QualitySolicitors to put desks in 500 WHSmith branches

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  • Not sure about all the firms on that list but I know of at least two that should be using the banned "Inexperience, Unsupervised, Untrained Paralegals" rather than claiming solicitors will be anywhere near the cases.

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  • Give it 10 years and there wlll be four or five national firms which dominate the market nationwide.

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  • So they were in talks with four top 100 firms in October 2010, but six months on nothing has been agreed...
    Did they mean top 100 stationery firms?

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  • People said that it would be the end of the banks, when Sainsbury et al moved into the market.
    There will always be a market for the solicitors, but how quality solicitors thinks that by 'cuddeling up' to WH Smith is going to bring anything more than a trumped-up secretary giving advice behind the desk in the shop; that she's read on the flyers the week she started.
    Quality this is not the path you should be going down.

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  • I remember the dim and distant days when we in the FS world would have stands in garden centres and at agricultural shows and solicitors would walk past and look down on us.
    It is an OK way of getting ad hoc, low to modest value transactional business but itis a pretty down market and soul destroying way to work.
    Hey Ho, needs as must I suppose!

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  • "It is an OK way of getting ad hoc, low to modest value transactional business ..."
    If only! No client one would want to have is going to be recruited via W H Smith.
    For a start, the decent middle class type of client would be too embarrassed at the possibility of being seen in public taking `legal' advice, fearing that a neighbour would see them and asume they were discussing divorce proceedings.
    No, the only type of client likely to be obtained is either the loony, with the carrier bag full of evidence that the government is spying on them through their TV or the client that in more generous times would have been eligible for legal aid, but can no way afford private client fees.
    In any case, any firm that needs to use the word `Quality' is almost by definition crap. It's like a car salesman calling himself `Honest Harry' - if you need to say you're honest it's because you aren't.
    Oh, and what hapened to those `several top 100 firms' that were due to sign up?

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  • Apparently they are going to be there on saturdays too. It will be like when you come out of B&Q trying to sell you a conservatory you don't want so you rush out mumbling "no thanks"

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  • It maybe more appropriate for them to teamup with a company such as specsavers.Although the y will need to have the desk near the entrance to get the clients on the way in rather than on the way out !

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  • Will the Quality Lawyers also be trained to offer their clients a totally random chocolate bar or 6 packs of chewing gum for a £?

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  • What happens when a franchise has already opened [Moorish - Bradford], and then WH Smith nearby puts it's desk in with advertising, flyers and the 'dolly bird' who once worked in a solicitors office as a cleaner ...
    I think there will be some pretty miffed partners in firms already operating as Quality, Craig Holt I think you will bring on a 'tsunami' of complaints from your original 'converts' which may well in future damage fatally your business plan ...which was good.

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  • I think the above misses the point entirely - as I understand it, it will be Morrish in Bradford who staff the WHSmith desk and get the work generated.
    As for the other comments, I think the sneering about WHSmith misses the point entirely. It's about accessibility and brand recognition - the person there won't be delivering legal service they'll be helping to make appointments, hand out guides etc. I think QS are absolutely right that this will be a hugely significant change in the consumer retail legal market.

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  • I bought this DVD last week and it doesn't work.
    Well Sir, you have a cast iron case and are entitled to a full refund.
    Excellent, would you mind accompanying me to the returns counter?

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  • I think this is going to be one of the biggest things to hit the legal industry in a long time. I recently had some time off from work and went down to a local market and there were solicitors on the streets touting for personal injury business - the real world is this, not the swish offices we all sit in each day.
    I think its easy to forget that in the real world most normal people don't think about quality, they think about cost and convenience. It is easy for the average person to pop down the road and get legal advice like a "drop in" clinic. Cheap, affordable, convenient, transparent about costs etc. - thats what people want these days.
    The legal market has never offerred something like this and one firm will quickly become dominant in this area and swallow up all the smaller firms. There is a gap in the market and these guys are exploiting it. It will be like a supermarket opening up next to a row of small grocery shops.

