Online legal scheme threatens high street

Online legal scheme threatens high street HUGH James, Nelsons and Pannone have signed up to a post-Legal Services Act internet trading scheme called that could challenge the position of the high street solicitor.

They are among four firms that have signed up with IT services company Epoq to enable employment and family clients, as well as small-to-medium sized enterprises, obtain automated documents and handle transactions online.

“Over the next three to five years it will be harder and harder for smaller law firms to provide this sort of service level and pricing,” said Epoq joint chief executive Richard Cohen, whose company will take a results-based cut on transactions completed via the new platforms.

The new scheme reduces professional input in some practice areas, thereby slashing costs, and is designed to raise client engagement with the firms’ respective websites.

Panonne’s wills and probate department is the only Pannone department that will initially be using the medium for its bulk work.

Senior partner Joy Kingsley said: “It’s a very adaptable tool that is meant to address the Generation Y person who doesn’t want to come into the office.”

The move follows news that Russell Jones & Walker is launching a high-volume, low-input service called 4 Legal, to compete with non-legal brands once the Legal Services Act comes into force in 2011.