In December 2020, the Competition and Markets Authority published its review of the legal services market. This highlighted the need for provision of more information about quality for consumers to use alongside other choice information to compare firms when choosing a legal services provider.
CILEx Regulation joined with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Council for Licensed Conveyancers and Bar Standards Board in February and launched a legal sector pilot to explore ways of increasing quality information for consumers.
The initial stage of the pilot encourages law firms and review and comparison sites, known as Digital Comparison Tools (DCTs), to work together. It is thought that more reviews about lawyers will increase the availability of information about the quality of legal services for consumers.
Firms that join the pilot have been asked to actively engage with one or more of the participating DCTs and are using either free packages or signing up for subscription services offered by DCTs. They are also actively encouraging their clients to leave reviews. This is allowing legal regulators to gain insight into how law firms interact and engage with online client reviews.
A fabulous number of firms – more than 70 – are now taking part in the pilot. This is far more than had been anticipated, and we are delighted that a firm regulated by CILEx Regulation is amongst them.
Some firms in the pilot are already enthusiastic advocates of the use of reviews, are keen to share their learning and further develop their approach to reviews. For others, this is the opportunity to dip their toe in and explore how reviews can attract new clients and bring other benefits to their firms.
This exceptional engagement means that although the pilot has only been running for three months, firms are already reporting benefits. For many, the pilot has enhanced the marketing of their firm. Online reviews have become the main source of feedback, which has increased, and staff morale has improved following positive reviews.
DCTs have seen marked changes in engagement from firms and consumers. TrustPilot has reported an unprecedented 25 percent increase in legal firms claiming their profiles on their platform. They also note that consumer reviews of legal services have doubled in the past two months compared with the same time last year.
Since the start of the pilot, Review Solicitors has seen a 350 percent growth in new firms taking up their paid-for service (adjusted to account for the impact of Covid-19) and a 180 percent increase in take-up of its free service.
The pilot is already helping the development of meaningful indicators for consumers and future work will look at how to reach consumers to nudge them to consider using reviews as part of their search for a legal services provider.
Given its success, the pilot will continue for at least the next three months. This offers plenty of time if your firm wishes to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the initiative. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.