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UK Consumer Legal Services Report

  • ID: 4769258
  • Report
  • Region: United Kingdom, Great Britain
  • 58 Pages
  • IRN Research
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  • Fentons
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The latest consumer research findings from the author, based on responses from 1,207 adults, show that a majority of adults have used a law firm/solicitor in the last five years, but use of other legal services providers is also growing.

A clear majority find it difficult to differentiate one law firm from another but over three quarters would be influenced in their choice of law firm by price information on a law firm website, i.e. when choosing between law firms they would choose the one giving clear price information on their site (New price transparency regulations have been introduced requiring law firms in some practice areas to publish prices but some law firms have yet to comply).

Only four consumer legal brands have awareness levels above 50% and all four are personal injury brands. Leading law firm brands are Irwin Mitchell, Slater & Gordon, and Cooperative Legal and awareness of all these brands has increased significantly since 2014.

The UK Legal Services Consumer Research Report 2019 is the third in a series of new reports from the author on the legal services market and offering insights into consumer behaviour, perceptions, brand awareness, and opinions.

Other headlines from the survey include:

  • Client Loyalty - A typical consumer is likely to need a law firm or solicitor on an occasional basis, but despite this, there is client loyalty with a clear majority ready to go back to a law firm/solicitor they have used before.
  • Conveyancing and Wills - Almost half of adults using a law firm or solicitor in the last five years have needed advice on either wills or conveyancing. Both these areas usually involve more advance planning than other areas of consumer law which can be surprise issues. Both are also facing competitive pricing pressures.
  • DIY Law - Is growing with over a quarter of individuals undertaking the whole legal process themselves but the majority of these take on some legal tasks and then pass the others to a legal professional.
  • Freelance Solicitors - New regulations to be introduced in 2019 mean that freelance solicitors will be able to offer legal services without the need to be employed directly by a law firm or legal practice. Consumers might be attracted to freelancers if they offered flexible services i.e. home visits, out of normal office hours) and lower prices but there would be concerns about the level of consumer protection.
  • Consumer Rights - Of real concern is that very few consumers know about their consumer rights in relation to using legal services. Only 22% of users of legal services knew that their provider was regulated, even less knew about the Legal Ombudsman, and one in five adults did not check their consumer rights or think that they were important.
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
2 of 3


  • Accident Advice Helpline
  • DAS
  • Fentons
  • InjuryLawyers4u
  • Plus Admiral Law
  • Thompsons
  • MORE

1. Executive Summary

  • Key insights
  • A Clear Majority Have Used a Law Firm/Solicitor in Their Lifetime
  • Consumer Demand Led by Conveyancing and Wills/Probate
  • Occasional Demand for Legal Advice but Still Consumer Loyalty
  • 4 out of 10 Have Used Other Legal Services Providers
  • Recommendations from Others – Preferred Choice for Most
  • Experience/reputation of Advisor and Cost are the Main Choice Criteria
  • Hard to Differentiate One Firm from Another but Price Information Would Help
  • Fixed Fees Dominate Payment Methods
  • Client Satisfaction is Good but Still Room for Improvement
  • Most Law Firm Clients Would Go Back Again
  • Little Knowledge of Consumer Rights
  • Over a Quarter Opted for DIY Law and More Would Consider It
  • Representation in Court – Majority Would Leave it to the Legal Professionals
  • Freelance Solicitors – Mixed Views from Consumers
  • High Awareness of Some Legal Brands but Not Many
  • Financial Services Companies Identified by Some as Legal Services Providers
  • Market Trends – Difficult Times for Consumer Law

2. Introduction

  • Report coverage

3. Background

  • Key findings
  • Over three-quarters have used law firms/solicitors in their lifetime
  • Lower income groups less likely to get legal advice
  • Higher income households/young adults heaviest users in last five years
  • Some DIY legal activities carried out by over a quarter
  • Citizens Advice important to over one in five adults

