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UK Legal Services Consumer Research Report 2021

  • ID: 5331303
  • Report
  • May 2021
  • Region: United Kingdom
  • 46 Pages
  • IRN Research
Zoom, Skype and Other Video Consultations Have Become Accepted as a Way of Talking to a Legal Advisor

FEATURED COMPANIES

  • Admiral Law
  • DLG Legal
  • Fletchers
  • Irwin Mitchell
  • Minster Law
  • Simpson Millar
  • MORE

At first glance, the UK Legal Services Consumer Research Report 2021 re-enforces results from previous years, i.e. the same practice areas dominate consumer use, law firms and solicitors are the main go-to advisors, fixed fees continue to increase their role as the main pricing model, and a large majority of law firm users are ready to use the same firm again if another legal matter arises.

However, the latest survey of consumer legal services took place after a year of dealing with the pandemic and there is one survey theme which is clearly a result of the pandemic and others that might have been influenced by it:

  • First, Zoom, Skype and other video consultations have become accepted as a way of talking to a legal advisor and consumers are comfortable with these consultation methods: almost everyone (90%) that has used Zoom or something similar in the last year is comfortable with this option and would be happy to use this from now on.
  • Secondly, choosing a law firm or legal advisor is no longer limited to local choices for most consumers: for the first time since the survey began three years ago most would be happy to consider using a legal advisor anywhere in the country.
  • Thirdly, more adults than before are turning to digital sources when they are looking for a legal advisor, including search engines and comparison sites.

Other headlines from the survey include:

  • In 2021, there are 83% that 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.
  • For the first time in the three years of this survey, the percentage using consumer review and comparison sites in 2021 reached double figures (10%) from 6% in 2020 and just 4% in 2019.
  • Of some concern is that consumer knowledge over regulation and avenues for redress if something goes wrong has not improved in the last three years. Fewer than a quarter of consumers knew that their law firm was regulated, not many checked their consumer rights, and less than one in five of those who have used a law firm were aware of the Legal Ombudsman and understood that they could go here, as a last resort, to complain.
  • Consumer awareness of leading legal brands has increased in the latest year compared to the previous year: where brand comparisons are made between 2021 and 2020, 60% of the brands considered have increased their awareness. Just three brands have awareness levels above 50% and these are InjuryLawyers4U, National Accident Helpline, and First4Lawyers. The fourth largest brand, in terms of awareness, and increasing brand awareness in 2021 is Irwin Mitchell. Close behind is Slater & Gordon and only two other brands have awareness levels over 30% - Admiral Law and Cooperative Legal Services.
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown

FEATURED COMPANIES

  • Admiral Law
  • DLG Legal
  • Fletchers
  • Irwin Mitchell
  • Minster Law
  • Simpson Millar
  • MORE

1. Executive Summary

  • Overview
  • Four out of 10 consumers have used a law firm/solicitor in the last two years
  • Almost half are using for either conveyancing or wills advice
  • Word of mouth becoming more important when choosing an advisor
  • Word of mouth - the most likely choice for the majority
  • Experience and reputation of advisor continues to be the main choice factor
  • More willing to go beyond their locality for advice, and published prices help
  • Nine out of 10 have been comfortable using Zoom and other video tools 
  • Fixed fees dominate consumer legal services
  • For the first time, approachability of legal advisor tops client satisfaction ratings
  • Little change in consumer awareness of their rights and regulation… still low
  • A quarter decide to do some or all of the legal work themselves
  • Clear interest in freelance solicitors and downloadable legal documents
  • Awareness of top 7 legal brands relatively high but no dominant market share
  • Market trends and future outlook

2. Introduction

  • Report coverage

3. Consumer Use of Legal Services

  • One in four have used law firms/solicitors in the last two years
  • A quarter have been involved in some DIY legal work

4. Legal Advice Areas

  • Residential conveyancing and wills account for almost half of all advice

5. Client Satisfaction

  • Client satisfaction with service quality increases marginally
  • A large majority of clients would use the same advisor again

6. Finding Legal Representation

  • Word of mouth/Internet becoming more important when choosing an advisor
  • Word of mouth would also be the popular option for consumers
  • Under a quarter knew that their legal advisor was regulated
  • Top quality indicators - experience/reputation and legal costs
  • Seven out of 10 consumers happy with Zoom consultations or similar
  • Zoom and other video consultations worked for nine out of 10 users

7. Paying for Legal Advice

  • Fixed fees increase their share as hourly fees decline again

8. DIY Legal

  • DIY legal work strongest in probate, wills, and divorce practice areas
  • Key reasons for DIY legal work - simple legal process and consumer confidence
  • Most would do it themselves again

9. Legal Insurance, Freelancers, Helplines

  • Freelance solicitors offering lower cost services - most would use

10. Legal Brands - Awareness and Use

  • Many legal brands have increased consumer awareness in the last 12 months

11. Market Trends And Future Outlook

  • Improved market growth expected in 2021

List of Figures 
Figure 1 Demographic breakdown of survey sample (%)
Figure 2 Use of consumer legal services, 2020 and 2021
Figure 3 Main reason for using a solicitor/law firm, 2019 - 2021
Figure 4 Client satisfaction with solicitor/law firm used, 2019 - 2021
Figure 5 Law firm/solicitor clients satisfied or very satisfied, 2019 - 2021
Figure 6 Willingness to use a solicitor/law firm again, 2019 - 2021
Figure 7 The information sources used to find a law firm/solicitor, 2019 - 2021
Figure 8 Straightforward legal matter - choosing a solicitor, 2019 - 2021
Figure 9 Degree to which consumers know about their consumer rights, 2019 - 2021
Figure 10 Criteria considered important when choosing a legal representative (score from 1 to 5), 2019 - 2021
Figure 11 Criteria for choosing a legal advisor - important or very important, 2019 - 2021
Figure 12 Agreement/disagreement with statements regarding client interaction
Figure 13 Agreement comparisons with statements regarding client interaction, 2019 - 2021
Figure 14 Consultations during the pandemic - consumer agreement (%)
Figure 15 Solicitors and law firms - service charging options, 2019 - 2021
Figure 16 Legal actions undertaken on a DIY basis in the past 2 years
Figure 17 Why consumers have handled legal tasks themselves, 2019 - 2021
Figure 18 Degree of difficulty and likelihood of undertaking legal work again, 2019 - 2021
Figure 19 Likelihood of using various types of legal services
Figure 20 Awareness and use of legal brands 
Figure 21 Awareness of legal brands, 2019 - 2021
Figure 22 Use of legal brands, 2019 - 2021 
Figure 23 Prospects for key consumer legal sectors in the year ahead

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown

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  • Admiral Law
  • Cooperative Legal Services
  • DAS
  • DLG Legal
  • First4Lawyers
  • Fletchers
  • InjuryLawyers4U
  • Irwin Mitchell
  • Legal Zoom
  • Minster Law
  • National Accident Helpline
  • Rocket Lawyer
  • Simpson Millar
  • Slater & Gordon
  • Thompsons
  • Which? Legal
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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