How do clients see NZ’s legal community?

by NZ Lawyer11 May 2016
When it comes to tapping into customer satisfaction, lawyers in New Zealand should be more focused on transparency around fees and charges, according to a new survey by LexisNexis.
NZ Lawyer spoke to Merv Giam, head of marketing & commercial at LexisNexis, to find out more about their most recent report.
The report, What Are Your Customers Really Saying, surveyed personal, potential personal, business and corporate clients to uncover the realities and perceptions of how the public sees the New Zealand legal community.
It benchmarked the New Zealand and UK markets and found that transparency around fees was one area in which New Zealand lawyers performed poorly, Giam said.
“Where the UK market performed really well over New Zealand was in the act of explaining their charging systems.”
However, it seems it is only a select number of law firms which are dragging the country down, the survey found. When looking at current New Zealand clients, eight per cent were very dissatisfied with how the charging system was explained while another eight per cent were fairly dissatisfied.
A matter of perception
The survey also looked into how potential clients viewed the legal community. While most people perceived lawyers in a fairly positive light, there were some negative traits which rose to the surface, Giam noted.
“Nineteen per cent of clients think lawyers are intimidating, 12% believe they’re rich and powerful, and 7% think they’re arrogant,” he said.
This is a matter of perception, he added, something which may have been spurred by recent media coverage about lawyers misusing their powers.
However, once clients come to actually use local lawyers, these negative perceptions usually turn out to be incorrect, Giam said.
“When it comes to the reality where someone has actually procured a service of a lawyer in New Zealand, there’s actually pretty good feedback in terms of some of the descriptions used.”
Qualities provided in the survey included down-to-earth, to-the-point, good listener, friendly, and clear communicator, he added.
Other interesting trends that stemmed from the survey included that:
  • 23% of personal clients find their lawyer professional
  • Corporate clients tend to view lawyers as progressive rather than traditional
  • 41% of business clients were very satisfied that explanations were clear
“We did this research to share this knowledge with the legal community so we can improve the industry as a whole,” Giam said.