- Ashurst, Slaughters lead on Ocado's online retail tie-up with Morrisons
- King & Spalding hires Bird & Bird trade head to launch City practice
- Irwin Mitchell predicts solid growth as Pannone rejects talk of merger
- A&O opts for no change in associate pay as bands remain at 2012 levels
- Withers and Speechly settle on proposed name ahead of merger votes
- A&O, Al Tamimi, Emirates among winners at Middle East legal awards
- Eversheds recruits ex-Dewey partner from Morgan Lewis in Beijing launch double hire
- French revolution
- North-west PI paralegal initiative
- Don’t worry about Jackson fallout – judge
- Traffic courts to be set up
- Economy 'testing access to justice'
- Saudi Arabia accepts registration of female lawyer
- Criminal legal aid cuts to reach £370m
- Firms face rates pressure as almost 50% of GCs predict legal spend cuts
- Legal Week Intelligence
- Asia Client Satisfaction Report 2012
- 214 Asia GCs polled: Linklaters, KWM and Ashurst win client plaudits
- Partners scale back hopes for year ahead as economic woes hit business confidence
- Fixed-fee billing favoured by 50% of corporates, LW research finds
- Partners made up: Jon Blackburn at Maples Teesdale LLP
- Partner hire: Nick Tarlton at Darbys Solicitors LLP
- New partner: Jackie Phillips at Darbys Solicitors LLP
- New partner: Sian Champkin at Darbys Solicitors LLP
- New partner: Jenny Birrell at Darbys Solicitors LLP
- New tenant: Richard Clayton QC at Kings Chambers
- Team move: Irwin Mitchell
- Tribunal rules against Travers in pregnancy discrimination case
- Irwin Mitchell closes in on £200m turnover
- Michelmores dishes out staff bonuses after turnover rises 15 per cent
- Farrers and Olswang confirm redundancies
- Weightmans records 6 per cent turnover growth for 2012/13
- Walker Morris makes up duo to partnership
- Travers promotes three in cut down partnership round
5 October 2010
Exclusive: consumer panel puts plans for comparison website standards on ice
The Legal Services Consumer Panel has had to put on ice plans to develop best practice standards for legal comparison websites, Legal Futures has learned.
The work formed part of the panel’s 2010-11 workplan, published in March, but has been shelved because the panel has since been asked by the Legal Services Board (LSB) to investigate will-writing regulation. This is likely to be a time-intensive project which has forced the panel to reassess its priorities.
The panel is supported by just two members of staff and so its resources can only be stretched so far.
However, the panel believes there remains the need to define proper standards for comparison websites in the legal services market and it continues to monitor developments. The panel will return to the subject as it considers its work programme for 2011-12.
Panel chairwoman Dr Dianne Hayter said: “Having been asked by the LSB to investigate the important issue of the need to regulate will-writing companies, the panel has decided to concentrate on this in the coming period and to turn to the issue of comparison websites later. Given the weight given by the LSB to our input on referral fees, we consider that influencing their policy on current issues justifies this extra input on will writing.”
LSB research last year indicated that consumers would like to see price comparison websites in the legal market, and in its workplan the panel said it viewed such sites as “a positive development”.
But it continued: “However, in some sectors, concerns have been raised about businesses ‘gaming’ the sites and a lack of transparency about how these services operate. Regulators have needed to take a closer look in order to ensure a fair playing field and restore consumer confidence. The consumer panel is keen to ensure that the new breed of comparison websites in legal services do not fall into the same traps. We will draw up a set of good practice standards building on experience from other arenas and assess the extent to which the services meet the needs of users.”
Meanwhile, iCompareSolicitors.co.uk – which allows clients to rank and leave comments about their lawyers – is offering a free website to every firm that subscribes to its service. Founder Colin Mahoney said this would provide solicitors with “a vital and reliable source of new business."
(***The above articles and comments are the duplication of those as featured in Legal Futures)