Understanding the Legal Consumer 2023 - Martindale-Avvo

Understanding the Legal Consumer 2023

Executive Summary

Our annual Understanding the Legal Consumer report concentrates on consumer behavior during the search to hire an attorney. Throughout this white paper, we’ve captured a thorough picture of the legal landscape to help attorneys better understand potential client needs and expectations. These findings are critical to inform a law firm’s strategic decisions, improve communication and service offerings, and enhance potential client intake and satisfaction.

Main Takeaways:

One of the most visible reasons for legal consumers to not hire an attorney: “[they] did not respond.” Since last year’s report, this statistic has doubled: “…50% of people say they made a hiring decision within a week, and 80% of consumers will contact another attorney if they don’t hear back in 48 hours.”
KEY INSIGHT: Sense of urgency is important, but from a consumers’ perspective, it’s more nuanced. If an attorney seems too busy to respond, the impression is that they may not have enough time to successfully take on the prospect’s case.

Online reviews define your firm. Reviews are a cornerstone for building trust and credibility, and contribute significantly to an attorney’s online visibility and reputation. Beyond client acquisition, reviews also offer valuable feedback for improvement, enabling attorneys to enhance their services and demonstrate a commitment to client satisfaction.
KEY INSIGHT: Reviews are crucial; they boost client intake, help your online reputation, and contribute to SEO. Invest in customer satisfaction and positive reviews will follow. Also, a tip — while five star reviews are great, online searchers are a little wary of a perfect score. We recommend that you do the best you can, and don’t worry if your rating isn’t a perfect five.

Recognize the value of an online presence. While nearly all legal consumers read third party ratings and reviews, a whopping 86% of respondents use online resources when handling their legal matter, and 70% dive into online content before deciding to engage with an attorney. This means an attorney’s online presence and engagement with consumers online is of utmost importance in attracting and signing new clients.
KEY INSIGHT: Providing thoughtful, engaging content on your website and legal directories (such as the Avvo Q&A section, for example) expands your reach and has a positive impact on those looking to hire an attorney. Coupled with the Martindale-Avvo Value of Influence, our network delivers content about your firm at the consumer’s point of consideration, including top Google search results.

Since the pandemic, consumer behavior has leaned into digital solutions more than ever before. Consumers now report that they initially use email (by a slight margin over phone calls), while website forms, live chat, and online scheduling are also popular. From there, the majority will then want to meet in-person (~80%) before committing to a hire.
KEY INSIGHT: A perfect storm of generational shifts and post-COVID preference for online interaction has influenced consumer contact methods. More people rely on the internet, so when consumers reach out to businesses, the predominant method is increasingly online. Some consumers still prioritize phone calls and in-person meetings, so it’s important to be flexible – and meet potential clients wherever they are.


This report shows the consumer’s point of view in 2023, offering insights and
guidance for attorneys and firms looking to grow their practice.

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