Newcastle, England

Clifford Chance has acquired Carillion Advice Service (CAS), the legal services arm of British construction giant Carillion plc, which slipped into insolvency last month in the U.K.

The Magic Circle firm is taking on 60 paralegals in Newcastle, England, who will create a new low-cost center in the country for the London-based legal giant. However, the deal does not include the roughly 10 CAS staff employed in Telford, England, to carry out work handling insurance claims.

Clifford Chance said the new operations center will work closely with its existing low-cost legal hub in India. Michael Bates, who in December became U.K. managing partner at Clifford Chance, said that CAS will help the firm continue to provide optimum service to its 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,” Bates said. “To date, we have delivered this work either through our legal support center in India, or through working with other third parties including legal outsourcers. The addition of the team in Newcastle, with their well-recognized 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 to Bates and Oliver Campbell, Clifford Chance’s global head of client services solutions, who is also responsible for the firm’s center in India.

CAS was 75 percent owned by Carillion Construction, which is one of the six Carillion companies to have entered liquidation. CAS provided support services to its Wolverhampton, England-based parent company, while also having external clients of its own, including Carillion’s outside legal panel firms for which it handles routine, low-cost legal work such as contract management, document review and due diligence.

“We have been very impressed by the CAS team in Newcastle,” Campbell said. “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.”

After Carillion went into administration, the British form of bankruptcy, in January, the company saw significant interest emerge in its managed services arm, according to Legal Week, which noted that there were initially some 20 buyers interested in acquiring the business.

Before Carillion’s collapse, CAS had been in the process of applying for an alternative business structure license in the U.K. CAS was bought by Carillion in 2011, prior to which it was attached to energy services company Eaga plc.

Some of the services that CAS offers include a document and contract review process that uses a traffic light system to flag up potential risks, and a due diligence and compliance service to minimize exposure to fraud, bribery and corruption.