A CHANGE in the law that allows supermarkets to start to offer legal services has prompted a Godmanchester lawyer to set up a new company to help professional lawyers fight back.

Warren Smith has founded LawPlayer, a full services marketing company specialising in digital services to the legal sector, particularly High Street legal practices that have established themselves as part of the community.

He says he believes strongly that solicitors should be able to remain independent, to retain their identity and remain local non-corporate resources.

Consumers and businesses can have free access to the new firm's online portal, AccessSolicitor.com, which acts as an independent national multi-media directory for the legal sector.

The new service provides a shop window of local, legal resources and information including help and guidance on how to choose legal services.

"High Street law firms have much more to offer than these corporates, and we are trying to help them get that message across," Mr Smith, who began his 15-year legal career with City-based Denton Hall, told The Hunts Post.

He said the effect of the change of law to been to 'commoditise' certain aspects of professional services. "I think there's a value in having someone providing a more personalised service," he added.

"Going to a supermarket could be a false economy. You need the best person for the job. Some jobs can be done by an apprentice: others can't. so you need someone with the right level of qualifications.

"What we are doing is giving solicitors the opportunity to keep their individuality and their reputations by levelling the playing field with the supermarkets' millions of pounds by helping clients get information that enables them to match their needs to solicitors' services in their area.

"It might cost them less - or it might not. The idea is not to compete on price, but we are allowing individual law firms to compete on quality by convincing informed consumers.

"It always makes sense to compare a real professional with a supermarket. From a solicitor you should be getting added value - and you get what you pay for."

AccessSolicitor.com went live last week after he had spent around £100,000 on research and launch costs.