Law firms will from the end of the year be forced to publish the prices of certain legal services, including residential conveyancing, probate, employment tribunal work, immigration and motoring offences.
The aim is to encourage greater transparency in law firms.
But how should law firms approach this new requirement, and how helpful will buyer find a simple menu of prices?
Consider two restaurant menus.
- Steak and chips - £10.
- Aged Angus rib-eye steak, hand-cut triple-cooked chips, accompanied by heirloom tomatoes, field mushrooms and a choice of garlic or peppercorn sauces - £15.
Both the same meal, but what one would you chose?
There is always a place for the bargain, but this move by the SRA risks a race to the bottom, particularly for high street firms, and it is difficult to see how that will help anyone.
Law firms would be better to use this as an opportunity to explain how they work, the support they offer clients and the value they can bring, rather than saying 'we're cheaper that X next door.
Publish prices, but explain what customers are buying. That is how you can stand apart in this crowded market.
he oversight regulator has given the green light to Solicitors Regulation Authority plans to force firms to publish their prices for certain legal services. In a decision notice published yesterday, the Legal Services Board said it welcomed the proposals and granted the SRA’s application in full. The LSB notice added: ’This is a significant first step in the SRA’s endeavour to improve transparency, through introducing targeted rules setting out requirements for service providers. In the long term, the LSB considers that this should help to promote competition and contribute to improving access to justice.’ The LSB said it was satisfied that the SRA is seeking to ensure that consumers have the information they need about firms, the services they offer, the prices they charge and the protections they have in place.