Legal sector research: Highlights from “The Age of the Client” by LexisNexis

Posted on: May 27, 2015

Some recent Legal sector research, the LexisNexis Bellwether Report 2015 http://businessoflaw.lexisnexis.co.uk/download-the-bellwether-report-2015/ obtained the views of 118 lawyers and over 500 private clients.

The main findings are that:

    • Increasing client power
      • “A new breed of smart client has emerged – empowered by technology and the internet, always searching for best value and very much aware of their own importance as customers” heralding a revolution in the traditional client/lawyer relationship
      • Most lawyers (80%) believe their service is “above average” but only 40% of private client interviewed say that the service they receive is at this level
      • Clients want more control, regular updates and more involvement and are more likely to question, rather than take advice at face valueService level gap
      • “Clients don’t tend to expect a high degree of rapport when they enter into the relationship, As one client put it “Lawyers are not people people” another said “They talk more than they listen, which is a big turn-off. I judge them based on the questions they ask” 
    • Mismatch between client and lawyer expectations
      • The top five things that clients look for in a solicitor are:
        • Clear indication of the likely costs/fixed fees
        • Regular updates on progress
        • Charging system explained clearly at outset
        • Appreciates client needs and expectations when taking the case on
        • Personally responds to emails/calls within 24 hours
    • Need to specialise
      • “More firms are going to have to become more specialised. Because there are all these competitors who can do the bog-standard work”
      • 60% of the firms interviewed described themselves as specialist
    • Demand for fixed fees
      • Demand for fixed fees has risen but “many independent lawyers are putting off the decision, perhaps equating it with a “race to the bottom” approach”
    • Client retention worries
      • “6 out of 10 lawyers see retaining clients as a challenge”
    • Biggest challenges
      • The biggest challenges are seen as follows:
        • Continuing demands of compliance/regulations (85%)
        • Attracting new clients (34%)
        • Keeping working practices and systems up to date (75%)
        • Retaining clients/decline in client loyalty (72%)
        • Low levels of implementation
      • 80% of lawyers describe their firm as “actively embracing change” but yet “Out of the 15 changes monitored, lawyers had implements an average of just over five”
    • The projects which most firms had implemented included:
      • Website development (86%)
      • Investing in training (83%)
      • Actively measuring client satisfaction (75%)
    • Anticipated growth
      • Despite 90% of lawyers believing they’re operating in a period of unprecedented change, “Two in three lawyers expect their business to grow in the next five years”
    • What it takes to be smart
        • Smarter firms are likely to adopt the following:
          • Client servicing (transparency, above average service)
          • Information and support (information access, staff training)
          • Business management (forward thinking, development strategy, outsourcing
          • Process: tools and software (tech advanced, investment in systems)
          • Flexible working
        • “67% of entrepreneurs who strongly agree they get a real buzz out of practising law and only 27% of non-entrepreneurs do”

 

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