WHAT DO CLIENTS
WANT FROM THEIR LAWYERS?
FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF
This page is being designed to give law students, lawyers-in-training, and other interested persons a simple way to participate in empirical research about "What Clients Want From Their Lawyers." In an important study commissioned by the Law Society of England and Wales Hilary Sommerlad, a senior lecturer in law at Leeds Metropolitan University, interviewed 44 clients of 21 different solicitors in the north of England. Question 16 in the structured interview conducted with each client was: “Have you ever used a solicitor whom you did not like? Was there any particular reason why you did not like them?"
The Effective Lawyer-Client Communication project has adapted Sommerlad's research as follows. To participate in this survey, take the following steps:
1) Contact someone you know personally, such as a family member, friend or neighbor.
2) Ask that person if he or she has been represented in the past by a lawyer and been dissatisfied? Indicate that you do NOT want to know the name of the lawyer or law firm. If the person says no, try contacting another person. If you cannot find anyone after four attempts, stop.
3) If and when you find a person who has been dissatisfied, ask the person why they were dissatisfied. Do not prompt or suggest possible reasons but simply listen and record the response. After giving the person ample time to explain, you may ask "Were there any other reasons?"
4) To fill out the on-line survey form you need to record how many persons you had to call before finding the dissatisfied client. (Record "0" on Question 1 of the form if the client is the first person you contacted). You also need to record the gender and apparent age of the person and the type of case in addition to the cause(s) of dissatisfaction.
5) As soon as possible after completing the interview, come back to this web page to record your survey results. Print a copy of the screen after completing the survey before clicking on "Done >>" to keep a record of the data you entered. After you select "Done >>", the web site will show a page summarizing all the results in your survey group reported to date.
At this point, only one on-line survey form has been posted, for a group of lawyers participating in a training session in Scotland in March. Those participants will have already received an email explaining this web page with the password required to access the on-line survey. We plan to add additional survey groups in the future.
To access the on-line survey form for participants in the D&W Training Session, click here.
If you would like to see a demonstration version of the survey and try it out yourself, click here. If you are asked for a password, use "test" (lower case). Do not enter data from real interviews on this "Test" survey form.
Sommerlad's research has been reported in Hilary Sommerlad, English Perspectives on Quality: The Client-Led Model of Quality – A Third Way?, 33 University of British Columbia Law Review 491, 509-10 (2000) and Hilary Sommerlad & David Wall, Legally Aided Clients and Their Solicitors: Qualitative Perspectives on Quality and Legal Aid 2-6 (Research Study No. 34 The Law Society 2000)