Scottish solicitors are highly regarded by members of the public, with most being happy to recommend their solicitor to friends and family, the Law Society of Scotland claimed today.

Research carried out by Ipsos MORI for the Society shows that of those who have used a solicitor in the past five years, more than 90% said their own solicitor was either very trustworthy (70%) or fairly trustworthy (27%), with 87% describing solicitors overall as very or fairly trustworthy.

A total of 89% of those polled agreed that their solicitor was an expert in their area of law. The same percentage believed their solicitor had provided good customer service, with 82% saying they would recommend their solicitor to other members of their family or friends.

Asked how satisfied they were with the service provided by their solicitor, 67% replied that they were very satisfied and a further 23% that they were fairly satisfied. A minority said they were fairly dissatisfied (5%) or very dissatisfied (4%), with the main reasons being that the solicitor was not sufficiently knowledgeable, there was a lack of communication or cases took too long to resolve.

Confidence was also expressed in the regulation of solicitors, with 73% saying that they believed a solicitor involved in serious wrongdoing would be prevented from working as a solicitor.

A solicitor or law firm’s reputation and expertise were found to be the most important factors for people looking for legal advice, with 23% of respondents saying reputation of a solicitor or firm was most important and 22% saying a solicitor’s experience or expertise was most important. Just over a tenth of those asked, at 11%, replied that cost was the most important factor.

The findings also showed a rise in the number of people using the internet to find a solicitor, from 26% in 2011 to 34% in 2014. Those using a telephone directory has dropped from 28% to just 12%, reflecting the change in how people source information about local services.

Society President Alistair Morris commented: “Solicitors help people at critical points in their lives and deal with highly confidential and personal matters – whether helping a client buy a new home, arranging a will to provide security for their loved ones, or in more difficult circumstances such as family breakdown or appearing in court.

“It’s important therefore that people can feel confident and have complete trust in their solicitor and count on him or her for expert advice.

“This latest research shows how highly regarded solicitors are by members of the public, with most people agreeing that solicitors work hard for them and help people deal with difficult situations.”

He added: "Overall, the results from the Ipsos MORI research are very positive and we are pleased that our members are so well thought of. However we can never become complacent and we have to recognise that things do go wrong from time to time. In addition to ensuring that we have a strong regulatory system in place, it’s important that we can understand the reasons behind clients' dissatisfaction and what we at the Law Society can do to provide the right support and training to ensure that solicitors offer the advice and services that their clients need, whether they are buying a house, completing a business deal or appearing in court.”