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LSB research shows how people choose lawyers

Posted by: Laurence Simons 01/07/13

What factors are involved when people make a decision on which UK lawyer or legal firm they want to represent them? According to two new reports from the Legal Services Board (LSB), Britons make "quick, intuitive decisions" when it comes to opting for a particular legal resource.

Although trust has traditionally been highlighted as a major issue, especially in relatively sensitive practice areas such as divorce, the LSB's study suggests general trust is just one of many things people consider when thinking about the suitability of a lawyer.

Furthermore, people apparently trust lawyers in the same way they do other people, hopefully putting to bed the stereotype of the legal industry as a sector full of money-grabbing, ambulance-chasing, swivel-eyed, unethical, thoughtless, hairy-ankled schmucks.

However, the LSB also found that there are some issues preventing people from accessing legal services, many of which will need to be addressed by the industry moving forward.

Chris Kenny, chief executive of the LSB, said: "Factors such as a perceived poor level of customer service, a lack of transparency, and a fear of dealing with lawyers may get in the way of consumers seeking necessary services and lawyers providing them."

This ties into another recent report on the UK legal sector from Baker Tilly, which argued that it needs to move with the times and become more consumer-focused in order to compete with firms like the Co-op that are moving into the sector.

According to Mr Kenny, offering better value, more information and a range of different services will ensure traditional law firms remain relevant in a changing commercial landscape and make it easier for people to have access to the lawyers they need.

While some old-fashioned lawyers may feel that some of the glamour and dignity is being drained from the profession as it goes toe-to-toe with supermarkets for its share of the legal market, it does look as if they're going to need to move with the times and swallow their pride.