A new study commissioned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, has found a number of positive trends in public attitudes towards price transparency in legal services. The report was commissioned by the SRA to look into the impact of the rules, which have now been in place for a year.
The rules included a requirement for regulated firms to publish price and service information for certain legal services, details on the teams/individuals who will provide services in these specified areas and details of their complaint’s procedure, including how and when issues can be referred to the SRA or the Legal Ombudsman.
The key finding of the report as what now only 10% of consumers now say, with access to information on price, that they believe instructing a solicitor may be an unaffordable option for them, compared to 50% in the past. The report also found that 77% of the public find information now available online is useful in helping them find and choose potential legal providers. As well as this 29% of firms say they would recommend publishing extra information online to proactively help prospective clients in making a decision.
Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said: “Currently only one in ten people who have a legal issue are going to professional providers such as solicitors for help. We know that a lack of easy to find information about the services law firms’ offer and the cost of those services is part of the problem. So it is really encouraging to see that, although it is still early days, people and small businesses are looking at the information now available and finding it useful, particularly as they think about the type and costs of the service they need. In these difficult times and with more and more of us relying on shopping around online, it is also welcome that many firms see publishing information as an important part of winning new clients.”