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Are legal services consumers satisfied?

Posted by: Laurence Simons 25/04/13

Popular beat combo the Rolling Stones' hit single (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction has often been identified as a hedonistic anthem, an ode to Mick Jagger's tremendous appetite for all forms of personal gratification. On the other hand, it could have been about declining standards within the British legal services industry (although it probably wasn't).

According to the Legal Services 2013 survey by YouGov SixSense, 28 per cent of Britons used a law firm or solicitor in the three years to January 2013. However, only 20 per cent were asked to complete satisfaction surveys, something the organisation claims could cause problems in the future.

James McCoy, YouGov SixthSense research director, said: "The economic stagnation is reshaping what consumers look for when it comes to legal advice. People are starting to see the law as a consumer service and want to know that they are getting value for money. That so few customer satisfaction surveys are taking place should concern traditional providers as they will be unaware that many of these issues exist."

Concerns over price, expertise and qualifications were the top three determining factors in where consumers decided to go for advice, he explained - although why this would make people more likely to buy lawyers along with their milk and bread is uncertain.

The research director argued that, as the legal market changes and commercial giants like Tesco consider adding litigatory advice to their portfolio, law firms will need to take on board the criticisms of their customers if they are to maintain their position in the industry.

However, some 40 per cent of respondents suggested that they would not be interested in buying legal services from a high street brand, casting some doubt on Mr McCoy's concerns. While it could be convenient to purchase a lawyer while picking up your bits-and-bobs for the week, apparently many Britons are somewhat wary about these efforts at diversification.