First4Lawyers unveils new model to help law firms respond to Civil Liability Act reforms

3 MINS

Qamar Anwar, managing director, December 17, 2019

We are preparing for next year’s Civil Liability Act reforms by unveiling a new lead generation model which guarantees that law firms will only pay for the volume and type of personal injury (PI) enquiries they receive.

It will operate alongside First4Lawyers’ existing panel scheme – for which firms pay a flat monthly marketing fee and receive a fluctuating number of enquiries on a month-by-month basis. In contrast, those choosing the new ‘fee per enquiry’ model will mean the transfer of risk to First4Lawyers, guaranteeing that law firms only pay for the volume and type of enquiries they receive each month.

The two models will run alongside each other while the timeline for implementation of the Civil Liability Act reforms remains uncertain, enabling law firms to decide which one is best suited to their own business. Firms on both the existing model and new ‘fee per enquiry’ model will each receive high-quality leads, pre-screened by the award-winning team at First4Lawyers, generated from multi-million pound TV and online advertising campaigns.

While, under the new scheme, First4Lawyers will still screen the viability of new enquiries and decide whether to transfer to a panel law firm, the caller will be notified that they have to provide the same relevant information to the law firm as there will be no data transferred. Legal advice obtained by First4Lawyers suggests that this zero data transfer approach is the only way that a ‘fee per enquiry’ model can be considered to comply with the LASPO ban on law firms paying a referral fee.

Though there is widespread doubt that the reforms will come into force in April 2020 as planned, First4Lawyers is rolling out its alternative structure now so that firms can be prepared for when they are implemented. The new approach acknowledges that the value of road traffic accident (RTA) claims for firms will be greatly reduced or even removed completely because of the reforms.

As part of its preparations, First4Lawyers is in consultation with its current panel members in planning for the future as a leading legal marketing collective. Adapting to meet their needs and expectations is a key part of this process in exploring other viable collective models to support the efforts of panel firms to operate effectively and profitably under the new rules.

Qamar Anwar, managing director of First4Lawyers, said: “One thing next year’s reforms will not do is stop people being injured. Access to justice is core to our work and we want to ensure that consumers can continue to find lawyers to represent them.

“We are confident in our ability to deliver what legal practices need and First4Lawyers has always adapted to changes in the market in a way that helps the law firms we work with. We recognise how difficult the reforms will make life for many personal injury firms and are committed to working with them to ensure their practices remain viable.

“That means adopting a flexible approach to meet the needs of our panel members and in the first instance, a new, alternative model, that means all of the risk will now rest with F4L. Despite the doubts surrounding the date of implementation, we believe it is prudent for firms and for us to be ready now.”

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