QualitySolicitors goes live in WHSmith with national TV endorsement

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By Legal Futures

1 August 2011


QS launch: founder Craig Holt addresses onlookers, with Amanda Holden watching on

QualitySolicitors’ (QS) deal to run ‘Legal Access Points’ (LAPs) within WHSmith stores was launched on Friday with celebrity fanfare and national TV coverage.

Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden unveiled the first of an eventual 500 nationwide LAPs at Westfield shopping centre in west London, before a crowd of onlookers and autograph hunters.

Earlier in the day Ms Holden appeared on ITV1’s This Morning programme and among other things described the QS/WHSmith tie-up in glowing – if confused – terms.

She told the presenters: “You can walk into WHSmith… there is a list that is now recommended by the public, for the public, of solicitors who are kosher, who are not going to rip you off and who can help you. And it’s completely free, you get advice free and then you can get any information you need.”

Asked who drew up the list of solicitors, Ms Holden appeared to suggest QS had official Law Society backing when she said: “There’s a governing body for solicitors and what they’ve done is they’ve gone to each town, they’ve picked the best solicitor from each town so there’s not a whole load of them and they’ve done a survey, they’ve contacted the clients… listened to the feedback, picked the cream of the crop and put them on that QualitySolicitors list.”

She also suggested QS was a better option than recommendation, saying that a law firm that had handled a divorce for a friend may not be the best firm to do your home move.

The fixed LAPs consist of a built-in TV screen and a series of targeted brochures covering matters such as moving home, problems at work, wills, injury compensation, and relationship breakdown.

During shop hours the stands will be manned by uniformed staff, who will be able to book appointments, provide conveyancing quotes, sell wills packages and fixed-fee advice sessions, and sign up people to the QS loyalty card scheme, called Legal Privilege.

In the event that staff cannot be present, a telephone hotline will connect potential customers to an operator.

Speaking at the launch to Legal Futures, QS chief executive Craig Holt pointed out that WHSmith was the second most visited retailer in the UK and it provided the network with a vital high street presence. “This gives us the thing that the brands like Tesco had over us,” he said.

Addressing concerns that members of the public would insist on launching into the details of their legal problems, Mr Holt said this had not proved to be the case during trials of the LAPs.

“Most people were very cognisant of the circumstances they were in. In two weeks of a trial we didn’t have anyone who went beyond saying ‘I do need a lawyer, can you make an appointment for me’, he said, adding that staff had been trained to explain clearly that they were not themselves lawyers.

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4 Responses to “QualitySolicitors goes live in WHSmith with national TV endorsement”

  1. “…solicitors who are kosher who are not going to rip you off…”

    Quality Solicitors on how to positively raise their ‘brand’ at the expense of the reputation of solicitors.

  2. Barbara Hamilton-Bruce on August 1st, 2011 at 1:15 pm
  3. Dear Barbara,

    The above quote was not provided by QS but was given, unscripted, by Amanda Holden when interviewed by ‘This Morning’. It does, however, provide a telling insight into how people – celebs included – think of solicitors generally. As sad as it may be, that is frequently the view of the mainstream when asked about lawyers and thus it was an instinctive way for Amanda to seek to distinguish QS. It demonstrates the work the profession still has to do in order to overcome some of the more negative stereotypes that exist. We hope by presenting lawyers in a fresh, modern, accessible and approachable way, we can start to help in this process.

    Best wishes,

    Craig

  4. Craig Holt on August 2nd, 2011 at 10:55 am
  5. Admittedly, the profession does need to ‘up its game’ in terms of public perception, but these types of comments do not help; Ms Holden may not have had a QS script but on the basis she is clearly aligned with QS via attending LAP openings, etc, she is seen as the public ‘face’ of QS and not just another celebrity!

    You now have a moral duty to both clients and the legal profession, to set the record straight, otherwise clients will feel misled about a service that is not free, and QS firms, and those considering joining QS, will not want to be associated with an organisation that is happy to allow their fellow professionals to be unfairly slated in this way.

  6. Adrian on August 3rd, 2011 at 3:10 pm
  7. Craig,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    I am pleased to hear that the response wasn’t scripted but sorry that Ms Holden’s experience of law firms leaves her with such strong views.

    You are not wrong about the work that is needed but it is extremely unfortunate that the very interesting work being done by the QS brand should of started out by publicly deriding it’s competitor firms so generally and in less than glowing terms.

    I have blogged for Legal Futures previously on the attacks levelled against lawyers generally and overpaid, fat cat comments bandied around by the media. I’m just a little disappointed that the jibe about “rip-off” came from our side of the fence!

    I wish you and your business associates all the best in this venture and I hope future comments can focus on the positive attributes of legal services available.

    Regards,

    Barbara

  8. Barbara Hamilton-Bruce on August 3rd, 2011 at 4:27 pm

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