In this year’s Legal Trends Report, Clio focused on how law firms can become antifragile. The antifragile law firm is described as building resiliency into its operations by balancing the needs of its clients, the industry, and their people. We’re going to focus on Clio’s examination of how law firms can prioritize client needs in this article.

What Clients Looks For When Choosing a Law Firm

Clio surveyed over 1000 people to determine what they look for when choosing a lawyer or law firm. Its findings were incredibly interesting!

Reviews Are The Most Important Factor For Law Firm Hireability

Reviews are increasingly important for all businesses – and law firms are not immune to this trend. In fact, Clio’s 2022 Legal Report revealed that client reviews have (by far) the largest impact on hiring decisions.

Obiter’s key takeaway for law firms from this finding is that your firm really should consider how it can boost the number of positive reviews it receives – as well as the quality of the reviews overall. The volume of positive reviews can impact your visibility on Google (and other search engine) maps. Meanwhile, the quality of the content contained in the review can impact your SEO and your hireability.

Location Matters to Clients Choosing a Law Firm

Despite the trend towards online meetings continuing beyond the pandemic, potential clients still prefer for their lawyers to be local. In fact, it tied for second in terms of the most important factors to clients choosing a lawyer.

The report doesn’t dig into why clients prefer local law firms, but it highlights two likely factors contributing to this trend:

  • Clients may still want their lawyers to be close-by, in case they want an in-person meeting at a later date (clients still prefer online meetings); or
  • They prefer lawyers to have knowledge and experience navigating local laws.

We would hazard a guess that it’s also because these law firms are more visible. Search engines prioritize local search results when showing law firms on a map. So, the fact that clients find it easier to find local law firms may also play a role.

Lessons To Learn About Attracting Clients Based on Your Location

Given that clients are more likely to hire a law firm that is local, it makes sense that local SEO is crucial for law firms looking to attract more clients.

Local SEO refers to any actions you can take to make it more likely your law firm will show up on Google Maps – or the maps offered by other search engines – or for searches with ‘specific location intent’. Location-specific intent searches occur when an internet user types queries like “Law firm near me” or “Law firm in Kelowna”.

Addressing Response Time Critical In Attracting Clients, Too

Clio’s 2022 report concludes that firms which are the quickest to respond to potential clients are most likely to earn new business (assuming the response makes a good impression). Response time was tied for second in Clio’s rankings of the important factors for clients choosing a law firm.

The importance of responsiveness also ties into your law firm’s reviews, too. We recently surveyed the Google Reviews of the law firms whose businesses showed on Google Maps when we searched “Law Firm Vancouver”. The number one cause of negative reviews was a lack of responsiveness.

Together, these facts mean that responsiveness presents a huge opportunity for law firms looking to stand out.

Automation Key For Firms Looking To Improve Responsiveness

Helpfully, becoming more responsive doesn’t always place a greater demand on your lawyers’ time resources. There are many automation tools you can leverage to reduce response times and increase the perceived value of your services, with minimal effort.

For instance, you can increase your perceived responsiveness by sending out automated emails to potential clients with answers to common questions. This automated email could easily be the differentiating factor that causes a potential client to hire you over your closest competitor.

Law firms tend to really underestimate the power of answering common questions quickly. Clio’s 2022 report concludes that firms which are the quickest to respond to potential clients are most likely to earn new business.

What the report doesn’t say is that answering these questions can be easily automated. This gap represents a significant opportunity for law firms looking to attract more clients.

Leverage These Opportunities With Obiter Marketing

If your law firm is receiving negative reviews due to poor responsiveness or if you’re not visible on search engines for location-specific searches, Obiter Marketing can help.