Exploiting the potential of reviews: your letters to the editor

Firms must exploit potential of reviews

I welcome the news that the Legal Services Board is considering making online reviews compulsory, and Marcin Durlack’s article (5 July) on the value of them was compelling.


Acknowledging changing consumer behaviours – both in terms of how they research potential legal firms and choose to reach out to them – is a necessary part of the evolution of legal services.


Working with 1,000 firms across the UK, which range from small practices to magic circle firms, I am pleased to say that the vast majority are putting increased focus on client experience – so the idea of actively engaging with and encouraging online reviews should seem a very natural next step. Those committed to client care have nothing to fear.


In all this discussion though, I have seen little acknowledgement of how the client journey continues from a review. With the rise of Google click-to-call in particular, firms would do well to think beyond the risk of bad reviews to the power of the good. That means ensuring that when consumers act, they are met with a first impression to match, whether via telephone, website or social media.


The sector has some challenges here. Our research showed that 46% of firms turned their switchboards to 24/7 voicemail throughout lockdown, a third used onsite security to answer calls, and 30% removed phone numbers from their websites. Still, only 60% of firms are maximising their website’s full potential.  


Resolving these issues, particularly in light of hybrid working, and ensuring excellence at all communication touchpoints, will be crucial if firms are to unlock the potential of glowing reviews and generate new business.


If the LSB decides in favour of online reviews – it may highlight gaps in the client experience for some – it will help demonstrate that the way legal services are procured is changing. That can only be a positive thing.


Bernadette Bennett

Head of legal, Moneypenny



Service before profit

I refer to Mother in Law’s entry on the Seen and Heard page in the Gazette of 21 June: ‘Earning fees is as important – if not more so – than anything else you do at work. You must not forget that you are in business to make money.’


It is that attitude, prevalent among so many (in fact, far too many) members of the legal profession, which made me abandon private practice and become an in-house solicitor for a company which puts its clients’ interests first and foremost.


Solicitors firms are not charitable institutions and they need to be financially sound, but the most important thing any solicitor should be doing at work is to provide the best service they can for their clients.  


Anne Charity



When call of duty at G7 didn’t pay

I continue to bask in the Cornish sunshine, and am grateful that the recent G7 event has concluded without significant public disorder. Well done to everyone who was instrumental in that.


But what about my criminal defence colleagues who volunteered (how that word was so apt) to be part of the G7 duty solicitor rota, to provide 24/7 cover for police stations and additional weekend court duty solicitor slots?


My colleagues were on rota to provide 40 hours of court duty solicitor availability, including Saturday and Sunday. All were stood down as not required in the hours before their designated court duty solicitor slot. My colleagues were on rota to provide 276 hours of police station duty availability. This generated for the duty solicitors a single police station case.


There was no remuneration for court duty solicitors who were stood down even when on rota for a weekend court. I calculate the hourly rate for police station and court rota hours as 47p per hour. For the entire G7 rota period, one solicitor received a single police station net fee of £177.94. With no standby payments made to duty solicitors, the other solicitors received zero payment. One firm had three duty solicitors available for the entire weekend for no income whatsoever.


What other profession or G7 supplier would agree to this? There has to be changes to the way in which criminal defence solicitors are paid and the rates of pay.


Is there any wonder that the average age of duty solicitors is increasing? Among the duty solicitors who volunteered for the G7 rota none is under 45. Crime quite simply doesn’t pay.


Elliott Moore

Howell Hylton Solicitors, Camborne