A new unregulated law firm is using unregistered barristers to offer small businesses “unlimited legal advice” for as little as £49.50 per month. Philip Harmer, founder of LawPlan, said the business “set out to give value, which seems like an impossibility in the legal world”.
This is a “considerable failure” of the legal services market to meet the needs of small businesses, a major lobbying group has told the Competition and Markets Authority. The Federation of Small Business said the barriers small businesses face in resolving legal problems were “numerous”.
Lawyers got something of a dressing down last week from Rocket Lawyer boss Mark Edwards. Mr Edwards said lawyers were not “great innovators” and not much would change while most firms were run entirely by lawyers. He was speaking in a small, cramped room in a basement of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills – possibly reflecting the BIS view of legal services, but hopefully not.
There are “no strong brands yet” to advise small businesses on legal services and law firms tend to “look the same”, Mark Edwards, vice president and general manager of Rocket Lawyer UK, has said. Mr Edwards said innovation was “not happening as much as it should be” in the legal market.
Only 13% of small businesses believe lawyers “provide a cost-effective means to resolve legal issues”, the biggest survey of its kind has found. The survey also found that small businesses were more likely to use accountants in solving legal problems than solicitors.
A solicitor has launched an app which he hopes will be the equivalent of taxi service Uber for legal and accountancy advice by allowing consumers to find, connect with and later review their advisers.
Three leading digital pioneers yesterday told law firms to “give clients what they want” rather than what they think clients want, whether that is a daily blog or free legal documents.
The Legal Services Board has told the government that if it wants to appoint ‘small business appeals champions’ for legal services, it should appoint them to the boards of the eight front-line regulators rather than the super-regulator.