'More to follow' in whiplash market exodus

Managing director says the challenges look set to continue

'More to follow' in whiplash market exodus

Motor & Fleet

By Terry Gangcuangco

Research from independent legal marketing collective First4Lawyers claims we haven’t seen the end of law firms’ departure from the whiplash market, with more said to be set to jump ship.

According to First4Lawyers, one in four law firms impacted by the whiplash reforms have already left the market, while 19% of those that previously dealt with the fixed tariffs for lower-value road traffic accident cases and the drop in claims numbers expect their work to be unsustainable.

As a sign of resilience, said First4Lawyers, a fifth of law firms are already diversifying into other areas.

“Growth may be the economic buzzword of the moment, but it’s easier said than done across an economy in turmoil and still recovering from the impact of the pandemic,” declared First4Lawyers managing director Qamar Anwar.

“It became an even greater challenge with the introduction of the OIC (Official Injury Claim) portal. Some 70% of firms say it went live before it was ready and there are still problems now, evidenced by the low number of people using it without a lawyer.”

Anwar went on to assert: “With the government seemingly intent on pushing through further reforms, the challenges look set to continue unfortunately. But if PI (personal injury) lawyers have proven nothing else since the waves of change that have hit them since 1999, it is that they are incredibly resilient.”

Meanwhile, of the 100 firms that participated in the study, around 30% are considering a potential merger or acquisition over the next 18 months. Additionally, 43% are likely to invest in technology to drive growth, while 37% are turning to lateral hires to expand. More than half (60%) expect to increase their sales and marketing budget.

“The need to keep existing clients happy to prove to prospective clients that you are the lawyers for them has never been stronger,” added Anwar. “The PI market may be thinning out, but it remains highly competitive, and differentiating yourself remains key.”

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