04 February 2019 at 15:00 BST

Law clients behaving badly

Price-driven client consumerist behaviours are undermining lawyer integrity and compromising service delivery, claims research paper.

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‘The Changing Face of Law,’ report published by LexisNexis UK, highlights very real concerns small and independent law firms have around the rise in price-driven client behaviours and the impact of pricing transparency regulations.

Compromised

71 per cent of solicitors surveyed said that their work has been compromised by ‘client demands and their consumerist behaviours’ with a third saying that they experience this type of disruption on a regular basis. 58 per cent believe that price driven clients are impacting on the ability of lawyers to uphold the integrity of the law and provide the best service to clients. Following last month’s Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) reform which starts the move to transparency of pricing in the industry, the LexisNexis bellwether research highlights that while 29 per cent of those polled are happy to publish prices, 32 per cent reject this move and of those two thirds see it as a threat while 23 per cent simply don’t know enough to take the risk. 80 per cent believe that clients appreciate more experienced lawyers although 33 per cent admit they win business on price rather than expertise.

Undermining integrity

Jon Whittle, market development director at LexisNexis UK, commented ‘at a time when price transparency is such an industry issue, we have just 1 in 10 solicitors believing it is a force for good and two thirds saying that client focus on price is undermining their integrity. While the SRA’s recent reform only affects specific areas of the law, that will change with further rulings due in April this year.’ He added, ‘pricing is not the only area of disconnect between solicitors and their clients, however this could be a slippery slope as there is a more fundamental issue at play as both parties judge the value delivered differently. Most solicitors we surveyed believe that outcomes are the most important factor for clients when it comes to judging value for money. Service, speed, and efficiency follow, with price falling last. Fundamental change is coming to the legal profession and we need to take a view on how the industry will develop to ensure that client expectations of outcome are met, while the profession’s expertise remains valued.’ The report can be accessed here.

 
   
 
 
 

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