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Millennials Are a New Breed of Legal Consumers, Requiring New Strategies

Millennials, those 18-to-34-year-olds born after Generation X, are now the largest generation in America. They make up about a quarter of the U.S. population and more than a third of the current workforce. And as Millennials come into their own, they're becoming an increasingly important part of the legal consumer market.

But Millennials aren't your traditional legal consumers, according to a new study by FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing, and they need a marketing approach tailored just to them.

The Children on the Great Recession

If Baby Boomers were shaped by the country's explosive post-WWII growth, Millennials are marked by the Great Recession, the economic downturn of 2007. These young'uns came of age during an era where debts were high and jobs scarce, and that background has impacted their approach to legal services, according to a new report by FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing, "Reaching a New Generation: Tailoring Your Legal Marketing to Millennial Consumers."

Given how different the typical Millennial's upbringing was from, say, the typical Baby Boomer's, it's no surprise that Millennials have vastly different habits when it comes to searching for and evaluating legal options. From a desire for immediate gratification to an initial reluctance to pay for legal help, Millennials don't always respond to the traditional marketing strategies firms have long employed.

Reaching Tomorrow's Legal Clientele, Today

FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey joined together to see just how different Millennials were, when it came to their legal needs. Surveying 2,000 consumers, the study found that Millennials have some significant differences from other generations.

Here's how Millennials stood out. First, they often didn't consider attorneys as their go-to option when handling a legal issue. Less than half of them contacted an attorney first thing when facing legal issues, compared to 72 percent of consumers generally. They're also more inclined to take a DIY approach to handling their issues, say by downloading online forms.

Millennials are also more likely to do their research. More than half of Millennials surveyed contacted more than one attorney before picking a lawyer. A lot of their research happens online: Millennials were almost twice as likely to turn to the internet to find an attorney, focusing on lawyers' social media as well as their websites.

All of this requires a new approach for lawyers wanting to reach a Millennial clientele. Attorneys could supplement their traditional marketing strategies with a strong social media presence, for example, or offer DIY options as a pathway to future legal services.

One thing is certain, though: The strategy that worked with Boomers will need to be updated for today's new legal consumers.

For more insight into marketing to Millennials, download FindLaw's study here.

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