Law firm Freeth Cartwright has launched a pilot scheme aimed at offering free legal guidance to the aerospace industry in the Midlands.

The firm, with offices in Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Birmingham and Manchester, is a member of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, which was formed in 2003 to represent and support the aerospace industry across both the East and West Midlands.

Utilising its knowledge of the industry, Freeth Cartwright has set up a telephone hot-line so that members of the MAA can call for advice and legal guidance on issues such as contracts, intellectual property, commercial property and employment.

Members will be entitled to an initial two hours of free support, with guidance being offered by e-mail, over the phone, or via a face-to-face meeting. A special telephone line and e-mail address have been created for initial contacts.

Mike Copestake, senior partner at Freeth Cartwright's Derby office, said: "The Midlands, particularly around the Derby area, is at the hub of the aerospace industry in the UK. From engines to pneumatic systems, products manufactured in the aerospace cluster in the Midlands can be found in aircraft all over the world.

"And, in such an innovative and competitive industry, we felt that we should be offering our services to MAA members to help keep the industry running as smoothly as possible. For example, we advise on supply contracts, employment issues, acquisitions and sales. We could help when suppliers are looking to patent new products or enter into joint venture projects."

Freeth Cartwright currently works with aerospace organisations such as Paul Fabrications and the Manthorpe Group.

Andrew Mair, the MAA chief executive, said: "The Alliance was formed with an ethos of co-operation and support. This initiative from Freeth Cartwright is therefore a valuable addition to the range of services that members offer to each other."