Complying with all of your state bar’s attorney advertising regulations can be difficult enough. But even after you meet that burden, you then have to ask yourself, “who do I even advertise to?” Unless you have an unlimited war chest, you need to develop a data-driven and targeted approach to make the most of your advertising dollars.

This post explores how you can use court data to transition from “carpet bomb” ad campaigns to a data-driven approach more akin to hellfire missiles laser-guided towards your target audiences.

Where Are You With Your Data-Driven Advertising?

For lawyers, knowing litigation trends for your practice area(s) and jurisdiction(s) means you can target ads to populations with growing needs for your services. It also means finding new trending case types to add to your practice if there’s a downward trend in your bread-and-butter cases. You can proactively plan your practice to smooth out future ebbs and flows rather than reacting to changing markets.

Instead of blanketing thousands of magnets or mailers across multiple counties, imagine being able to direct digital ads on Google, Bing, Hulu, and Youtube to consumers in the specific geographical areas (or even neighborhoods!) with the highest concentration and upward trend lines for your chosen case types. With access to court data, you can.

The Age of Big Legal Data

To see the bigger picture and discover litigation trends and case concentrations, you need access to a very large, easily-searchable database with historical court records and data points. You also need to make sure the database you choose has detailed case-type breakdowns to help you accurately target cases in your wheelhouse.

Once you’ve picked your database, it’s time to search for your case type, set your jurisdictional filters, and choose an appropriate range of years (5-10 should be sufficient). Here we’re looking at debt collection cases in California for the years 2008-2017. If you’re a debt defense or collections attorney, this is powerful data and great news.

bar graph california debt collection cases file unicourt lawyerist post
For the overachievers in the room, let’s take this debt collections example a step further. How about overlaying this data with population data to find areas that have higher case concentrations per capita, then mixing in average household debt and income to target the best zip codes for clients needing debt relief? There will invariably be areas with high and areas with low debt relief or bankruptcy needs. Targeting high demand areas saves money and improves ROI.

Legal analytics doesn’t have to be daunting or complex to provide powerful insights and boost business development. If you have basic access to a robust court records database, you can easily develop business intelligence to enhance your advertising efforts. Even without a fancy dashboard, you can replicate what we’ve covered here in a simple spreadsheet if you have the ability to export key data points (case type, date filed, and jurisdiction/location).

With access to court data and legal analytics, attorneys can make the most of their advertising spend and remove the hassle and headache of trying to divine where to target ads without data.

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