First comparison site for legal services soon to break cover

lawyers comparison site From the Law Society Gazette 21/01/10:

CompareLegalSolutions [dot] com, to be launched in March, claims it will allow consumers to compare firms on price across 90 areas of law.

Prices will be displayed as fixed fees where applicable; otherwise, each firm’s average hourly rate for the chosen field of work will be shown. The website will charge law firms a monthly fee to access leads to civil legal aid work and a set fee per lead for private work such as wills and conveyancing. Managing director Thomas Dunlop said: ‘The prospect of accessing legal services as easily as buying a tin of beans will make the market a lot more price- conscious.’

I guess it was only a matter of time before the comparison site fever spread to the legal profession.  As far back as two years ago, there was a well-acknowledged joke that there were so many new comparison sites bursting onto the scene, you needed a comparison site for comparison sites.

On the face of it, giving consumers greater access to a means of comparing prices is a good idea but price is not always a good guide to quality.  For bog standard work - conveyancing and the like - I suppose this might make some sense.  Competition in the personal injury sphere is also notoriously high - as illustrated by the vast array of PI related adverts which populate the web and daytime TV.  For more complicated work, however, it may make little sense to automatically go with the firm quoting the lowest price. 

Ultimately, Law firms which build up a strong reputation for excellent service but who perhaps charge a little extra than the cheapest firm out there are always going to do well when attracting business.

Finally, as an aside, I've noticed that 3 out of the 4 F1 sites which I regularly visit, are all plastered with the same ad touting the services of a well-known firm of national personal injury solicitors.  What is it about readers who frequent F1 sites: are they particularly accident prone?

Comments

  1. I agree, it was only a matter of time til a legal services comparison website would be made.

    And I fully agree with the price does not show quality. There are a few sites where you can get quotes for certain types of work but what happens when the case isn't as clear cut as the quote? Say for example you have to use a bailiff for a divorce...it doesn't consider the add ons that could occur in the transaction so to say.

    Definitely not keen on this idea though.

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  2. No, but I'm sure someone will create another comparison site for the ad-ons! :p

    I wonder if there'll be any creative ads to tout their services... hopefully not based on a meerkat or other animal... 'simples'!!

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  3. John, as before, I'll keep deleting these comments from you plugging the firm of solicitors.

    I offer advertising for law firms at competitive rates. Please feel free to get in touch if you want to set something up. But as fast you keep posting these comments, I'll delete them.

    Just so we're clear. :-)

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  4. I didn't know there were 90 areas of law. My uni timetable isn't nearly big enough.

    I think always there's a problem of comparing legal services on hourly rate when really the value of legal services is in how they stand up over time. A 50p will is terrible value if it ends up getting set aside, just like a 50p fridge that breaks after two days is bad value too.

    I think in all likelihood a meerkat in red robes and a wig is only a matter of weeks away.

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  5. Meh, as if it were so simple.

    I do work - bargainous - nice cheap hourly rate at Grade D.
    But I get supervised by Grade A fee earners - they're not as cheap.
    It also will take me a little longer to do something that an experienced solicitor, probably cheaper for me to do it in the end, but now by the 50%-or-so deduction in hourly rates.

    And your point about quality is spot-on. I dealt with cheap mass-conveyancing firms whilst doing my conveyancing seat. We were much more expensive, but at least we know what we're doing! Throw even a slight curve-ball and it doesn't work to be cheap.

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  6. Stephen - absolutely, I was also interested with their '90 areas of law' claim!! They've probably sub-categorised PI work into 'personal injury tripped over a paving stone, slipped on a grave, twisted ankle on a pebble etc. :D

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  7. From looking at the site, the 90 areas of law is separated into sub-categories e.g Family Law is split into divorce, separation, financial arrangements etc.
    Also, after looking at the site, it seems to be comparing distance from a post code given, quality ratings and price whether this helps with the comments above. It looks like a general comparison and not just price.

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  8. I think in all likelihood a meerkat in red robes and a wig is only a matter of weeks away.

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  9. Its about time that consumers are able to establish whether a lawyer is good or bad before employing their services. I'm sure that it will help to save a lot of people a lot of grief.

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  10. This isn't even that great. The LSG is going to be doing an article on a new site soon -bid4feesdotcom. Completely makes more sense as it isn't just about the lowest price, it's about the quality too.

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