Access Legal, the consumer arm of Shoosmiths, has launched a service to help the recently bereaved that it claims is unique among law firms.
The ‘Bereaved Service’ is intended to grow so that it does not just provide technical legal advice, but “all the information, support and practical guidance needed in the aftermath of bereavement with absolutely no obligation to purchase or commission any of the services on offer”.
Though staff running the bereavement helpline have been trained to understand the caller’s situation and give advice and guidance about the many issues that confront any recently bereaved person, it stops short of offering emotional support, but provides links to various organisations that do.
David Palmer, practice group head of Access Legal Private Client, said: “Aligning our proposition to satisfy our clients’ need is key to how we differentiate ourselves. While other law firms simply list their products and services under categories and headings convenient for them, this new, integrated service addresses the complex and interconnected issues people have to face after a bereavement in a way they will appreciate and relate to.”
National head of clinical negligence Richard Follis added: “The Bereaved Service does incorporate all the discrete areas of legal expertise that many other solicitors would offer, but what is new is the approach in providing those legal services together with other advice about benefits, official responsibilities and coping with the emotional impact of bereavement.
“To my knowledge, no other law firm has such a holistic, integrated proposition based on the needs of the bereaved rather than the convenience of lawyers.”
However, leading non-lawyer probate provider ITC has for some years run a similar scheme called the Bereavement Advice Centre, while others like Trust Inheritance also seek to help customers more broadly.
The helpline is available every day, 8am to 8pm during the week, Saturday from 9am to 6pm and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.