A solicitor aiming to make legal advice more accessible is bidding to win a competition offering free newspaper advertising for a second successive year.
Peter Williams launched Legal and Mutual in 2010 in a one-man crusade against high street solicitors’ fees which are sometimes unaffordable for people who are ineligible for legal aid.
Last year he won 12 weeks of free advertising in the Lancaster Guardian through the newspaper industry’s acclaimed Local Business Accelerators (LBA) competition.
And the boost his business received has prompted Peter to again enter the contest.
Around 500 newspapers are taking part in the initiative, which is open to firms aged between one and five years old.
Local winners will go to the national finals where they could win a year’s mentoring from Dragon’s Den’s Deborah Meaden plus a local advertising campaign devised by a top London creative ad agency.
Peter, 50, who lives in Bolton-le-Sands, and has 25 years of experience as a solicitor working in the private and voluntary sectors, said: “When I won the advertising last year I started to pick up a bit of business and the adverts really helped but once they stopped things dropped off.
“In the second or third year your business either develops or you go under.”
Peter believes a further round of advertising could be the key to securing a sustainable future for Legal and Mutual.
“The difficulty I have encountered is that the community is unaware of my services as I have been unable to afford to advertise,” he added.
“Personal recommendation is the way to build up a client base but to do this the firm needs a greater number of clients in order to recommend our services.
“If a greater awareness of our existence and services provided could be achieved this would enable expansion in due course to the benefit of the local community.”
Peter visits clients at their homes and charges £95 per hour, with no VAT added. He says high street fees can reach £180 plus VAT. Peter takes on civil work including matrimonial cases, employment work and wills and probate.
For further details visit www.legalandmutual.com or call 0845 1308810.
Another seven firms are on the Lancaster and Morecambe Newspapers shortlist for this year’s LBA competition. They are SCS Logistics, Queen of Hearts Crockery, Drinking Vinegar, Potts’ Pies, Broadband for the Rural North, Porter’s Trading, The Bridle House of Torrisholme and Legal and Mutual.
Every week between now and the announcement of the local winners in February we will throw the spotlight on one of the shortlisted firms.