A leading figure at high street brand QualitySolicitors has admitted the tie-up with WHSmith has not worked for all signatory firms.
John Baden-Daintree, head of legal services at QS, told the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) conference last Friday that some practices had seen few benefits since the link started in 2011.
Responding to a question and answer session, Baden-Daintree, whose firm Burroughs Day was one of the QS founder members, said the model was not intended to be about giving advice.
‘It’s a display stand with brochures and you have the option of having, in effect, a sales-type person in store,’ he said. For firms that have the right expertise it has worked well, he said. For ‘those that haven’t, it hasn’t worked. We never really made it work for us’.
QS opened around 150 ‘legal access points’ across the country in April 2011, with employees staffing the access points to use iPad apps to book appointments, provide conveyancing quotes, sell wills packages and fixed-fee advice sessions, and sign clients up to QS’s loyalty card scheme.
At the time, QS chief executive Craig Holt said the tie-up would mean the stands would be a ‘first point of call’ for potential clients.
Earlier during his presentation at the APIL conference, Baden-Daintree said big brands would ‘dominate’ the legal services market. He predicted 80% of legal work would be carried out by a handful of firms by the end of the decade.
He said market research showed the public ‘hated’ personal injury adverts on television but were still influenced by them.
A digital strategy, he added, was essential for law firms in the era of the smartphone, although clients were still keen on a personal service in the majority of cases.
Clients regarded lawyers as ‘dull and grey’ but still wanted their representatives to wear a suit and tie when coming into contact with them.