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Consumers rely on friends not brands to find law firms

October 25, 2011
Brands in the legal services market suffer from poor consumer awareness, with nearly half of consumers relying on personal contacts when choosing a provider, a survey has revealed.

When choosing a law firm, 44 per cent said they would ask friends for a recommendation while a further 16 per cent said they would ask professionals they already knew, such as estate agents or accountants.

The most important factor for consumers when making decisions was whether the firm had been recommended by a friend and the total cost to them. Only 15 per cent regarded a trusted brand name as the most important factor.

The survey, by Peppermint Technology, canvassed more than 1,000 consumers and also found that just under a quarter (24 per cent) said they would search the web. The rest would either go to their local high street in person or rely on local advertising.

Businesses were even more dismissive of trusted brand names. More than half of the 150 firms contacted for the survey said the key thing for them was the presence of a partner at the legal practice who they knew and trusted. Only two per cent rated a trusted brand name as the important influence on them when choosing lawyers.


However, with a growing collection of new brands ready to enter the market once the SRA begins licensing ABSs early next year, reliance on brand names may increase.

Consumer demand for fixed-price services emerged very strongly from the survey.

Almost half, 43 per cent, regarded fixed prices as extremely important and said they would not want to use a solicitor unless the price was fixed.

A further 37 per cent of consumers told researchers they would like the option of fixed prices. Only six per cent said they thought fixed pricing was not important.

The survey team also contacted 167 law firms with ten or more partners. They correctly understood that fixed prices were very attractive to consumers, but underestimated the number of consumers who regarded it as extremely important.

The research was commissioned by Peppermint Technology in association with Microsoft, NatWest Business Banking, Epoq and Oyez Professional Services.

http://www.solicitorsjournal.com/Journals/Solicitor/SolicitorsJournal/Vol155no3918-10-2011/attachments/Final%20Peppermint%20Report.pdf

Solicitors Journal 17th October 2011
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