Writing on the CMA website, Mr Jenkins discussed the benefits of choosing a legal service provider based on recommendations and reviews. He indicated that the input of friends, family and peers was a “sensible way to ensure a minimum level of quality” but that consumers could still profit from developing a clearer picture of the market themselves.
It has become apparent that regulators are shifting their focus from simply protecting consumers against malpractice to a more proactive and positive role in encouraging innovation. This approach is designed to help “consumers to protect themselves by giving them the tools and confidence to engage in new markets.”
Among the other observations made by Mr Jenkins was the importance of providing consumers of legal services with the same tools offered in other markets and sectors. As comparison sites, digital sales channels and feedback platforms become more common, consumers have been given the “confidence to shop around and use new providers.”
With just 22% of consumers comparing two or more providers when choosing a legal service provider, according to the CMA, it is apparent that the profession has much to do in order to catch up with the likes of financial services, where comparison tools have been commonplace for much longer.
Through our own research at The Law Superstore we know that this lack of comparison has thus far been a result of the limited digital presence among law firms. 79% of consumers told us that they would use a legal comparison tool where available. But with just 17% of legal service providers prepared to advertise prices online, it has not been possible before now.
It is this statistic that reflects the relatively slow pace of innovation in the legal profession. And in the opinion of the CMA, Mr Jenkins says that this lack of transparency means “that some consumers are paying much more than they need to for services where cheaper prices are available.”
The CMA’s recommendation is that there needs to be “a concerted effort to introduce greater transparency of price and service quality in the legal services market.”
As The Law Superstore’s CEO, Matthew Briggs, says, this is precisely why the legal profession’s very first comparison site has been created:
The Law Superstore is the perfect solution to many of the challenges facing the legal profession in 2016. By encouraging legal service providers to publish prices and participate in a transparent platform that publishes consumer reviews, we are giving consumers what they want. And for Partner firms we are delivering cases that generate a healthy and tangible return on investment.”
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