The report surveyed 3,027 respondents across the United States and Canada about the criteria that mattered most to them when choosing an attorney. The survey took place during the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine in the United States, but also reflects responses pertaining to legal issues already underway or completed by that time.
Among the biggest takeaways from this year’s survey:
- Cost is a major concern for consumers, who worry about being able to afford the help they need even before they begin searching for an attorney.
- Referrals are no longer the first step in finding an attorney, supplanted by online searches.
- Online client reviews are no longer a “nice-to-have;” rather, they are now a prerequisite to being considered.
- An attorney’s response time to initial inquiries remains critical because consumer anxiety about their legal issue prompts the expectation of a speedy call-back or they’ll move on to another option.
Top client needs
The top legal needs during the survey period, as reported by consumers, began with divorce and separation. Consumers also listed family planning and child custody as a top need, followed by personal injury, estate planning and landlord-tenant issues.
What influences a consumer’s hiring decision?
Respondents surveyed said the responsiveness of a potential attorney was a major factor in their hiring decision. Cost was also named as a deciding factor, with the report finding that free consultations often increase the chances of an attorney being hired. Robust online reviews and client testimonials are also major areas consumers look at when deciding which attorney to hire.
About The Report
Martindale-Avvo surveyed legal consumers in the spring of 2020, gaining insight from 3,027 respondents across the United States and Canada about the criteria that mattered most to them when choosing an attorney. Data Collection Period: 5/20/20 to 6/26/20. This is the second annual Understanding The Legal Consumer report. This year it is under a new name; it was previously known as the Hiring an Attorney report.
The leader in legal marketing, Martindale-Avvo comprises the online legal brands Martindale-Hubbell, Martindale-Nolo, Ngage, and Avvo, and connects attorneys with 25 million consumers monthly.