Fixed-fee billing is now the norm in will-writing

Tuesday, 27 May 2014
Less than 10 per cent of all legal work for ordinary consumers is now billed by the hour, according to new research from the Legal Services Consumer Panel.

Fixed-fee deals are commonest in will writing, where they account for 71 per cent of transactions; and in power of attorney work (65 per cent). However probate work is still billed by the hour in about 20 per cent of transactions.

The most rapid change has come in the field of family law, where fixed-fee deals accounted for just over one in ten transactions in 2012, but nearly half in 2014. The LSCP report speculates that this transformation may have been triggered by Cooperative Legal Services’ entry into the market.

Another significant market trend has appeared in what the LSCP calls ‘unbundling’, where the client and the service provider split the task between them to make the service more affordable. Almost one in five legal transactions involve some degree of unbundling, it says, with probate being one of the fields where this is most common.

  • The research was conducted by YouGov, using a nationally representative sample of 1,896 adults and a second sample of 1,060 people who have used legal services in the last two years.


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