Is COVID-19 crushing your firm’s client acquisition metrics this year?
While you may think that 2020 has been a bear market for legal services, clients are actually seeking out lawyers more than normal in this COVID-19 environment.
Based on data from Laws 101, demand for lawyers skyrocketed this year compared to years past. And while we’re getting closer to a vaccine and an end to this pandemic, the legal industry is just starting to see the beginning of a surge of lawsuits.
So, if you’re wondering where to focus your law firm’s digital marketing strategy, Laws 101 compiled The Legal Hotlist using this year’s data to identify what legal specialties are in hot demand.
The list examines monthly site traffic and lead conversion data on Laws 101 from January through August 2020 and compares this period to past corresponding year-on-year data in order to determine the highest growth rates by legal practice area and topic.
Taking the top spot for client growth this year is Family Law with nearly 25 times the normal volume of demand compared to prior years! Also notable are the sudden surge in Consumer Law disputes and Bankruptcy claims in just the past two months of July and August, indicating a concerning growth surge in these areas for months to come.
The rest of The Legal Hotlist contains some surprising numbers across legal specialties that aren’t used to experiencing such growth.
(Top growth area: Alimony)
While client interest in divorce increased during the quarantine period, alimony and spousal support issues topped the Family Law practice area with the highest growth rates. August 2020 alone saw a 49x year-on-year (YoY) increase in alimony legal inquiries.
(Top growth area: Deceptive Trade Practices)
The number of consumer law inquiries remained consistent with prior year trends; however, beginning towards the end of June, there was a sudden and massive growth in search for consumer fraud protection lawyers.
(Top growth area: Bad Faith Insurance Claims)
No doubt that insurance companies have been overwhelmed with loss claims this year and denying many of them. Unable to shoulder the financial burden of a claim denial, people are increasingly seeking legal help to file bad faith claims against their insurance companies.
(Top growth area: DUI / DWI)
Criminal offenses saw huge increases this year with DUI / DWI and drug possession offenses topping out the list in client growth at a 32x YoY increase. Other areas that also saw alarmingly high increases in client growth were in domestic violence and rape / sexual assault.
(Top growth area: Police Abuse)
Black Lives Matter took center stage in 2020 leading protests across the country against police brutality. June, July and August saw the sharpest spike in client growth at a 14x YoY increase.
(Top growth area: Commercial Truck Accidents)
Significantly less drivers were on the roads for much of 2020 compared to past years. So, while car accident claims were overall lower than normal, commercial 18-wheeler accidents increased significantly. Wrongful death was also a hot topic and saw a significant increase in client legal queries.
(Top growth area: Wills & Trusts)
COVID-19 brought the issue of estate planning to the forefront of concerns for many Americans. Accordingly, inquiries for wills and trusts attorneys increased more than fourfold when compared to the same period in prior years. Probate inquiries more than doubled as well.
(Top growth area: Chapter 7)
The pandemic introduced the concept of “non-essential businesses” which were forced to remain closed for most of 2020. As a result, Chapter 7 business bankruptcy inquiries soared this year, rising to more than a 6x YoY growth rate.
(Top growth area: Wrongful Termination)
Unemployment rates reached all-time historic highs in 2020 as employers desperately sought to cut costs in order to avoid #8 on this list. So, in the absence of other options, many Americans searched for wrongful termination lawyers to negotiate a severance or dispute the grounds for termination.
(Top growth area: Contracts)
COVID-19 also forced many business owners to revisit their business contracts in order to renegotiate or make alternate arrangements with their suppliers or customers.
Right now, an extremely large swath of America is seeing less income due to job loss or furlough, as more and more businesses have to cut costs or shut down for good. In many cases, income loss is being exacerbated by property loss from devastating natural disasters such as hurricanes and widespread wildfires, as well as loss from civil rights-related violent protests and looting.
Many families have burned through their savings and have taken on substantial debt to survive. Left with few options to replace or supplement lost income and property, Americans are struggling to stay afloat and are seeking legal intervention to help.
Pandemic-related national and state policies continue to change the landscape of the legal industry. Expect that the longer these policies and measures stay in place, the more drastic and longer lasting the impacts on the industry.
Is your law firm seeing much higher or lower client demand than in past years? Share your experience and comment below!
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