The chief executive of a Devon private client firm is bringing a leading Canadian lawyer referral service to the UK this spring.
Trevor Worth, chief executive of Portcullis Legals, said the UK version of LawyerLocate would operate on “exactly the same model” as the Canadian – which became Google’s first Canadian legal industry partner last year.
LawyerLocate, which in Canada receives 3,000 unique visitors a day, advertises both online and offline, allowing users either to browse its directory or request that the company find a suitable lawyer.
“One of the benefits is that we will pre-screen clients and pass them to the appropriate law firm, which stops time-wasting,” Mr Worth said.
“The Canadian site has a 15-year history. They’ve been doing this for years and they know what they’re doing.”
Mr Worth, vice president of LawyerLocate UK, said the UK service was already recruiting law firm partners, ahead of its launch to consumers at the end of April. Firms will pay a subscription of £90 a month, with those who signing up now getting a discount.
He said a team of half a dozen, based at the Portcullis offices in Ivybridge, would work on the service, which describes itself as “the fastest, easiest, and least expensive way” for lawyers to get an online presence and “allow clients to find you quickly”.
Mr Worth said his relationship with LawyerLocate followed a dissertation he wrote on innovation in legal services as part of a MBA course at Exeter University.
“I was hoping to get the knowledge and skills I needed to move into a more innovative side of the law,” he said. “I could see the writing on the wall with ABSs, and I wanted to challenge the status quo in a small way. The MBA has transformed the way I think about things.
“On the back of this, I linked up to forward-thinking people all over the world. New people are coming into legal services, it’s getting a bit more entrepreneurial, and this is where the opportunities are.”
Mr Worth said he visited LawyerLocate at its offices outside Toronto this summer, during a family holiday to Canada, and attended an event to celebrate the referral service becoming a Google Partner.
In a separate development, ratings and review service VouchedFor is to run a national TV advertising campaign in April on ITV, Channel 4, Sky and Virgin, targeting programmes like Game of Thrones, Coronation Street and Grand Designs.
A spokesman said the service aimed to become “the new ‘by-clients, for clients’ equivalent of the Legal 500” for all kinds of firm.
He said 2,500 solicitors were now featured on VouchedFor, and could be contacted by up to three new clients a quarter free of charge.
“Solicitors not yet listed on VouchedFor are advised to join the platform immediately and start building their reputation with plenty of reviews from recent clients before the TV campaign brings in more people looking for advice,” he added.