Why Your Potential Clients Aren’t Contacting You

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Most legal marketing is targeted at people who are looking for a lawyer. Offline or online, we are trying to get people to call us after they have recognized they have a problem a lawyer can help them with, and start looking for one.

But the real problem, according to a 2014 ABA study (pdf) cited by Will Hornsby during his presentation at the 2015 Clio Cloud Conference1, is that many people don’t think that a lawyer can help them or that a lawyer wouldn’t make any difference.

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Note that cost is not the primary deterrent. The primary reason people do not look for a lawyer is either ignorance or bad information. Those people make up a huge chunk of potential clients, too. If you can reach people who have a problem for which they don’t realize there is a legal solution, you could have a lot more clients. Voila!

So how do you do this? Hornsby has a lot of examples, from partnering with the kinds of organizations that do hear from people about the kinds of problems you can solve, to developing apps designed to solve those problems. Give away forms that help with the problem and inform someone about their legal options. Publish blog posts about the issue. Hold clinic or speak at organizations your potential clients tend to approach for help with the problem you can solve. Instead of buying search terms like bankrupcty lawyer, buy search terms like pay off my debt or debt collection harassment.2

The bottom line is to figure out what the clients you’d like to have are doing to solve their problems, and show up to let them know about the legal issue you can help with. Instead of waiting for people to figure out that you can help them, get out there and tell them you can help them.

Standard ethics disclaimer: there are ethical and unethical ways to inform potential clients about problems you help solve. Don’t do the unethical ones.

Featured image: “Business man misses the Target” from Shutterstock.


  1. Disclaimer: Clio wanted me to come to its conference so badly it put me up in a swanky hotel and left popcorn and candy in my room. 

  2. This is a pretty obvious one, and lots of lawyers are already doing it. 

More in this Series: 2015 Clio Cloud Conference

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  • Same results in Washington’s legal needs survey: ignorance of need was a far greater driver than (perceived) cost of lawyers.