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More Dangerous Drivel From The Legal Services Consumer Panel

The article’s opening paragraph begins “…efforts to persuade legal services consumers to shop around for their lawyer appear to be making little headway. The Legal Services Consumer Panel today reports that the proportion of consumers comparing legal service providers remains unchanged year-on-year at 27%. This proportion drops even lower in certain areas of law, such as probate (16%) and personal injury (14%).

Efforts have been made in recent months to encourage legal services users to shop around, not least the growth in comparison websites where firms can be assessed on quality and cost.

But the consumer panel says these sites remain ‘largely unused or opaque’, and the need for wider changes, identified by the Competition and Markets Authority back in 2016, is as great as ever.

Sarah Chambers, chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, said: ‘It remains a concern that seven out of 10 consumers do not shop around in the legal services market. ‘This needs to change if the vision of empowered consumers stimulating competition is to be achieved.’

Just think about that for a moment. On one interpretation, Sarah Chambers seems to believe that your average consumer is too stupid to make an informed choice as to which law firm they engage to undertake their work and that they must be protected from their own stupidity by doubling down on efforts to encourage legal services users to shop around.

As many of the comments added at the end of the Gazette article note, perhaps there is another explanation and that is that Sarah Chambers and her panel are looking for a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

And all of this despite the fact that “…almost nine in 10 legal services consumers were satisfied with the outcome of their matters and 84% were satisfied with their legal service.”

Most businesses would be ecstatic if 90% or more of their customers/clients were satisfied in which context, ‘satisfied’ basically means that they feel they had good service, good advice and fair value.

All of the panels’ activities in this area and Ms Chambers statements are predicated on the utterly bizarre assumption that there is no/inadequate competition in the legal services market. Clearly neither Ms Chambers nor any of her panel members have spent a single minute inside a law firm in the last 10 years. Our work takes us into a very large number of law firms in all locations and of all sizes and sophistication. Fierce competition is a day to day reality for all of them… READ FULL ARTICLE