The Changing Face of Law – The Bellwether Report

4th February 2019

A research paper launched today titled ‘The Bellwether Discussion Paper: The Changing Face of Law’ highlights the concerns of independent law firms around the rise in price-driven client behaviours and the impact of pricing transparency regulations.

Ed Fletcher, CEO of Fletchers Solicitors has contributed to the report as one of the key opinion formers. 

Ed was one of twelve key people chosen to represent a broad sample of lawyers with different areas of expertise. He was surveyed and interviewed for his views on consumer behaviour for the LexisNexis Bellwether Report.

The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA) introduced a reform that came into effect on December 6 and starts the move of transparency of pricing in the industry.

The Bellwether Report highlights that while 29% of those polled are happy to publish prices, 32% reject this move and of those two thirds see it as a threat while 23% simply don’t know enough to take the risk. 80% believe that clients appreciate more experienced lawyers although 33% admit they win business on price rather than expertise.

While the SRA’s recent reform only affects specific areas of the law, that is due to change in April 2019 when further rulings are expected.

Ed commented: “If we truly want to be a profession that puts our customers at the heart of what we do, transparency and clarity of fees and charging structures has to be embraced. Only with all the facts at their disposal can customers make a truly informed decision when choosing their lawyer.”

The report states that 71% of solicitors surveyed said that their work has been compromised by ‘client demands and their consumerist behaviours’ with a third saying that they experience this type of disruption on a regular basis. 58% believe that price driven clients are impacting on the ability of lawyers to uphold the integrity of the law and provide the best service to clients.

Ed continued: “Price in the law, like in any other service industry, is an important factor in the consumer’s decision making. As the consumer becomes more savvy and well educated in the alternatives available, value will be critical with price often being the determining factor in delivering this.”

LexisNexisUK is a leading global provider of information and analytics that help customers increase productivity, improve decision-making and outcomes, and advance the rule of law around the world.

Jon Whittle, Market Development Director, LexisNexis UK commented: “Most solicitors we surveyed believe that outcomes are the most important factor for clients when it comes to judging value for money. Service, speed, and efficiency follow, with price falling last. Fundamental change is coming to the legal profession and we need to take a view on how the industry will develop to ensure that client expectations of outcome are met, while the profession’s expertise remains valued.”

To see the full report please visit www.lexisnexis.co.uk/consumerism

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