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Here’s What Clients Really Want from The Lawyers They Hire

Written by Gary Honold on . Posted in .
Home > Blog > Here’s What Clients Really Want from The Lawyers They Hire

Key takeaways:

  • What do clients want most from their lawyers? It’s more complex than just one aspect but a package of exceptional service and trustworthiness.
  • From client feedback, we can learn what makes a person truly satisfied and what encourages them to refer a client (or even to leave a bad review).
  • While profitability is important for law firm success, legal clients demand high-quality interactions and support from attorneys, and firms must invest in the tools and strategies to build out a positive first impression to achieve this. Array Digital can help with this component.

In the complex and ever-evolving world of legal services, understanding what clients seek most from their lawyers is crucial for the success and reputation of any law firm. These days, many clients choose a lawyer by searching online, so how do you make yourself appealing to potential clients?

This article delves into clients’ core expectations when they turn to legal professionals. Drawing from extensive research, we explore the key attributes that clients prioritize, such as trustworthiness, expertise, clear communication, and cost-effectiveness.

Our analysis will provide valuable insights for lawyers and law firms aiming to exceed their clients’ expectations and foster long-lasting client relationships.

What makes a law firm stand out to someone shopping around?

To answer the question, “What do clients value the most in law firms?” we need to consider why clients choose who they contact with so many available options. Here’s what we know about what matters the most:

  • Transparent pricing: Is it easy to know how much this legal consultation or appointment is going to cost?
  • Online presence: Did you know that 96% of people looking for legal advice start by searching online? People want to research before they ever think of calling.
  • Well-designed website: An attorney with a poorly designed, hard-to-understand, or even legalese-filled site is an instant red flag. Potential clients want an attorney who’s professional and easy to understand.
  • Online booking and added features: Today’s potential clients also want their attorneys accessible to them in a way that works for their needs. That includes being able to book appointments online, chat boxes to answer common questions, and email responses for quick inquiries.

As you consider all of these aspects in light of your own legal practice, do you have gaps to fill? There’s much more to do to complete in the legal market online than just have a basic website with practice areas listed.

example of an online contact form

What helps to seal the deal with new clients?

Now that they’re on your website, how do you get them to move from being a prospect to an actual lead so you can offer legal services?

Provide great communication by:

  • Ensuring quick responses to calls and emails, even if it is just to say that you will follow up shortly
  • Being patient and expressing empathy when talking to clients to make each person’s situation the attorney’s priority
  • Give full attention to the task at hand, and do not be so busy that you cannot give full attention to the client at that moment.

Ensure a positive client experience.

  • Demonstrate that you have helped people in the client’s situation before, indicating, for example, the past settlements you’ve helped previous clients obtain.
  • Qualifications, including SuperLawyers® awards or other recognitions that show that you prioritize client service and outcomes
  • New clients use old client testimonials to get more information about whether they should work with you.

Transparency

  • Clear information about how pricing works is key.
  • Clear pricing about billable hour rates and hourly rates, in general, provides trustworthiness.
  • Law firm clients also expect not to see any hidden fees later – be transparent from the start.
client review showing the importance of transparent pricing

What drives potential clients away?

There are several factors that can impede business development before you can even make an impression on your clients. When a potential client arrives at your site or connects with you, the following unmet client needs are likely to get in the way of your success:

Outdated website

  • A site that takes a long time to load is using too much of your client’s time, and they will move on in seconds.
  • It’s unsatisfying to the eye, either with gimmicks or ads or a lack of any type of personalization that doesn’t help the prospective client feel like they are familiar with the attorney.
  • Hard-to-navigate sites are also problematic, especially if the client cannot find the starting point for getting information from you or cannot determine how to contact your legal business.

Rudeness or the appearance of rudeness

  • No matter their legal issues, clients expect their attorneys to be patient and understanding, and a lack of this will push them to another location
  • Multitasking is a drawback even if you don’t mean it to be (clients want to be your sole focus for the time they have you with them)
  • Being late to appointments or court dates (even with a deep understanding of your client’s problem), being late indicates you don’t value their business

What makes clients recommend your firm to other people?

