Competitions and Markets Authority is called upon by the SRA to assist in encouraging use of DCTs

By Charlie Wilson In Legal News

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has sought help from the CMA on stimulating the use of digital comparison tools (DCTs) in the legal market.

The SRA and CMA’s belief in the importance of DCTs to the future of the legal profession has been well covered in recent months. The SRA’s own report on the state of competition and transparency in the legal market was recently published and it tackled similar themes to those addressed in the CMA’s Interim, which was released last summer.

The SRA’s own belief in DCTs as a means of achieving greater choice, transparency and competition for clients’ benefits has led it to submit a number of comments to the CMA – which recently announced a market study of DCTs across sectors. The SRA said that it believed there was a demand among consumers for such tools and that this needed to be fulfilled.

“Increased coverage of the legal services market by comparison websites would be the single best way to enable clients to compare legal service providers,” the SRA said.

“We want to support the increased availability and use of DCTs in the legal services market as we believe this would bring many benefits to clients, particularly as a tool to make informed decisions.

“In addition, there is evidence that comparison websites which provide customer feedback can stimulate competition over quality and raise standards.”

Importantly, the SRA picked up on the “reluctance” of law firms and legal service providers around the country to engage with and provide pricing or important information to DCTs. It stated that, “The reasons for this may be worth exploring and considering.”

In response to the SRA’s comments, The Law Superstore’s CEO, Matthew Briggs, says:

“We passionately believe in the power of DCTs in enhancing and improving the relationship between legal service providers and clients. The latent legal market has been well established and regulators are now understandably concerned about why so many individuals and businesses simply are not receiving the service they need each year.

“Our comparison website is the first of its kind and we are already seeing how clients are reacting positively to the greater choice and transparency of their purchasing experience. The partner firms featuring on our platform all share a willingness to be open with clients and generate new business through outstanding service provision. They have embraced this opportunity and are setting an example that others must now follow.

“Not only that but our partners are astute enough to appreciate that The Law Superstore can deliver them pre-qualified clients at a considerably lower cost than any other business development tool at their disposal.”

“Yet there are still firms in the marketplace who are reluctant to meet such client demands. In my view, it is down to these providers to ask themselves how they can expect clients to trust them if they aren’t willing to be fully transparent.

“This is a significant challenge and one we look forward to helping the SRA and CMA to work through wherever possible. At The Law Superstore, we are certainly open to sharing our own experiences and showcasing how our platform can successfully present complex legal work in simple terms to the client.”

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