Access Legal, the private client arm of top national law firm Shoosmiths LLP, has launched a new service for those recently bereaved that aims to provide a thoroughly professional, seamless, integrated and empathetic approach to the legal issues associated with a death.
Commenting on the new Bereaved Service launch, David Palmer, practice group head of Access Legal Private Client said: “Aligning our proposition to satisfy our clients’ need is key to how we differentiate ourselves. While other law firms simply list their products and services under categories and headings convenient for them, this new, integrated service addresses the complex and interconnected issues people have to face after a bereavement in a way they will appreciate and relate to.”
Presenting legal services in terms that are both understandable and accessible is nothing new for Access Legal. However, the new Bereaved Service is intended to grow into a comprehensive one-stop resource providing not just technical legal advice, but all the information, support and practical guidance needed in the aftermath of bereavement with absolutely no obligation to purchase or commission any of the services on offer.
National head of clinical negligence, Richard Follis, added: “The Bereaved Service does incorporate all the discrete areas of legal expertise that many other solicitors would offer, but what is new is the approach in providing those legal services together with other advice about benefits, official responsibilities and coping with the emotional impact of bereavement. To my knowledge, no other law firm has such a holistic, integrated proposition based on the needs of the bereaved rather than the convenience of lawyers.”
Follis maintains that the service has been shaped by the fact that bereavement is not a discrete or episodic experience. A death generates many onerous official tasks and obligations for surviving family and friends at what is an emotionally difficult time so the service aims to minimise the personal stress the recently bereaved must endure.
Practicalities may dictate legal expertise that could range from power of attorney prior to a death through to representation at an inquest, challenging a will, sorting out probate issues or seeking financial compensation immediately afterwards. However, Shoosmiths has also invested heavily in training the staff who will man a dedicated bereavement helpline to provide not just advice and assistance about legal issues, but also to understand the caller’s situation and give advice and guidance about the many issues that confront any recently bereaved person.
The helpline on 03700 864 570 is available seven days a week and lines are open Monday to Friday 8 am to 8 pm, Saturday 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday 10 am to 4 pm.