First he allowed solicitors to join, now the founder of RateMyBarrister is relaunching the website as legalbods.com.
William Rees, a barrister based at Civitas Law in Cardiff, said many people referred to “legal bods” when looking for advice on internet forums.
“People who need legal advice often ask if anyone knows any good ‘legal bods’. Since our aim is mainly to get feedback from lay clients, that’s the reason for the name.”
Mr Rees said that RateMyBarrister had recently been getting 1,400 unique users a day, and had accumulated over 1,500 client reviews – mainly about barristers rather than solicitors.
RateMyBarrister was extended to include solicitors in April this year, raising the need for a new name for the site. Mr Rees said that, from last week, RateMyBarrister traffic had been redirected to legalbods.com.
The barrister said his main aim with the new website was to gather “more data and more detail” from clients, so lawyers could be given “valuable feedback” on how to improve their services.
“At the moment, people go onto the site and leave a quick review and it gives them an opportunity to have a say. We need to find a way to get to a more detailed level, where clients talk about how lawyers come across and what they’re doing well.
“I believe law firms see the value of data of this kind and would be prepared to pay for it, as might other organisations, such as insurance companies, which could be given anonymised information.”
Mr Rees said there was no “clear-cut” way for websites to compare lawyers on price.
“Price comparisons are difficult to apply to lawyers. The legal services sector deals with a huge variety of issues and is very client focused. You pay for different levels of service and it’s hard to compare what you’re getting.
“This makes it difficult for anyone to mimic what has happened with comparison websites in other industries. If there was one dominant site, it would not necessarily be a good thing. It’s too easy to obscure what the real comparison is or to mislead people.”
Mr Rees added that since he set up RateMyBarrister, he had noticed a growing acceptance by lawyers of the role of online reviews.
“At that time, I got some quite negative feedback on Twitter, with people saying I was being cynical. That has dropped away, and lawyers are becoming more comfortable with the idea that they get feedback, which they can either address or not.”