Using mobile for online access has been steadily growing and has featured in a few trend predictions before, but 2015 will truly be the year that you must go mobile to retain and attract customers. For the first time, shopping transactions made by mobile outstripped desktop in 2014’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday activity.
We all know the end of a year is a time to reflect on the year’s triumphs and disasters and, for some, to do some planning for the future. So to assist, here are some of our predictions for the legal sector over the next 20 years – and we’ll buy you all a drink if we’re proved wrong.
Since the Jackson reforms of 2013, after-the-event (ATE) insurance has been suffering from something of an identity crisis. Some law firms question the value of ATE, believing they can in effect ‘self-insure’ the adverse cost risk, whilst customers question the need for ATE when the law firm is happy to run a case on a conditional fee agreement.
Maybe in the 21st century it is time to replace the well-worn saying “lies, damned lies and statistics” with a new version: “KPIs, damned KPIs and meaningless data.” Earlier this month the SRA published data indicating that 83% of issues raising concerns about solicitors were dealt with and concluded within 12 months. In contrast, the average time taken to issue proceedings at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal was 550 days.
It’s been nearly two years since we launched our Excellence Mark programme of client service support for LawNet member firms. And during this time we’ve completed over 1,000 mystery shopping exercises which have revealed some interesting insights for our firms. One of the things that stands out is the discrepancy that still exists between the scores achieved for the walk-in mystery shopping enquiries and those made on the phone.
Unlike the Edwin Starr’s 1970’s song ‘War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing’, I hope you’ll agree that the same cannot be said for ATE insurance, which continues to provide valuable protection for customers and law firms, even post LASPO. The goal posts may have moved, but the need to ensure the client is aware of their risk exposure when bringing a claim for damages is still prevalent.
As soon as you see the word ‘expenses’, you think of duck houses and parliamentarians cooling their heels at Her Majesty’s pleasure. So when you read on this website yesterday that Adam Sampson had resigned as Chief Legal Ombudsman because of issues around his travel expenses, you might have been tempted to assume he was ‘at it’ as well. From everything I learned to write the story and since confirmed with various people familiar with the situation, this would be wrong.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has recently published a consultation paper on the regulation of consumer credit activities. There are three principal areas of concern: law firms undertaking debt collection and other work on behalf of clients under part 20; law firms giving clients time to pay their legal fees; and the SRA’s rationale for its proposal and what it perceives to be good for the consumer.
In a rather rare and strange moment of reflection, I found myself admitting that LASPO might indeed turn out to be a good thing. I’ve just had to re-read that statement; as an ATE insurer I couldn’t quite believe that I wrote that. Even more amazing, it might be a good thing for claimant law firms. I think I should explain.
It is plain that the SRA is keen to be seen as innovative, forward-thinking and ultimately the ‘regulator of choice’ when it comes to MDP ABSs. However, when you look beyond the hype of this development and consider the detail, it becomes clear that the SRA’s methodology in licensing MDPs is fundamentally flawed.