Research no longer requires hours of grunt work, pawing through pages or scanning microfilm at a library. Now, consumers can go online to find answers to their basic legal questions before consulting a lawyer.
With the power of the Internet just a click away, you may be surprised by how consumers find legal information online.
Search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing are still the first stop for most legal consumers, but their dominance in the field is waning. Between 2010 and 2011, there was a nearly-ten percent drop in the number of respondents who turned to search engines as their top resource for legal information, according to a FindLaw study. Legal websites, on the other hand, became more popular. The percentage of consumers who turned to online legal resources doubled in the same time period.
Government websites are the most popular web resource for consumers. That's not surprising, given that many consumers' legal questions are about their interactions with the government. For example, if you have a question about how to contest a tax penalty, it makes sense to start your research on the IRS website. Legal information websites -- like FindLaw.com, the leading online legal information provider -- are a close second, while law firm websites round out the top three web resources in the study.
For lawyers, the growing popularity of online legal resources emphasizes the need for a coherent, online marketing plan. That means creating a multimedia presence that converts Internet-browsing into attorney-client relationships. If you need help developing your online presence, Lawyer Marketing professionals can help you build a website and social media strategy to connect your practice with consumers who need expert legal advice.
-- Werner Colangelo, Audience Manager
with Robyn Hagan Cain, FindLaw Audience Team