Consumer Legal Services Research Report – virtual consultations embraced and consumers looking further afield to find legal advice

25 May 2021

At first glance, the UK Legal Services Consumer Research Report 2021 re-enforces results from previous years, i.e. the same practice areas dominate consumer use, law firms and solicitors are the main go-to advisors, fixed fees continue to increase their role as the main pricing model, and a large majority of law firm users are ready to use the same firm again if another legal matter arises.

However, the latest survey of consumer legal services took place after a year of dealing with the pandemic and there is one survey theme which is clearly a result of the pandemic and others that might have been influenced by it:

  • First, Zoom, Skype and other video consultations have become accepted as a way of talking to a legal advisor and consumers are comfortable with these consultation methods: almost everyone (90%) that has used Zoom or something similar in the last year is comfortable with this option and would be happy to use this from now on.
  • Secondly, choosing a law firm or legal advisor is no longer limited to local choices for most consumers: for the first time since the survey began three years ago most would be happy to consider using a legal advisor anywhere in the country.
  • Thirdly, more adults than before are turning to digital sources when they are looking for a legal advisor, including search engines and comparison sites.

Other headlines from the survey include:

  • In 2021, there are 83% that would be influenced in their choice of law firm by price information on a law firm website, i.e. when choosing between law firms they would choose the one giving clear price information on their site.
  • For the first time in the three years of this survey, the percentage using consumer review and comparison sites in 2021 reached double figures (10%) from 6% in 2020 and just 4% in 2019.
  • Of some concern is that consumer knowledge over regulation and avenues for redress if something goes wrong has not improved in the last three years. Fewer than a quarter of consumers knew that their law firm was regulated, not many checked their consumer rights, and less than one in five of those who have used a law firm were aware of the Legal Ombudsman and understood that they could go here, as a last resort, to complain. 
  • Consumer awareness of leading legal brands has increased in the latest year compared to the previous year: where brand comparisons are made between 2021 and 2020, 60% of the brands considered have increased their awareness. Just three brands have awareness levels above 50% and these are InjuryLawyers4U, National Accident Helpline, and First4Lawyers. The fourth largest brand, in terms of awareness, and increasing brand awareness in 2021 is Irwin Mitchell. Close behind is Slater & Gordon and only two other brands have awareness levels over 30% – Admiral Law and Cooperative Legal Services.

KEY LEGAL BRANDS INCLUDED IN THE SURVEY – AWARENESS AND USE

Admiral Law, Co-operative Legal, DAS, DLG Legal, First4Lawyers, Fletchers, InjuryLawyers4U, Irwin Mitchell, Minster Law, National Accident Helpline, Simpson Millar, Slater & Gordon, Thompsons, Legal Zoom, Rocket Lawyer, Which?Legal.

The UK Legal Services Consumer Research Report 2021 is the third annual edition of the report and it offers insights into consumer behaviour, perceptions, brand awareness, and intentions. This report is based on responses from a national sample of 1,200 consumers.

…………and there is much more analysis/results from the numerous questions asked to individuals. See the Contents Page below for a summary of key themes covered. The UK Legal Services Consumer Research Report 2021, and the detailed dataset of all survey results with a demographic analysis is available directly from IRN Research, priced at £1,500.  Discounts for report purchase only, dataset only, or purchases of extracts

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IRN Team

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