4. Legal Advice Areas

  • Key findings
  • Conveyancing and wills are key areas of demand
  • Overwhelming majority have needed advice on more than one legal matter

5. Client Satisfaction

  • Key findings
  • Most clients are satisfied with the service they receive
  • Large majority of clients would use the same advisor again

6. Finding Legal Representation

  • Key findings
  • Recommendations are important but client loyalty also plays a part
  • Word of mouth still likely to be main way to find a legal advisor
  • Experience/reputation and legal costs are the most important factors when choosing legal advice
  • Individuals are more likely to use a law firm that publishes clear price information

7. Paying For Legal Advice

  • Key findings
  • Fixed fees now the option for a clear majority of law firm clients

8. DIY Legal

  • Key findings
  • Consumers are willing to go it alone, in some practice areas more than others
  • DIY legal work undertaken because consumers think it’s easy
  • Not all DIYers would do it themselves again

9. Freelance Solicitors

  • Key findings
  • Freelance solicitors – mixed feelings from consumers

10. Market Trends

  • Key findings
  • Legal services market growth maintained in 2018
  • Personal injury legal brands have the highest consumer awareness
  • Some interest from most adults in use of consumer brands for legal services

11. Future Developments

  • Key findings
  • Steady growth but mixed fortunes for consumer law segments
  • Still an uncertain future

List of Figures
Figure 1 Key Data on Legal Services Use
Figure 2 Demographic Breakdown of Survey Sample (number and %)
Figure 3 Consumers Using a Law Firm or Solicitor in their Lifetime
Figure 4 Consumers Using a Law Firm or Solicitor in the Last Five Years
Figure 5 Use of Other Legal Services Providers for Advice
Figure 6 Main Reason for Using a Solicitor/Law Firm
Figure 7 Use of a Solicitor/law Firm for Other Areas of Legal Advice
Figure 8 Client Satisfaction with Solicitor/Law Firm Used
Figure 9 Law Firm/Solicitor Clients Satisfied or Very Satisfied
Figure 10 Client Satisfaction with Other Legal Services Providers Used
Figure 11 Other Legal Services Clients Satisfied or Very Satisfied
Figure 12 Willingness to Use a Solicitor/law firm or Other Provider Again
Figure 13 The Information Sources Used to Find a Law firm/solicitor
Figure 14 Straightforward Legal Matter – Choosing a Solicitor
Figure 15 Straightforward Legal Matter – Choosing a Solicitor
Figure 16 Degree to Which Consumers Know About Their Consumer Rights
Figure 17 Criteria Considered Important when Choosing a Legal Representative (score from 1 to 5)
Figure 18 Criteria for Choosing a Legal Advisor – Important or Very Important
Figure 19 Agreement with Statements Regarding Client Interaction
Figure 20 Solicitors and Law Firms - Service Charging Options
Figure 21 Other Legal Services Providers - Service Charging Options
Figure 22 Willingness of Consumers to Handle Legal Work Themselves
Figure 23 Legal Actions Undertaken on a DIY Basis in the Past 5 Years
Figure 24 Why Consumers Have or Would Want to Handle Legal Tasks Themselves
Figure 25 Degree of Difficulty and Likelihood of Undertaking Legal Work Again
Figure 26 Freelance Solicitors – What Consumers Think
Figure 27 The UK Legal Services Market, 2013-2018
Figure 28 Awareness and Use of Legal Brands
Figure 29 Awareness and Use of Consumer Brands Offering Legal Services
Figure 30 Forecast of the turnover of legal services providers, 2018-2022 (£m)

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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4 of 3
  • Accident Advice Helpline
  • ClaimsDirect
  • Co-operative Legal
  • DAS
  • Direct Line
  • Express Solicitors
  • Fentons
  • First4Lawyers
  • Fletchers
  • InjuryLawyers4u
  • Irwin Mitchell
  • Minster Law
  • National Accident Helpline
  • Plus Admiral Law
  • Simpson Millar
  • Slater & Gordon
  • Thompsons
  • Which?
  • Winn Solicitors
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown