A SWAP shop for firms to exchange franchise know-how is planned by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group which says the writing may be on the wall for firms without franchises.
If it takes off, the group's Franchise Information Exchange will marry up franchised firms with firms in need of advice on how to win them.
And in recognition of the fact franchised firms might "jealously guard" their tailor-made systems and procedures, the exchange invites them to sell their information at a negotiated fee.
Under the system the LAPG will put firms without franchises in touch with compatible firms seeking them. "LAPG will act as a sort of marriage broker," states a leaflet distributed at last week's Law Society conference on Legal Aid.
It says firms may be daunted by the work needed to obtain a franchise, but "without a franchise the writing may well be on the wall for them".
The initiative is the brainchild of Judith Goodman, vice-chair of the LAPG and a partner at the London niche family practice Goodman Ray.
She says the Legal Aid Board does not give enough guidance to firms which are put off applying by "horror stories".