Law firm price comparison sites could put off small businesses, Law Society says

Tuesday, March 29, 2022 12:54 PM

Law Society Vice President Lubna Shuja said regulators’ plans to push law firms to price comparison sites could lead to big firms monopolizing the market and crowding out smaller firms.

The lawyer warned that efforts to force law firms to appear on digital price comparison tools could lead to higher costs for law firms, as she said regulators’ plans could reduce consumer choice.

The lawyer said moves to ensure law firms are listed on comparison shopping sites could see law firms slash their offers, as they seek to comply with measures from market comparators .

Speaking to the Law Society’s annual conference on risk and compliance, Shuja said, “In other markets, the best comparison tools impose commercial terms on vendors that can lead to higher costs,” according to the Law Society Gazette.

“Big companies could end up monopolizing these sites, excluding smaller companies from the market and leading to higher prices, less choice and negative effects on access to justice.”

“The Law Society warns against mandatory reporting through digital comparison tools. Regulators must ensure that they operate fairly and that consumers, businesses and practitioners have confidence in them.

Shuja warned that problems creating “meaningful benchmarks” to measure the quality of law firms’ offerings could also hurt the industry as a whole.

“It is difficult to develop meaningful benchmarks across a wide range of practice areas that provide insight into what quality service should look like across the industry,” the Law Society president said.