The vast majority of family law firms are offering alternative ways to pay legal fees post-LASPO – such as unbundling and monthly payment plans – and more than eight out of 10 clients were able to find the money themselves rather than rely on friends and family, a survey has revealed.
A Yorkshire solicitor has launched a website to help small businesses and consumers obtain fixed price unbundled advice. James Martin, founder and director of ClaimItOnline, launched today, said the website was particularly aimed at small businesses with disputes worth up to £50,000.
There is a wide range of practice areas where solicitors can offer unbundled legal services, from actions against the police to civil litigation, the Law Society has suggested. It said firms could also use paralegals to act as McKenzie Friends in court.
An online family law service that uses barristers to triage a client’s requirements and connect them with the experts needed to assist – whether they are barristers, solicitors, mediators, financial advisers, arbitrators, collaborative lawyers or therapists – has gone live this week.
Junior barristers should get themselves accredited for public access work and act in cases where people are currently relying on paid McKenzie Friends, the new Bar Council chairman has said as he promised to promote direct access to the public.
The potential for unbundling legal services to help consumers – and particularly litigants in person – is to be examined in a research project being commissioned by the Legal Services Board and Legal Services Consumer Panel.
Regulated lawyers should be viewed in the future as “a small part of an increasingly diverse ecosystem”, the Legal Services Consumer Panel has said in a report being launched at today’s Legal Futures Annual Conference.
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.
Family lawyers offering unbundled legal services should be wary of charging clients on an hourly basis, the Law Society has warned. It said “this could increase the risk of the retainer being more broadly interpreted”.
Struck-off solicitors are acting as McKenzie Friends, raising ethical concerns and providing a service that gives no recourse to the Legal Ombudsman, the Legal Services Consumer Panel has warned as it highlighted issues around the unbundling of legal services that it is set to investigate.