Face-to-face legal advice via the Internet as law firm buys Capita’s helpline

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By Legal Futures

7 September 2010


Always open: LAD offers advice to institutional clients

West Midlands law firm Forum Law is planning to give face-to-face legal advice over the Internet after buying Capita Assis-tance’s legal helpline business.

Called Legal Assistance Direct (LAD), the service already had contracts to provide legal advice to over five million client customers of insurers, banks, trade associations, affinity groups and employee assistance programme providers, and it now aims to grow significantly its profile in the legal services marketplace. It currently receives around 35-40,000 calls a year.

Following investment from Forum Law, LAD operates from new offices in Colchester and offers telephone helpline advice on over 150 categories of law. The service – which is also provided as a white-label package – operates 24 hours-a-day, 365 days a year and covers all UK legal jurisdictions, as well the ChanneI Islands and the Republic of Ireland.

Forum Law founder Jeff Zindani, a former partner at Russell Jones & Walker, said the investment in technology enables LAD to give advice over the Internet with a Skype-type arrangement.

LAD – which is a separate trading part of Mr Zindani’s business – employs 15 solicitors and legal executives to handle calls with the goal of resolving them at the point of contact, rather than referring them on, although clients can be referred on to Forum Law or other law firms if needed.

It also offers document drafting and review services, newsletters on topical legal issues, and access to frequently asked questions and knowledge management via members’ areas within the LAD and client websites.

Mr Zindani said LAD “provides a platform for us to develop and the opportunity to use lawyers to give really high-quality advice to institutional clients on a 24/7 basis”.

Leon Chmiel, LAD’s head of sales and business development, added the legal services reforms meant “a great opportunity exists for businesses to reach out to their customers by offering access to high-quality legal advice at a competitive price and in the most convenient ways for the end user”.

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What are our considerations when looking to buy home or car cover? I would imagine price would certainly be amongst the considerations, but I’m confident that we would each weigh up whether or not our chosen insurer could meet any claims we might bring, and perhaps as importantly, whether they’d provide us with a hassle-free claims process were the worst to happen. Legal expenses insurance should be no different.

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