After reviewing results gathered through research commissioned earlier this year by Business of Law (a subsidiary of publishing giant Lexis Nexis), it is clear to see why more law firms are seeking marketing solutions now than ever before.

Similar to those found in a study covered by myself in a piece posted in May. (See here)

The findings back up a growing realisation that many law firms just do not understand the technicalities of customer service.

Given a 100-page document suffocated in archaic language from a forgotten era? No problem.

Instructed to take on a corporation with a revenue stream large enough to fund a small country? No problem.

But tasked with retaining a client for more than perhaps a few hours of work on an initial case? That is where the real trouble begins...

Plucking but a few of the more startling findings made by Business of Law:

  • 8 out of 10 lawyers believe that they are currently delivering 'above average' service. This is in contrast to the mere 4 in 10 private clients that believe they are actually receiving service at a similar level
  • Lawyers surveyed ranked 'good at listening' 12th out of 14 priorities listed, clients ranked it at sixth
  • Lawyers ranked 'providing progress reports' at 10th in their list of 14 priorities, clients ranked it at second.
  • Lawyers ranked 'demystifying the law' at 4th whereas their clients only ranked it at eighth.

These facts alone are testament to the fact that there is still a significant gap between consumers' expectations of customer service within the legal sector and lawyers' perception of what they believe to be the most important elements of it.

The market continues to change. Private clients are now 'consumers' of legal services and are better equipped in handling legal issues now than they have been at any point in history. The ease of access to online information and the increase of cheaper, internet-based solutions is constantly demanding that the sector evolves in order to keep up with the times.

The traditionalists of customer service within the sector are under relentless pressure to change. More and more law firms will have to choose a proactive approach of addressing their client's priorities at every stage of the client journey, only then will the gap in service begin to close.

The sector is under reform in many ways at present, and a lot of uncertainty exists amongst it's denizens. One guarantee that can be made, is that the consumer will likely be the main winner of any reform made as competition amongst law firms increases.