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Law firm adverts fail to impress consumers

9 March 2010

A survey for the MoJ based on telephone interviews with more than 900 law firm clients has revealed that potential clients are much more likely to respond to old-fashioned word of mouth recommendations than law firm advertising.

Only five per cent chose their lawyer through advertising, the same proportion as those who found their law firm through research, either online or in directories like the Yellow Pages. This compares with the eight per cent who “saw local offices”.

The survey, by the National Centre for Social Research, aimed to give an overview of the legal services market before full implementation of the Legal Services Act and the arrival of ABS. The telephone interviews were carried out between March and June 2009.

The most popular way of finding a lawyer was through word of mouth recommendations by friends or family (29 per cent) or because clients had used the firm in the past (23 per cent).

A further 23 per cent found their lawyer through a referral. In most cases, 14 per cent, the referrals were made by non-legal businesses, such as estate agents or financial advisers.

Five per cent of referrals were made by organisations already acting for the consumer in some way, such as a trade union or insurance company. In four per cent the individuals were referred by other lawyers.

The vast majority of legal services in the survey were provided by solicitors’ firms (94 per cent). Consumers were interviewed if they had used services in the past three years.

The most common type of legal work was conveyancing, followed by will writing probate, family and personal injury. Just over three quarters of clients paid for legal work privately.

A total of 91 per cent of consumers felt they received a good service, 92 per cent felt their provider acted in their best interests and 92 per cent were satisfied with the outcome.

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