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Adapt to survive

If consumers can be empowered to shop around for legal services we could reap the benefits, says Warren Smith. But the profession too must change

16 August 2013

The latest Legal Services Consumer Panel report makes for some stark reading. It found that consumers are more satisfied with the service they receive, and consider they get better value for money, if they shop around. Yet the amount of people shopping around is not only low - just 22 per cent of respondents - but they are unchanged on the previous year.

Given the raft of legal services reforms that have come into effect in recent years, and the general push to open up the profession, these findings should be surprising. But for me, they are not. The fact remains that for many consumers, rightly or wrongly, the legal profession is daunting and unapproachable: they deem it confusing, expensive and full of impenetrable jargon.

Because of this, even if people do want to shop around before hiring a lawyer - rather than just plumping for the solicitor they used last or their nearest firm - few know how to or what criteria they should be using. As the report showed...

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