A national firm backed by a multi-billion-pound US corporation has pledged to shake up the legal market with a new way of approaching advice services to small businesses, including round-the-clock access to lawyers. 

LHS Solicitors, which became part of the Markel Corporation in 2014, this week unveiled its new website and a host of consumer-centred features.

The company will target small and medium-sized businesses and offer a range of options, from ‘doing it themselves’ based on legal information provided, to a £50 quick review of an issue with a 30-minute call-back from a qualified solicitor or barrister.

Clients are updated on the progress of their case through videos, with costs outlined in advance, and services are available 24 hours a day.

LHS says its inspiration has been market ‘disruptors’ such as food delivery business Deliveroo and taxi firm Uber and it says the time is right for a legal services provider to change the sector in a similar way.

Managing director Richard Candy said the time for the SME market to get a better deal when buying legal services was ‘long overdue’.

‘We strongly believe that law firms need to fundamentally change the way they operate to give customers more choice, more transparency on costings and a speedier and more relevant service,’ he added.

‘During the next five years, the legal market will move more towards a retail-style, consumer-driven approach to the delivery of more convenient legal solutions for businesses. We’re proud to be pioneers and we’re excited to be leading the way.’

LHS has around 120 staff members and operates from offices in London, Croydon and Manchester.

It specialises in business legal services, telephone legal advice and crime and regulatory work. Clients include the Federation of Small Businesses, whose members make 150,000 calls every year to its legal advice telephone service, and the Chief Police Officers Staff Association.

* Pictured are the firm's leaders Richard Candy, Murray Fairclough, Ian Lewis and Graham Small.

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