2 Tracker Survey 2011 I 2 CONTENTS 1 Introduction 1 2 Who uses legal services? 3 3 Choosing lawyers 7 4 The consumer experience 10 5 Seeking redress 14 6 Views on lawyers and regulation 16 7 Differences between England and Wales 20 References 22 Acknowledgement The Panel is grateful to Rosaline Sullivan, LSB Research Associate, for preparing this report.
3 Tracker Survey 2011 I 1 1 Introduction Why commission a Tracker Survey? 1.1. This research was commissioned to inform the Legal Services Consumer Panel s forthcoming Consumer Impact Report. The Impact Report assesses the progress of the legal services reforms by measuring the direction of travel towards the Panel s vision for the market: responsive services; high quality advice; a diverse workforce that understands its diverse clients; quick, fair and cost-effective complaints-handling; and where consumers are placed at the heart of regulation The success of the reforms should ultimately be judged by how consumers experience legal services, so the Panel decided to undertake a survey to find out about public attitudes towards lawyers and the views of recent users This publication summarises the main findings of the consumer survey in factual form, whereas the Impact Report will draw together this and other evidence in making an overall assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the legal services market The survey will be repeated in following years to inform future editions of the Consumer Impact Report The full data tables can be accessed on our website. Research approach 1.6. To enable the Panel to collate data from a robust sample in England and Wales, two samples were identified: 1,277 general population sample; and 1,114 users of legal services within the last two years; 1.7. The results differentiate among the two samples The research was carried out by YouGov. Respondents were identified from YouGov s panel of 300,000 members To draw the general population sample quotas were set by age, region, ethnicity, disability, social grade and newspaper readership to reflect the population of England and Wales; the sample was then selected to ensure that the quotas were met. The sample sizes were as follows: Non white (136) Disability (153) Social grade ABC1 (683) Social grade C2DE (594) An additional sample of 150 Welsh respondents was sought to boost the general population sample, enabling us to make a comparison between English and Welsh respondents. The general population sample was surveyed to understand: their use of comparison websites; knowledge and use of quality marks; trust of professionals; knowledge of complaints procedures; general knowledge of lawyers; and use of legal services.
4 Tracker Survey 2011 I To draw the sample of legal services users the YouGov panel was firstly screened to see whether they had sought legal advice in the last two years. To identify the demographic characteristics of legal service users the same screening question was asked of the general public sample, which was then used to set quotas for the sample of legal services users. The sampling frame of users of legal services was then stratified by variables, such as age and gender, and the sample was drawn from each strata until the quota was met. The sample sizes were as follows: Non white (56) Disability (239) Social grade ABC1 (806) Social grade C2DE (308) The users of legal services were surveyed on: the service they used; how this was funded; their choice of advisor; knowledge of the complaints procedure; and satisfaction with the service received and the outcome of work The questionnaire was developed and piloted following input from YouGov. The Legal Services Consumer Panel decided to re-use categories found in previous questionnaires to enable a comparison to be made. For example, the categories of legal service in the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) (2010) Baseline Survey were used. demographic profiles of ethnic minorities resulting in different legal needs. Thus disparity of problems may be overlooked when ethnic groups are grouped together Some work area samples are too small so we are unable to investigate certain factors, for example how satisfied consumers are with these services and how they are funded. For a sample to be considered significant it should have at least 50 respondents. The following areas of law do not have a large enough base and therefore do not represent a wide enough cross-section of the target population to be considered statistically reliable: Housing, landlord or tenant problems (29) Any offences or criminal charges (10) Immigration matters (11) Problems with consumer services or goods (34) Advice about appeals with benefits or tax credits (20) Debt or hire purchases (30) Power of attorney (69) Neighbour disputes (14) Please note that where small bases sizes have been indicated, results need to be treated with caution. Limitations of our research The confidence level for the general population and legal services users sample is 95% plus or minus 2.4%. However, the samples were not drawn by random probability sampling, but used quota sampling instead This research distinguishes solely between white and non-white. Previous research has shown that this is inadequate (Pleasence et al, 2004), with the varying
