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Legal rival for the RMIF

The Retail Motor Industry Federation is facing competition from a rival legal advice service.

Law firm Clarkslegal, which had been an adviser to the RMIF until the trade body temporarily withdrew its legal service in 2005, is launching Motor Club. Its team includes former RMIF head of legal services and BMW GB company secretary Graham Coleshill.

Dealers choose from three tiers: for £700 they get 10 hours of helpline support per year, £1,500 gets 20 hours and £2,200 gets 30 hours.

Last October, the RMIF re-launched a free legal helpline for its members in conjunction with Motor Industry Legal Services.

This came one year after it had scrapped its previous legal advice service with Clarkslegal because of a need to cut costs.

That move coincided with the trade body’s decision to make a number of redundancies, including Coleshill.

Monica Atwal, a partner at Clarkslegal and head of the club’s employment law team, says the company has recruited regional lawyers who can deliver a personalized service on club members’ doorsteps. “Our service will be more comprehensive, more focused and better value than any other service in the market,” she says.

The benefits to members include: helpline support; web access to legal developments, contracts, policies and precedents; training on issues such as employment law; and fixed costs for advice on commercial and employment disputes, mergers and acquisitions. Clarkslegal will also hold seminars on mergers, HR issues and law.

Atwal says: “We are sending Graham Coleshill into the field to meet motor retailers and find out what they want because we believe it is the customer that counts. We will focus on their needs and adapt accordingly, rather than say ‘this is what we offer, take it or leave it’.”

Kirstin Parker, another partner, heads the team specializing in consumer, commercial and vehicle issues.

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