The short answer to this has got to be no. Whilst the power brands may have the money to throw at ethics training, software and internal controls, this does not necessarily translate into a happy client experience. The starting point in looking at whether power brands will flourish in terms of compliance and ultimately client experience is to focus on what makes a client’s experience a happy one.
Surely the happiest clients are those who have experienced quality legal advice, from a skilled adviser, whether it comes from a power brand or from the long-established high street solicitor down the road. Communication, approachability and the level of expertise are pivotal in producing a happy client experience and such characteristics may be lacking in a service provided by a corporate power institution.
Of course, cost is also a big issue and those firms which deliver a cost-effective service will ensure clients are satisfied with the service they receive. The power brands may also struggle to deliver a well rounded service in those niche areas of law which require a more personal, intimate solicitor-client relationship. Using my own experiences, one area of law we have developed expertise in is business partnership law, notably partnership disputes. Such clients are often in the midst of a very emotional and stressful dispute and require considerable attention, focus and TLC.
I struggle to see that the corporate brands would deliver the level of personal, knowledgeable service required in such contentious and difficult matters. Also, who is to say smaller firms are less compliant savvy?
There is something to be said for firms which are long-established, with considerable experience in delivering a quality legal service. There is absolutely no reason why such firms, whether large or small, will not have built up efficient systems through experience or otherwise, to ensure successful compliance adherence. In any event, whilst compliance is important, it is only one factor in the big legal picture. The power brands have a lot more to do than merely comply to ensure delivery of a truly quality legal service.