On 1 January 2011, The Time Blawg materialised.
One year ago I looked back at the first year of The Time Blawg – One Year On.
Over the past few weeks I have looked back at what went on during the second year of The Time Blawg with specific reference to Social Media: The Time Blawg – Two Years On (Part 1: Social Media), Blawging: The Time Blawg – Two Years On (Part 2: Blawging) and Legal Technology: The Time Blawg – Two Years On (Part 3: Legal Technology) in each post giving my thoughts on what 2013 has in store for social media/blawging/legal technolgy and lawyers. Today I will do the same but with specific reference to QualitySolicitors. They get a post all to themselves because they don’t slot into any of the topics in parts 1 to 3 and feature in the remaining two blog posts from 2012 still to be reviewed. If I had blogged last year on other service providers that were emerging in the new legal landscape the title could have been Alternative Business Structures. Perhaps I will in 2013.
My first QualitySolicitors blog post of 2012 was QualitySolicitors TV Adverts and The Apprentice. I looked at the 2010 QualitySolicitors TV Advert and contrasted it with the 2012 version and wondered what Lord Sugar would have thought if the two were competing against one another on The Apprentice. I reckoned that the older cheaper advert would have been the winner.
Eight months on since the new advert was first aired and I have never noticed it in the interim. Perhaps it has not been shown much, if at all, in Scotland. Not sure if the lack of showing in Scotland combined with pure coincidence resulted in the Law Society of Scotland coming up with a new advertising campaign in September: “Your Scottish solicitor. On your side, whatever life brings”. Not a million miles away from “Quality Solicitors – for whatever life brings”! I pointed this little fact out:-
— The Time Blawg (@TheTimeBlawg) September 18, 2012
I also commented that it was not just the Scottish Law Society that liked to copy QualitySolicitors:-
— The Time Blawg (@TheTimeBlawg) September 18, 2012
… and the campaign was suddenly changed to “Your Scottish solicitor. Always on your side”. I hope The Law Society of Scotland didn’t pay an agency large (or any) sums to plagiarise the QualitySolicitors strapline. I wonder what the subsequent change in campaign then cost The Law Society of Scotland?!
My second QualitySolicitors blog post of 2012 was QualitySolicitors in Scotland. I looked at QualitySolicitors attempts to entice Scottish law firms to join them as fully rebranded members of QualitySolicitors and pondered why there had been a slow uptake in firms so doing. They currently have no Scottish members.
However, back in November 2011 Craig Holt told The Sunday Herald that they would have between 5 and 10 branches in Edinburgh and Glasgow in January 2012 and 200 branches throughout Scotland by the end of that year. Those 5 to 10 branches did not appear never mind the 200!
Then in May 2012 we were told via the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland that QualitySolicitors were “currently selecting Partner Firms ahead of a summer launch of the brand in Scotland”. Summer came and went with no QualitySolicitors launch in Scotland.
In September 2012 Craig Holt (Founder and Chief Executive of QualitySolicitors) told me that QualitySolicitors had signed up a number of law firms in Scotland and were preparing to launch them so my firm could not continue to provide the Barnardo’s free will scheme in Scotland (for which we had just won Corporate Social Responsibility Law Firm of the Year at the Law Awards of Scotland 2012) as QualitySolicitors would be doing so under their exclusive UK arrangement with Barnardo’s. Four months later and still no Scottish QualitySolicitors so yet another tall tale from Craig and, in the process, potentially preventing Barnardo’s benefiting from Scottish bequests they might otherwise have received.
Surely you do not state you are opening branches unless you actually know that you are. Craig Holt has made several misleading statements on this front over the past year or so. When my law firm, Inksters, opened an office in Wick on 4 January 2013 we announced this fact when we knew it was going to happen and it duly opened on that date. Simples as a rather well known meerkat would say.
The Future of QualitySolicitors
I predict that by the end of 2013 my own law firm will have branches in more Scottish cities/towns than QualitySolicitors will.
I will blog in more detail in 2013 with my thoughts on QualitySolicitors. I might even manage to also look at some of the other new legal business structures that are emerging.
Note: My law firm, Inksters, became, in May 2009, the founding Scottish Member firm of QualitySolicitors. This was before QualitySolicitors became the branded organisation that it is today. We decided not to rebrand as QualitySolicitors Inksters but instead left QualitySolicitors and are building our own unique brand Inksters. I believe that QualitySolicitors could be a good fit for certain high street law firms but was no longer the correct direction for Inksters to pursue. My comments on this blog are not related in any way to Inksters one time membership of QualitySolicitors and if considered in any way to be critical should be taken in the constructive sense.