A new study about the role of legal directories and online lawyer profiles has shown that 77% of in-house counsel and staff use a legal directory or online lawyer profile to validate the credentials of a referral.
I should also credit Larry Bodine, on whose blog I first came across this.
Some of the other key findings:
- 80% of corporate counsel and staff use online lawyer profile services to identify attorneys in unfamiliar jurisdictions or areas of expertise when a referral is unavailable
- Absence from a legal directory hinders up to 51% of clients from hiring a law firm
The survey makes for interesting reading and underlines the importance of legal directories and online profiles to the legal services buyer.
It also contrasts quite sharply with other similar surveys which have in the past downplayed the influence of legal directories.
Ultimately the results of such surveys depend on who you speak to and what questions you ask – the client community is not homogenous and some buyers of legal services are much more active users of legal directory products than others.
One thing that did surprise me was how strongly Martindale performs.
There is an established view among larger law firms that Martindale is no longer the force it was.
It is true that Martindale’s pre-internet era glory days as the dominant legal directory of the day are gone, and fewer large firms are paying the bumper rates that the company demanded in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
But Martindale clearly still has a significant amount of traction among small and medium-sized firms in the U.S.
As a side note, the legal consultant, Tim Corcoran, who worked for Martindale’s parent company for many years, offers a good analysis here.