21 Oct

Independent Consumer Research Report

A new independent report commissioned by CILEx Regulation and undertaken by IRN Research, provides detailed insight into customer perspective and behaviour, expectations of legal service providers and the key aspects of the service that they really value.


The research looks at the information that consumers value in the legal sector and how this can be used by the regulator to help develop indicators that can provide a real understanding of quality from a customer perspective. What do consumers see as a reliable measure? Do they have the right level of information and understanding in order to make informed choices with regards to their use of legal services? And what is their overall satisfaction with those services?


The report focuses on qualitative rather than quantitative data to provide a deeper insight. It analyses the results of a series of in-depth telephone interviews with 146 individuals who have used various legal advisors in the areas of conveyancing, family law and probate. It also provides insights gained from three virtual focus groups.


Overall satisfactions levels with advisors and outcomes are high, however other areas such as public education, communication and support through the decision-making process required improvement.


Sam Younger, CILEx Regulation Chair said; “Our purpose in commissioning this piece of work from IRN Research was to explore in more detail the consumer experience of legal services and the reasons for the choices made. The outcomes of this research will help us to address our strategic priority and prepare us for further work on understanding the information that best aids consumers in making a choice.


He continued; “We wanted to understand the consumer perspective behind the quantitative surveys that have previously been carried out and try to find in more detail what drives a consumer’s decision-making process. By using qualitative research methods we could explore the behaviour of private individuals as they look for a legal adviser, their experience of using a legal adviser and their relationship with the adviser, and the reasons for their satisfaction or not with the advice and services offered”.


The research provides a different perspective on what consumers value and this will be valuable in the continuing work around improving the information that consumers can access and considering what measures of quality will be most valuable when they are choosing a legal adviser.


Report key findings include:



  • Almost all know they needed legal advice at start.
  • Majority guided by other advisers when choosing legal advice.


Family Law

  • Less than half know they needed legal advice at the start.
  • Mix of options used to find a legal advisor, led by Google search and recommendations.



  • Just over half knew they need legal advice at the start.
  • Over half went back to a law firm used before. Other options led by Google search.


Using qualitative research provides an opportunity to better understand the client journey when an individual embarks on a potential legal issue and then uses a legal adviser. The results provide insight into client behaviour, an understanding of their adviser choices and their satisfaction with the legal services they receive.


Access the full report:
IRN Research – CILEx Consumer Qualitative Research Report October 2020