What SMBs Really Think About “bl**dy Lawyers”

When it comes to working with lawyers, there is a phrase that often comes up: “Bl**dy Lawyers”.

But a North West law firm is changing things.

HM Legal have recently revamped the way they provide legal services in the North West – and in the spring launched a whole new vision, as well as adopting a new, simpler name.


Well, HM Legal found that most SMEs shared similar experiences when it came to working with law firms that have since cemented themselves in this common phrase.

In fact, new research published today found that when SMEs were asked how they felt or would feel when working with a lawyer, the phrase “overload” emerged as the most popular, cited by 32% of respondents – highlighting customer dissatisfaction.

And 63% said their business should be in “serious legal trouble” before contacting a lawyer.

Fortunately, the results weren’t all bad, with 26% saying they felt or would feel “supported” when working with a lawyer, and 25% saying they felt “reassured.”

Richard Burnett, commercial director at HM Legal, said: “We decided to commission this research to find out what our potential clients really think of legal services – and the results are not surprising. We know that many SMEs feel underserved and unsatisfied with the service they receive in legal matters – that’s why we have repositioned our business to offer something different. We are on a trip to HM Legal to do law differently.

“At HM Legal, we offer transparency and focus on delivering quality service. We don’t hide behind legal jargon and we offer fixed fees, which means there are no hidden surprises. You could say we offer ‘Legal-eez’.

“Despite the negatives in the research, what is great to see is that there is still confidence in the ability of lawyers, which comes through loud and clear in this research.”

The research was conducted by YouGov, which surveyed 1,000 SMEs with up to 250 employees, from across Britain.

When it came to describing a lawyer in general, the three most positive phrases were intelligent (42%), clever (29%) and savvy (21%). But the 3rd most popular description overall was looking for money (25%). Other popular expressions were also polarized, with ‘cunning’, ‘fair’ and ‘honest’ being used by 13% of respondents and ‘unscrupulous’ and ‘truthful’ by 11%.

Results were also mixed when it came to how companies felt when working with a lawyer, with 19% feeling “confident” but 21% saying they were “cautious”.

When asked which fictional legal character best represented the lawyer stereotype, the most popular response was Atticus Finch, the wise and respected father and lawyer in Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Among those surveyed, this character was chosen most frequently (6%).

When asked where they would go for legal advice for their business, 61% of respondents said they would consult a local law firm. Despite this, the research found that 63% would need their business to be in “serious legal difficulty” before contacting a lawyer.

“It’s a major concern for us that business people are so discouraged from working with a legal services provider that they wait until they get into serious legal trouble before consulting a legal expert,” Burnett said. “We know that by involving a legal expert early on in a potential legal situation, SMEs can usually save time and money resolving the issue.

“That’s why at HM Legal we have worked hard to provide better service to our clients, to reassure them that we are there to help them, not line our pockets. We strive to provide transparent service to our clients to dispel any fear of using legal services and add real value to their business. In fact, our service is designed to proactively protect businesses and business owners.

“Feedback from our customers includes statements such as; “They provide a one-stop shop. The team was approachable and confident, completely taking the anxiety out of legal issues,” which we believe demonstrates the added value of our service-oriented approach, in addition to the quality legal advice from our experienced teams.

This spring, HM Legal launched its six new standards:
Amazing service
No Promise of Prosecution
Fixed costs
A central point of contact
Promise in plain English
Service Level Guarantee

The standards underline HM Legal’s desire to reassure clients that they come first – they offer ‘Legal-eez’ – fixed fee options at a single point of contact to address any concerns.

“The results of this survey confirm why our six new standards are so critical,” added Burnett. “We want customers to know that we are their partner and provide a level of service you would expect from a partner. We know what it’s like to run a small business and we want to make their lives easier and more successful. I tell the team that instead of “bl**dy lawyers”, we want our clients to think of us as “bl**dy brilliant lawyers”.

For more information about HM Legal visit hm-legal.co.uk/painless-legal-services

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