Findlaw conducted a survey about how people go about finding a lawyer. To nobody’s surprise, the top two answers were the Internet (38%) and referrals (29%). This compares to results of a similar survey they did nine years earlier which found that only 7% used the Internet and 65% asked for referrals.
(If you’re curious, only 4% use the Yellow Pages, compared to 10% in the earlier survey).
So, yes, everything you’ve heard about having an Internet presence is true.
You know my position on this: even if they don’t find you through the Internet, you need a website to showcase your talents so that if they find you through any means, including referrals, they can “check you out” online. This includes YOU sending them to your site.
The survey says nothing about the type of case or engagement, fees, or other criteria. It just says most clients find lawyers through the Internet, but “most” doesn’t mean “best”.
I maintain that the best clients, the ones who pay the biggest fees, ask the fewest questions, and remain loyal over time, come from referrals, not the Internet. Clients who use the Internet to find attorneys tend to be price shoppers, harder to please, and fickle.
You need an Internet presence, and you will get clients that way. But Internet marketing will never replace referral marketing for building a law practice, no matter what the survey says.
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