How Humdrum Legal Issues Can Mean New Business

Pop quiz: What are the three most common legal issues faced by consumers?

Ask the average television viewer this question and they might guess assault, murder and high stakes insurance fraud. As you know, reality is far more prosaic.

In fact, our 2014 U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey revealed that, of the top five legal issues faced by consumers, three were largely transactional in nature. The top ten issues can be found here, but it doesn’t take a close look to see that legal documents dominated the landscape.

Clearly, for a lot of consumers, their legal issues look like a hassle or paperwork, something that they should be able to handle on their own. And in fact, 20 percent of consumers did just that. Another 18 percent elected to research legal information or do-it-yourself products, at least initially. The good news for your firm is that when it comes to the DIY crowd, you’re not out of luck. In fact, many of those researchers eventually did contact an attorney to resolve their issue.

A related curiosity from the same survey revealed that, compared to 2011, consumers rated the importance of their legal issues lower in every category except Wills and Estate Planning. This certainly is related to the age of respondents (41 percent were 55 or older) but could also indicate an increased tolerance for risk. For example, the triumvirate of “DUI/Reckless Driving/Driving without a License” was rated as 21 percent less important than in our 2011 survey.

The trick is getting them to contact you over the competition. To achieve that goal, consider these two conclusions:

  1. Growing your firm’s business may be a case of exploring the right practice areas.
    Like diversifying a stock portfolio, use high-profile (high-risk) cases for big results while maintaining a steady stream of business with legal document preparation. It may be humdrum, but it could carry your firm through the lean years.
  2. Attorneys face an uphill battle when it comes to selling their importance.
    The key to addressing this issue is speaking to consumers’ emotions. By presenting a clear picture of what’s at stake, you could motivate an otherwise indifferent consumer to take action.

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