The online barrister directory, RateMyBarrister, has rebranded and relaunched as LegalBods.
After starting off as barrister site, solicitors were allowed to join from April 2015.
According to the latest announcement, every lawyer in England and Wales is now listed at LegalBods.
In the same announcement, LegalBods says this about directory client reviews:
“Traditional legal directories allow lawyers to carefully create, control and distort their reviews by only accepting references from nominated persons. How many lawyers have anything but 100% positive reviews? How many firms are able to exhibit endless awards?
In this sea of positive reviews, prospective clients are unable to really gather which lawyers provide the best services for their clients. Not only does this lead to an unappealing decision making process which is distorted by an inherently biased review system, but it contributes to the negative perception of the legal industry as arcane, closed and arrogant.”
This is not entirely accurate.
Of course, with the likes of Chambers and Legal 500, law firms can use the client reference process to direct the researchers towards clients that they believe will say nice things about them.
However, in a confidential phone call with the directories, clients don’t always say what the law firms want them to say, and the traditional directories do receive lots of negative feedback from clients, as well as the positive.
While it is not visible or published, the less favorable feedback informs and influences the rankings and commentary.
Also, the client references supplied by the law firms are not the directories only source of information – they are supplemented by the directories own databases of client references, various other third party sources, the publications’ own editorial judgment, and, of course, the substantive written information in submissions.
That said, I think LegalBods hits upon something, which is that there is room in the market for products that feature direct, unvarnished client quotes rather than the anonymized, unattributed ones that you find in the traditional research directories.
LegalBods says that it receives dozens of client reviews each day, with its lawyer reviews often highlighting areas such as poor pricing, hidden expenses, and a lack of communication.
RateMyBarrister was founded by barrister William Rees in January 2015.
Rees is based at Civitas Law in Cardiff.