A leading market research firm – The Research Intelligence Group – released a study last fall on how legal consumers find lawyers. Other legal marketing and publishing companies have referenced the study, highlighting the fact that 76% of consumers in the United States who sought as lawyer used the Internet. I do not find that fact interesting. I can’t believe 24% DID NOT use the Internet. What did they use?
First, let’s make an important distinction. 76% used the Internet to research their lawyer decision, not necessarily make the decision. In essence, the decision was informed in small or large part, by the Internet.
When I need a service provider, the first thing I do is ask someone I trust. As soon as I get a name, I got to the Internet. Immediately. I would never not. Therefore, I use word of mouth and I use the Internet. If I don’t know someone who knows, I use only the Internet. It’s the greatest research tool ever invented. Why wouldn’t I?
When I need an out of state lawyer, and I don’t know someone specific, I use a particular process. I outlined it here. The Internet is an integral part of it.
Of the 24% of consumers who do not use the Internet, most eventually will. Some small percentage will only use word of mouth. Some miniscule percentage will only use yellow pages (yes, they still exist) or billboard/tv/radio advertising. However, the percentage is decreasing all the time.
The study revealed other interesting facts:
- 60% of adult Internet users have used a lawyer at some time in their life
- A substantial percentage looked for an used lawyer reviews and rating (That’s another topic for another day.)
- Approximately one-third of survey respondents
- Google had more than $50B in revenue over the last 12 months. More than 80% came from Internet search advertising. (Source)