Pay as you go… the future of legal services?

Speaking at the Law Society’s Legal Aid conference last Thursday, the Society’s President, Lucy Scott Moncrieff told attendees ‘the reality is that for many clients who are losing legal aid, buying a full casework service is unaffordable’. Firms should therefore investigate options to ‘unbundle’ work by offering a pay-as-you-go service to clients for advice on certain aspects of a case rather than requiring clients to instruct a solicitor under a traditional retainer. Scott-Moncrieff agreed that whilst this practice would raise ‘a number of regulatory and insurance challenges… they are not insurmountable’. She also announced that the Law Society will publish a practice note on unbundling prior to the cuts coming in on 1 April. The note will primarily focus on family law cases and provide model client care letters.

Speaking on the same topic, Richard Cohen, a solicitor and chief executive of legal software provider Epoq, added that ‘there is nothing in the Code of Conduct that would limit engagement, but you have to be clear with the client what you will do and what they will do’. He told the conference’s delegates that firms will need to unbundle their services if they are to compete with new big brands entering the market, adding that ‘the legal profession is the last bastion against self-service, but it will be forced to accept it, due to cost and competition’.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *