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Clienting: Digital Legal Marketing

Dec 23, 2019

Allison Shields joins Gyi and Kelly to discuss the 2019 ABA Marketing Survey.

We've deemed this episode "Random Acts of Marketing" because that's what the data shows are happening in the majority of small law firms.

Allison C. Shields is the President of Legal Ease Consulting, Inc. where provides practice management, productivity, marketing, business development, and social media coaching and consulting for lawyers and law firms. As a former practicing lawyer, law firm manager and partner herself, Allison understands the unique challenges faced by lawyers today in trying to juggle practicing law, handling clients, and managing and growing their businesses. Allison is also the co-author of the brand-new book, Make LinkedIn Work for You: A Practical Handbook for Lawyers and Other Legal Professionals, now available on

  • Introduction to the survey and survey methods.
  • Marketing Methods in use:
    • The leading channels for marketing across all firm sizes are email (41%), Facebook (30%), and direct mail (19%). 
    • Solos are more likely to use Avvo, with 25% of respondents reporting that they use the platform.
  • What are solos doing for marketing?
    • Solos most often use email (40%), followed by Facebook (26%) and Avvo (25%). 
    • Facebook was the most popular channel for lawyers from firms of 2-9 lawyers at 39%, followed by print at 33%. 
    • In firms of 10-49 lawyers, respondents reported using email most often (47%), followed by print (41%).
  • Law Firm Websites
    • 86% of respondents have a website. 
    • Only 57% of solos have a firm website
    • Over 90% of respondents in all other firm sizes report having a firm website.
  • Who is doing the marketing?
    • 9% of respondents, (60% of solos), said attorneys do the marketing. 
    • 31% of firms overall have internal marketing staff, 17% use outside consultants, and 16% report that administrative staff performs marketing functions for the firm. 
    • 13% of respondents say "no one" is responsible for marketing in their firms, including 30% of solos and 13% of respondents in firms of 2-9 lawyers.
    • in 2019, more solos and firms with 2-9 lawyers report using an outside consultant (34% and 41% respectively) for their firm website than they have reported in previous years. 
      • Larger firms rely more on marketing staff, IT staff, or a firm webmaster for managing their sites. 
      • 30% of all respondents report that their firm uses an outside consultant or agency for search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Website maintenance: 
    • 25% report their website is primarily managed by an outside consultant, 22% are managed by one lawyer within the firm, 18% by marketing staff, 12% by firm IT staff, and 9% by firm administrators. 
    • (51%) and firms with between 2-9 lawyers (34%) were most likely to report that one lawyer was responsible for maintaining the firm’s website, which has remained steady since 2015.
  • What are the agencies doing? - Mostly SEO over Adwords/PPC
    • 7% of all respondents indicated that their firms were using AdWords, but 9% report using an outside consultant or agency for AdWords or pay-per-click advertising (PPC). 
    • 80% of firms are participating in some sort of social media, only 26% use an outside consultant or agency for social media. 
    • 59% of respondents report that their firms do not use a consultant for SEO, AdWords/PPC, or social media.
    • In firms of 2-9 lawyers, 40% of respondents reported using an outside consultant for SEO, 23% for social media, and 15% for AdWords/PPC. 
    • 35% of respondents from firms of 10-49 lawyers reported the use of an outside consultant for SEO, and 32% for social media.
  • How effective is law firm marketing?
    • ANALYTICS: 38% of respondents say they have access to analytics or reports to monitor the effectiveness of their website or blog. 41% do not have such access and 21% do not know.
      • Do agencies provide analytics? only 17% of respondents indicated that they work with external agencies who provide them regular reports on marketing performance. Another 11% use these agencies but do not get regular reports, and 48% do not use an external agency at all. 
    • Lawyers confidence in their marketing efforts was a 2.9 out of 5.
    • Blog effectiveness: 49% have gotten clients as a result of blogging and another 34% do not know whether they have gotten a client or not. 
    • Social media effectiveness: 31% report having gotten clients as a result, 44% say they did not, and 24% did not know.