Saturday, 27 November 2010

And it begins...

The "Law Society Gazette" reported, this week, that a new, interesting, player had joined the firms offering their services to - an online legal price comparison website.

What makes it interesting is that the new entry is from "Access Legal" which is the consumer services arm (apparently no-one calls it "commodity legal services") of Shoosmiths - listed in 2010 by "The Lawyer" as the 33rd largest UK firm by revenue and with a total staff (excluding the Access Legal staff) of over 1,100. Shoosmiths, therefore, are a big player and one of the first of the 'big boys' to engage with a comparison site.

Wigsters report that there are a number of big firms waiting in the wings to join their service, and, given that other online services appear to be very popular with the public (notwithstanding various irritating advertising efforts).

This could be the way forward - affordable services offered to customers based around commoditised services, but with the backing of a large law firm capable of dealing with things when a case goes off the rails. It would appear to be a win-win for the customer - a good price and the backing (and the name in the case of Shoosmiths) of a big legal player.

It is encouraging that Shoosmiths are so confident in their placement with Access Legal that they feel they can join the comparison game. I suspect that as this market become crowded and more and more firms join then Access Legal might one of the first to 'do a Direct Line' and have, as their marketing tag, the fact that they aren't available from comparison sites. Only time will tell.

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