WHEN the Legal Services Act was announced last year, it was quickly dubbed the Tesco law, due to rumours it could encourage supermarkets to start offering legal services to their customers. But come Monday the moniker may have to be altered.
Despite news this week that the Act could be delayed until the end of the year, retailer WHSmith is making sure it’s ahead of the game by providing access to legal services in more than 100 of its stores across the UK.
Alongside the books, snacks and stationery supplies that the store is known for, regular customers will now also be able to find dedicated staff ready to task a network of affiliated lawyers with all their legal nuisances.
Lawyers from QualitySolicitors will offer shoppers advice on everything from conveyancing to wills – with the new service potentially bringing a whole new meaning to the idea of a quickie divorce.
WHSmith says the move is designed to make accessing legal services “as easy as picking up your morning paper”, which as City A.M. readers will already know is really very easy indeed.
But rest assured, we have no plans to position strategically placed lawyers in blue jackets outside Bank underground station for your convenience anytime soon.
SHOOT THE MESSENGER
SOUR grapes at Microsoft, which has forbidden Ashleigh Highfield, the new Johnston Press chief executive, from talking to the press.
Highfield, who doesn’t officially leave his job as vice-president at Microsoft until September, was more than happy to outline his vision for the troubled newspaper firm.
But The Capitalist hears the grey suits at Microsoft sent a “clinical email” to the spinners at Johnston Press yesterday morning, informing the firm they’d asked him to keep schtum.
“They’re obviously sorry to lose him,” said our source. Quite.
Still, at least he’s used to the bureaucracy: the architect of the iPlayer spent almost a decade working for the BBC.
HEDGE YOUR BETS
MAYFAIR hedge fund managers unable to tear themselves away from their desks long enough to make it to the Cartier Polo were treated to an impromptu lunchtime display earlier this week courtesy of Tony Lutwyche, when the England polo team’s official tailor brought a taste of country tradition onto Old Bond Street.
Desk jockeys nipping out for something to fuel their afternoon trades on Tuesday would have come face to face with England Polo players Luke Tomlinson, James Beim and Malcolm Borwick, who managed to commandeer the streets surrounding Mayfair’s hedgie heartlands to play a few chukkas.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS
A VERY happy birthday to the Boris bike, which officially turned one yesterday.
More than 6m journeys have been made on the distinctive silver and blue two-wheelers since they were launched last summer, and Transport for London is now preparing for an expansion of the scheme further into west London, including new docking stations at Westfield Shopping Centre.
Key sponsor Barclays has also pledged a further £25m to the scheme to take its support of the project through to 2018, with chief exec Bob Diamond (left) calling the scheme a “huge success... which makes a positive difference to everyday life in London”.