Law Society vice president Lubna Shuja has said regulators’ plans to push law firms onto price comparison sites could lead to big firms monopolising the market and pushing smaller firms aside.
The solicitor warned that efforts to force law firms to appear on digital price comparison tools could result in law firms carrying higher costs, as she said the regulators’ plans could lead to consumers having less choice.
The solicitor said moves to ensure law firms list on price comparison sites could see law firms reduce their offerings, as they seek to mould themselves to the metrics of the market comparers.
Speaking to the Law Society’s annual risk and compliance conference, Shuja said: “In other markets, top comparison tools put commercial conditions on suppliers that can lead to higher costs,” according to the Law Society Gazette.
“Larger firms could end up monopolising these sites, shutting smaller firms out of the market and leading to an increase in prices, less choice and adverse impacts on access to justice.”
“The Law Society cautions against mandatory signposting through digital comparison tools. Regulators must ensure they operate fairly and that consumers, firms and practitioners alike have trust and confidence in them.”
Shuja warned that issues in creating “meaningful benchmarks” to measure the quality of law firms’ offerings could also damage the sector as a whole.
“It is difficult to develop meaningful benchmarks across a diverse range of practice areas that provide a snapshot of what quality service should look like across the whole sector,” the Law Society president said.