New study: COVID-19 Impact on How Consumers Hire Lawyers

covid impact on consumers hiring lawyers

Including important takeaways for improving your visitor conversion rates and generating more cases in 2022.

Has COVID-19 impacted how consumers hire lawyers? According to our most recent consumer study, the answer is yes.

We looked to answer many questions in our research, including if consumers have concerns about in-person meetings because of COVID-19, whether they prefer in-person meetings over remote video meetings, what the most important things are to consumers when looking to hire a lawyer, and more. We also wanted to find out how this varies across different age groups. For law firms, understanding this information is important so you can generate more cases from your website and have more success with your online marketing.

We asked a variety of questions to the 746 participants in this study. Below, we review the ones that provide important takeaways for attorneys and marketers.

Question: Would you prefer to work with a law firm near you that you could initially meet in person or with a law firm that can handle everything 100% remotely?

Respondents were given the option to choose a “law firm near me” or a “law firm that handles everything remotely”. Not surprisingly, the great majority (64%) of consumers said they would prefer to work with a law firm close to them. However, 36% of respondents said they would prefer to work with a law firm that could handle everything remotely, which is a higher number than we expected. This gives us some insight into the changing times.

Bar chart 1

Certainly, this is a combination of consumers being more open to meeting with lawyers remotely in 2021, convenience, and covid concerns. Without question, many more people are more accustomed to meeting with people over Zoom, FaceTime, etc. than ever before.

When analyzing further and looking at how this differs by age groups, we can see 81% of older individuals ages 60+ prefer in-person meetings. On the low end, just 57% of people ages 30-44 preferred in person meetings.

Takeaway: The ability for a law firm to be able to handle a case completely remotely is important to many consumers, especially for those under age 45.  Your website should let visitors know that you have that capability in order to increase visitor conversion rates from visitors who find that important. It could be the difference between a visitor contacting your firm instead of your competitors.

Question: Would you have concerns about meeting your lawyer in person due to COVID-19?

We wanted to find out if COVID concerns would stop people from meeting in person. For most people, the answer to that is no, but most people do have concerns as we can see from the chart below.

bar chart 3

ANSWER CHOICES RESPONSES
Extremely concerned 13.81%
Moderately concerned 16.89%
Somewhat concerned 22.39%
Slightly concerned 16.09%
Not at all concerned 30.83%

Nearly 31% responded that they were not concerned at all, but that leaves 69% that are at least slightly concerned with covid.

Unsurprisingly, the more concerned a person is about meeting in person due to COVID, the more likely they are to prefer meeting with potential firms electronically

Level of Concern In-Person Electronically
Not at all concerned 49% 51%
Slightly concerned 50% 50%
Somewhat concerned 30% 70%
Moderately concerned 22% 78%
Extremely concerned 14% 86%

Digging into our data further, we wanted to see how this varied across age groups. We found that younger people are more concerned about covid than older people.

line chart

Takeaway: Since most people have some level of covid concerns, if you ask potential clients/clients to come in to your office, you may want to add information on your website that explains the precautions your law firm takes in order to keep them safe.  Your intake specialists should also be able able to explain this to concerned prospects. This may contribute to converting more potential clients into actual clients.

Question: If you need to hire a law firm, how would you prefer to communicate with potential firms before making a final decision on which one to hire?

The results to this question were surprising, but perhaps they shouldn’t be considering how ubiquitous video is in people’s lives these days. If you combine Zoom (32.4%) and FaceTime (6.4%), the 39% total is more than the 35.5% that answered “in-person meeting”.

bar chart 4

ANSWER CHOICES RESPONSES
In-Person Meeting 35.52%
Zoom Video Meeting 32.44%
FaceTime or other mobile video chat 6.43%
Email 9.92%
Phone 14.75%
Text 0.94%

The good news here is that this opens up the possibility of working with clients who aren’t necessarily close to your office. In a previous study we conducted in 2017,  89% of consumers had said they would only travel up to 60 miles to visit a lawyer’s office. Today, more consumers are open to working with firms completely remotely than ever before.

Takeaway: Consider displaying prominently on your site that you offer Zoom or other video meetings. This could be a differentiator when it comes to consumers who are shopping around for a lawyer online, resulting in more leads generated for your firm. Additionally, make sure you are set up technically to be able to handle as much as possible remotely (fast Internet, paid Zoom account, EchoSign or DocuSign, etc.), so potential or actual clients have a great remote experience with your firm.

Question: Before contacting a lawyer, would watching a short video (to “meet” the attorneys you would be working with) help you with your decision on whether you should consider hiring that firm?

You’ve most likely heard how important video is to have on your site since it can help improve your website conversion rates. However, this question makes it clear just how important video is to consumers.  More than 84.4% of all respondents answered “yes” to this question.

Bar chart 6

Across all age groups and genders, potential clients overwhelmingly would find a video helpful.

Age Yes, helpful No, not helpful
18-29 89% 11%
30-44 89% 11%
45-60 78% 22%
60+ 76% 24%
overall 84% 16%

If you don’t have a compelling video so potential clients can “meet you”, you are, without a doubt, missing out on cases to law firms who do. Speaking from over a decade of experience producing law firm videos and conducting annual consumer research studies, I can tell you that just having video is not good enough. Your videos need to build trust and confidence in the minds of potential prospects that you are the right law firm to hire. In analyzing thousands of attorney websites every year, I can tell you that most videos do not accomplish that.  Your law firm needs video that connects with potential clients in order to help improve conversion rates of your site visitors. If this is something you need help with, reach out to us for a quote.

Takeaway: Over 84% of consumers would like to see a video about your firm to help them in their decision to hire you. Without video, you are most likely losing potential prospects to competitors that do have video.  Our past studies show that consumers compare multiple law firms (5 on average) before deciding on which one to hire so your video needs to explain why your firm is the right choice. Having compelling video on your site will help improve conversion rates of website visitors.

Questions?

If you are a lawyer or represent a law firm and have any questions about this study, feel free to reach out to us. There are additional questions and answers that were part of this study (further insight into how consumers choose lawyers) that you are not going to want to miss. These will be covered in another post coming soon, so check back or contact us to hear about these insights today. If you are interested in improving your law firm’s marketing in 2022, that’s another good reason to contact us!

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