Per the Solicitors Regulation Authority, a law firm’s status encompasses more than just the cost in choosing a conveyancer, with the largest-ever behavioral trial on price and decision-making in legal services.
The trial exposed that 6% of customers choose the cheapest solicitor, and 1% because for value for money.
Just under 75% of the public chose a conveyancer based on the suggestions of associates. Having said this, it is maintained by the SRA that the findings “underpin its transparency agenda”, highlighting data that consumers make better decisions when a firm’s website quotes their prices.
The trial, conducted by Economic Research is comprised of;
- 4,001 random members,
- surveys of 1,001 recent homebuyers,
- 1,146 law firms.
Of firms surveyed, under 20% advertised any price information on or offline. Explanations for this include 17% of firms not wanting competitors to see their prices and 53% basing their prices per client, depending on their needs.
The reasons, from the firms that did advertise price are;
- 70% – to make it easier for clients to understand their services,
- 57% – to attract more clients,
- 31% – to be more competitive.
The most important factors when choosing a provider from those surveyed were;
- 42% – a firms’ reputation,
- 32% – cost,
- 26% – location,
- 22% – a personal recommendation.
Prices that are easily accessible, lead to customers tending to make “good financial decisions”, the regulator highlights. The “best option” was chosen by 62% when prices were shown on a website, with 57% when prices that had to be requested by filling out an online form.
The research uncovered that just under 67% of people shop around for legal services, but only 15% of people acquiring prices without having to ask for a specific quote.
With the anticipation of deciding the next steps in the summer, the SRA have discussed proposals which included;
“Creating a solicitor and law firm public register,”
“firms publishing information on prices,”
“a new logo to help people understand the protections in place when using a regulated firm or solicitor.”
The SRA chief executive, Paul Philip, has said:
“People with a legal problem are struggling to find the information they need to make a good choice of provider. This research suggests more clearly signposted information on price could help people. Of course, it is only one part of the picture. Just as price is important, a firm’s reputation and expertise also really matter. We will consider the research findings alongside responses to our late 2017 consultation on better information, so that we make sure any future changes are based on strong evidence.”
The Law Society has highlighted in response to the research that, ‘getting the right information, at the right time, and in the right way’, is vital in making an educated choice about legal services. Quality, skill and peace of mind, as well as price, are all significant factors for customers.
Society president, Joe Egan said:
“Many clients seek legal advice at moments of great anxiety and stress. Helping them to make informed choices about what is required to resolve their legal problems is at the heart of our work. We want to help people understand their legal issue and the most appropriate solution for them before they decide what price to pay. You don’t get that from most websites – you do get it from talking to a solicitor.”