Morton Fraser: Majority of Scottish SMEs do not get clear advice from law firms

Chris Harte

A new campaign has been launched today designed to highlight the disconnect between Scotland’s law firms and the SME community – the majority of which lack clarity over fees and advice, according to research by Morton Fraser LLP.

The firm’s fly-on-the-wall stunt in Glasgow uses humour to draw 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.

Its research into the relationship between SMEs and legal advisors has revealed that over four-fifths (82 per cent) of Scottish SMEs do not always get clear communication from law firms on their costs and advice.

According to Morton Fraser, medium-sized businesses (between 50-250 employees) are less confident than larger companies in getting the clarity they want from law firms.

Just 31 per cent said they always get clear advice and costings, compared to 52 per cent of firms with 250-500 employees and 44 per cent 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.”

Mr 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.”

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