5 Tracker Survey 2011 I 3 2 Who uses legal services? Users of legal services % of people aged over 18 in England and Wales were found to have used legal services in the last two years. A direct comparison cannot be made to previous surveys as they fluctuate in years of legal use (CSJS, 2007; LSB, 2009; SRA, 2009). By comparing the general population sample with the sample of users of legal services, we can identify that legal services users: Had a comparable gender profile - 49% of the general public sample are male as are 49% of legal services users Were more likely to be aged over 55-34% of general public compared with 47% of legal service users Were more likely to be from social grades ABC1-54% of general public compared with 71% of legal services users Were more likely to be white 85% of general public compared with 91% legal service users Were more likely to have a disability - 12% of general public compared with 20% of legal services users Types of legal services 2.2. As illustrated in Figure 1, the three most common legal services used among the legal services sample were: Conveyancing, with 32% of respondents having used it Will writing (27%) Family matters (15%) 2.3. The least common matters were: Any offences or criminal charges (2%) Immigration matters (1%) Debt or hire problems (3%) Neighbour disputes (3%) 2.4. As the MoJ (2010) Baseline is weighted to reflect the profile of legal services users, and the categories of legal services are identical, a comparison can be made with our legal services users sample. A comparison shows that the incidence of categories of legal services used reflect the findings in the MoJ survey, with the two most common categories of matters used found to be conveyancing (mentioned by 50% of users) and will writing (27%). Likewise, in the SRA (2009) survey buying and selling property was the most common service among the general population, then wills Similar to the finding in the Civil and Social Justice Survey (CSJS, 2007), the pattern of legal service use differs according to
6 Tracker Survey 2011 I 4 social group. In our survey, type of legal service differed according to age, social grade, disability and ethnicity Those in social grades ABC1 were more likely to use conveyancing than C2DEs (36% versus 23%), as with will writing (30% versus 18%). A comparison cannot be made to the CSJS, as the categories did not appear in the survey, or the MoJ Baseline, as there is no comparison made between social grade and type of legal service. However, the LSB (2009) survey found a similar difference, with 34% of ABC1s seeking legal advice because they bought a property compared to 22% of C2DEs Conveyancing was more common for those aged 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 (56% and 36% respectively); the same pattern as that found in the LSB (2009) survey. Will writing was more common for those aged over 55 (35%) than those aged 25 to 34 (9%); the same pattern as that found in the LSB (2009) survey. Family matters were more prevalent among respondents aged (23%) and less common for those aged 25 to 34 (8%). Figure 1: Legal service use within the last two years (sample legal services users, base: 1,114) 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%
7 Tracker Survey 2011 I Comparing white and non-white respondents within the legal services users sample (Figure 2) shows that white respondents were more likely to have used legal services than non-white respondents for a number of areas, including: Power of attorney (13% compared with 3%) Conveyancing (32% compared with 23%) Will writing (27% compared with 12%) Probate (12% compared with 7%) 2.9. Similar findings were found in the SRA (2009) survey Non-white respondents were more likely to have used legal services for employment problems, family matters, immigration matters and housing, landlord and tenant problems Those with a disability were more likely to have used legal services for accident or injury claims (18% compared with 9%), problems with consumer services or goods (15% compared with 7%) and advice about tax credits or benefits (8% compared with 3%). Figure 2: Services used within the last two years White and non-white (sample legal services users, base: 1,114) 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% White Non-white
