Data reveals why you need to be listed in Martindale-Hubbell®
December 29, 2015
Many firms struggle with the cost associated with listing in Martindale-Hubbell®, but there is plenty of data revealing why it makes sense for most firms.
First, let’s talk about the data revealing how outside counsel and c-level executives vet counsel. Then we’ll give you information on actual traffic resulting from your current Martindale listing.
A poll by BTI Consulting, How Clients Hire: The Role of Legal Directories and Online Lawyer Profiles, asked 575 in-house counsel and c-level executives how they vetted counsel in a jurisdiction where they sought new lawyers or in which they had never required representation previously. Unsurprisingly, most all would first ask a lawyer they knew for names of lawyers and/or firms. However, they didn’t just take someone else’s word and contact the lawyer they were urged to hire. After obtaining a referral 77% percent went onto the Internet and used “an online lawyer profile or directory to identify, evaluate or validate credentials of outside counsel,” BTI found.
Where did they go? BTI found that at least yearly 90.4 percent vetted new lawyers/firms using Martindale-Hubbell®, 67.7 percent vetted through LinkedIn®, 41.5 percent via Super Lawyers® (imagine that!), 32.5 percent through Best Lawyers®, 25.3 percent used Chambers®. AVVO® and the Legal 500® picked up the rest.
Fully 50 percent of respondents said firm or lawyer absence from the directories would “hinder” retention. And, 47 percent said an absence from Martindale-Hubbell® would make retention “unlikely”.
If you have a Martindale listing now there is more independent data you should review. What it will likely show is that www.martindale.com andwww.lawyers.com, the two Martindale-owned websites, are creating a regular flow of traffic into your firm’s own website. The total visits created by the Martindale sites likely will be more than any other third-party source, and in our experience it will be by a rather impressive factor. Martindale’s websites arguably are the best-optimized and without question the most-visited in the world by those seeking lawyers. The data to review is “referral traffic” from your own Google Analytics coded into your website. You should also obtain from the Martindale Service Center the reports showing phone calls, their time-date-duration-number-caller, you have received over the months from the Martindale sites. You can readily determine if any Martindale-created calls turned into cases.
In general, we feel law firms that work with institutional clients and get their work solely from general counsel, the Skadden Arps of the world, can afford to ignore Martindale. Smaller firms targeting other lawyers, consumers and the middle market are probably hurting themselves by not listing there.
What is the level of harm for dropping out of Martindale-Hubbell®? You don’t get a solid number of referrals or direct inquiries, by phone and online, you might have otherwise, the effect of which you will never be able to track against the fees saved by not listing.
A lot of people write that Martindale-Hubbell® is unnecessary. Almost universally, they are marketers from or consultants to larger law firms for which this can be an optional tactic.