A leading consumer group has backed liberalisation of legal services in the UK and is hoping for greater choice and affordability.
On the day the UK Solicitors’ Regulation Authority opened its doors to new licence applications for alternative business structures, which will allow non-lawyers to own and manage legal services firms, Consumer Focus welcomed the change.
Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive of Consumer Focus, said: ‘It is good to see this opening up of legal services. The prospect of one-stop-shop legal services, coupled with robust consumer protection, should offer people greater convenience and more choice.
‘We may see more innovation in the way that services are delivered and would like to see increased choice lead to more competitive pricing.’
Mr O’Connor’s comments echo the findings of the Legal Services Survey 2011 which RTS Media conducted in order to test consumers’ interest in a liberalised marketplace. The survey found that 26% of consumers would go to a high street brand not commonly associated with providing legal advice if it were on offer; a significant figure considering the high street market is in its infancy.
For my part, while consumers could benefit from improved access and lower prices, this represents one of the most significant changes to the legal market in its history and practitioners face a huge challenge. It is essential that we view the Legal Services Act as an opportunity for law firms to embrace a new legal services landscape; providing them with a chance to reaffirm who they are and what they can offer clients.
If you are interested in discussing how to market or promote your law firm or practice within the liberalised market, contact us.
A business journalist by trade, Ralph Savage represents a series of B2B clients on media and marketing matters. He provides strategic PR advice, media training and consultancy. He also ghost writes regularly on behalf of FTSE 250 CEOs, leading counsel and senior professionals including solicitors, accountants and brokers.