A survey of public attitudes towards solicitors

Year: 2008

Researcher: ComsRes

Who we spoke to: 1014 adults who were representative of the population of England and Wales in terms of age, gender, region and social grade

How we spoke to them: By telephone


This survey takes a snapshot of the legal services market across England and Wales from the consumer's perspective. We wanted to find out what people feel and experience when they first start using a solicitor, what they do if something goes wrong, and how much people know about legal services. We also asked for their views about the SRA and the work that we do.

Some key findings

  • 41% of people say that they have used a solicitor in the past five years
  • 21% of those we spoke to had used a solicitor for buying, selling or re-mortgaging property. After this the most frequently used services are:
    • 14% who had used a solicitor for wills or probate matters
    • 5% who had used a solicitor for personal injury services
    • after this the remaining services that people say they have used (in order of frequency) are matrimonial matters, employment claims, criminal defence, civil disputes, and asylum / immigration issues.
  • 83% of people who used a solicitor in the past five years are satisfied with their overall performance. The most satisfied people are those based in Wales.
  • 36% of the general public are unlikely to seek information on a solicitor's professional background before employing them.

What we did with the results

We used the findings to track our progress from 2007 to 2008 and identify where consumer opinions were changing. At the time we were beginning the process of re-designing the SRA's regulatory approach to become outcomes-focused, and this study was used to make sure consumer experiences were a key driver for this work from the outset.