Shopping centre legal brand Lawyers2you added London, Leeds and Manchester to its growing list of locations this week as it plans also to target some of the capital’s most popular markets.
Lawyers2you is the consumer-facing brand of Birmingham law firm Blakemores that has stands in shopping centres across the midlands. It is expanding through a joint venture marketing model where it puts a stand in an agreed location and the leads go to local law firms which buy exclusive access to them.
There are now 80 firms on the referral panel, with Lawyers2you already having a presence beyond the midlands with 30 stands in the likes of Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Croydon, Doncaster, Enfield, Gloucester, Guildford, Liverpool, Oswestry, Port Talbot, Reading Southampton, Sutton and Telford. Chief executive Guy Barnett said he expects to reach 50 locations by the end of the year.
The average stand generates 10 to 20 leads a day, he said, although some do less and others more and it is impossible to know for sure until they go live; the recent opening in Guildford has generated little, while Croydon has received 40-50 a day. “You’ve got to have the right centre, the right location [within the centre] and the right rep [manning it],” he said.
The stand in the Elephant & Castle shopping centre is the first in the capital, with progress slower than expected six months ago when Mr Barnett said he was planning a drive into London . He told Legal Futures that the Olympics had made it harder than expected to secure spaces in shopping centres, as will the run-up to Christmas.
This in part explained the move into some of London’s 350 markets – such as Brick Lane and Greenwich – while they are also cheaper locations. However, there can be some practical difficulties with securing pitches, such as at those markets subject to medieval laws that prohibit stands using red, a colour that features prominently in Lawyer2you’s branding.
Mr Barnett said it was not easy to build a panel of “like-minded firms” able to take the range of referrals received, especially as many do not have much money to spend; however, impending implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 was starting to focus minds. Lawyers2you is also putting some stands in locations on its own initiative so as to market them to local law firms and build the brand outside the west midlands.
He said the next stage of development would be to create ‘law hubs’ alongside the stands, where consumers would be able to speak to a lawyer via video conferencing.