Meeting the legal needs of small businesses

The Legal Services Board (LSB) recently published its third research report focusing on the legal needs of small businesses. With over 10,000 responses, it is the largest ever survey of small firms' interactions with the legal sector.

If you are thinking about or already provide legal services to the small business sector, then this report makes interesting reading. The recent round table launch at the LSB offices highlighted the importance of business being able to access legal services as they start out.

The challenge for you to embrace, as for all businesses, is identifying how to deliver the services that small business requires at a price that is sustainable for all. Practical lessons, video training and online resources were all highlighted as ways for information to be made available at the time that best suits the business; often not 9-5 but in evenings and weekends.

So what were the key messages within the report:


Around a third of small businesses had a legal problem in the preceding 12 months and around half of those said that it had a negative impact on their business.

The most frequent issues were:

  • late or non-payment for goods or services provided
  • goods and services not as described, and
  • liability for tax owed.

With over half of businesses having to handle a problem alone and only 1 in 4 using an adviser, for those law firms that can come up with an innovative solution to providing advice and guidance at an affordable price, there is a clear opportunity.

For those businesses that did decide to use a lawyer, the following things mattered in making that choice:


Interestingly 57% of businesses reported that they checked whether the adviser was regulated and most who did not check simply assumed that they would be. So seeking regulation may actually be beneficial in attracting more business Of those 83% were satisfied with the service they received.

However just 11% of small businesses agreed that lawyers provide a cost effective means to resolve legal issues which was down from 14% in the 2015 survey. This is the challenge for those looking to provide services in this area – providing cost effective solutions within a regulated environment.

The full report is available free on the LSB website.

If you are interested in setting up your own business or gaining regulation, please contact us at info@cilexregulation.org.uk


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