Prospective clients looking for a law firm may find the Legal Services Consumer Panel’s Tracker Survey of 2019 interesting reading. The report is based on findings from a YouGov survey of more than 3,500 users of legal services over the last two years and so is a significant sample. The findings, in this time of comparison websites, that ‘shopping around’ is often a bad thing for clients, seems to be a result of the view that comparison sites are misleading. In addition, common sense suggests that, just as in any other area of life, a lawyer trying to get work by being cheap is unlikely to be very good.
This is revealed in the survey findings, given that 77 per cent of clients find it easy to understand price information from lawyers, but this drops to just 38 per cent amongst those shopping around for a law firm.
The survey also revealed that a high percentage of responders enjoy face-to-face contact, and this remains as popular as ever. In percentage terms, a firm’s reputation is rising as the most important factor for clients.
Significantly, of general areas of work, accident and injury claims rate very poorly, both in terms of perception of choice and value for money. This appears to be the case even though virtually all such work is conducted on a no-win, no-fee basis, and the client nearly always wins. Arguably, this reflects the fact that much of the work required in this area is undertaken without face-to-face contact and that injured parties often feel pushed, either through legal expense insurance, their own insurers, or claims management companies, towards particular solicitors who do not frequently engage in face-to-face discussions or who are not readily available by telephone. Whilst this appears to be a choice, it seems that many clients suffer from poor choice, poor service, and poor quality. This is certainly reported to us by prospective clients wishing to move away from ‘panel’ solicitors recommended by their insurers.
At George Ide, we have long understood the need to provide excellent customer service, particularly in our clients’ local area, and we continue to do so despite the constraints of low fixed costs allowed within the court protocol systems.
Garry Sleet. Senior Litigation executive. Personal Injury department
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