Despite a low uptake so far in law firms advertising prices for conveyancing services on their websites under the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA’s) new transparency regime, a study out later today will demonstrate an eight fold increase in enquiries when a fee estimate tool is added to the website.
The study, published by Tonic Works and supported by OneSearch Direct, follows a high level legal market report by the CMA in December 2016 that led to regulators of legal services being asked to set a new minimum standard for disclosure on price and service.
In September 2017, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers along with the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives proposed a framework under which law firms publish a schedule of fees or provide an instant conveyancing estimate tool on their website in order to produce a transparent cost estimate for consumers.
The results of the Tonic Works study indicate that having an instant conveyancing estimate tool on a website generates a much larger volume of enquiries than having a website without a tool – good news for law firms who may be concerned about publishing their prices on their websites when the new price transparency regulations come into force later this year.
According to research published by the Legal Services Board in November 2017, only 11% of firms currently advertise any prices for conveyancing services on their website, and although 9% were planning to start advertising prices, 74% had no current plans to do so.
Stephen Ward, director of strategy and external relations at the Council for Licensed Conveyancers said: “This study provides useful evidence as the legal sector regulators continue to shape our responses to recommendations from the Competition and Markets Authority on making more information available to help consumers choose their lawyer. It is an eloquent proof that the new transparency regime will hold opportunities for innovative firms.”
Matthew Pennington, director of Tonic Works and author of the impact study said: “Law Firms who are not currently offering instant fee estimates through their website are clearly missing out on enquiries – new business that is likely going to their competitors instead. With conveyancing referral fees in the spotlight as a result of the DCLG call for evidence on the homebuying process, conveyancers should seize the opportunity that the new fee transparency regulations will create in order to win more business directly from consumers through their own website, and sleep soundly knowing they aren’t reliant on third parties to supply their caseload.”
The report is worth a look. You can download it in full from Tonic Work’s website here: https://tonic.works/study