Two out of three solicitors' firms treat their clients badly, a study of 152 firms has revealed. Sixty-seven per cent were guilty of "poor client care", according to the research conducted by a Leeds-based consultancy, Ian Cooper Communications.
Typical examples included keeping clients waiting for appointments, indifference of receptionists and secretaries, and lack of information about the progress of their cases.
The firms called in the consultancy to identify weaknesses in their practices.
Big firms are no better than small ones at client care, says the study. In many, clients waiting in reception areas could overhear staff discussing other clients' confidential affairs. Telephonists often played back answering machine messages in the waiting room.
Lack of communication between departments, solicitors, and support staff led to delays in carrying out work, but the study found a high level of expertise and professionalism in the advice given to clients.