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Consumers 'using internet to find lawyers'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 23/04/14

The internet is good for many things - looking at pictures of cats in order to create a sort of kawaii white noise that distracts you from your intense awareness of mortality; turning every minor twinge in your body into a symptom of some kind of fatal and extremely rare disease; stoking your jealousy of the people you went to school with by allowing you to stalk them on social media platforms.

It's also, increasingly, a good resource for finding the right kind of legal advice.

This isn't an unexpected trend - after all, people review everything from coffee shops to candles online, so why not lawyers?

According to a new survey from FindLaw, 38 per cent of people would be willing to use the internet to help them find legal counsel, while far smaller percentages would consult the local bar association or use the Yellow Pages.

The study - reported by Thomson Reuters - was also carried out in 2005, with major changes recorded over the last eight years.

Previously, only seven per cent of people would have gone online to find the right lawyer for them, with 65 per cent saying they would be most likely to glean the advice of a friend or relative.

Stephen Noel, vice-president for strategic development and audience with Thomson Reuters, said the internet provides a quicker and more thorough alternative to old-fashioned options such as hard-copy directories.

"Friends or relatives may only know a limited number of attorneys and those attorneys may not  specialise in the areas of law where help is needed," he added.

"Users can compare attorneys' credentials and experience, as well as find attorneys that provide free consultations or special services, such as other languages spoken."

As more firms invest in their digital marketing procedures, particularly those companies that are springing up from non-traditional service providers such as the Co-op, this channel seems likely to become more valuable over the coming years.