Google Business Profile 5 star review

In the legal industry, referrals are golden. Getting them is more challenging than ever. If you meet client demands and the client gets what they need, they still may not recommend you. Word-of-mouth recommendations are critical, with an estimated 59% of clients asking their friends and family for referrals when they need a lawyer. What factors contribute, then, to why attorneys actually get recommended?

Quality service

  • Responsiveness to their needs and the predictability of being able to count on an attorney to be there
  • Transparency in what you offer, costs, and expectations
  • Accessibility when they need help and when you are available
  • Efficiency, including how long it takes to complete legal work
  • Cost-effectiveness, good cost-to-value ratio, one of the metrics consumers consider from a personal perspective based on their own perceived experience
  • Feeling seen, which means providing constant, empathetic communication and taking the time to explain complex factors while developing personalized legal solutions
  • Industry knowledge, including specific areas of the legal industry or practice areas
  • Attention to detail, including providing high quality, reliable counsel that doesn’t make the client question if they’ve made the right decision
  • Out-of-the-box solutions – attorneys who are problem solvers and go the extra step to ensure they meet clients’ needs

Ease of experience

  • Referrals are more likely when clients can expect quick communication (it’s hours, not days, to return an email, for example)
  • Online booking, payments, and document signing (in fact, 46% of clients prefer to pay by credit card, and just 20% prefer to pay by check)
  • Flexible payment structure including alternative fee arrangements (with 49% of law firms collecting more revenue when they allow payment plans, it’s critical to offer this)

Relationship building

  • Continued relationship after the case – whether for general counsel needs or just to keep in touch
  • Email newsletters that are client-centric to the client’s specific needs
  • Occasional follow-up calls and emails offer a nice level of brand-building recognition
  • Holiday cards remain an important, simple touch that helps foster client satisfaction and relationships
example of client retention

How a digital marketing agency can help you become a law firm clients want to hire

You’re a managing partner, a law firm owner, or any other party working within the legal industry with concern. Most attorneys will share that all of the above client demands are actually rather reasonable, but putting all of those pieces together and managing the process over time isn’t feasible when you have only so much time to dedicate to these tasks.

The Clio 2023 Legal Trends Report found that 33% of non-billable hours are spent on business development by attorneys. That’s time you could outsource to a marketing agency so you can spend more time with actual billable work.

Our digital marketing agency can alleviate a great deal of the pressure from your shoulders. We do that by providing a customized solution designed to address the areas of gaps in your client experience. Our team can create solutions for the challenges you are facing while also offering our insight and expertise to develop a strategy that positions your firm above the competition.

We can help with:

"Custom strategy. Consistent leads. Learn how we do it." - Array Digital

Why law firms partner with Array Digital

Why do legal departments that are busy working with clients turn to Array Digital for their marketing and website development? It’s because we are different. We listen to your problems, we learn about your law practice, and we apply our highly specialized skills to your firm’s marketing campaigns. This allows us to deliver custom strategies that drive leads on a consistent basis.

Testimonials

“Erik and the Array Digital team are top-notch in the digital marketing spaces, particularly for SEO. Their understanding of Google, the algorithms, and the work involved to get websites ranking on the first page is unparalleled.” — Andrew Z.

“Array Digital has built an awesome website for our law firm and has used SEO to move us to the top of the page on Google. Two of our most recent settlements were for clients who found us on Google, which is a direct result of the great work Array Digital has done for us. They are true professionals who know their stuff!” — James K.

It’s time to become the law firm of your clients’ dreams

What do clients value the most in law firms like your own? Let us take a look at your site and find out what we can do now to enhance lead generation, build your online presence, and improve profitability. Contact Array Digital now by calling 757-333-3021 or fill out the contact form in this link to get specialized support you can rely on.

Written By Gary Honold
I am a digital marketer and SEO manager with 30+ years’ experience driving web traffic, leads, and conversions for clients in highly competitive markets.

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