Franchising logo unveiled

THIS is the logo that hundreds of solicitors' offices will be parading to the public as proof of a quality legal aid service.

More than 1,000 franchise applicants have heard they made it through the arduous audit.

About 300 offices were weeded out but the majority are set to re-apply after making minor changes to their systems.

Contracts have been sent to firms where lawyers will this week pore over the small print in the final stage of one of the biggest shake-ups in legal aid.

The Legal Aid Board is encouraging franchisees to take advantage of the new quality mark. About 500 press packs were sent to the Newspaper Society to pass the information on to the regional press.

The board launches the scheme officially on 1 August.

Between 150 and 200 other firms are now going through the preliminary audit and the board reports a “big increase” in inquiries since the Law Society ended its boycott.