QualitySolicitors has signed a deal with WHSmith enabling it to place a QS member of staff in 150 branches of the high street books and stationery giant, the Gazette can reveal.
The deal will see QS open a ‘legal access point’ staffed by a local QS firm in WHSmith branches across the country. The partnership will begin with a QS presence in 150 branches this summer, to be rolled out to 500.
QS employees staffing the access points will use iPad apps to book appointments for customers, provide conveyancing quotes, sell wills packages and fixed-fee advice sessions, and sign clients up to QS’s new loyalty card scheme.
QS will also place free legal guides and advertising in WHSmith travel stores.
The deal will be promoted through a QS television advertising campaign, which will also highlight QS Saturday openings and new fixed-fee services.
QS chief executive Craig Holt said: ‘This move represents the future of legal services. It is a game changer, providing both the key elements required for market dominance – accessibility and visibility.’
He said the partnership provides the more accessible, consumer-friendly legal advice envisaged by the Legal Services Act 2007, without the perceived negative consequences of reduced service, since legal work will still be done by expert law firms and not unqualified staff in remote call centres.
Holt said: ‘The level of awareness and recognition this will create for the QS brand is incomparable, and will fast forward us to "household name" status years ahead of target.’
Holt added that the move would mean that ‘the first port of call for a majority of people needing legal services will be to visit QS in their local WHSmith’.
He declined to give details of the commercial arrangement with the retailer.
WHSmith commercial development director Ian Sanders said: ‘We’re delighted to be able to offer our customers easy access to legal services through QS, and look forward to a long and successful partnership.’