New Survey Shares Insights for B2B Law Firms and Corporate Attorneys

Image of a computer screen displaying the word "CONTENT" surrounded by various icons like a rocket, light bulb, email, video player, and magnifying glass.

At PaperStreet, we’re always reviewing information from across the internet to be sure that we catch industry insights. Content marketing platform, Passle, did a recent survey that we strongly encourage our law firm clients to read and consider the findings. Though it’s geared mostly towards corporate and B2B law firms, the principles certainly stretch to other attorneys. 

The survey polled 100 general counsel members (GCs) and Chief Legal Officers in the US and the UK to see what they want and need from law firms, web content-wise. In short, general counsels are asking law firms to better provide them with information on a more frequent basis and to do so in a ‘non-lawyer’ way. Specifically, the GCs are asking for overall content improvements to law firm websites to become more informative and analytical in a timely manner. The tips below are our summary of Passle’s information.

A Meager 8% of GCs Thought Law Firms Delivered Enough Timely, Relevant Content

General counsels are counting on law firms to provide them with information. In fact, 100% of the participants said as much. That said, barely any of the GCs felt that the law firms were doing a sufficient job.

The issues reported by the GCs were that the content was not being delivered in a timely way and that the content was too generic. The majority opinion is that GCs are looking for analyses of the legal findings, not just generalized summaries. 

PaperStreet’s Thoughts:

At PaperStreet, we can sound like broken records to our clients when it comes to our blogging recommendations. Our team members simply cannot stress enough how much law firms need to blog to share industry insights. Not only is blogging important for marketing your firm, your potential and existing clients are asking you to provide this information. Lawyers know what to look for more so than GCs in many instances, so it’s time to start providing these individuals with the information that they need.

Further, you can’t rely on a quick summary post for the sake of content. You need to write the content in a way that will actually educate your readers.

Yes, you can send the insights as newsletters, but if you’re looking to attract new clients, they won’t be able to review the information they need if it’s not readily available on your site. 

95% of GCs Review a Law Firm’s Website Before Hiring Them 

In Passle’s survey, general counsel members stressed how much time they spend researching relevant information to their business. As part of their research, GCs review law firm websites. As stated above, attorney sites are viewed as educational tools that are ‘required reading.’

Related to this statistic, 48% of participants would not hire a law firm that didn’t display subject matter expertise. Thus, an uninformative website could result in lost potential clients.

PaperStreet’s Thoughts

Here again, this statistic is not surprising to our team. At PaperStreet, we’re not trying to make a sale when we tell a law firm that their 5+ year old website could be a deterrent to potential clients. The GCs said it themselves: Your website is a reflection of how you do business.

Similarly, when an attorney doesn’t showcase their practice area content, relevant transactions and/or an updated blog, your website simply won’t measure up.

No matter how much your law firm has a sound “word of mouth” reputation, if your website isn’t what potential clients are expecting, you will lose out on those cases. Likewise, a more appealing website from your competitor could pull these clients away.

Over 35% Prefer Information Presented in Non-Traditional Formats

Despite the importance of a law firm’s website, attorneys also have to think outside the box when it comes to the presentation of their legal insights. Podcasts topped the charts in terms of preferences of GCs, with webinars as a close second. Lectures and videos also appeared on the list, thus, indicating that there is room to grow with in-person or non text-based content.

Perhaps hand in hand with this finding, 56% of GCs will request a specific attorney if they’ve reviewed their content. 

PaperStreet’s Thoughts

Though 35% may not seem like an overwhelming majority, there does seem to be interest in having law firms present their information is means other than the written word.

It’s worth noting that as many attorneys do not offer multimedia presentations of legal insights, the lower percentages may simply be the result of the GCs lacking exposure to these mediums.

Accordingly, we encourage our attorneys to first produce enough of the written word for their site. Once the main areas of the site have sufficient content, the site is designed and there is an active blog, law firms should invest in unique multimedia options.

Tools and programs such as a Zoom account and microphone may all a firm needs to start a podcast or webinar. Thus, for a relatively low cost, firms can achieve further opportunities for client conversions. 

Bonus Insight: Don’t Use Legalese on Your Law Firm’s Website

In Passle’s article summarizing their findings, they advised:

Stop thinking of GCs as lawyers and instead approach them as “legally-minded business owners”

Here again, this falls under the basics of content marketing. Web content shouldn’t be written at higher than an 8th grade level. 

When you’re providing your existing or potential clients with insights, news, and findings, don’t dazzle them with jargon. Explain what the GCs need to know and why they need to know it.

Your website needs to be an extension of your law firm and offer helpful information to the public at large. Being helpful is much more important than being showy. 

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