Providing raw regulatory data on solicitor firms could mislead clients and undermine their ability to exercise informed choice, the Law Society said today. Responding to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) discussion paper on regulatory data and consumer choice, Society president Robert Bourns said: ’The provision of raw regulatory data without proper context has the potential to mislead clients and undermine their ability to exercise informed choice - more information does not inevitably mean better information.’
The SRA’s paper, published last October, proposed making available ‘core data’ on a digital register 'to help consumers make informed choices and drive competition'.
However Bourns said Solicitors already help their clients make informed choices 'by providing information that is relevant to the matter in hand and the value they add before, during and after working with them'.
Bourns also urged caution over plans to require firms to publish fees for certain services. 'Regulation can be a blunt instrument and legal services are not widgets. Where possible - as is the case with price information - solutions driven by client demand are more flexible and less costly than regulation.'
He added: 'Helping clients to make informed choices about legal services is at the heart of every solicitor’s practice.
The Law Society’s Transparency Toolkit supports solicitors to provide the most relevant and useful information in the most appropriate way for their clients, employing a range of delivery mechanisms including online platforms.