The founders of a consumer rights website today branched out to create a legal comparison platform allowing users to browse and compare the cost of legal services.
Legal Beagles says LBcompare will offer consumers the chance to compare fixed-fee costs for services such as divorce, wills and probate and powers of attorney, without the need to register or disclose personal data.
The website has information on legal services provided by all Solicitors Regulation Authority-registered firms and sole practitioners, with the law service providers able to pay to enhance the prominence and content of their default listing, or create their own profile through a flat-rate subscription based on their size.
The site will also feature law centres, debt management providers, credit unions and PPI claims management companies.
The Legal Beagles website has been operating on a not-for-profit basis since it was founded in 2007 by friends Kate Briscoe (pictured) and Sharon Coleman.
Briscoe, a former consumer credit litigator with Brighton firm Howlett Clarke, said traffic figures for the site have reached a point where its private investors believe it can be a successfully commercial price-comparison site.
‘The idea for LBcompare evolved from constant requests about how and where to find a solicitor for particular legal issue and how much it might cost,’ said Briscoe.
‘LBcompare will provide the answers in the same familiar format as the mainstream comparison websites for insurance and financial products, except that we’ll include every single provider and not just those who pay us.’
She explained that the venture differed from other legal comparison sites by not relying on what she described as a ‘tired old’ lead-generating or data-harvesting model.
Since its launch in 2007, Legal Beagles has attracted more than two million unique visitors and registers 20,000 new members per year.
Briscoe and Coleman said they rejected an offer from private equity investors in April 2014 to buy a majority shareholding in the forum, to ensure the site remained independent and ethical. The company was estimated at the time to have a total value of £7m.