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Legal shoppers unimpressed by Tesco law

1 June 2010

A future in which legal advice is chucked in a trolley alongside toilet roll and teabags may be already past its sell-by date, if a new poll of the general public is to be believed.

A survey of more than 2,000 people commissioned by the legal research firm Jures has found little love for the prospect of ‘Tesco law’.

When questioned on the idea of buying legal advice from a number of leading high street chains, such as Marks & Spencer, Virgin and Tesco, the biggest response came from people ticking the ‘none of the above’ box.

“The law is a profession in transition,” said legal journalist Jon Robins, author of the ‘Shopping Around’ report which features the survey.

“What we found is that consumers don’t automatically gravitate to the perceived security of high street brands. In fact the ‘reassurance’ of a familiar name was not identified as a compelling reason for choosing a lawyer.

“Instead, consumers value quality of advice and price certainty, way above the comfort factor of big brands.”

Consumers were given a list of big-name brands and asked which would be the most appealing provider of legal advice.

Marks & Spencer received the most votes, with 14 per cent of people keen to see the Great British underwear institution branch out into the law.

But only one in 20 consumers said supermarket giant Tesco would appeal to them as a legal services provider, with 34 per cent of people saying none of the big brands were appealing.

The results of the survey suggest that the Legal Services Act 2007 will not see traditional law firms deserted in favour of big high street brands, such as Tesco.

The Act will enable supermarkets, banks and insurance firms to compete in the legal services market for the first time, with the first alternative business structures set to open their doors in October 2011.

“What this research indicates is that there is an appetite among consumers for better ways to distinguish quality and make choices when it comes to legal services – rather than people simply taking what they’re given or what’s based just around the corner,” David Edmonds, chairman of the Legal Services Board, said.

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