From the1st August, 2011, shoppers visiting WHSmith in Chester can now access legal services when buying their newspapers, books and stationery as part of a ground-breaking new partnership with legal superbrand, QualitySolicitors. This will see the UK’s favourite newsagent begin to launch “Legal Access Points” from today in more than one hundred stores on the high street.
The legal Access Point in the Chester and Broughton branches of WHSmith is partnered with local legal firm QualitySolicitors Oliver & Co. It will be staffed by trained Customer Service Executives who will be able to offer quotes for conveyancing, book appointments for legal advice and even sell vouchers for wills. Programmed iPad ‘apps’ will be used by staff to book appointments with the local QualitySolicitors firm to ensure seamless customer service between the store and the law firm.
The move by QualitySolicitors heralds the arrival of the Legal Services Act, dubbed “Tesco Law”. From October 2011, this will mean that non-legal organisations such as banks and supermarkets will be able to offer legal services, posing a significant threat to the future existence of traditional ‘high street’ law firms.
QualitySolicitors Chief Executive, Craig Holt, said, “The WHSmith partnership with QualitySolicitors provides everything the Legal Services Act hopes to achieve without the perceived negatives – accessible, consumer-friendly legal services but with the actual legal work being referred to leading local law firms with specialist lawyers as opposed to unqualified staff in a remote call centre.”
WHSmith, store manager, Albert Hughes, said, “We’re confident that a large number of our customers will be keen to take advantage of the new Legal Access Point in our store. There is a clear demand among consumers for cost-effective and accessible legal services and we’re delighted to be working with QualitySolicitors to meet this demand.”
As part of its drive towards better customer service in the legal market, QualitySolicitors firms will be open six days a week, from Monday to Saturday, and will offer a free first consultation as well as a wide range of services for a fixed fee, which have traditionally been charged out for by the hour.
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