I have to admit to being a regular user of Trip Adviser both before and after holidays. It is an excellent way of finding out about intended destinations and local entertainment. I have left occasional reviews. There have been criticisms that sites like this allow competitors to post negative feedback. But there is always a right to reply and overall, whilst not perfect, it is a useful way of finding out about places.
What has this got to do with the law? Well how would we feel about a similar comparison site for Solicitors’ firms. What if you could go to a forum and see what former or current clients are saying about your lawyers?
There are some sites around, notably, Solicitors-Info which is growing in popularity.
But this whole area could expand if The Law Society goes ahead with plans to develop its own site.
According to legalfutures they have begun feasibility research –
This is a response to a report earlier this year from the Legal Services Consumer Panel, encouraging the profession to make greater use of comparison sites. The Law Society already has a Find A Solicitor service which gives basic information. But it has no formal facility to enable the public to see how a firm performs. Would this be a good thing? One danger is that disgruntled opponents could post offensive and misleading reviews. It might even be used by unhappy former clients to ‘sound off’.
But that is the world in which we now live. They might sound off somewhere in any event. Other sectors are learning to live with such sites and lawyers will really just be bringing themselves into the 21st Century. If there is obviously inaccurate posting then there would be right to post a response or even remove in extreme cases. And it will do any harm for lawyers to be aware of what clients think about their services and where they could do with improvement.
We live in a world where consumers have greater knowledge and expectation then ever before. That can only be a good thing in a modern democracy. The days are long gone when lawyers were remote and expensive or when the family lawyer acted in every matter for generations. Firms need to understand what clients need and expect of them. This would seem to be step in the right direction.
But if it does happen and you leave a review – be gentle!!