8 Tracker Survey 2011 I 6 Funding of legal services Through our sample of legal services users we are able to identify that the majority of legal services users pay for services themselves, or with the help of family or friends (61%) (Table 1), lower than the 78% found in the MoJ (2010) Baseline. Other ways of funding were much less common; 8% were funded through a free service (excluding no win no fee) while legal aid, no win no fee and insurance were just 5% each. Again, similar levels were found in the MoJ (2010) Baseline Source of payment also had stronger relationships to some types of matter. For example, Conveyancing was the most likely category to have been self-funded (91%), in comparison to accident or injury claims which were self-funded in just 1% of cases. In areas of law where the samples have a large enough base to allow comparisons family matters were more likely to have been funded by legal aid (25%), than other areas of law, for example just 1% of injury claims were funded by legal aid. Table 1: How most recent legal services were paid for (sample legal services users, base: 1114) Funding route Total (%) I paid for all of it myself or with the help of family or friends 61 Through legal aid 5 Through insurance 5 It was a free service but NOT a no win; no fee arrangement 8 Through a no win; no fee arrangement 5 Through a trade union 3 Through my employer 1 Some other way 9 Don t know/can t remember 3
9 Tracker Survey 2011 I 7 3 Choosing lawyers Knowledge of what lawyers do 3.1. The general public sample was asked a series of questions to determine their overall perception of lawyers, including their knowledge of what lawyers do Few people declared that they had no knowledge, just 6%. However, 48% professed little knowledge. This is less than findings from the previous LSB (2009) consumer research which found that 68% of consumers admitted to little or no knowledge. How providers were chosen 3.3. Among the sample of legal services users, the most common method for choosing the provider was through previous use, by either the respondent or a family member (25%), followed by referral by another organisation (17%) and recommendation from family or friends (14%) see Table 2. Therefore, previous contact and recommendations account for 39% of users choice of providers, a finding consistent with the MoJ (2010) Baseline study findings where the main reasons for choosing a provider were recommendations and previous experience (MoJ, 2010; 12). Table 2: Legal services users choice of provider (sample legal services users, base: 1114) Method of Choice Total (%) I/my family member had used the provider before 25 Referral by another organisation 17 Recommendation from family/friends 14 Searched for provider on the internet 8 Saw local offices 7 Other 7 Recommendation by the people I first approached when I had a problem 4 Responded to local advertising or contact 3 Don t know/ can t remember 3 They were a family member/friend 3 Specified in the will 2 Union representation/recommendation 2 Legal regulator s website/phone line 2 Knew someone who worked there 2
10 Tracker Survey 2011 I Method of choosing provider differed according to the area of law. For example, in accident or injury claims 37% of respondents chose the provider through a referral by another organisation, while just 7% of will writing services were chosen in this way. Providers of conveyancing were also likely to be chosen through a referral by another organisation with 28% of respondents having done so. These findings are expected due to the incidence of estate agents referring consumers to solicitors and claims management companies referring personal injury work Legal service users were asked about how much choice of providers they felt they had, 65% said they had a great deal or fair amount but 12% felt like they had no choice at all; this figure is explained by high incidence of probate (23%), accident or injury claims (26%) and employment disputes (30%). The ability to choose a provider was more likely to lead to consumers being satisfied with both the outcome and service - 75% respondents who were satisfied with the outcome and 76% who were satisfied with the service felt they had a great deal/ fair amount of choice. When compared with those who were dissatisfied 32% who were dissatisfied with the outcome and 34% felt they had a great deal/ fair amount of choice. Factors influencing choice (legal services users) 3.6. When excluding those who answered not applicable, reputation was seen as the most important factor influencing choice - 81% of legal services users marked this as important, including 40% who considered this very important. The second highest factor was whether the provider was a specialist in the area (73%). Notably such quality factors feature more prominently than price. As can be seen in Table 3, relatively little importance was placed on whether the consumer would have access to an ombudsman scheme, although four in ten still said this was important to them. Table 3: Importance placed on factors when choosing provider (sample legal services users, base: 1,114, excluding those who marked not applicable ) Choice factor Net: importance (%) Very Important Reputation Specialist in area Speed of delivery Local offices Price Recommended by someone Used them in the past Quality mark (%) Net: not important (%) Access to an ombudsman scheme if things go wrong
