Where will more and more of your new clients come from? Would you believe — the coffee shop just around the corner from your office?

All right, it’s not quite that simple. But it’s not far off the mark.

Here’s why: more and more consumers are using mobile devices—smartphones and tablets—to search for attorneys and contact them. In other words, they’re often searching away from their home computers. In fact, nearly one-third of traffic to attorneys’ websites comes from people using their mobile devices. That statistic is one of the many crucial observations discussed in a new white paper from FindLaw. The paper’s title says it all: “Are You Ignoring a Third of Your Firm’s Business Potential? How Local Search and Mobile are Defining the New Consumer.”

The paper notes that more and more consumers are turning to mobile devices to search for attorneys that are located nearby. The paper calls these “local-mobile searches.” And they aren’t just looking, they’re in a mindset to take action and actually contact the attorney. So that consumer at his neighborhood Starbucks isn’t just looking for a personal injury attorney on his iPhone, he’s very prepared to call one.

Local-mobile searches represent a big opportunity for law firms to reach new clients. Unfortunately, most law firms are unprepared to take advantage. For instance, they often don’t have a version of their website that’s optimized for mobile devices. Or they’re not putting together a useful Google business listing. Potential clients will come to your door only if you’ve made it easy for them to find you.

This infographic shows how increasingly pervasive mobile technology is becoming. And the use of mobile devices and local-mobile searches will only grow in the near future:

The white paper makes several other points, including these key observations:

  • Local search results display more prominently on mobile devices than on desktop computers.
  • Mobile device users are “get-it-done” consumers. If they’re looking for a lawyer, they want a law firm’s website to load quickly and have pertinent information like a firm’s phone number and location prominently displayed.
  • Besides a fast-loading mobile website, a law firm needs to optimize it so that it has a better chance of being found in local search results. Offline activities, notably community involvement, also can boost a firm’s search-result position.

You could say that law firms need to think local, act mobile. To get in that mindset, start by reading the white paper and thinking about how that potential client in the coffee shop is interacting with your firm.

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