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Optima adds staff after winning lender clients

Optima Legal, the legal recoveries and dispute resolution specialist for lenders and commercial businesses, has invested more than £6m in its business and is recruiting staff following several recent client wins.

The company, previously a division of DLA Piper, is strengthening its repossession, debt recovery and professional negligence teams.

It has recently been appointed to deliver a range of legal services for National Australia Bank and Lloyds TSB, as well as building societies Cheltenham & Gloucester, Leeds and Britannia.

Optima’s expansion comes on the back of a £30m investment programme in the past 18 months which has seen the company ac-quire Dickinson Dees’ volume business d3 Legal at the end of last year as well as take on McKeags in Newcastle, Turner MacFarlane Green in Glasgow and Pathway, the volume legal property services division of Walker Morris.

The firm now has more than 800 staff working out of four offices across the UK.

Partner Anthony Ruane said: “The legal landscape is changing fast – particularly in the financial services and property sectors.

“Law firms which adhere to the traditional partnership model – seeking short-term gain and unacceptable profit margins – are finding that this approach cannot be sustained in the current market. And as more law firms leave the market, panel management companies will also find it increasingly difficult to sustain service quality and volume.”

He added: “As a commercial business focused on investing for the long term and having no bank debt, we are committed to cost and risk reduction for our clients, and the flexibility of our structure means we can deliver counter-cyclical work and adapt quickly as the market changes.

“Diversity is proving to be central to our continuing growth. We are clearly not immune to fluctuations in property instructions but because of the nature of our business we are able to change emphasis and redeploy staff as the market dictates. Currently, that means a shift towards the residential and legal recoveries areas.

He concluded: “Come the up-turn, the emphasis will be back on conveyancing and remortgaging.”

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