Adam Silver is the principal analyst on the Avvo advanced analytics team. He works on all things data related but is currently focusing on predictive analytics.
Across the Martindale-Avvo network, we are seeing unprecedented increases in visitors browsing our legal resources, asking legal questions and reaching out for legal assistance. We are sharing this data for the first time to help attorneys and the general public understand the economic effects of COVID-19.
Across the U.S., unemployment applications have spiked due to measures in place to prevent disease transmission. This has resulted in an avalanche of users referencing unemployment-related content on the Martindale-Avvo network, comprised of Avvo.com, Nolo.com, Lawyers.com, Martindale.com and dozens of other sites.
Pageviews across employment and labor content rose exponentially between March 15 and March 18. Views stabilized on the weekend (March 20 and 21) but continued to rise through the following week.
How Are Different States Faring in This Crisis?
Many factors, including distribution of industry and employment, population age, local and state policies and hospital system preparedness have all factored into states’ responses to COVID-19. Each state’s unique situation is resulting in different outcomes, which are clearly visible in browsing data from Nolo.com.
In particular, we see large increases in employment & bankruptcy content in states that had a correspondingly large increase in unemployment applications. In states like New Hampshire and Maine, employment law page views increased by more than 2500% (that is not a typo – traffic increased 25-fold in a week). New Hampshire and Maine were also the top two states for unemployment filing increases – initial advance claims for unemployment insurance increased from less than 1000 per week to over 20,000 per week in both states.
States such as Idaho and South Dakota saw massive spikes in traffic but had more limited (though still unprecedented) increases in unemployment. One hypothesis is that these states have unemployment insurance filing processes that are either more difficult (South Dakota has the second-lowest unemployment insurance recipiency rate in the U.S.) or more overburdened.
How Has This Affected People Looking for Legal Help?
These increases are more widespread, but do concentrate in areas such as Maine, Vermont and Nevada. Other states, such as Massachusetts, Texas and Arizona do not have such increases. We believe this is a function of states’ different unemployment insurance systems; it does not directly correlate with increases in unemployment. Instead, it paints a more nuanced picture of where people need legal help in order to navigate unemployment insurance processes. This data provides feedback on each state’s systems for unemployment assistance and can help policymakers and attorneys alike in understanding their communities’ needs.
In the next article, we will feature a more granular analysis of the data down to a county level to understand rural vs. urban divides and asymmetries in the way local governments are dealing with this crisis. Click on your state to see more information.
The correlation is strong (P-Value .024), but the effect is not very strong. This is heavily driven by outliers (Idaho, South Dakota, Hawaii and Vermont). These states had a very low volume of weekly applications prior to this crisis, Now, they are seeing overwhelming demand and are struggling to cope, which seems to lead more users to Martindale-Nolo resources.
Without these outliers, the effect is extremely strong:
This is very strong evidence of the relationship between Martindale-Nolo data and state by state unemployment figures. We are able to quickly identify states with disproportionate unemployment spikes (New Hampshire, Maine, Louisiana, Rhode Island). We are also able to provide granular updates on county and zip code level demand for unemployment insurance as well as real-time feedback on unemployment insurance processes based on requests for legal help.