Client: The Law Society

'Practice Note made Perfect'

Spinnaker, supported by IRN Research, delivers a significant national qualitative research programme for The Law Society to ensure information provision is supporting members effectively.

Strategic aims

The Law Society needs to know that information, guidance and advice provided to the legal profession supports solicitors to do their jobs effectively and within the law. A key element of this information provision is online Practice Notes: guidance documents on important legal topics, often dealing with complex and highly-regulated areas of law and made available from The Law Society website at no charge. Objectives of the research project were to obtain a clear view of what members expect from The Law Society and understand the value of current Practice Note provision, and to advise and prioritise any changes that need to be made. 

Research project

Eight nationwide focus groups with a total of 61 participants were recruited and convened across England & Wales including solicitors, COLPs and in-house lawyers from a range of years’ PQE, ethnicity, gender and firm size. Focus groups were held in person and actively segmented and recruited to ensure a balanced range of respondents. Each moderated group considered broad questions (sources of information, usage of online and print, areas of legal guidance, views of The Law Society and other information providers) as well the detail around Practice Note content (who are they for, what is the purpose, format, presentation, searchability etc).

The Law Society research team members were able to attend and observe some of the fieldwork sessions enabling first-hand insights. 

Detailed coding and analysis of the extensive findings were undertaken to identify indicative trends and themes, and to inform an interim and a final report. Deliverables included qualitative research findings combined with insightful analysis and recommendations including critical calls to action and strategic priorities in the short and longer term: climate regarding compliance, in-house legal needs, City firm perspective, what are practice notes used for, how best to support the profession.


“I was impressed with a robust presentation based on research done with integrity and an eye for detail as well as an impressive understanding of the wider picture in the legal information market. Jemma and her team did a great job.”

Deputy Head
Regulatory Affairs Team, The Law Society

“Hugely impressed with the organisational efficiency and professional project management of Spinnaker, this was especially needed given such a short timeframe. The brief was exceeded, with an impressive level of detail as well offering as value for money. I’d be more than happy to work with Spinnaker again.”

Technology & Learning Intelligence Officer
Research Unit, The Law Society


The report was submitted on time and on budget to the Board of The Law Society and the results informed decisions as to how to change and improve the Practice Note provision as part of a broader informational support strategy.