11 Tracker Survey 2011 I There is some variation in choice factors across different areas of legal work. For example, speed of delivery (83%) is the most important factor for conveyancing work. Moreover, local offices are of greater importance relative to the overall sample when choosing providers for probate (82%) and family work (83%), but far less so for accident or injury (35%). 93% of people who used lawyers for family matters said a specialist was an important choice factor. Shopping around 3.8. The sample of legal services users were questioned to identify the prevalence of shopping around. Incidence of shopping around was low, with just 19% stating they had done so. The incidence of shopping around varied according to the demographic profile of respondents. Those from social grades ABC1 were slightly more likely to shop around than those from C2DE (20% compared to 17%). The age group least likely to shop around were those aged over 55, just 15% compared to 30% of those aged 25 to Looking at the types of service provided, shopping around has higher incidence when consumers are using conveyancing (29%). Only 6% of those using legal services for employment disputes shopped around, not surprising as 22% of employment cases were funded by a trade union. Similarly, just 7% of those who used probate services shopped around, although a lower figure was expected because wills sometimes specify which provider should be used. The availability of price data might also be a factor influencing levels of shopping around Those legal services users who shopped around were asked how easy they had found it to make comparisons between providers. 51% said they found it very easy/ easy, with this figure rising to 63% in conveyancing. 53% of ABC1s said they found it very easy/ easy compared to 46% of C2DEs. Use of price comparison websites and quality marks We asked the nationally representative sample about their use of price comparison websites across service sectors. They had been used the most for: car insurance (56% of respondents having used them) household insurance (32%) gas or electricity (32%) Just 1% of respondents had used price comparison websites in relation to legal services Overall, those from social groups ABC1 were more likely to use price comparison websites than those from C2DE We asked a similar question about quality marks. Of the 70% of general public who were aware of them, they used them the most when purchasing: electrical goods (31%) toys (26%) holidays (24%) Just 5% of respondents had used quality marks to choose lawyers.
12 Tracker Survey 2011 I 10 4 The consumer experience Satisfaction with outcome 4.1. Overall, levels of satisfaction were found to be fairly high. Excluding those whose matter had yet to finish, 84% of legal services users were satisfied or very satisfied with the outcome of legal work, as shown in Figure 3. This finding is consistent with the MoJ (2010) Baseline study which found that over 80% of solicitors clients were satisfied with the outcome of their matter (MoJ, 2010) Satisfaction with outcome varied according to socio-economic group and type of legal work. Non-white respondents were less satisfied (73% vs. 84%) as were those from social grades C2DE (75% vs. 87%). The areas of law which resulted in the highest level of satisfaction were conveyancing and will writing (92%), as illustrated in Table 4. As expected, those using services for contentious matters, such as accident or injury claims and family matters, are least satisfied. Figure 3: Satisfaction with outcome (sample legal service users, excluding those whose matter had yet to finish 15% of sample) Dissatisfied 4% Very dissatisfied 4% Don't know 1% Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 7% Very satisfied 44% satisfied 40%
13 Tracker Survey 2011 I 11 Table 4: Satisfaction with outcome according to area of law (sample legal service users, excluding those whose matter has yet to finish) Area of law Net satisfaction (%) Conveyancing 92 Will writing 92 Probate 82 Family matters 73 Accident or injury claims 69 Any offences or criminal charges* 83 Advice and appeals about benefits or tax credits* 65 Debt or hire purchases problems* 79 Employment disputes* 84 Housing, landlord or tenant problems* 67 Immigration matters* 78 Neighbour disputes* 80 Power of attorney* 92 Problems with consumer services or goods* 64 *small base sizes Satisfaction with service 4.3. Overall, excluding those whose matter had yet to finish, 80% of legal service users were satisfied with the service they received. We are able to consider variation of satisfaction with different aspects of service, as conveyed in Table 5. This suggests that consumers are least satisfied with ongoing communication and timeliness. We are also able to compare service satisfaction across areas of law, as in Table 6. The differences found are broadly similar to satisfaction with outcomes. For example, nearly 9 in 10 (88%) recent users were happy with service for will-writing, but only 7 in 10 (68%) were happy with the service they received for accident or injury claims As with outcomes, satisfaction with service varied according to socio-economic group. Non-white respondents were less satisfied (67% vs. 80%) as were those from social grades C2DE (74% vs. 82%).
