Legal aid specialists not as good as other solicitors, public tells the Law Society

Lobbying: society wants public to oppose government's legal aid reforms

The public believes that legal aid solicitors are not as good as other solicitors, research undertaken for the Law Society has found.

Focus groups held in London and Birmingham either side of Christmas also revealed that the public think legal aid solicitors are paid private practice rates.

As a result of the findings, the society will need to carry out “a rigorous campaign to change the public’s perception”, Chancery Lane’s membership board was told earlier this month

The work was done to inform the society’s Access to Justice campaign, which aims to educate the public about justice and access to justice, and raise awareness of and opposition to the government’s proposed cuts to legal aid. It is also seen as fitting with the society’s annual campaign to promote the solicitor brand.

The campaign will run until the end of 2011. A creative agency is currently working on an identity, campaign website and further planning, the board heard.

As part of its work, the society is holding roadshows to inform practitioners about the effect of the government’s proposals, surveying firms on the potential financial impact, and created a LinkedIn group via the Gazette. See the Law Society website for more information.


    Readers Comments

  • The finding on price is very interesting.

    In a way I am not surprised by the quality finding. It’s just an assumption – they won’t have had experience of legal aid and private practice and even if they did they probably wouldn’t be able to compare in a very meanignful way. I’ve seen similar things in other projects on legal aid and clients suspect no win no fee lawyers provide lower service than hourly rate lawyers.

    The interesting thing though is I would assume the clients thought you get what you pay for, but if they also assume that the lawyer is getting paid the same rates then that would suggest that they think its who pays, not how much they pay that matters.

    Or may be its just a bit of randomness because focus groups can be a bit unpredictable?

  • camilla says:

    What will happen to the next generation of legal aid lawyers?

    The Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) are extremely concerned about the government’s plans to make drastic cuts to legal aid and the impact it will have on access to justice and vulnerable member of society. We are equally concerned that the cuts will impact on the quality and diversity of profession.

    The cuts will impact on the number of students seeking to pursue a career in legal aid, training contracts will be hard to come by and increasingly competitive and there will be increased job insecurity for newly qualified solicitors. For more information on why this could happen please see the attached press release from JLD and reports of Young Legal Aid Lawyers.

    The Junior Lawyers Division will be responding to the Government’s proposals to cut eligibility and remove whole areas from legal aid funding. We also want to ensure that the voices of our members[1] are heard. We want your views and opinions on how you think it will impact the profession. Please email

  • Annette Foley says:

    I think that due to legal aid being paid for by the government, and the likes of social services, police etc being paid for by the government. Legal aid is fundamentally flawed. And corrupt beyond measure, as these services are all streamlined and back each other up in there lies. Maybe it was initially streamlined to help collaboration and provide a better service. But my experience tells me this is most definitively no longer the case. There is no justice whilst this system remains. A very sad fact. When children are being taken away from parents for no reason other than social services gaining a government bonus for example. The system is corrupt and disgraceful.

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