquired by Carillion in 2011, prior to which it was attached to energy services company Eaga.

Services it offers include a document and contract review process which uses a traffic light system to flag up potential risks, and a due diligence and compliance service to minimise exposure to fraud, bribery and corruption.