Staff at Doncaster-based firm Beresfords Solicitors, which saw name partner Jim Beresford struck off yesterday (see story), is considering launching Britain’s first ‘legal services supermarket’.
The ‘supermarket’ comprises a web portal called mysolicitor.com, which will screen cases submitted by users and then share the resulting workload among paying subscriber law firms.
The business will be a direct competitor to both Injury Lawyers4U and moneysupermarket.com, according to literature provided at a conference the firm’s chief executive Mark Farrell spoke at earlier this year.
Beresfords originally sought to launch the venture this autumn, according to the pamphlet, however this has yet to take place.
The URL mysolicitor.com was registered in 2003 by Esther Beresford, believed to be Jim Beresford’s daughter Esta, who is also a lawyer at the Doncaster firm. Her ownership of the domain name will expire in 2010.
According to The Times, Jim Beresford has played a leading role in the creation of mysolicitor.com, “a new business venture set to radically change the way consumers source legal services”.
The firm is seeking to establish itself as the “consumer brand of choice” offering customers “an easy, informal, modern way to get help with any legal problem they face”.
A brochure shown to solicitors’ firms across the country about mysolicitor.com shows the business will be backed by a £15.8m television advertising campaign. The site is understood to be targetting a fee of £43,500 per annum before VAT for a firm to be included a practice-area referral list.
The brochure describes Beresfords as the “single biggest player” in the coal-health compensation scheme and states that mysolicitor.com has the backing of the “entrepreneur and senior management team who have enjoyed unprecedented levels of success in volume personal injury claims”.
Beresfords managing partner Martin Ryan told The Lawyer that neither himself or Doug Smith are involved in the proposed venture.