The Legal Services Board has said it expects frontline regulators to introduce compulsory “minimum disclosures” by law firms on price and service. The LSB was responding to the Competition and Market Authority market study of legal services.
Legal Beagles, a consumer rights forum, has launched a comparison website using its own research on fixed fees to decide which law firms are listed. Kate Briscoe, chief executive of Legal Beagles, said only around 500 firms published fixed fees on their websites.
The Law Superstore, a new legal services comparison website which will offer consumers lists of approved solicitors, is to be launched next spring by the former chief executive of Minister Law and Brilliant Law.
Consumers are being misled by dubious practices in online reviews and endorsements, while more than half of buyers of services are swayed by them, according to an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority.
Alan Kershaw, chair of CILEx Regulation, has said lawyers should be regulated “by competence, not by title” and urged the different branches of the profession not to give up on common training.
Almost three months after the Solicitors Regulation Authority opened up its database to comparison websites, only one is actually receiving any information, it has emerged. Meanwhile the Bar Standards Board has opened its Barristers’ Register to the public.
Lawyers are increasingly using threats of libel action to intimidate clients into taking down negative reviews from comparison websites, it was claimed yesterday by a member of the Legal Services Consumer Panel.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority is to end the monopoly currently enjoyed by the Law Society’s ‘Find a Solicitor’ website, by making the data behind it available to commercial comparison sites. It is also to set up own “online regulatory register” for the public.
Over 1,300 solicitors – from small practices to some of the biggest in the City – have joined rating and review website VouchedFor, and 1,100 client reviews have already been posted, the company has said.
Clients are paying law firms fixed fees in almost half of all transactions, while unbundling is becoming a significant feature of the market place, a survey for the Legal Services Consumer Panel has found.