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legal technology itself is just as fragmented as the legal industry as a whole.
First Research, a D&B company merged with Hoovers, sees global legal services as being a $750B industry. That’s a lot of potential IT spending!
Industry-researcher MarketLine, in its Global Legal Services report segments legal services into seven categories:
According to the Program on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School, there are approximately one million lawyers in the United States -- with highly varied estimates coming from the:
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): 760,000 lawyers (earning income from the practice of law)
American Bar Association (ABA) / Martindale-Hubbel: 1,100,000 (all active lawyers)
For IT solution providers that want to target their marketing of legal technology products and services by company size, the same Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession reports:
~35% of U.S. lawyers are in solo practice
~24% of U.S. lawyers are affiliated with law firms
~16% of U.S. lawyers work for government entities
~15% of U.S. lawyers are affiliated with large law firms (AmLaw 50 and NLJ 250)
~8% of U.S. lawyers work in businesses outside of the legal industry
Although what’s often very visible about the legal system happens at the local, state/provincial, or federal level, globalization is definitely a major factor in the legal industry and presents related legal technology challenges and opportunities.
First Research, for example, found that larger firms are expanding their footprint around the globe to capitalize on increasing demand for international legal expertise.
In the U.S. specifically, First Research sees transactions as a key growth driver -- with demand a function of the volume of:
Commercial legal transactions
Civil legal transactions
Civil court cases
Criminal court cases
Again, according to Hoovers, the First Research sister company:
~90% of legal industry revenue comes from the practice of civil law (of which 40% comes from business legal services, 12% from real estate legal services, and 9% from labor-related legal services)
~4% of legal industry revenue comes from the practice of criminal law
An article by Joshua Kubicki, who designs businesses for the legal industry, looked at “6 Reasons the Legal Industry is Ripe for Startup Invasion.” The article discusses some key demand indicators for potential legal technology startup opportunities:
Untapped middle-income demand for more access to legal help
Constrained legal education market
Data analytics “while massive in other commercial markets – is barely existent in the legal sector” (could drive more predictable case outcomes, better measurement of lawyer performance, and more transparency of the legal process)
Inadequate supply of law school graduates that are prepared for “substantial legal work”
Demand for alternate dispute resolution
In Legal Ink Magazine, one of their affiliate partners highlights strong demand in the legal technology space for:
Cloud-based applications and cloud-based storage
Digitizing legal libraries
Mobile devices, especially tablets
Social media marketing
Sally Cane, a legal careers expert for About.com, sees major changes coming in the legal industry with technology that addresses challenges with:
Going green to reduce paper consumption
Expanding into new practice areas
Legal process outsourcing (LPO)
Virtual law practices that allow for better work/life balance
While there are many different platforms for IT solution providers specializing in legal technology to concentrate on, a few of the high demand platform opportunities include:
Calendaring and docketing
Customer relationship management (CRM)
Enterprise content management
Practice management/Practice support
Storage area networks
Time and billing
Trial presentation software
Unified communications (UC)
As recently as five years ago, if your company was an IT solutions provider marketing legal technology, you may have generated market awareness through channels such as:
Exhibiting and speaking at trade shows
Advertising in trade journals
Making cold calls to targeted rented lists
Sending out direct mail to targeted rented lists
However due the rapidly increasing importance of mobile computing, cloud computing, search engines, and social media, the behavior of decision makers has changed drastically.
How many conferences a year do you attend? vs. How many online conferences and webinars do you attend?
How many printed newspapers or printed magazines do you still subscribe to? Or do you get all that news online, mostly via your smartphone and tablet?
When was the last time you clicked on a website banner ad?
When watching a TV program recorded on your DVR when was the last time you watched a commercial?
How many people do you know that have completely opted out of listening to radio advertising by subscribing to satellite radio, a streaming media service, or relevant podcasts?
When was the last time you made a major purchase decision without first doing online research with search engine results or your social networking contacts?
How often do you make a major purchase decision by solely relying on information that you get from a salesperson?
When was the last time you answered your phone, mobile or landline, without checking caller ID?
How often have you wished that there’d be more interruption-based postal mail showing up in your mailbox?
The world has changed. People got fed up with all the “old school” traditional marketing that obnoxiously intruded on their lives. And the technology finally caught up to the point where a quiet little buyer-empowerment revolution has occurred.
The flip side? “Old school” interruption-based marketing doesn’t work nearly as well as it used to -- and it’s going to fade into obscurity before long.
Did you know that 57% of the typical B2B sales cycle is over before a potential client contacts any vendor? (Source: CEB on “Why Solution Selling No Longer Works”)
So, if your company’s legal technology isn’t in that consideration set, your company is either:
(a) not considered at all, or
(b) only contacted at the last minute for a time-wasting “bid” -- because your company is merely seen as an easily interchangeable commodity broker
From the research aggregated by the Program on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School, you can see that the largest numbers of U.S. lawyers are in solo practice.
While nearly all solo practice attorneys will need some form of legal technology products and services, and should be relatively easy to reach with inbound marketing, the smaller the firm generally, other things being equal, the smaller the overall IT budget.
The next size up, the 24% of U.S. lawyers affiliated with other law firms, that aren’t part of either the AmLaw 50 and NLJ 250, may represent the sweet spot of opportunity for legal technology products and services sales. These firms are large enough to have (very) substantial budgets for IT services, but aren’t necessarily employing large in-house IT departments.
But the unless your target market is technophobic lawyers in their 80s and 90s that refuse to use smartphones, tablets, Google, and LinkedIn, the “old school” marketing just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
The message is simple: Your company needs a strong, authoritative, presence in that 57% of the typical B2B sales cycle happens before decision makers contact any vendors. And inbound marketing is the best way for your company to be found and engage with the right potential clients at the right time, so your company can:
Attract the right visitors to its website
Convert visitors to leads
Close sales with new clients
Delight clients for long-term retention
Learn more about how your legal technology-focused IT solution provider company can use proven inbound marketing services to find clients, retain clients, and grow.