More than 80% of SMEs say the advice given and information on fees from law firms lacks clarity.
A study by Morton Fraser found medium-sized businesses of between 50-250 employees are less confident than larger companies that they get the clarity they want from law firms.
Just 31% said they always get clear advice and costings compared with 52% of firms with 250-500 employees and 44% of larger companies with over 500 staff.
Chris Harte, CEO of Morton Fraser, said: “This is a wake-up call for our industry. Businesses think that law firms are not yet sufficiently clear about the three most important elements of legal service -advice, language and costs.
“We must do more to break down barriers and improve the quality of communication with clients. It is particularly concerning that so few SMEs feel as though they receive clear advice from law firms, particularly on costs.”
Morton Fraser, which has pledged that none of its clients will pay any fees that weren’t made clear to them in advance, today launches a campaign designed to win over the business community.
It staged a light-hearted stunt in Glasgow which drew comparisons between buying a cup of coffee and buying legal advice, with customers left bemused by a raft of add-ons, quirky coffee types and bizarre costings as they try (and mostly fail) to order coffee at a pop-up coffee van staffed by actors.
Harte added: “Our campaign aims to raise awareness of this important issue. All law firms should be crystal clear on their fees. The clearer we can be about the advice we give, taking a confident stance on important issues, the easier it is for clients to act on our advice.”