Statistics on how people look for a lawyer

Hands holding a cell phone with a search bar overlaid on top

So, how do people look for a lawyer? In a word: Quickly.

Answering it so briefly, though, isn’t going to help small law firms or solo attorneys do what they really need to do — position themselves in a way that helps them attract new clients. To do that, let’s look at the four most notable conclusions that can be drawn from the Thomson Reuters U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey, a poll of 2,000 adults who had a legal need within the past year. After each, we’ll suggest an actionable step you can take to make sure you’re situating yourself as advantageously as you can.

Legal consumers don’t waste time

Thirty-six percent of respondents said they acted within a week of realizing they had a legal issue, and 24% said they did so within a day. Clearly, legal consumers are comfortable moving like quicksilver. That makes sense—with high-speed internet and smartphones as widely available as they are, there’s no reason to deliberate.

What’s your play? It’s imperative that you give potential clients the tools they need to get in touch with you ASAP. At a very minimum, that means making sure your website has up-to-date information, that it’s mobile-adaptable, and that it has a click-to-call feature.

They enthusiastically turn to legal directories

Of the respondents who used online sources in their search for legal representation, 31% turned to legal directories. In comparison, only 14% looked at digital versions of phone books, like Yellow Pages online. A conclusion that can be drawn from that trio of statistics is that while consumers want streamlined, easy-to-use information, a bare-bones phone book listing doesn’t quite cut it. They seem to appreciate the context (like educational information) legal directories provide and find them to be more trustworthy and reliable.

What’s your play? Legal directory listings are easy to set up, cost-effective to maintain and punch above their weight in turns of return on investment. A listing in one of the four leading legal directories will help put your practice in front of paying customers.

They put stock in reputation

When asked what factors they considered while deciding whom to hire, 47% of respondents said “expertise” and 41% said “recommendations.” Furthermore, of the respondents who used online sources, 35% said they read online reviews. Taken together, these three statistics amply illustrate how much legal consumers value your reputation – especially when it’s encapsulated in a format that’s easy to absorb. That last part is important. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking dense legalese or a regurgitated resume is what consumers want. They’re in the market for bite-sized pieces of information that clue them into whether to trust you.

What’s your play? Building a positive reputation takes a very long time, but there are steps you can take to speed things along. Online tools can help you seamlessly solicit reviews from your clients, thus nurturing the creation of that all-important body of positive feedback.

They find value in social media

One out of every five respondents who used online tools in their search for an attorney consulted social media platforms. It’s safe to presume social media is a valuable tool for people looking for legal help because they can quickly develop a concept of who they might be working with. Clients take it for granted that attorneys are qualified to help them. They don’t want to know about your degree; they want to know about the person who holds it.

What’s your play? You can use social media to tell your own story, rather than just let others tell it for you. If you aren’t sure what to post, creating a blog and then sharing links is an excellent way to offer your prospective clients high-value information that will help them deepen their impression of you.

Now, it isn’t likely that you are equipped to take action on all the recommendations in this post at the same time. In fact, that probably isn’t even necessary. If you’d like help evaluating which tools make the most sense for you and which priority should be your highest, you can book a consultation with your local FindLaw marketing consultant.

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