The young entrepreneur behind RateMyBarrister.com has expanded the site to include solicitors.
William Rees, a barrister based at Civitas Law in Cardiff, said: “The public are more engaged by going on a site with names they recognise, rather than a site dedicated to one branch of the profession or another.”
Mr Rees said this would mean moving to a new domain name, which he hoped to do by the end of next month.
“To some extent it’s sad, but the public is less likely to go to a site just for barristers than for lawyers generally. RateMyBarrister will still be there, but we need a broader approach.”
Mr Rees said there were around 250 reviews of barristers on the existing website, which came in at a rate of about five a week. He said the first few reviews of solicitors had also come in, after the details of around 120,000 were added last week to the 13,000 barristers on the site.
“The more visible the site becomes, the more likely it is that lawyers will ask their clients to write reviews and clients will write them,” he said.
Mr Rees said he had used search optimisation and social media to boost the profile of RateMyBarrister.com.
“I can tell by their behaviour on the site that some barristers are more engaged than others. Multiple reviews appear in a short space of time, prompted sometimes by sharing profiles on social media. For others, reviews come in slowly, one by one.
“Barristers can be quite conservative and cautious. A common request is to ask to be taken off the site and to ask me where I got the data.
“Our policy is not to remove names on request. We believe it is in the public interest to give people this information and it would undermine the site to take profiles down, unless barristers are not practicing.”
Mr Rees said that he had not entered into a data-sharing agreement with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, partly because of the need to sign up to Legal Services Consumer Panel standards.
He added that he had a number of new domain names “lined up” for the combined solicitor and barrister site.