How The Bar Standards Board gathered insights on the consumer journey to regulate legal services
June 29th, 2022, Maria Jose Contreras

How The Bar Standards Board gathered insights on the consumer journey to regulate legal services


Understand how consumers make decisions when searching for barristers, and how they respond to different price and service information.


Qualitative and quantitative research to explore the consumer journey in relation to barrister services.


The Bar Standards Board were able to effectively regulate legal services in the public interest.

Business challenge

The Bar Standards Board, a regulation authority for legal services in England and Wales, needed to explore the impact of service information on consumer understanding and decision-making. They wanted to enhance the findings of previous studies on barristers’ price transparency.

Other objectives included testing consumer response to how information is presented, investigating the impact of different approaches on consumer ability to identify cheaper or preferred options, and their confidence in choosing between providers.


In 2018, the Bar Standards Board commissioned YouGov and London Economics to conduct research on their behalf. The qualitative phase involved designing mockup ‘webpages’ detailing information about Chambers services and prices. These mockups were validated in three two-hour online focus groups (with six to eight participants each) with members of the public who had accessed a barrister in the last 24 months.

People were recruited to represent a range of demographics and two to three people were also included from vulnerable audiences. Participants were recruited both via YouGov’s online panel and via an external off-line recruiter.

The focus groups were designed to test possible scenarios and price treatments that were used in the quantitative phase. In total 22 participants took part in the online discussions, which involved a synchronous text-based discussion, moderated by YouGov’s qualitative researchers.

The quantitative research involved a behavioral experiment online with a Nationally Representative sample of around 1,500 participants. The objective was to identify consumers’ preferred presentation of price and service information and to investigate the impact of different approaches.


The qualitative and quantitative research found that:

  • Consumers prefer to use their solicitor’s recommendation when searching for a barrister.
  • Consumers value having readily accessible information on prices and services.
  • Experience is prioritized over price and consumers value testimonials to demonstrate expertise.
  • Information is needed on the implications of regulation and how consumers are protected.
  • The hourly fee pricing model is more transparent than other pricing models.

The research was combined with survey questions, providing richer insights into the reasoning and motivations for decisions made. The survey questions were used to gather information on sociodemographic characteristics, attitudes towards and awareness of legal service providers.

The findings armed The Bar Standard’s Board with accurate and reliable data to inform their understanding of the consumer landscape and ultimately regulate barristers and specialized legal services in England and Wales in the public interest.

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