Why Directories Matter

by Laxmi Stebbins Wordham on October 19, 2008 · 0 comments

in Corporate counsel issues

Last month I attended the CMO Conference in New York and attended a presentation by Peter Columbus, the Director of Business Development for Kaye Scholer, and Mark Messing, Chief Marketing Officer of Weil, Gotshal& Manges. The segment was titled “Moving On Up: How to Succeed in the Somewhat Squirrely Business of Directories, Awards, Accolades and League Tables.” The presenters cited statistics from an Acritas study that suggested “less than 3% of legal work is influenced by directories.

I found this statistic surprising. At Martindale-Hubbell we conduct significant research, both on our own and through third-party companies using blind survey methodology, that indicate a different perspective. The difference in the results largely depends on the specific question asked and the individuals being surveyed. We also track traffic on martindale.com at the user level based on IP address. Our traffic supports our research that indicates corporate counsel are using martindale.com on a regular basis as part of their hiring process.

Surveys are useful tools, but typically provide only a snapshot. For example, we know more than 90 percent of corporate counsel use Martindale-Hubbell when hiring outside counsel. We also know, based on our own research that indeed, personal referral is the top method for finding lawyers — but after that, directories come next, and Martindale-Hubbell is the number one directory.

This is supported by a 2007 BTI study that indicates “nearly 80% of Corporate Counsel Turn to Martindale Hubbell: The First Stop in Legal Directories.”

We know law firms and corporate counsel want more than directory listings. That’s why we’ve embarked on an ambitious transformation of Martindale-Hubbell from a print-style directory into an online destination for lawyers that includes robust profiles, peer review ratings, client reviews, fact-based supporting data and Martindale-Hubbell Connected, a professional network for the legal community.

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