The majority of legal consumers would rate the quality of their family law solicitor as good or excellent, a new study has revealed.
The research, conducted by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA), looks at the accessibility, cost, and quality of legal firms based on customers’ experiences.
In terms of access, it found that 86 per cent of those surveyed reported that finding a solicitor was easy, with about 52 per cent saying that they based their decision on personal recommendations.
The report showed that access to legal services has been improved in recent years, with some firms implementing telephone screening systems, longer initial meetings and free introductory sessions.
When asked about fees, more than two thirds (69 per cent) of consumers said their solicitor’s costs were affordable, while around 31 per cent said they had to fund their services through additional finance options.
While most firms did offer unbundled or fixed free approaches, solicitors said that these were difficult to implement in family law cases, where they can be particularly complex and unpredictable.
Aside from costs, the researchers said there was fairly strong agreement by consumers that their solicitor met the core competencies, particularly those relating to their professional manner.
Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said: “People who need to use family law services are often in particularly vulnerable situations. Situations such as divorce or child custody arrangements are highly emotional and stressful.
“It is important that people can find services that meet their needs and that those services are affordable. This research is a contribution to understanding the current landscape and what more can be done to help.”