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October 16, 2008

Lawyer Directories are Proving Worthless

With advertising/marketing dollars scarce you may want to reconsider any paid (and some unpaid) lawyer directories as the return on investment (ROI) is stunningly only 3%.

Larry Bodine, in a post titled " Only 3% of Legal Work is Influenced By Directories" states:

There are three ways that law firms can waste their money:

   1. Shoveling bales of cash out of the back of a moving pickup truck.
   2. Starting bonfires with wrapped packs of $100 bills.
   3. Buying a listing in a directory of law firms.

Speaking at the recent Chief Marketing Officers' Forum in New York, Peter Columbus, the Director of business Development for Kaye Scholer and Mark Messing, Chief Marketing Officer of Weil, Gotshal Manges, presented research showing that directory listings are worthless.

There are now 950 surveys and rankings of law firms, including Martindale-Hubbell, Chambers, Leading Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, 204 Best, Super or Top lists, 175 largest law firm lists, 122 “Rising Star” lists, 103 Diversity-focused surveys and 90 Workplace satisfaction lists, according to research by Jaffe Associates. And all of them generate little to no new business for law firms, Messing said.

Directories are published primarily as profit-making ventures that appeal to lawyer egos, and to help publications increase their readership, according to Columbus.

While one can argue a free legal directory doesn't cost anything...well, if it costs time...or you must update constantly so as not to lose credibility or ranking...my only advice is be wise about the choices you make.  There are better ways for solo practitioners to make their mark and get far better return on their investment of money and/or time.


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Jay Fleischman

Paid legal directories, much like the pay-per-lead services targeted to lawyers, are designed primarily for those lawyers seeking a turnkey solution to their online marketing woes. They are looking for a quick fix to get online, not a comprehensive strategy.

Why? Because lawyers think if they throw money at a problem it will go away overnight. They don't put money into a website or a blog because it doesn't pay off NOW. They don't contribute to Avvo because it doesn't pay off NOW.

So they get sold on the concept of Findlaw or MH or "the flavor of the week" because they're told the site gets a bazillion views an hour. Wowee, they say, I can get a payout NOW!

Wrong-o, folks.

Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. And until these lawyers learn that valuable lesson, the con artists will always have many sheep to fleece.

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