A West Midlands solicitor has set up a ‘TripAdvisor-style’ website to allow clients to find and rate law firms. RatedSolicitors.com enables the public to search for firms and solicitors according to their specialism and location, and to read profiles, reviews and ratings posted by past clients.
Membership levels range from a basic listing, which is free, through to a premium package costing £495 a month.
Depending on the level of membership, firms will be able to use features such as ‘meet the team’, upload their firm logo, provide blogs and guides to the law and quote for work.
The site was founded and financed by Dean Morris, an employment sole practitioner at Solihull firm Morris Legal. He would not disclose the set-up cost, saying it was ‘not insignificant, but a worthy investment’.
Morris said the site builds on the idea that people select their lawyer by word of mouth or recommendation. ‘It effectively takes the word-of-mouth principle and puts it at a central place.’ He hopes firms will encourage clients to leave feedback.
Morris said the site is designed to encourage positive feedback, rather than facilitate a ‘slanging match for disgruntled clients’. He said his ranking system, which grades firms from one to five stars, will not allow users to rate a firm lower than three
stars unless they can confirm they have used the firm’s complaints handling procedure and had a finding in their favour from the Legal Ombudsman.
‘I hope firms will embrace it as a marketing tool, driving clients to it as part of their file-closing process,’ Morris said.
RatedSolicitors.com is the latest in a growing number of websites set up to introduce solicitors to clients. Others include Accesssolicitor.com, Bid4fees.com CompareLegalCosts.com and Wigster.com. The Law Society said it is considering adding comparison features to its online ‘Find a Solicitor’ service, which is to be relaunched shortly.
The Legal Services Consumer Panel, which says such sites could help to improve access to legal advice and stimulate greater competition, called in 2012 for them to commit to a set of voluntary standards to ensure consumers are protected.