Two lawyer-to-lawyer referral services have gone live. ReferMarket and Lawyer to Lawyer both aim to help firms realise the value of cases they cannot for whatever reason handle themselves, but do so in very different ways.
Creativity and collaboration should be the priority for law firms looking to fend off the threats from a liberated legal market, with joint ventures, referral networks and share offerings all possible solutions, last week’s Legal Futures conference was told.
Around 50 law firms in the north-west have signed up to a new scheme from Manchester practice JMW aimed at lawyer-to-lawyer referrals. Lawshare offers firms in the network a 7-10% profit share for every case referred to JMW.
QualitySolicitors is generating nearly 100,000 leads per month for its member firms, pioneering research into find-a-solicitor type services has revealed, while around a fifth of such businesses have disappeared since 2010.
A new online service that allows potential clients to ask solicitors a question for free – and get a response within an hour – is set to launch to the profession shortly. The website, www.rightsolicitor.co.uk, already ranks at the top of Google behind only the Law Society for the words ‘solicitor’ and ‘solicitors’.
There should be no general ban on referral fees, but individual frontline regulators are free to impose one for their part of the legal market if they can justify it, the Legal Services Board has concluded. It said transparency needs improving but there is little evidence of “actual or potential harm”.
The claims management regulator has launched a crackdown on companies that are cold-calling consumers and taking up-front fees without giving clients a reasonable period to consider the agreement they are signing.