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Top Reasons Why Clients Choose Other Lawyers Over You

Why People Choose Another Lawyer

It doesn’t matter how great of a lawyer you are (or think you are). If you don’t meet your client’s expectations regarding how you handle them and their case, they’re going to drop you like a hot potato and choose another law firm that’s better suited to address their needs.

It could be that you have too many clients on your plate, and you’ve stretched yourself too thin to provide a satisfactory level of service. It could also be that your communication skills are lacking and your client feels neglected.

It could be a lawyer gender issue, and they feel more comfortable retaining a female lawyer for their specific case. Maybe you just didn’t make a good first impression, and they would rather go with a different firm altogether. The point is you’re losing clients.

This article explores the top reasons why clients choose other lawyers over you.

Why Clients Choose Law Firm 101: Lawyer Reviews

Nothing will make you drop your morning cup of coffee faster than scrolling through social media and seeing a negative review about your practice. The reality is – the vast majority of people always do an online search on a potential lawyer before they can even consider retaining them for their case.

If you have less than a four-star average review, chances are, you’re already losing a ton of clients. Staying away from the internet isn’t the solution either. Clients are less likely to hire you if you don’t have an online presence. It makes you look “scammy.”

What you might not be aware of is the fact that clients who’ve had a bad experience at your firm are 50 percent more likely to share it on review sites and social media as opposed to those who were satisfied with the level of service they received.

Here are a few tips to help you correct that:

  • Ask your clients how they heard about you. Did they come across your firm in an online lawyer directory? Did they get a referral from a friend? Did they see a positive online review? If so, where?
  • Ask for feedback in the middle of the case/project. This helps you catch issues and course-correct before they’re blown out of proportion.
  • Once the case/project ends, ask your clients to leave an online review on Yelp, Google, or your preferred lawyer directory. It will increase your firm’s visibility, which, in turn, helps to grow your practice.

Building trust with clients is a foolproof way of getting positive online reviews and referrals. If you treat your clients well, you have nothing to worry about.

Having Too Many Law Specialties

Whether you’re building a law firm from scratch or building on the foundation of an existing one, the one thing you need to carefully consider is its specialization. Tempting as it may be to run a “general” law firm with several different legal practice areas, having a specific area of focus gives you both a referral and marketing advantage.

Being the best at what you do and building a solid reputation around that specialty makes it easy to land new clients. When choosing a lawyer to handle their legal issues, clients are more likely to go with a firm with technical experts in a particular domain compared to one without.

If you’re looking to build a loyal and consistent client portfolio for your practice, specializing in one area is the way to do it. For instance, if you build a sterling reputation as a black civil rights lawyer, you’ll likely attract African-American clients who’ve faced racial discrimination and prejudices from law enforcement or other government agencies.

If you build a reputation for being the best criminal lawyer in your state, you’ll attract clients looking for a solid defense to fight the charges leveled against them. Specialty practices grow to become quite profitable in the long run.

Lawyer Gender

In a Harris Poll that surveyed more than 2,000 adults, 71 percent of the respondents indicated that they would feel more comfortable interacting with a female lawyer. However, if asked to choose which lawyer gender they would want to handle their case, 53 percent stated that they would prefer a male lawyer instead.

Another study by Acritas revealed that gender-diverse teams outperform their single-gender counterparts significantly. While having a gender diverse team in your practice will certainly enhance performance, certain specialty firms may benefit from having a lawyer or partner of a specific gender.

For instance, in family law, male lawyers representing male clients in child custody, child support, or divorce matters would appear harsh to those in the gallery when they launch an attack on the former spouse, even though they’re just doing their job. It makes the male client appear like a bully.

The same questions asked by a female attorney, on the other hand, would likely work in the male client’s favor. Not having the right mix of male and female attorneys in your firm could be one reason why prospective clients choose other lawyers over you.

Attorney Language

If you’ve carved out a niche for yourself in the legal landscape and want to build a reputation centered on representing minority groups that may not be fluent in English, you need to have bilingual or multilingual attorneys on your team.

If you’re an immigration lawyer, for instance, a large chunk of your client base will be of Mexican origin. If your firm doesn’t have a Spanish speaking attorney, you’re likely losing clients to other firms with bi/multilingual lawyers.

Stop Leaving Money on the Table

Building trust with clients, developing a niche, ensuring you have an optimal mix of male and female attorneys, and breaking down the language barrier between you and prospective clients is how you avoid losing them to other firms. Identify your target market and give the people what they want.

If you’re making the mistakes outlined in this article, it’s time to course-correct. Once you do, you’ll notice a significant difference in your firm’s bottom line.

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