Criminal practitioners receive best ratings in online reviews

Online reviews: Score for criminal firms a testament to their professionalism

Criminal law is the legal specialism most appreciated by clients in online reviews, new research has found.

Researchers, who studied online reviews on 1,000 small and mid-sized law firms in 50 UK towns and cities across the UK, said clients were most happy with the service they received in Leicester and least happy in Wrexham.

Legal software provider Access Legal said that given the greater emphasis on reviews, it wanted to understand which areas of law clients were rating highest and where in the UK clients were receiving the best service.

It found that criminal law scored an average rating of 4.29 from reviews left on Google, Trustpilot and ReviewSolicitors.

It was followed by motoring law (4.27), personal injury (4.22), conveyancing ( 4.18), wills and probate (4.16), family (4.12) and corporate law (4.01).

Law firms were rated highest on Google, with an average of 4.32, followed by ReviewSolicitors with 4.28 and Trustpilot with 3.69. Google was also the most-used review platform by clients.

Bishu Solomon Girma, customer success director at Access Legal, commented: “Criminal law is one of the most emotive areas of law – and it’s easy to see how former clients might leave negative reviews if they didn’t get the outcome they wanted.

“So, it’s testament to the professionalism and fairness of firms that they have scored so highly in this practice area.

“However, all areas of law scored comfortably above four, which is considered ‘good’, even family law, another area of law that has a powerful emotional connection to the lives of legal clients.”

When it came to towns and cities, clients were most positive about law firms in Leicester, Leeds and Blackburn. In Leicester, the “stand-out firm” was Bond Adams with an average of 4.7 across all three platforms, while in Leeds it was Milners Solicitors with 4.8.

In fourth place were jointly Brighton, Bradford and Epsom, Surrey, followed by Sheffield and Stoke, and then Chichester and Bournemouth.

At the bottom of the table was Wrexham, with an average rating of only 3.54, behind Hereford, Bristol, Swansea, Manchester and Birmingham.

Mr Girma said word of mouth recommendations had always been important for law firms in securing new business because of the level of trust involved in the lawyer-client relationship.

“That’s why people have tended to choose local firms their family or friends may have used for years.

“While the need for trust and relationship building is still true today, tools like secure client portals and e-signatures have also removed the need for some face-to-face meetings, allowing clients to access legal services from experts in different parts of the country, including highly specialist advice.

“Reviews are a powerful marketing tool and are increasingly a differentiator for firms. Asking satisfied clients to post a review is a powerful way to boost your rankings – helping to improve your firm’s visibility on search engines and providing reassurances for prospective clients.”

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