According to responses from more than 2,500 buyers of legal services, 69 percent say they have referred to a legal directory recommendation before instructing a law firm.
66 percent used Legal 500 to help choose a law firm to instruct, and in 48 percent of cases, it was to find a law firm outside their home jurisdiction.
The findings reveal the versatility of legal directories, and the different ways in which readers use them:
- To look up a ranking of a firm I’m considering working with – 35 percent
- To look up a ranking of a firm I’m instructing – 26 percent
- To look for a specific lawyer – 21 percent
- To look for a firm in a jurisdiction outside of my own – 19 percent
- To look for a specific practice area – 14 percent
- To look for a firm for a specific piece of work in my jurisdiction – 8 percent
In addition to the publishers’ own editorial commentary, lawyer profiles are popular: 74 percent regularly view them on the site.
However, the days of the thick-bound printed volume may end soon: 66 percent of respondents said they preferred to read Legal 500 online; only 31 percent favor the hard copy books.
No readership survey would be complete without some competitor analysis.
72 percent of respondents said they had used other legal directories to the Legal 500 in the past 12 weeks.
When I spoke to Legal 500 publishing director David Burgess about the report, he said that a trend was the increasing use of Legal 500 by in-house procurement departments.
“Procurement departments are hugely influential right now. And they look at Legal 500. Our research indicates that they use the guides to locate and identify the best firms in specialized national practice areas, so they can make recommendations to the lawyers and businesspeople in their companies.”
A number of legal directories and publishers have conducted their own readership surveys in recent years.
Chambers & Partners, for example, has for many years promoted a survey of 20,000 in-house counsel on the front page of its website.
In that survey, when asked: “if you use directories to identify law firms/individuals, which one/s do you use?”, Chambers & Partners received 51 percent of the votes, Legal 500 22 percent, Martindale-Hubbell 14 percent, Practical Law Company 7 percent, and Who’s Who Legal 6 percent.
Another study of clients’ attitudes to legal directories and online lawyer profiles was published by the research agency BTI in 2011.
The survey (The Role of Legal Directories and Online Lawyer Profiles), commissioned by Martindale and Lawyers.com publisher Lexis-Nexis, was based on 2,800 responses and stated that nine out of ten corporate legal staff turn to legal directories.
According to the findings, if choosing to appear in just one legal directory, 71 percent of in‐house counsel and staff recommend a law firm that appears in Martindale‐Hubbell.
Legal 500 News Roundup
- Legal 500 USA 2014 submission guidelines and deadlines now available
- The first edition of The Legal 500 Canada is due to be released in October 2013
- Legal 500 Deutschland 2014 is published in November 2013
- Legal 500 editors will attend the IBA conference in Boston in October 2013, the ACC Annual Congress in Los Angeles in October 2013, and the Marketing Partner Forum in Miami in January 2014
- Nominations for the company’s new Corporate Counsel 100 survey have officially closed, but if you are quick, they may still accept your entry
- The Corporate Counsel 100 above is to go global, and will expand beyond the US in the coming months
- A new global client satisfaction survey is planned for early 2014
- If you fancy becoming a Legal 500 researcher, click here to apply