Firms aren’t utilising the internet, study finds

A new study has found that a majority of law firms are still in the dark ages when it comes to firm marketing and winning over new business.

Traditional referral networks and personal relationships are still the most used forms of generating new business, but firms may be missing online opportunities, according to a new report conducted by the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association and Julian Midwinter & Associates.

“The markets are changing.  Online disruptors are building their own lead streams from non-traditional sources, customers are increasingly willing to compare and purchase legal services online and most law firms are missing out on this business,” said ALPMA president Andrew Barnes.

According to the survey, only 13 per cent of firms rate their website as effective in lead generation and 50 per cent of firms do not use any kind of paid advertising such as search engine marketing or search engine optimisation.  29 per cent of firms do not have social media accounts.

“There is a significant opportunity for Australasian law firms to work their digital presence much harder, so that it becomes an important source of new business, supplementing and supporting those generated by traditional methods,” said Ms Amy Burton-Bradley, Partner at JMA.

“With so few firms doing online well in Australia and New Zealand, it can be a smart way for firms who really embrace digital to position and differentiate.”

The 2015 ALPMA/JMA Winning Work in a Digital World surveyed the digital marketing and business development strategies of 153 law firms across Australia and New Zealand, finding significant room for improvement.  One finding was that the role of BD and marketing teams within firms is not evolving as quickly as it should be.

ALPMA president Andrew Barnes said that the role of BD and marketing “is changing in many firms already, whilst others prefer to wait or see no immediate need to change because their traditional pipelines continue to provide workflow”.

“Those who have changed are responding to the changing profession, competing with the disruptors and finding new opportunities along the way.  The good ones are doing this and not losing their grip on their existing client base, unless strategically they are choosing to,” he told Australasian Lawyer.

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