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  • The snobbery shown by most of the comments above is breathtaking. OK the work that is likely to be picked up this way is not going to be headlining or glamorous but QS clearly think there will be sufficient work (in terms of fees) to justify trying something different.
    This is not for everyone, but no law firm can satisfy the requirements of all types of client.
    Change is coming to the legal profession and those of you who can't see this are going find themselves stacking the shelves at WHS!
    And no, I do not work for a firm in QS brand and have no intention of doing so.

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  • This business model is not targetting your typical high level clients such as financial institutions. This is meant for the common man who usually lands up paying a bomb to a lawyer to get the most trivial of things done. If Quality gets large volumes of clients, they would have hit the jackpot! I personally wouldn't care if my neighbour saw me at one of these stores asking for legal advice or asking to be put in touch with one of Quality's lawyers - all I care about is getting sound legal advice at an affordable rate. Having said that, let's see how things pan out in the next 1 year. I hope they succeed!

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  • I note the reference to Specsavers above. Therein lies a great example of what Quality Solicitors could achieve.

    Specsavers are the most successful opticians out there. Why? Because the brand and stores are everywhere, the eye tests and glasses are cheap and the service is quick and adequate. Smaller independent opticians may offer more caring, thoughtful eye care but the majority of the public don't give two hoots because independents' glasses and tests are more expensive.

    In an age of austerity coupled with a culture of wanting-and-often-getting-everything-for-next-to-nothing, QS will be a success, without question. They obviously won't touch the high-end commercial work of the top firms but work of will drafting, conveyancing, PI claims etc will inevitably be channelled to them at the expense of high street firms. If QS can cosy up with a few more multi-store brands like W H Smith thus expanding their exposure to the public further, they will become huge.

    I am sure there are a few snobby middle-class folk, who shop at Waitrose even though you can get the same grub far cheaper at Morrisons, who will turn their nose up at QS and pay higher legal fees to pseudo corporate-private client firms. However, to suggest that most folk will turn down cheap, easily accessible legal advice handed to them on a plate is totally short-sighted.

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  • I have just completed a Doctoral thesis suggesting exactly this will happen and the impact of the changes on senior partners in law firms. The legal industry needs to wake up, become less arrogant and certainly less discriminatory and realise that in order to survive they have to come out and join the real commercial world rather than pontificating in their ivory towers.

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  • One thing is for sure the future of legal services delivery especially in the High Street is never going to be the same again. Whether the business model described will be definitive is moot but change on a major scale is here to stay. The profession may be uncomfortable with the notion that more than half of all legal services can be commoditised but it is inescapable. The real lproblems are unlikely to be in the High Street where the solcitor client relationship is adpatable and able to spedily meet market needs, The problem will occur when commercial clients come to realise that they too can benefit from similar interventions. It will make LPO to India look tame by comparison. Perhaps finally the price for services will be related to value and not open ended time.

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  • A copy of the News of the World and a libel writ from the ultimate one stop shop!

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  • It's interesting to see that a lot of negative comments about this idea are following a pattern of quite blatant sexism. Comments about 'dollybirds', 'secretaries' and 'cleaners who used to work in solicitors' offices' are all written in a feminine persona by the authors. The debate about whether these solicitors will be of as high a calibre as other firms is totally valid, but lets leave the sexism out of this debate, please?

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  • This development is certainly to be encouraged. But ultimately the isue comes to price. How cheaper are they going to be, will they offer fixed price services or will they bill by the hour? Are clients going to be confident of an all-inclusive price set in advance and how is this going to work with the provision of a quality legal service?

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  • Catherine - are you suggesting that all secretaries and cleaners are female? I did not spend 5 years in secretary school followed by 3 years learning to clean, to read comments like that!

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  • my idea of 20 years ago! thought Tescos would have taken up the idea first,
    perhaps they may take up my inspirational idea of dental hygeine clinics next to the checkouts. Who likes to go to the dentist let alone wait weeks for a cleaning appointment in some remote part of urbanisation?
    NHS would no doubt like the idea to ease the cost of next step dentalwork due mainly from lack of cleaning.
    there you are - this from the doyone of resolving the present national financial crisis and paying off the national debt with private initiative,
    THINK --- TEETH.

