For some time now, small and medium-sized businesses have been telling legal firms that they’re reluctant to use their services. This is usually down to being nervous about costs – cost associated with the initial call, spiralling costs should the issue drag on, hidden costs for administration work etc.
This growing disconnect was illustrated in a study by the Legal Services Board (LSB), which surveyed 9,000 smaller businesses in the UK. It found that less than 13% of SMEs felt that lawyers provided a cost-effective means of resolving legal disputes and that 50% would only call on legal advice as a last resort.
Indeed, cost appears to be one of the main obstacles for smaller companies – 20% suggest they can’t afford a lawyer, only 8% retain the services of a legal firm and just 9% reported using a solicitor.
Perhaps more startling for the law firms, is that five times as many SMEs turn to their accountants for legal advice, than use a lawyer.
But at the same time, SMEs are still confronting legal issues that require the specialist expertise of a lawyer – including partnership agreements, non-disclosure agreements, privacy policies, employment disputes, licences to occupy business premises, and agreements for the supply of goods.
Nevertheless, firms are choosing to exhaust all other (usually cheaper) alternatives and only calling on legal advice as a last option. All of which suggests law firms need to make themselves more attractive to SMEs and provide services that are more in tune with the modern marketplace.
With this in mind, Powells Law has launched a new service, which provides access to a lawyer for a fixed monthly fee of £30.
‘Law on Call’ is a cost-effective service for you to use as and when you need to understand your legal stance. It gives business owners and managers the peace of mind of having a contact on-hand, so they can check where they stand and find out whether the legal route is needed for their individual circumstances.
As the LSB’s research suggests, SMEs are often put off by legal fees, which leaves them reluctant to even pick up the phone – even when a specialist is needed. That’s why Law on Call gives you the opportunity to call our legal experts as often as you need to discuss your situation, and understand your options without worrying about spiralling costs.
To find out more about this new service and how Powells could affordably help your business get in touch.