Getting to the bottom of Hispanic clients’ unique legal needs (part 2)
Any law firm or attorney who is interested in reaching the relatively untapped Hispanic community for legal work has to understand the reasons behind their unique legal needs and preferences. Last week we covered why their most prevalent legal needs are different from broader public, the motivations to take legal action quickly, and why their lawyers need to be more competitive. This week we will explore why Hispanic legal consumers tend to rely on their phones, prefer finding legal help online, and don’t necessarily need every communication to be in Spanish.
Why Hispanic legal consumers tend to seek legal help online
What we found: 56% of Hispanics find their attorneys online and 69% prefer using online scheduling tools.
With 42% of their population under the age of 35, it’s no surprise that Hispanics are more comfortable with technology and less reliant on non-digital means of finding information. As Nielsen research shows, 60% of Hispanics were born or grew up in the internet age, versus only 40% of non-Hispanic Whites, making the internet their first resource for just about everything they do. The need for connection to their community, culture, and family networks across long distances is also a major driving force behind Hispanics’ over-indexing usage of the internet.
In keeping with their higher proclivity for technology, Hispanics tilt more toward the usage of digital tools when they search for legal services, reporting much higher satisfaction with online resources used for locating attorneys and scheduling appointments. This is in marked contrast with the general population which still favors offline tools.
Because social media is the most convenient means of connecting with their personal and extended communities, not to mention one of the largest sources for Hispanic-relevant content, social media usage rose substantially in 2021. Today it is the top tool used by Hispanics to search for legal services, followed by search engines and online legal directories like FindLaw.com and Abogado.com.
When it comes to marketing, law firms seeking to connect with Hispanic consumers should be reaching them on the social media platforms where they are actively searching for legal services. As a starting point, we recommend you explore FindLaw’s Spanish-language social media services which help law firms effectively engage Hispanic consumers. Additionally, law firms should leverage search engine marketing and legal directories such as Abogado.com or FindLaw.com. to meet the considerable existing Hispanic demand for legal services online.
Why Hispanic legal consumers rely more on their phones
What we found: 77% of Hispanic legal consumers used a mobile device to research legal services.
Nielsen research shows that Hispanics over-index the U.S. total population by 9% for smartphone ownership, with a whopping 99% of U.S. Hispanic households having wireless phone service. These statistics can be attributed in part to a slightly lower rate of Hispanic computer ownership (7% less) which correlates with lower average income. And Hispanics also lag in broadband subscription rates, with 23% of Hispanics being “smartphone-dependent” when it comes to internet connectivity, as compared to 10% by the general population.
However, Hispanic consumers’ proclivity for smartphones is best explained by the demographic’s avid adoption of all things digital and mobile, particularly when it comes to advancements in social, entertainment, and community-focused tech. Tech-forward attitudes are evident across all generations of U.S. Hispanics, with even those aged 50 and older over-indexing against their non-Hispanic counterparts by 56% as early adopters of new technology. In fact, the majority (83%) report higher satisfaction with the convenience of one mobile device that can do everything, from connecting them with their communities to helping them search for legal services.
Keeping in mind that most Hispanic legal consumers are actively searching for legal services using a mobile device, law firms should ensure their websites are optimized for mobile viewing and implement vertical layouts for their scheduling pages instead of in widescreen. Offering a mobile-friendly user experience is imperative when it comes to attracting Hispanic legal clients online.
Why speaking Spanish is not necessary but helpful
What we found: 48% of Hispanic legal consumers prefer Spanish-language communication.
In the last decade, there has been a reverse trend in the number of Hispanic recent arrivals, which means that among Hispanics living in the United States today, more are born in the U.S. than abroad. This helps to explain why 50% of Hispanic residents reported that they spoke English “very well” according to the 2010 U.S. Census—a number that has continued to inch up year over year.
However, while most Hispanic legal consumers speak English fluently, 48% prefer Spanish-language communication with lawyers. As research from Nielsen shows, 75% of Hispanic households speak Spanish at home, and language remains a central cultural connector for this demographic which actively seeks Spanish-language and bilingual content online, in music, and on television. Even as Hispanic immigration to the United States is decreasing, cultural traditions and Spanish language are still integral parts of the U.S. Hispanic experience, shaping their demand for services that speak to them on their terms.
Implementing a Spanish-language webchat and website content can help facilitate initial consultations and appointment scheduling with new Hispanic clients. And hiring Spanish-speaking staff or an interpreter will also go a long way in helping your law firm retain Spanish-dominant clients and provide them with the best service possible.
Why these insights matter for law firms
Understanding the broad socioeconomic contexts behind Hispanic legal needs and the cultural drives behind their consumer behaviors will help guide the way small law firms approach this demographic as potential clients. Adjusting your own personal approach to client services with empathy and an understanding of the unique cultural nuances will certainly be your key to effectively reach Hispanic legal clients and establish fruitful business relationships in the future.
To learn more about listing on Abogado.com and additional marketing tactics that we recommend for connecting with Hispanic clients, read our new in-depth guide, Increasing opportunity: How law firms can forge strategic connections with Hispanic clients.