What Do Clients Look For In A Law Firm?

What do clients look for in a law firm when choosing a new solicitor?

What are the most important factors that determine whether to choose law firm A or law firm B when a client is conducting a search for a new law firm.

What do clients look for in a law firm?
Nick Jervis, Solicitor (non-practising)

The good news is, whether you are a commercial solicitor or a more traditional High Street type of firm, the answer is the same.

Commercial solicitors often make the mistake that because they are selling their legal services to businesses it is a completely different sales and marketing process than if selling legal services to individuals.

This is flawed thinking.

I have seen it cost commercial law firms tens of thousands of pounds in new business that could otherwise have gone to them.

Why is it flawed thinking?

Whether you sell legal services to individuals or businesses, you are selling legal services to a human being, an individual or a person.

You are selling to a business owner, a father, a mother, a brother or a sister. You are selling to someone who makes most of their decisions based on emotions, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

If you take all emotion out of the equation and only sell your legal services because you are a business solicitor on bullet points and hard figures, you have my deep, deep condolences.

You will lose more instructions than you win.

Once you understand and accept that ultimately you are selling your services to a human being, and that they will more often than not make that decision based on hard wired emotions, you can really start to understand what clients look for in a law firm.


Perhaps, after my opening musings, it is not surprising that personality is a key factor here.

If you spent the next five minutes looking at your three nearest competitors and reading the content on, for example, their employment law services pages of their website, you would discover that it said pretty much the same thing on each website.

“We have 30+ years of experience, we have acted for big businesses and small businesses, we can represent you at the tribunal, blah blah blah yawn yawn yawn.”

You all have largely the same experience, offer the same services in the same way as the other firms and say exactly the same things.

Your expertise should be a given. Yes, you still have to confirm that you have it, but in addition to this you also have to inject some personality into your copy (text/words).

You have to show that your law firm is different because you understand and make a point of selling the personality of your team.

The clichéd saying “People buy people” is tiresome, but it is absolutely true.

So if it is true, failing to weave any personality into your marketing materials means that when someone is looking for a new law firm to represent them, you will more often than not just be one of the ‘also rans’ rather than the chosen firm.

Professional In Every Way

Another really important consideration when a client is looking for a law firm is to see that you are professional in every way from the moment that they first contact you until the moment that you complete their transaction.

This might seem obvious, but I promise you that as someone who speaks with dozens of solicitors each and every month, very few manage to achieve this.

Your client is choosing a professional service provider, so every touching point of their communications with you must be ‘professional’ and efficient.

How you handle my enquiry at the beginning of the process tells me a lot about how you are going to look after me as a client throughout my transaction.

Therefore, if I call and your telephone rings out without being answered, you lose.

If I only see a mobile telephone number on your website, as an alleged ‘professional’, you lose.

If I call and am greeted by a Rottweiler who demands to know my reference number even though I try and explain that I am a new client, you lose.

If I am cut off during the transfer to the ‘fee earner’, whatever one of those is (my thinking as a client), you lose.

If, when I speak with the fee earner, I can tell that he clearly has something much more important to get back to, then you lose.

If the fee earner dives straight into the legal issues without listening to my concerns as a client, you lose.

There are a plethora of occasions where law firms constantly and consistently let themselves down at the beginning of the process by being wholly unprofessional in their dealing with new client enquiries.

What frustrates me about each of them above, which for the record let me state is exactly what happens in most firms, is that failing at this stage of the process is akin to paying for a first class train ticket every single day and ripping it up.

You have paid for some form of marketing to get the client to the point that they are happy to talk with you, then you decide not to bother to make any effort to win their instruction.

This is absolutely bonkers.

If you have an insatiable appetite for throwing away money, at least give it to a deserving charity.

The points I mention above do not even include many more, such as failing to confirm the conversation by email instantly, failing to send a letter to the client on the same day (remember those), failing to follow up three days later by telephone to ask if there are any further questions, failing to mention all of the other services that you can help your client with and failing to add them to an email marketing database, but they are all equally valid.

If you want to win more instructions from people already getting in touch with you, every touching point with your firm has to be better than it already is.


These are the two main issues to tackle if you want to know what people are looking for in a law firm.

Of course, within them, there are about 20 or 30 issues that you need to address.

However, if you do address them, you will be so much further ahead of your competitors that you will receive many more instructions than they do in their law firms.

Isn’t that a good place to be?

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Thanks David, you are a top man too – it is a real pleasure to work with you 🙂

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