The widespread use by consumers of price comparison websites for legal services will cause lawyers to examine very carefully how much they charge. I say “will” because it seems inconceivable that professional services won’t be subjected to as much scrutiny as consumer products, insurance services, flights or household services are already. In fact there are already one or two websites already offering price checking. And when it really takes off, law firms need to be prepared to either justify their charges or face a rapid re-adjustment period.
Of course, I hear you say, people chose lawyers on recommendation rather than price. Well that may be what we want to believe and for many clients that’s bound to be true: some of the time. But many clients will undoubtedly look at the service they want to buy, and the firm’s rating before maybe choosing a lower priced firm for a lower risk service. And yet others will ask their favourite but more expensive lawyer what it is that is stopping them from lowering their prices. This will lead to downward pressure on fees.
Whatever lawyers’ views are on this – and let’s face it, most of us in the profession would rather it went away – it is one of the many changes in the pipeline which will have a significant effect on legal services, that there is no doubt. Simples, as someone said.