Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Horses for courses..

So, the Co-op is opening a law school now – a “learning academy”.

This educational bombshell follows hot on the heels of the news that its banking group has been downgraded to (quote) “junk status”. Who would blame the chief executive for making a sharp exit?

Three weeks ago we saw the dramatic abandonment of plans to acquire hundreds of high street outlets from Lloyds. The Co-op blamed the failure of that deal on the continuing parlous state of the economy.

Like it was about to change? Do they truly think the Bank of England and the City enjoy telling the world that we’re in the mire long term? Or that an increasingly unpopular and feckless administration would not seize any opportunity to announce that its inept strategy is about to come good?

I don’t suppose it has anything to do with Failing Grayling’s demolition of what might have been a model that an established and historically trusted name could exploit to reasonable advantage, and profit ?

Liability insurers persuaded the Government that without referral fees of £700 or £800 lawyers didn’t need to be paid more than £500 to run “low value” cases. We all know that’s a fallacy for two reasons.

One is that £500 isn’t enough, arguably in any but a small minority of cases but certainly on average, to do a decent job. It’ll buy you a horse-burger.

The other is that there are marketing expenses even for those that sell pure beef quarter-pounders of legal service. Admittedly those costs will be far less than the outlay of the ‘lawyers’ at the bottom of the food chain who buy in all their cases because they couldn’t ever win a job on reputation or recommendation.

It was ripe for a successful retailer with a trusted brand that could cut the middle ground, be a bit but not much cheaper than the slickest good guys and almost always outperform on the marketing and customer service.

Is the truth in fact that this consummately savvy shopkeeper has concluded that it can no longer dish up a decent product at the prices set by the Cameron- ABI cartel?

Big focus is now on family services, so that we shan’t even realise that this is a quiet withdrawal from the wrecked personal injury market.

Not much being said either about employment where it will be difficult for a large organization to resolve upon a consistent policy to support – or not – meritorious claims for ordinary folk who don’t have £££ to pay the tribunal service to access justice.

Losing popular support after many years march on legal services for the masses? Remember what was and has always been the precursor to “Tesco Law”.

I don’t see Terry Leahy laying out plans for Law Express, but then he’s already demonstrated the problems of flogging a dead horse.

The Co-op has always provided, in my perception, value for money and commanded a credible slice of the markets in which it was competent to compete. Its retreat from legal services that will no longer pay when sold as a bulk commodity is commensurate with those values.

Good with food.

Horses for courses?

1 comment:

Steve Cornforth said...

Read about this the other day. I think you are right. I can't see Tesos going anywhere near this market.