Black and minority ethnic (BME) consumers of legal services are getting a “raw deal” when choosing and using legal services, according to the Legal Services Consumer Panel, after its research showed levels of trust, loyalty and satisfaction lower among BME groups that white British consumers.
Fast-growing national practice DWF has become the first law firm to join the British Quality Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation set up by government and industry which describes itself as Europe’s largest corporate membership organisation dedicated to performance improvement. Other members include Marks & Spencer, Virgin Media and O2.
Many client-care letters get the lawyer/client relationship off on the wrong foot, reinforcing preconceptions of lawyers’ letters as complex and difficult to read, and not providing the information that consumers actually want, new research has found.
Offering fixed fees is a sign of entrepreneurial lawyers, according to research among small firms which also found that it helps “cement a better client relationship from the start”. The research, by LexisNexis, found that those offering fixed fees were investing more in processes, technology and marketing.
A regulatory agenda that is looking to help consumers shop around for legal advice means that many law firms are running out of time to get to grips with customer service, a report being launched at today’s PI Futures conference has warned.
The Legal Services Consumer Panel said last week that it was “not blind to the challenges of increased price transparency”, but insisted that making lawyers publish “average” prices could be the catalyst for making consumers ask more questions about cost.
There are high levels of consumer satisfaction with legal services, according to a survey commissioned by the Competition and Markets Authority. However, those who were not happy usually did not bother complaining because it was thought to be too time-consuming or would not achieve much.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has launched an investigation, after medical records relating to personal injury claims were found in a skip outside a law firm’s former office in St Helens, Merseyside. Separately, evidence has emerged of bodyshops releasing personal data to third-party law firms and CMCs.
A solicitor who faked three client care letters and backdated them has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The SDT rejected Rafique Chowdhury’s claims that he acted “in a moment of madness” and was “regularising the files, not seeking to mislead anyone”.
There is a “climate of renewed vulnerability” among smaller law firms, with the vast majority of lawyers believing there are “still rough times ahead”, a report has found. The report also revealed a huge gulf between lawyer and client perceptions of value.