The latest Bellwether research paper titled ‘The Changing Face of Law’ published today by LexisNexis UK, a leading global provider of information and analytics, highlights the very real concerns of small and independent law firms around the rise in price-driven client behaviours and the impact of pricing transparency regulations.
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.
Following the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) reform that came into effect on 06 December 2018 and which starts the move to transparency of pricing in the industry, the LexisNexis Bellwether research 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.
Jon Whittle, Market Development Director, LexisNexis UK commented: “At a time when price transparency is such an industry issue, we have just 1 in 10 solicitors believing it is a force for good and two thirds saying that client focus on price is undermining their integrity. While the SRA’s recent reform only affects specific areas of the law, that will change with further rulings due in April this year.
“The internet has encouraged consumers of almost all products and services to be able to make quick and easy comparisons between providers and price is the easiest common denominator. Pricing is not the only area of disconnect between solicitors and their clients – however this could be a slippery slope as there is a more fundamental issue at play as both parties judge the value delivered differently. 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 access the report please visit www.lexisnexis.co.uk/consumerism.