According to a recent report from legal watchdog the Legal Services Consumer Panel, the UK’s legal client satisfaction rates are currently high. In spite of this, however, the level of trust that the public places in lawyers is falling.
The watchdog’s tracker survey was carried out between February and March this year in association with prominent survey specialists YouGov. Questions were asked of 1,864 people, of which the majority – 1,523 – had made use of legal services in the past two years.
The survey revealed that 85% of those who had made use of professional legal services reported that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the service they had received from their lawyers, backing up strong satisfaction figures from other recent surveys. 61% said that the service from their chosen provider represented good value for money, with only 10% saying that they received poor value for the price they paid.
On the other hand, and despite the majority of people being happy with the service they received from their lawyers, the level of trust that people place in legal professionals is low and falling. Only 42% of those who responded to the survey said that they trusted lawyers to be truthful. Last year, this figure was 47%. Over a fifth of people, 22% said that they actively did not trust lawyers to be truthful.
This does not compare favourably with the trust figures for other professions. It places lawyers on a par with accountants, but in a less positive position compared to teachers, who were trusted to tell the truth by 69% of the general public, and doctors, who have the trust of 80%. Women were more likely than men to trust lawyers, the survey showed, and white people were more trusting of lawyers than people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds.
The survey also examined the factors that typically go into a person’s choice of legal provider. While the majority of respondents stated that legal services had provided them with good value for money, this was not the most important deciding factor. That title goes to the reputation of the provider in question, which more than three quarter (77%) stated was the biggest consideration.
Price was nonetheless important, with 69% of the survey’s respondents stating that this was an important factor. Almost as highly-valued was the location of the provider, with 68% of people saying that a convenient location was important to them when choosing which firm they would go to.