"Legal advice ..at a price they understand, can afford and that is agreed in advance"
- AuthorPaul Hajek
These are the words in a press release from the chief executive of Saga.
The “they “ is you, dear reader, a potential client, or, if you will potential consumer.
But, it’s hardly rocket science is it?
For you see, Saga today became an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) under the Legal Services Act of 2007. That is, licensed to practice law and to compete with solicitors.
Saga boasts that “the granting of a licence to Saga Law is a further step along the path of Saga revolutionising legal services in the UK.”
The visionary chief executive goes on to elevate himself to oracular status by observing that:
“A shake-up to legal services is long overdue. Currently the market appears to be stacked in favour of the provider rather than the consumer. We aim to change things so we have created a legal service with customers in mind not the convenience of lawyers…”
It so happens that Saga is owned by the same private equity company as the AA, which has also today been awarded an ABS licence. Other ABS licences have already been given to the Co-op.
I await with bated –breath forthcoming advertising campaigns.
Here are some of my suggestions, which may perhaps be unlikely to see the light of day:
· Feeling Flat?: Let Our Legal Team Put the Wind Back In Your Tyres
· It’s not just car breakdowns we cover but now also marital breakdowns.
· Free Marital Breakdown Cover When You Sign Up for Roadside Breakdown Cover
· Free Roadside Breakdown Cover When You Sign Up To Marital Breakdown Cover
· Your tyres may have let you down but our legal services team won’t
· Wills While You Wait………. For Our Van To Arrive
· Injured in a car accident in the last three years? ( That one may have been overplayed a bit now, admittedly)
· We’d like you to turn all your legal problems into a Saga
· We can’t run a Bank but boy oh boy do we know how to run a law firm
“People want legal advice and products at a price they understand, can afford and that is agreed in advance” says Saga.
Where have these Chief Executives been all these years?
I qualified as a Solicitor in 1983.
I have lived with fixed fees in Conveyancing all that time.
Yes, shock, horror: fixed fees have been around for more than 30 years. Fixed Fee Wills have also been “de rigueur” for us for just as long.
Our raison d’etre at Clutton Cox has been “Guaranteed Fixed Fees With No Hidden Extras”.
We simply don’t start to work on behalf of clients until all the legal fees have been set out and agreed.
We have introduced innovation with Fixed Fee Probate into our (forgive me fellow Spurs fans) arsenal with the Clutton Cox Probate Wizard
No Law Firm Complacency
Of course, Solicitors cannot be complacent.
Innovation and client care are the cornerstones of successful law firms.
My working (and waking hours) are spent trying to hone and improve our clients experience with Clutton Cox.
We may “get it” ( client care and fixed fees) here at Clutton Cox more than some more fuddy-duddy law firms but I do tire of such Solicitor bashing when the facts clearly indicate otherwise.
My Advice to Co-op, Saga, AA et al
We welcome you. We welcome the challenge and opportunities.
You are confidant enough in your brand and core businesses to extend into legal services.
You may be truly innovative and disruptive in ways which will benefit consumers. Good on you.
Time will tell.
Firms of Solicitors exist and continue to exist because of the people, their clients, they serve.
Solicitors are trusted advisers.
Solicitors represent trust and reassurance at levels that you can only yet dream of attaining.
The Co-operative Bank’s near melt down in recent weeks is a salutary lesson for those Big Brands striving for omnipotence.
And yes, for the avoidance of doubt Clutton Cox has long since provided legal advice at a price our clients understand and can afford and that is agreed in advance.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Saga Press Release can be viewed here at Legal Futures