With the rise of the Internet and new technologies, the figure of the new digital consumer has been forged who handles more information than ever before, has quick and easy access to the opinions and experiences of others, and is exposed to a wider variety of products and services.
All businesses need to reach and engage consumers, and the legal sector is no exception. The future of legal services lies in automating more mechanical tasks, focusing on the real concerns of its clients.
According to a 2015 study on legal consumers, 3 out of 5 consumers are looking for the solution to their legal problem on the Internet. To know what a client is looking for and how they do it, it is necessary to understand the behavior of this new consumer of online legal services.
An informed consumer
Among these new types of legal service users there is no rigid pattern of behavior. What has been observed is that they combine the online and offline method in a strategic process to find the service that best suits their needs. 1 out of 5 legal consumers on the Internet think that by researching on their own they could solve their case just like a lawyer would.
In addition, the Internet has become an easy and fast way for users with legal problems to find the best professional for their case, comparing and reading opinions before and after hiring their lawyer.
For this reason, the online presence of the legal sector is increasingly important to survive and advance in this new digital ecosystem. Thus, this type of consumer fulfills a series of common features such as access to a large amount of legal information, such as guides or articles, which previously only lawyers had access to.
Another feature would be the connectivity through which they are constantly exposed to the opinions of others and, finally, the ease of choosing from a wide variety of legal services and even being able to dispense with a professional for certain matters, something that makes them increasingly demanding.
Use of different online resources
To understand how the new legal consumer resolves their legal issues, we can start by analyzing what they are doing online when they need to meet this need. Most legal consumers are online, which means that, if they previously went directly to a specialist to solve their legal problems, now they first look for the solution of their problems online and then contact a lawyer through the Internet.
Users are looking for online resources, such as specific information or documentation, which, if offered on the websites of the law firms themselves, can be a good way of attracting and retaining clients.
The online resources most valued by this type of consumer are
- Websites with real cases, laws or judicial decisions.
- Official State websites.
- Non official legal resources websites.
- Online directories of lawyers.
- Official consumer websites.
- Webs of legal documents.
- Social networks.
Thus, it is important to bear in mind that this consumer tends to compare experiences on cases similar to his or her own and even opinions on lawyers before contracting, something that over time is expected to increase along with the number of legal users on the network.
The forums and online communities are another of the fundamental sources from which the legal consumer drinks. The importance of reading about cases similar to yours and other users’ experiences helps them know what to expect and how to proceed with their problem. Therefore, it is interesting that lawyers participate in these forums and communities by contributing their knowledge to make themselves known, help solve doubts and thus generate positive comments.
The lawyer as an indispensable part
After analyzing the new consumer of legal products we can conclude that, although this type of user tends to seek more information, compare and solve their legal problems online; lawyers continue to be an indispensable part when seeking help in solving legal problems.
4 out of 10 consumers hire a lawyer at some point in the process when they believe the intervention of a professional is necessary. It must be taken into account that 82% of these consumers do so at the beginning of the process, so it is important to be present where the potential clients are.
This need is prevalent in the majority of complex cases whose resolution requires a detailed study by specialists. The importance, therefore, of a lawyer maintaining an active presence on the Internet is becoming clearer every day, taking into account the behavior of their clients. The digital transformation of law firms and their connectivity will make the new legal consumer feel heard and valued.