The great gap: Sentiment not matching reality for law firms
Global News

Propero logoPropero Partners’ State of the Industry Report has revealed a worrying trend amongst law firms – a gap between sentiment and activity, which is posing a threat to firms’ abilities to evolve and adapt for the future and in-line with clients’ needs.

The second annual State of the Industry Report from digital marketing agency Propero Partners surveyed over 300 senior decision makers in UK-based professional services firms across law, accounting, financial services, IT consultancy and management consultancy. 

One area which is experiencing one of the largest sentiment / reality gaps is advanced technology. The report has revealed that 73 per cent of law firms believe that integrating AI will benefit all firms by 2025, but only 37 per cent have any plans to do so. 

Commenting on these results, Melissa Hernandez, Senior Digital Marketing Executive at Propero Partners said: “The disconnect between what firms recognise to be important and their actual plans is bizarre – despite acknowledging that AI will be significant for firms’ development in the next five years, actually having plans in place to embrace this technology is lacking.”

Also commenting on this report, Tamara Box, Managing Partner, Europe & Middle East for international law firm Reed Smith, said: “Evolution of the legal industry is happening faster now than ever before. Though many will survive, only the fittest—those most capable of adapting, of embracing change—will thrive.”

The gap is also present when it comes to digital marketing, 93 per cent of respondents believe that law firms will need to embrace proactive digital marketing strategies to get ahead in 2018 but the majority are failing to properly embrace this form of marketing.  Email newsletters remain the most popular marketing method amongst law firms, with 65 per cent sending out messages in this way. 


Paid forms of marketing were less commonly used, with under half of respondents utilising paid social (42 per cent), and less than a quarter using web banners/ display advertising (22 per cent). 

However, nearly double the percentage of firms now use paid social advertising compared to the 2017 Report (24 per cent in 2017 vs 42 per cent in 2018).

 “Firms are still struggling to extract maximum value from newer digital marketing methods when they do use them. More education is needed – real opportunities are being lost here and professional services are trailing behind. We see large, hierarchical firms failing to come up with an effective approach to marketing as they struggle to make a decision and end up just treading water. This lack of understanding, coupled with little monitoring of marketing activity, means that firms don’t actually know where their business enquiries are coming from. A good example of this is 60 per cent of all law firms said enquiries came through phone calls. But the likelihood of these calls being cold, and not influenced by any other channels, is unlikely.

“We do see those law firms who spend more on marketing – 68 per cent allocate £20k+ per year – and use a mix of marketing techniques, extract the most effectiveness from the exercise,” said Melissa from Propero Partners.


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