Clients Still Crave the Personal Touch
- AuthorJulie Bailey
In the rapidly evolving digital age, more and more services are becoming available online, and the legal sector is no exception. New research commissioned by the Legal Services Consumer Panel has shown that online legal services are gaining in popularity with consumers. Figures reveal that one-third of legal services are now delivered online.
Those known as ‘legal futurists’ are championing an adapted way of using a system that has been relied upon and refined for decades. Professor Richard Susskind, IT advisor to the Lord Chief Justice, said: “Online is not an alternative to the courts system, it is the courts system. Within 10 years most cases will be resolved by online courts.” In our experience though the court system has a long way to go in ensuring that the technology it has in place is up to the job.
In the future, online technology will undoubtedly evolve and become a more cost-effective and reliable alternative in some instances. However, owing to the complex nature of a lot of the cases we manage, at present having a face-to-face relationship with us is an important and necessary part of successful legal representation for our clients and despite the growth in the proportion of people going online, clients still crave the personal touch. Perhaps that is why the percentage of consumers conducting their legal affairs face-to-face has remained broadly stable over the past five years and is currently at 45%.
Consumer satisfaction also remains high and is even increasing, with 87% of those surveyed saying they were satisfied with the outcome of their legal matter and 84% satisfied with the service they received. Satisfaction is highest among those who have their service delivered face to face, over the phone or via post as compared with those who receive it online (88% vs 78%).
One of the biggest changes to the sector has come in how consumers fund legal services: in 2012, 56% paid for advice themselves or with the help of friends or family. This proportion is now 72%. In contrast fewer consumers pay for legal services through legal aid (3% in 2019, 5% in 2012), through a trade union (1% in 2019, 6% in 2012) or through their employer (1% in 2019, 3% in 2012).
The unbundling of services – where a package of legal services is split between the consumer and lawyer – has often been cited as a solution to funding gaps. But the use of unbundling has declined from 19% of consumers in 2014 to 14% in 2019.
At Andrew & Co, we seek to build strong and long-lasting relationships with our clients. Integral to this are our staff who are proactive, sensitive and adaptable to our clients’ needs and individual circumstances. Our ethos involves taking an approach that is equally as reliable as it is progressive. While that progressiveness means we embrace and adopt the advances technology can bring, we also provide a truly bespoke service that online justice currently cannot achieve.