Consumers want to see published prices, says new research commissioned by The Law Superstore

By Sascia Elliott In About TLS

In September and October 2016, The Law Superstore undertook a new piece of research designed to investigate the purchasing preferences of legal service consumers. Weighted to reflect a nationally representative audience, the 2,008 online interviewees were asked a range of questions, producing interesting results.

One of the key findings from the study was that a significant 80% of people believed that law firms should publish their prices in a legal market where just 17% of firms currently list prices online. Not surprisingly, this failure to deliver clarity on cost has led to many consumers overestimating the price of legal services such as conveyancing, wills and probate, and divorce.

Just 9% of people surveyed declared themselves to be confident of the cost of legal services across England and Wales – many of whom avoid purchasing legal services as a result of this perceived expense. Just 22% of respondents said that they always used legal services when they needed them, while a quarter (26%) of those canvassed actively avoided making a purchase despite a clear legal need.

As a result of this access gap, 22% of people chose to put their own legal cases together, which was found to cost time (18%), culminate in a case not pursued (15%) or even lead to the individual losing out financially or otherwise (17%).

More than half of interviewees (51%) also ranked value for money as the most important factor in making a purchasing decision. In contrast, just 21% of respondents cited price as the key to their choice of legal service provider.

This information correlates with The Law Superstore’s own website data, which has shown that across more than 8,000 service listings on the platform just 9% of users currently filter searches by price. Further to this, three quarters of website visitors do not choose the cheapest option returned by their search criteria when searching the site.

The Law Superstore’s CEO, Matthew Briggs, says:

This latest study re-enforces the findings of regulators and influential bodies such as the LSB, SRA and CMA on the issues of transparency, competition and pricing within the legal profession. Consumers want to see changes in the way firms market themselves in line with digital tools that are available in other industries.

“Our platform has been created to support legal service providers across England and Wales. But only by building up a picture of the marketplace and changing demands of consumers can we help the sector to progress.

“Quite simply, consumers want to know what they are getting for their money; how that compares to other prices on the market; how providers differ from one another; and what previous clients thought of the service they received. All this needs to be available at their fingertips, 24 hours a day in the most convenient and user-friendly format possible.”

Other findings from the study showed that once engaged with a lawyer, consumers generally enjoyed a positive experience (71%), with 58% of people feeling that they were supported throughout the process. However, a third of people found it difficult to find out what their fees would cover up front, while 32% admitted to having experienced unexpected charges.

Furthermore, 71% of respondents thought that seeing the same service offered more widely through aggregator sites was a good thing.

The Law Superstore is the legal profession’s first real-time comparison website. If you would like to register your business’s interest in joining, register now

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