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WHSmith has agreed a deal to allow QualitySolicitors to place representatives in up to 500 of it branches.
Initially the lawyers will be based in 150 shops, with the long-term aim of having representatives in 500 stores.
QualitySolicitors was launched as an online legal alliance in 2008, but has since evolved into a high street legal alliance. For an annual fee firms sit on a panel that allows them to pool resources to market services.
The deal with WHSmith is the latest move in the company’s expansion. Under the terms of the deal QualitySolicitors will open a ‘legal access point’ in each of the WHSmith stores and will staff it from a local branch of the alliance.
Solicitors will offer advice on a range of consumer legal matters including conveyancing and will writing. There will also be a television advertising campaign to promote the product.
The alliance is the brainchild of barrister Craig Holt and was launched with the support of Michael Gradon, a former Slaughter and May solicitor and one-time head of legal and commercial at P&O Group.
Holt’s original plan was to have a network of 500 firms signed up to the alliance ahead of the implementation of the Legal Services Act in October. He told The Lawyer in February 2009 that that would give it the economies of scale to compete with new entrants to the profession.
So far the company’s branding is featured on 170 high street firms, with further openings planned.
In October last year Holt told The Lawyer he was in talks with several top 100 firms that are considering signing up to the franchise (7 October 2010).