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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Trust me - I'm not a banker

Let’s go back to one of my favourite themes. 

Making Lawyers more accessible and more popular! A challenge if ever there was one. 

A week or so ago the Liverpool Duck Marine sank in the City’s famous Albert Dock. I commented that I went on it a few years ago with a group of about 12 lawyers. I’ll leave you to guess the comments that were made about it being a shame that we all got home safely!

But maybe there are some signs of a change. There are certainly mixed messages in a report from the Legal Services Consumer Panel featured by Legal Futures. It seems that fewer people trust the legal profession in their handling of consumer complaints. But on the other hand a significant majority are happy with the service they receive from their own lawyer. We are the third most trusted profession behind teachers and doctors. So we are ahead of accountants, bankers and estate agents ….. hmmmm.

But at least it is a move in the right direction.

This is some comforting news at a time when the profession is facing challenges from all sides. But perhaps this adversity can work to change attitudes. For example the recent campaign against the imposition of competitive tendering for criminal legal aid work saw a huge response from lawyers. These were not just those whose businesses might be affected but included those from across the sector who were concerned about access to justice for ordinary people. In relation to accident claims it seems that the public is starting to see through the rhetoric of insurers about the so called ‘compensation culture’. Most drivers that I know raise a smile at the mention of a significant drop in motor insurance premiums.

As I mentioned in my last blog the advertising campaign by the legal profession pulls no punches. The ABI have responded by accusing lawyers of ‘mugging the public.’ They are wrong. There are a small number of lawyers who earn huge amounts of money. But the majority work long and often stressful hours to get the best results for their clients.

This is the message that we need to get across.

There was a time when you would never have seen lawyers on a demo.

Necessity has changed that. But we need to keep on driving home the message that it is the public who are hurt if access to lawyers is reduced.

1 comment:

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