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Research finds publishing prices may increase law firms’ market share

Proactively publishing prices debunks misconceptions over the cost of using a solicitor compared to other professions offering similar services, new research published today has found.

Compiled for us by YouGov and Europe Economics, the research revealed that small businesses assume the cost of using a solicitor is 22% higher than is the case once they have access to pricing information.

With 68% of small businesses identifying potential cost as a barrier to using professional legal services, the research found that by publishing prices law firms are more attractive to small businesses and are likely to increase their market share compared to other potential providers.

Even among businesses with existing relationships with legal providers, 42% said they already shop around online when they need legal support. This figure rose to 75% being likely to search online if more easy-to-understand information on price and services was readily available on law firms’ websites.

These findings echo those of previous research which found that the majority of the public (70%) want to shop around when in need of legal support, but are frustrated by the lack of accessible information available.

Due to come into effect in December, our new Transparency Rules will require all regulated law firms in England and Wales to proactively publish price and service information across a number of common services.

Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said: “Ensuring small businesses have ready access to affordable legal services is critical to the success of the entire economy. “By providing greater transparency on issues like price and service, not only will more small businesses access the professional support they need, but law firms themselves will also benefit as customers realise the quality services on offer are more affordable than they had assumed.”

Further reforms due as part of our transparency reforms include a requirement to publish details of complaints procedures and the introduction of a new SRA digital badge.

Currently in development, this digital badge will be displayed on regulated firms’ websites and serve as a link to personalised information on the protections that being regulated provides to customers.

Read more about the research findings

Read the price transparency guidance