More takeaways from the Legal Services Board ‘In Need Of Advice?’ research paper

27 Aug 2013

For those who saw the previous post on this site regarding the Legal Services Board’s (LSB) recent research paper ‘In Need Of Advice?’, which surveyed small businesses about their legal needs and how they dealt with them, hopefully it was clear that this survey should be of great interest to the wider legal community.

The 115-page report has plenty of interesting things to say about how legal companies are interacting with the small business market (and vice versa) and what impact this is having on both sides of the conversation.

Below are some extended notes on certain elements of the survey, which I found particularly interesting.

 

This is the first survey of its kind.

Before the findings proper have even started (on page i, no less!), there are questions to be asked and answered. If this is the first survey of these kinds of businesses, does anyone targeting them right now really know anything about their legal needs, or how they view legal firms? With it being the first survey of its kind, are the results likely to swing drastically next year? I’d suggest that the answer to the first question is almost certainly not – we need to know more about target markets of this sort and form strategies accordingly, whilst, in terms of the second question, I think subsequent years’ surveys will make for very interesting reading indeed.

 

More than one third of businesses had made use of online legal resources.

In a world where internet usage continues to grow, perhaps this should not be surprising, but clearly for some legal firms a key opportunity to communicate may be being missed if their engagement strategy is not set up to capture online queries or if they provide no way to engage with their services over the internet.

 

Nearly half (45.1%) of the legal problems small businesses experienced had a ‘tangible effect’ on their business.

As per my previous post about the LSB survey, this provides further evidence that these businesses should be prospects who are willing to spend money with legal firms. The total cost of the problems experienced was £100bn per annum, so not only is there a ‘tangible’ effect but a tangible monetary effect too. 22% of the businesses who experienced adverse effects from a legal problem reported that they experience a loss of income as a direct result of the problem.

 

51.9% of businesses took no action to address legal issues, or dealt with them entirely on their own.

This again, for me, speaks to a problem regarding trust and/or communication. In the last post, I highlighted the fact that these same businesses often associated the legal industry with the word ‘expensive’. This statistic backs up the fact that small businesses are not being offered what they want, when they want it, at the price they want it at. Someone within the legal sector must address this, and address it soon.

 

Philip Jepson picture By Philip Jepson. Phil is the Chairman of Jepson Holt Ltd., which he established in 2004. His main focus in the business is helping law firms grow their businesses and lawyers develop their careers. You can find him on , Twitter & LinkedIn.