Millennials, Boomers and Law Firms – Oh My!
The famous KPCB Internet Trends Report was released last month by its author Mary Meeker. The report contains 213 slides of in-depth analysis of global internet trends, macro trends, advertising and e-commerce trends, discussion on the future of data, and re-imagining communication and human-computer interfaces.
It is definitely worth a read for anyone interested in technology or the future of the internet. But even if that doesn’t necessarily describe you, one slide in particular caught my eye because of what it says about attorneys and their future clients.
On the topic of preferred contact method, the shift over the past four generations has been stark.
It’s looking like the era of the telephone is finally coming to an end. Today’s youngest adults show far less affinity for traditional communication channels, preferring Internet/Web Chat and Social Media at twice the level of telephone calls.
Now think about your practice. Which clients generally have both the need for, and ability to afford legal representation? In many cases, that answer skews towards the bottom two rows: Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation. So it makes sense that phone calls are still king for so many law firms.
But change is in the air.
Consider FindLaw’s own 2015 U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey. Completed late last year, the survey’s respondents were primarily 55 or older. But would you have guessed that the second-most represented group was 18-34 year-olds?
Look at the contrast between these two groups in the graphic above. One prefers the telephone to such a degree that nothing else can break into double digits. The other has a more distributed preference, but places telephones at the bottom of their list.
It’s a staggering contrast for most of us to comprehend. You might even find it hard to believe that people could prefer you contact them via Facebook Messenger rather than by telephone. (Especially when they’re reading Facebook on an actual telephone.)
But as any savvy businessperson can tell you, you don’t always have to understand something in order to benefit from it. If you’re running a law firm that hopes to find success with the next generation of clients, it’s time to start thinking beyond the telephone.