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  • I used to work in a high street firm and I really cant see how QS is going to offer the service for less.

    High Street lawyers are already working for really low salaries due to low fixed fee work.

    How much lower can the salaries go?

    Is QS going to get high quality solicitors for 20k per annum because in the high street some solicitors are paid between 20k to 25k.

    Even with such low salaries high street solicitors are already going bust.

    What will happen is that QS clients will just try and get free legal advice from the employee in WHS. That's waht they do in the high street now. They wont get the traffic they think because it doesn't exist.

    Factory conveyancers have now found this out.

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  • use your brain Matthew, they will direct the customers to the local branches, that's got to be the idea :S

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  • I think all of you should hold you snobby comments untill you know exactly what will happen as I can tell you have not got a clue. As I will be one of thoes people who will work at the LAP and I can assure you I have never been a cleaner.. What QS are doing is making fair and good standard legal advice available to all people. I guees some think that quality legal help and advice should only be available to thoes who can afford to pay... Thankfully things are changing

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  • I noticed this has been put into both of our local WHSmith stores (neither of which really has the room). They have taken a chunk of magazines and squashed these into already hard to get at mags. There was a lone lady standing there looking rather fed up as no-one gave her a second glance and actually stayed away from that area. What is that telling you? I go in WHSmiths to get either reading material or stationery. End of. Not a flipping will or a divorce - If I want that, then I will approach a solicitors. Bad move WHSmith - I really noticed the place was not half as busy as it usually is today.

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  • Has everyone missed the point ? The strength of local firms retaining their good name but unifying under a common brand is the only way forward . I am not comparing it to the Estate Agent consolidation of the last two decades but the consolidated dominate the market, with a few big players at the top end.
    One brand attracts the end user giving a perception of value, Brittania Removals, Londis to name but a few.
    The local firms in time will give up their own name and operate like a franchise, the public will see size and value, there you are High Street domination- mark my words

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  • Just popped into WH Smiths in Aylesbury town and see they have an electronic booth. I knew it was happening but it looks all interactive and everything. Too bad the staff looked miserable and bored. Looks a bit odd I must say. Not very good for confidentiality either. Right next to the magazine racks and queue for checkout!

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  • Apparently some ignorant people think that people don't go to w h smith for wills. Well how comes today I have had at least three people who came into w h smith to buy a 'do I yourself' will, saw our legal access point and decided to use our firm instead. We don't pretend to offer cheaper fees, just to be more accessible and customer friendly. Admittedly some people don't agree with the legal access point but for every one negative comment we have at least ten people who have praised the our work and are now clients of our firm:)

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  • I just been in to WH Smiths and seen a QS legal access point. I think it's all bit embarrassing. I stood looking at the cards listening to a woman discussing her affairs. I found out her name, her address, the issues she was facing, eg a franchise going bankrupt, I heard details on the franchise. It's really poor. I wanted to pull her to one side and tell her what I found out about her, and explained the confidential issues that this service is in breach of. Hopefully most will decide that it's quite a bad idea and if they really need a solicitor, look one up on the internet, or find someone who can recommend a firm. QS is just a brand, it doesn't mean those solicitors who are not part of it are inferior to those branded by QS. After all every law firm regulated by the law society.

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  • In response to your comments I would like to say that I work at a QualitySolicitors firm and also stand at the WHSmith stand offering people legal advice and the people that I have talked to have actually been happy about the fact that we are there as we can clarify facts that people are unsure about. And as for the response about 'middle class' people I can ensure you that as part of the SRA everything that you say is given is the strictest confidence and so I can assure you your 'neighbours' would be unaware of our conversation. I would also like to point out the fact that when I am standing there people try and 'run' away from me as fast as they could as they think I am trying to sell them something well it is a FREE conversation helping the innocent and vunerable people

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