Research report looking at the potential impact of ABS on geographical access -
Interviews with 15 stakeholders (existing providers and potential new entrants).
Reports findings of interviews showed that “ABS are likely to have a positive effect on the ability of more capital intensive, conglomerate (i.e. legal + non-legal), profit-driven firms to enter the legal services market. In addition many high-cost (principally small consumer facing) law firms are unlikely to be competitive on their current business model. Small firms are more vulnerable because legal advice can be provided via the Internet and telephone at lower cost, and these means of delivering legal advice are subject to greater economies of scale that traditional face-to-face provision. Small firms may find it difficult to raise capital.” Page 11
The interviews indicate that new entrants will offer low costs services, and utilise existing trusted brands, which will become a substitute for local firm names.
Interview participants suggested that “in order to remain viable, small solicitor firms will in future need to specialise away form basic legal services which can be provided remotely. For example specialising in clients who value face to face contact and a personal service (potentially elderly, disabled, and high-net-worth clients) and in legal matters which involve fewer process aspects and more bespoke advice (for example child custody or divorce). In this way smaller firms might differentiate themselves form the large ABS firms by finding a specialised part of the market that is not suitable for high volume, remote access legal advice.” Page 13
Considering general theory of purchase of credence goods,
“The brand or trademark is to a large extent explained by the fact that the variation of the levels of quality characteristics of a commodity tends to be less between specimens from a single producer-seller than between specimens from different sellers”. Page 6
Interviews with 15 sixteen + partner solicitors firms found that:
Partners and graduate recruitment consultants from commercial firms acknowledged during the interview process that it is standard practice to award informal work experience to the children of clients as part of their business development activities. Page 1