“New generation” comparison site tells firms: you must offer fixed fees

Welsh: greater price transparency and certainty for clients is key

Solicitors and barristers are being targeted to join a new comparison website that claims to be the “new generation” of legal referral businesses by requiring participating law firms and barristers to offer fixed-fee services.

Founder Michael Welsh, a former in-house solicitor, said CompareLegalCosts.com also moved away from the referral fee model and is instead charging firms and barristers just £250 a year to be members – advertising will be a key revenue generator as well.

The site – backed by a Guernsey-based trust – aims to be the “Go Compare” for people seeking lawyers, and enables consumer and business clients to receive three fixed-price quotes from local solicitors and barristers within 24 hours.

Having been piloted in East Anglia, the site currently has around 30 law firm members and is now targeting solicitors and barristers with a series of roadshows, starting today in Cambridge and moving to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester next month. It will have a full public launch later in the autumn.

Mr Welsh, formerly a partner at Bristol law firm TLT and legal director for a telecoms business, said a cap would be put on the numbers on the panel.

He added: “The Legal Services Act is going to bring dramatic changes and, while we may not see opera singers promoting lawyers just yet, greater price transparency and certainty for clients is very much part of the new environment.

“CompareLegalCosts.com is all about helping existing practitioners benefit from the new environment through helping them gaining access to new local leads at highly competitive membership rates.

“The reassurance for users of CompareLegalCosts.com is that they will get fixed-price quotes from properly qualified and regulated solicitors’ firms and barristers, allowing them to avoid the pitfalls of some online-only offerings.”

He said that rather than encouraging competition purely on price, the site was likely to reward those firms which are well organised and respond quickly to users. “The person who goes in with a cheaper price the next day will lose out,” he predicted.


    Readers Comments

  • Fixed fee direction is clearly right.

    I don’t think speed of response to quote (important as it is) is a serious indication of quality. Others have offered a bit more in this regard (QS for instance) although even there the commitment to quality is quite modest. As and when existing brands enter the market, consumers may turn to them, the absence of quality assurance may tell?

  • It will be interesting to see how the quotes are returned to the consumer. If there is room for the firm to ‘pitch’ then the importance of price will be diminished.

    However, suggesting it will be a Go Compare suggests something a little more downmarket than most firms might want to be associated with.

  • This is not a new concept. Icomparesolicitors was launched some 3 years ago and enjoys high rankings and volume users of its comparison system.

    Try Googling these terms to see for yourself.

    go compare solicitors
    solicitors comparison
    lawyers comparison
    compare solicitors fees

    Whilst the system is 3 years old, a newer updated version will be released shortly to capitalise on the real estate it has achieved on all major search engines.

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