14 Tracker Survey 2011 I 12 Table 5: Satisfaction with aspects of service (sample legal services users, excluding those whose matter was yet to finish) Aspect of service Net: satisfied (%) The extent to which the lawyer acted in a professional manner 82 The way things were explained so that they were easily 80 understood The clarity of information on the service to be provided 79 The quality of advice 77 The clarity of information on the costs to be charged 76 The extent to which you were treated as an individual, not just 75 another file The timely way in which your matter was dealt with 74 Communication while the matter was progressing 72 Table 6: Satisfaction with service according to area of law (sample legal services users, excluding those whose matter was yet to finish) Area of law Net satisfied (%) Will writing 88 Conveyancing 83 Probate 76 Family matters 71 Accident or injury claims 68 Advice and appeals about benefits or tax credits* 74 Any offences or criminal charges* 86 Debt or hire purchases problems* 81 Employment disputes* 76 Housing, landlord or tenant problems* 74 Immigration matters* 67 Neighbour disputes* 82 Problems with consumer services or goods* 80 Power of attorney* 86 * small base sizes
15 Tracker Survey 2011 I 13 Satisfaction with value for money 4.5. Satisfaction with value for money was far lower than any other aspect of service. Just 56% considered their service was good value for money. Views about value for money varied according to how legal work was funded. As demonstrated in Table 7, those whose service was funded through a trade union, or otherwise free of charge, were the more likely to consider it good value for money. Table 7: how service was funded and satisfaction with value for money (sample legal services users, base: 1,114) Funding route Satisfaction (%) I paid for it myself 55 Through legal aid 48 Through insurance 48 It was free but not a no win; no fee arrangement 74 Through a no win; no fee arrangement 52 Through a trade union 80 Through my employer 69 Some other way 54 Overall 56
16 Tracker Survey 2011 I 14 5 Seeking redress Confidence in making a complaint 5.1. The general public sample were questioned on their confidence in making a complaint across different services. The level of confidence varied, with people most confident in making a complaint about a service provided by a supermarket (75%), as shown in Table 8. Just over half (51%) of respondents said they would be confident complaining about a lawyer Consumer confidence in seeking redress from lawyers differs according to demographic group. Those from social group ABC1 had a higher level of confidence, with 55% confident compared to just 45% of those from C2DE. White respondents were also more likely to have a higher level of confidence than non-white (52% and 43% respectively). Action taken by dissatisfied consumers 5.4. The most common response to being dissatisfied was to raise concerns with the service provider but not make a formal complaint (43%); 13% made a formal complaint to the provider. More than one third of consumers (35%) who were dissatisfied did nothing - see Table As this question was filtered for just those who were dissatisfied, we are unable to measure response to dissatisfaction according to socio-demographic factors as the samples in themselves are not significant. Knowledge of complaints system 5.3. Users of legal services were asked if they would know how to go about making a complaint. Just 44% of users answered yes, showing that the level of knowledge has not differed from the 45% identified in the MoJ (2010) Baseline. Of those who said they knew how to go about making a complaint, 85% said they would approach the firm first, a big improvement on the 53% previously found (MoJ, 2010).
