The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is looking to recruit law firms to help shape its ideas on quality indicators in conveyancing.

Since the introduction of the SRA Transparency Rules in December 2018, more individual and small business consumers are using websites that help them compare legal service providers.

However, just 2% of law firms provide information to digital comparison tools (DCTs), according to an SRA evaluation report published in October 2020.

The SRA is therefore beginning to explore options to increase law firms’ engagement with digital comparison tools. It will focus on the availability of quality indicators, such as comparable data and customer reviews.

The SRA plans to launch pilots in early 2021, and is seeking views and volunteers.

How to get involved

The SRA wants to hear from practitioners in conveyancing (and employment law):

  • to help shape thinking about what might work in practice, or
  • who are willing to take part in one of the pilots.

If you would like to be involved, email James Woolf (James.Woolf@lawsociety.org.uk) by Friday 8 January 2021.

Why are quality indicators important?

The SRA has provided some background to this project.

The Competition Markets Authority (CMA) has recently begun a progress review to assess the impact of the Transparency Rules on the market. The SRA expects developing ‘quality indicators’ will be an area of interest.

The SRA implemented the Transparency Rules in response to recommendations made by the CMA in the final report of its legal services market study.

Back in 2016, the CMA did not mandate specific requirements for quality indicators in its study; instead it concluded that it would observe how the legal services market and the market for comparison websites evolved.

The study found that a lack of transparent information on price, quality and service was making it difficult for consumers to compare legal services providers and choose the best option for them. The CMA recommended that legal regulators take action to improve the comparable information available to consumers. This included mandating providers of legal services to provide information on their prices and services, and about redress and regulatory protections.