Facing A Shrinking Divorce Market? You Need A Family Law Survival Guide
In our last post, we noted three remarkable demographic trends:
- People are marrying later
- An increasing percentage of the population isn’t getting married, period
- The divorce rate has been steadily declining in the 21st century
If your firm’s practice is family law, you might need to ask yourself: What do these changes in the marriage and divorce rates mean for your firm? And how might you need to change the way you market your services?
If your family law practice focuses on divorce, in many respects, not much has to change. The insights we offered in this post will still be useful. It includes tips on designing intake forms, writing ad copy and using social media and mobile. It also notes important demographic points—for instance, that two-thirds of all divorces are filed by women.
But as we’ve noted, other demographic factors are muscling their way into the market. But those trends aren’t uniform across the country. As the divorce rate declines, some divorce-centric firms might see a falling-off in business while others may see little or no change.
Still, you’ll want to keep a close watch on your own business. Examine your intake and caseload data to spot developing trends before they become big problems. If the decline in divorce is indeed reflected in your own practice, this would have a couple of implications. The first implication:
You’ll be competing with other firms for a slice of a shrinking pie.
That means you’ll need to get more aggressive with your marketing. And that’s because you’ll need to take market share from your competition.
A more competitive market requires attorneys to pursue new strategies to reach potential clients. We explored this idea in a post about the motor vehicle accident (MVA) “market,” which is undergoing changes similar those impacting divorce. While the number of drivers has increased, the rates of fatalities and nonfatal accident-related injuries have actually gone down. (The reasons? Cars are safer, for one thing.)
That’s good news for drivers. But not for attorneys who’ve built their practice on MVAs.
The same dynamic could be true for family law firms that specialize in divorce. If that’s your firm’s situation, you might need to up your game when it comes to finding clients. That could mean exploring methods like paid lead generation, a renewed emphasis on SEO or more rigorous targeting of the more lucrative subsets of your target audience.
In short, the trends suggest that in order to maintain your current divorce caseload, you’ll need to spend more time and (probably) more money.
Implication Number Two: Think Bigger
If you aren’t able to scrape more business from this barrel or gaining ground on the competition isn’t within your reach, the next step is to consider other kinds of family law services you can provide. Yes, your marketing approach will probably need a revamp. But expanding into new practice areas isn’t an impossible task.
What might those other areas be? That’s a topic we’ll explore in the final post in this series.