17 Tracker Survey 2011 I 15 Table 8: confidence in making a complaint (sample general population, base: 1,277) Service sector Level of confidence (%) Supermarkets 75 Banks 55 Accountants 53 Mobile phone companies 52 Lawyers 51 Car services 44 Estate agents 44 Builders 42 Table 9: action taken by dissatisfied consumers (sample legal services users, base: 86 out of 1,114) Action taken Total (%) Raised my concerns with the service provider but did not 43 make a formal complaint I didn t do anything about it 35 I made a formal complaint to the service provider 13 Got advice from a third party about what I should do 11 I intend to complain but have not yet 7 Complained to someone else 5 Complained/sought advice from a third party about what I 3 should do about it
18 Tracker Survey 2011 I 16 6 Views on lawyers and regulation Public trust 6.1. Public trust varied greatly among the professions, as illustrated in Table 10. The public were most likely to trust doctors to tell the truth, with 85% doing so, and least likely to trust estate agents, just 7%. It is concerning that just 47% of the public trust lawyers, although the public seem generally to be untrusting, with just 37% trusting the ordinary man or woman in the street Public trust of lawyers differs among the socio-demographic groups. Those from social grades ABC1 were 8 percentage points more likely to trust lawyers than those from C2DE (51% compared with 43%). Trust of lawyers also increases with age, as shown in Figure General trust of lawyers was higher among the white respondents than non-white respondents (49% compared with 34%), and those without a disability (48% compared with 42% with a disability), as shown in Figure 5. Table 10: Public trust (sample general population, base 1,277) Type of person Would generally trust them (%) Would generally not trust them (%) Doctors 85 3 Teachers 71 6 Lawyers Accountants The ordinary man or woman in the street Shop assistants Bankers Car mechanics Builders 9 43 Estate agents 7 61
19 Tracker Survey 2011 I 17 Figure 4: General trust according to age (sample general public, base, 1,277) 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% would generally trust lawyers to tell the truth 10% 0% Age Figure 5: General trust of lawyers (sample general population, base white (1104), non-white (136), disability (153) no disability (773) ) 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% White Non-white Disability No disability
20 Tracker Survey 2011 I While overall trust of lawyers was low among the general population sample, satisfaction with the extent to which the lawyer acted in a professional manner was high among users of legal services, with 82% satisfied. Consumer satisfaction with this factor follows the same pattern to trust, with non-white respondents being less likely to be satisfied with the way in which the lawyer acted in a professional manner compared with white respondents (68% compared with 78%). Figures were similar for those with a disability and those without in regards to trust (74% compared with 79% respectively), Figure 6. This suggests that people trust their own lawyer, but not lawyers as a whole. One possible explanation unique to this sector is a perception that lawyers defend the guilty As with levels of trust, those in social groups ABC1 whose matter had finished were more likely to be satisfied that their provider acted in a professional manner than those from C2DE (85% compared to 74%). Figure 6: satisfaction with the way provider acted in a professional manner (sample legal services users, excluding those whose matter was yet to finish) 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% white non-white disability no disability
21 Tracker Survey 2011 I 19 Confidence that consumers are protected 6.6. The general population sample was asked about their level of confidence that their rights as consumers would be protected when using various services. Confidence was highest when thinking about supermarkets (with 60% confident), followed by lawyers (51%), Table Those from social grades ABC1 were more confident than C2DE that their consumer rights would be protected when using lawyers, 54% compared to 48%. There is no distinct pattern of confidence among the age groups. However, those with a disability were less likely to be confident than those without a disability (44% and 54% respectively), as were non-white respondents compared with white respondents (43% compared to 52%). Table 11: Confidence that consumers are protected (sample general population, base 1,277) Service sector Supermarkets 60 Lawyers 51 Accountants 47 Banks 40 Mobile phone companies 25 Car services 22 Estate agents 22 Builders 18 Net: Confident (%)
22 Tracker Survey 2011 I 20 7 Differences between England and Wales Choosing lawyers 7.1. A similar pattern of method of decision was found among the legal service users within England and Wales. Both were likely to: have personally used, or a family member used, the provider before (25% England, 23% Wales) been recommended by family/friends (14% England, 19% Wales) 7.2. However, a difference was found in referral by another organisation, with just 6% of the Welsh sample having chosen their provider through this method, in comparison to 17% of the English sample. Welsh respondents were also more likely to have chosen lawyers after seeing local offices, 16% compared to 7% Welsh respondents were less likely than English respondents to believe that they had a choice of provider, 54% vs. 65% A great difference was found in the incidence of shopping around. Just 6% of the Welsh sample said they had done so, compared to 20% of the English sample A difference was found in the importance placed on choice factors. As illustrated in Figure 7, local offices were a more important factor in the Welsh sample but less important in England (78% vs 61%). Figure 7: Net importance of choice factors (sample legal service users, base: England Wales 56) 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Wales England
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