ABS & NewLaw Advisory Council backs digital comparison tools in CMA review

By Charlie Wilson In Legal News

The body representing alternative business structures and other new-style legal practices invited The Law Superstore’s Matthew Briggs to join them for the latest meeting to discuss the findings of the CMA’s interim report.

Formed in 2014, the ABS and NewLaw Advisory council represents a broad range of innovative businesses practicing in the legal sector. At the most recent of the Advisory Council’s meetings on the 21st September, much of the focus was on the publication of the Competition and Markets Authority interim report and the subsequent roundtable event, which had involved a number of the council’s representatives.

The Advisory Council meeting gave ABS and NewLaw firms the opportunity to respond on issues such as competition within the legal profession, transparency of client reviews and the issue of price publication (just 17% of law firms currently publish their service prices online). With a number of similar reports also published in recent weeks and months, the Advisory Council discussed what role they should take in helping to drive change.

Also in attendance was the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), which represents multi-disciplinary accounting firms with active legal departments.

After the event, Matthew Briggs said:

“The argument for change within the legal profession begins to gather momentum and it is no surprise that the ABS and NewLaw Advisory Council are willing to engage with the CMA and legal regulatory bodies on ways to progress in the future. After all, they pride themselves on being the innovative firms within the legal space.

“Of particular interest to me was the response from the ICAEW, which occupies a unique position in representing multi-disciplinary corporations with one foot inside and outside of the sector. Accounting firms are not strangers to demands for transparency, competition and choice, and there is a willingness there for multi-disciplinary businesses to engage with digital comparison tools and act in the best interest of consumers.

Matthew continued:

“At The Law Superstore, we have a ready-made digital technology that is able to solve many of the points raised by regulators. In as little as 30 seconds our highly sophisticated platform can take a website user from search to service provider, choosing from over 3,000 qualifying questions and 400 Scopes of Work along the way in order to find them the right match.

“We firmly believe that we have done all the hard work in getting the model right and creating a consumer-friendly tool. But what we need now is a plan to implement legislative changes that will enforce transparency amongst legal service providers.”

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