By: 15 January 2014

Leeds firm Morrish Solicitors made history on 20 December after it converted to ABS status with the help of a trade union.


The firm, which carries out personal injury work for union members in a variety of industries, has collaborated with the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) to establish the world's first trade union-based ABS.


The TSSA represents 30,000 administrative, managerial, professional and technical workers in the railway, London Underground, the travel trade, ports and ferries and was previously one of Morrish's clients.


Paul Scholey, senior partner at the firm said that it had taken 12 months for the two parties to establish what they believe is the world’s first Union-based ABS.


"It brings us closer to one of our most significant clients, whilst TSSA benefits from a direct financial relationship with a major service provider," said Scholey.


He was quick to reassure the firm's other 20 trade union clients that the new ABS had rigorous controls in place to ensure its independence and impartiality.


"The SRA licensing process has been painstaking in its detail to ensure that past, present and future clients’ positions are 100% safeguarded,” he said.


Frank Ward, Assistant General Secretary of TSSA, said that after a long and happy relationship with Morrish, helping the firm to become an ABS seemed like a natural step for the union, allowing it to legal services provision to its members that was both better integrated and free from any regulatory barriers that would be created by the establishment of an in-house legal team.


The firm, which specialises in personal injury (PI), employment rights for trade union clients has been trading for over 100 years and employes 80 staff across Yorkshire. It moved into new headquarters offices in Leeds last September.