QualitySolicitors is generating around 100,000 leads per month for its member firms, pioneering research into find-a-solicitor type services has revealed, while around a fifth of such businesses have disappeared since 2010.
The report – by legal marketing specialists Marketlaw – looked at 44 services supplying leads to solicitors for general advice, and said they largely fall into six categories: comparison, referral, find-a-lawyer websites, legal brands, legal information sites and legal networking forums.
Personal injury/claims management businesses were excluded from the research, as were other sector-specific services, such as for divorce.
Marketlaw found that “the low barriers to entry for this type of service” led to the high drop-out rate. “A website can be set up in a few days and enthusiastic sales calls can follow,” it noted.
Only five of the businesses disclosed how many leads they currently generate each month: QualitySolicitors (99,200 – an estimate based on current numbers), Right Solicitor (6,500), Contact Law (6,000), Good Lawyer Guide (400) and Wigster (150).
Almost all the services which provided details said their enquiries came exclusively from the web, except for QualitySolicitors (10% from the web), HighStreetLawyer (90%) and Contact Law (90%).
The report said the success of any such service “depends almost entirely on the amount of money or resources” put into marketing. QualitySolicitors revealed that it plans to spend £10m over the year, compared to £1m+ by Contact Law, £960,000 by Wigster, and £250,000 by Find A Legal Specialist – none of the other provided details of marketing spend.
At the same time, the report said: “The lack of a significant budget does not mean the services will not generate profitable enquiries. If the enquiry service offers a solution that fits with a firm’s promotional plans the only way to assess their service is to try it and measure the results.”
“The new enquiry source intermediary market is incredibly dynamic,” said Marketlaw director Alastair Moyes. “On one hand the growth indicates consumers are information hungry. On the other, solicitors now have a real choice on what additional marketing resource they can access. However, they have to think carefully of the implications of working with these services. Working practices will need to change.”
The report said there is a place for enquiry services to augment or fill in gaps for particular types of enquiries. “Also, when a firm is expanding, planning a market entry project in either a new services area or location, these services can assist in that process by providing enquiries quickly at a known or predictable cost.
“Used as part of a planned promotional project, enquiry services offer flexible additional sources of work. When managed and integrated correctly into a solicitors’ firm they can also provide valuable other information and market intelligence.”
- The report is available from the Marketlaw website