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Lawyers more trusted than accountants, LSB consumer panel says

22 June 2011

A survey of 1,277 people by YouGov for the LSB’s consumer panel has found that 47 per cent ‘generally trust’ lawyers to tell the truth, two per cent more than accountants.

Lawyers are 40 per cent more trusted than estate agents, who came bottom of the list with only seven per cent.

Only doctors (85 per cent) and teachers (71 per cent) were more trusted than lawyers. Lawyers were ten per cent ahead of “the ordinary man or woman in the street”.

Nevertheless, Dianne Hayter, chair of the legal services consumer panel (pictured), said it was “extremely worrying” than fewer than half the public said they would trust lawyers to tell the truth.

“The recent revelation that lawyers may be charging clients to deal with complaints about bad service is one example of behaviour which is denting people’s trust,” Hayter said.

“The profession must take a hard look at itself and work to restore confidence in lawyers as trusted advisers.

“No doubt businesses poised to enter the legal market from October will take note that consumers are demanding better value for money and excellent service from their lawyers.”

However sceptical the public were about lawyers generally, 82 per cent of people were satisfied that their own lawyers had acted in a professional manner.

The areas of work with the highest satisfaction ratings, based on outcome, were conveyancing and will writing, both with 92 per cent.

Probate scored 82 per cent and family law 73 per cent, but accident or injury claims only 69 per cent.

The pattern was similar when the satisfaction ratings were based on service, although in this case will writing scored higher than conveyancing.

Public confidence that consumers were protected when using lawyers was 51 per cent, four per cent higher than accountants. Supermarkets topped the table with 60 per cent.

However, accountants scored slightly higher than lawyers when people were asked to rate their confidence in making a complaint, 53 compared to 51 per cent.

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