Law firms are failing to make the most of converting callers into clients, with only 1.5% of those firms surveyed following up on the initial call from the prospective client.
The Legal Services Communication Report 2018 by Concert is a mystery shopper survey of 30 law firms, with 90 telephone enquiries in total. The purpose was to secure a quotation for work, focusing on three areas – Will writing, residential conveyancing, and debt recovery.
Overall, law firms are failing to optimise opportunities. Just 51% of calls were connected with someone who could assist, meaning almost half of all enquiries were not; and in most cases the onus was firmly placed on the caller to call back.
The recent hot weather and hours of sunshine are welcomed by most, but for those who have to work during the heatwave, it is not such a welcome presence.
But what are your working rights as an employee during extremely hot weather? Can you legally walk out of the office if the mercury hits a certain temperature?
Working environment temperatures are regulated by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, but while there is guidance, there is no maximum (or minimum) temperature at which employees can legally stop working and leave the office for the day. Employers must adhere to the current Health and Safety at Work law and make sure that they keep the working environment temperature at a comfortable level and provide clean and fresh air.
This week, the SRA has announced as part of its “Looking to the Future” programme that it will widen the areas of law where firms will have to publish their prices, as well as what those fees cover, online. The areas affected are probate, motoring offences, immigration, debt recovery of amounts up to £100,000, and employment tribunals. Firms will have just 6 months to comply with the new requirement. The SRA stated, “Our ‘Better Information, more Choice’ reforms are designed to improve public access to legal services by making information on price, protections and services more easily available.”
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers has also recently announced that it will instruct its members to publish their fees on their websites, along with whether they have any referral arrangements, as part of a drive to improve transparency and choice for consumers.
Lawyers in Britain are hopeful that some level of cooperation between the United Kingdom and the European Union can help ensure a smooth transition following Brexit, particularly in relation to cross-border legal disputes, as well as in relation to civil and commercial law generally.
In a new paper, ‘Providing a cross-border civil judicial cooperation framework', which was published on 22 August, the government says that non-EU protections are already in place in many areas because of instruments such as the Hague Convention. However, it has also made clear its intention to foster "close and comprehensive cross-border civil judicial cooperation on a reciprocal basis" in other areas. This is undoubtedly necessary. The Hague Convention, for example, does provide certain protections in relation to the return of abducted children, but these are not as swift or effective as those that exist within EU agreements.
It is an unavoidable truth that despite many years of lobbying, political discourse and, of course, limited but important legislative action, women still do not enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace.
This is as true in the law as it is in any other profession, if not more so. Making a successful career as a lawyer or barrister is difficult enough, but combining it with life as a mother is especially problematic. In the vast majority of cases, women who combine a profession in the law with motherhood, must find a way to successfully marry the unpredictable nature of legal work and all its travel, urgencies, emergencies and considerable pressures with the inherently demanding responsibilities of looking after children.
This is just one, but nonetheless, important reason why the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service proposal to trial early and late opening courts should be resisted.