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Online service to charge £25 for conveyancing referral

A new online referral service proposes to charge lawyers a £25 flat fee for conveyancing referrals and £99 for ‘no-win, no-fee’ when it launches next year.

3 September 2012

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Set up by three friends, a family barrister and two City technology management consultants, MrLawyer pledges to become a “TripAdvisor for lawyers”, according to co-founder Param Singh.

The founders of MrLawyer.co.uk are starting an engagement campaign with solicitors and barristers this week with a view to getting providers signed up by the end of October. Singh said they aimed to talk to 1,000 lawyers and would initially focus their effort on greater London.

The service is scheduled to launch to the public in January next year.

“It will bring together Facebook-style messaging and quote management tools, allowing users to get quotes from solicitors on whatever the job is,” Singh said.

There will be no charge to lawyer members for the first six months following launch and the proposed fixed rate for referrals of conveyancing and ‘no-win, no-fee’ work may be revised depending on market feedback.

Referral in other areas would be charged at 2.5 per cent of the quote value.

MrLawyer.co.uk will work as an auction site, with lawyers bidding for work posted by members of the public. Singh said the process for clients to post legal jobs will be kept to the minimum necessary for lawyers to be able to identify the issues before deciding to bid or not.

When logging into the site, lawyers will be able to see whether any jobs have been posted in their selected areas of work and quote for them. They will also be able to see whether there are any bids and the value of the quotes.

The ‘TripAdvisor’ element of the service will include comments from users and a star-rating system. On completion of a job, the system will generate an email asking clients to send feedback on the quality of service received and rank it. While the star rating cannot be manipulated, lawyers will have access to users’ comments and will be able to vet them and not publish them if not favourable.

Asked whether there was a risk of bias in the system Singh said the star rating would balance out any subjective element in the moderation of users’ comments.

Even if lawyers decide not to publish negative feedback, the star rating will reflect users’ less favourable assessment, Singh said.

Barrister Jasvir Degun, one of the three co-founders, said “the combination of a democratic ratings system, ease of use for lay clients and solicitors alike, and a fair pricing structure will be essential for the success of MrLawyer.co.uk”.

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