Small Law Firms Take the Lead in Marketing

by David E. Danielson on August 6, 2008 · 3 comments

in Legal marketing,Legal News and Trends,Small law firm/solo practice issues

What do small law firms — anywhere from 1 to 20 lawyers — do to drum up new business? Martindale-Hubbell has been asking that question regularly, and the latest data reveal some fascinating trends. At our request, Harris Interactive conducted a survey similar to the ones we did in 2002 and 2005. This gives us a good look at what’s working, what’s changing, and who’s spending what.

What we have learned is supported by our own customers’ product requirements. Like the firms in the survey, our law firm customers are looking for more online web presence, using paid placements and even blogs to get their message out. It is clear that small law firms are at the forefront of creative new marketing tools — coming at the expense of their traditional print spend.

In upcoming posts, I’ll delve deeper into the results from this survey, but two key messages stood out overall:

The smallest firms are the ones that are increasing their spending on marketing. In the past, a solo practitioner or a very small firm might rely simply on directory listings for marketing. Increasingly, these firms are investing in building their reputations and their client lists.

Small law firm marketing is moving away from print and toward the Internet. This can take many forms, including blogs, enhanced directory listings on sites like, and robust law-firm Web sites.

Does this match your perception of the industry? What trends do you see in law-firm marketing?

Full survey results here.

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Theodore Spaulding wrote onOctober 12, 2009 at 9:42 pm

I have found that internet marketing is the most important marketing avenue for small firms. This is because you get the most bang for your buck with the ability to control the amount of money you spend down to the penny in most cases. As always, it depends to a certain degree on what practice area you are trying to promote. Personal injury marketing tends to be very saturated and thus expensive and hard to break into. Business law marketing seems to be much less saturated.

To start, get a very good website that is optimized. Do not sen the site to directories and the like until that is done. Plan on at least a year before Google starts to rank you on organic search ( on the left). Google Adwords is a good place to start getting calls.

Good luck.


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