Clients place the cost of services as the top factor when choosing a lawyer, and this is now seen as more important than experience and reputation, a poll by YouGov has shown.

A survey of 2,097 adults found that 75% see cost as an influence when choosing a legal representative, a rise in 6% from the last survey done in December 2013.

This means that cost now surpasses experience and reputation as a factor when choosing a lawyer, with 74% saying those factors influenced their decision.

The survey also showed that the number of clients receiving free legal consultation was rising, with 64% of respondents reporting that they received free advice in the last three years, up 6% from the last survey.

This comes as 57% of adults say they expect to receive free advice or information about their legal issues, compared to 29% who did not expect any free consultation from their solicitors.

‘Costs of services and fee charges now play a much bigger role for most adults using legal services,’ James McCoy, research director at YouGov Reports, said.

‘There has also been an increase in the proportion of consumers who now receive legal advice - whether expected or not - suggesting that legal representatives are becoming more open to the idea of providing free consultation,’ he added.

Overall 62% had used a law firm or solicitor at some point in their lifetime, unchanged since 2013. 

The main areas of consultation over the last three years were will and probate services (34%), residential conveyancing (24%) and personal injury and medical negligence matters (11%).