Strategies for Marketing Your Law Firm to the DIY Crowd

A recent survey of legal consumers revealed that over half (55%) of respondents contacted a legal professional for assistance.  While “over half” sounds good, there is still a large percentage who chose another path. As you look at their decisions, think about the opportunity for growth these individuals represent:

  • 20% handled the situation on their own. This means they filed a form or claim on their own or represented themselves.
  • 18% researched or sought out legal information or products. This mostly took the form of do-it-yourself legal products–online wills are a common example.
  • 16% sought help from friends, family, co-workers or community or charitable groups that offer legal advice (the majority went to friends and family).

The good news is, while they weren’t your clients, they were still legal consumers at some level. By addressing a few key points as you market your law firm, you could potentially win them over in the future.

Stress your expertise and service

Your firm’s messaging should focus on the fact that consumers should take legal issues very seriously. You need to demonstrate the gravity of the issues and how consumers should rely on a lawyer to navigate them through what can be a very complicated process.

Sure, consumers always want to save money. But you also need to communicate that a good lawyer pays for himself or herself many times over throughout the process. This message should be reinforced through your website, your advertising and wherever else you market your firm.

In a legal system that is increasingly complex and always evolving, a lawyer brings years of experience and their knowledge of the law in his or her specialty area—he or she is prepared for the unanticipated. And of course, an attorney also is taken more seriously in court than a self-representing amateur.

Make it clear that clients have a lot to lose

To some, it may seem like an easy thing to use a ready-made form. But your firm’s message should be: There’s too much at stake, and too many unforeseen things could go wrong.

Consumers might not want to spend money, but they don’t want to lose it either. There’s a lot at stake for clients during every legal situation, whether it’s tax implications, credit rating or proceeds from an estate. One of your messages should be something like this: “Do you really want to trust your assets and legacy to a form you found online?”

Legal do-it-yourselfers think all they need to do in most cases is consult a book like “Law for Dummies.” Your marketing shouldn’t imply that only dummies pursue do-it-yourself law. But knowing how many legal consumers pursue their own research, you do need to make a stronger case for your services.

These data in this article comes from the latest U.S Consumer Legal Needs Survey conducted by FindLaw. FindLaw commissioned this research to look at the online consumer legal market and better meet law firms and their customers’ needs. Among other topics, the survey analyzed consumer behavior and trends when it comes to how they research legal issues, search for attorneys and otherwise resolve their legal needs. (FindLaw conducted similar research in 2010 and 2011.)

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