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QS hires law students to sell the brand in WHSmith

7 April 2011

QualitySolicitors has secured an exclusive partnership with WHSmith which will see the legal franchise offer ‘legal access points’ in 150 WHSmith stores on the high street and railway stations.

The LAPs will be run by local QS firms but no legal advice will be delivered there. Representatives of the firm, whom QS chief operating officer Saleem Asif believes will be “law students or other confident people with an awareness of legal services”, will collect shoppers’ details which will be passed onto the firm’s lawyers.

However, Asif said at this stage it could be useful for the lawyers themselves to take part in some of the initiatives so they could get an understanding of clients’ responses.

A one-week trial with two local QS firms – Burroughs Day in Bristol and Oliver and Co in Chester – resulted in 50 people a day signing up to QS’s new Privilege card and between five and ten active leads – individuals with a live legal issue.

The non-active leads who signed up to the Privilege card were also offered a free legal health check with the local QS firm. The card will work like a loyalty card, where owners would be regularly offered special deals every month.

It will also help push the message that legal services need not be complicated and that many transactions are charged at a flat rate. Fixed fees have been gaining traction with traditional firms keen on remaining attractive but Asif said QS had the marketing power to make it known more widely and effectively.

The cost of the operation – on average £500 a day per store – will be 80 to 90 per cent funded by QS centrally, but Asif said in due course the new scheme would replace other lead generation mechanisms, such as referral fees.

While he said there were no set targets at the moment, the expectation was that the LAPs would create an amount of lead generation such that “there will be no need to buys leads anymore”.

The deal with WHSmith is exclusive for five years, meaning no other legal brand can enter into a similar arrangement with the high street stationer.

QS is also considering an additional agreement with WHSmith to open LAPs in its large stores located in retail centres and out of town shopping malls such as Lakeside. This is likely to be entirely financed from central QS funds.

Asif added QS aimed to sign up 300 firms by October. From July, all QS firms will also open on Saturdays.

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