A Year in Review: The Legal Industry in 2022

10 minutes to read

As 2022 comes to a close, it’s important to reflect back on the trends, the numbers, and the commonalities that brought the legal industry together over the past year. Now is the perfect time to look back and learn from our mistakes, celebrate our wins, and strategize for the next year and beyond.

Check out some of the most impactful statistics from the legal industry in 2022 — and what they mean for your law firm going forward.

1. There are 1.3 million lawyers in the United States.

As a lawyer, you’ve got some serious competition — about 1.3 million other competitors to be exact. That’s just one lawyer for every 250 people in the country.

How can you expect to stand out when there are so many other lawyers vying for the same clients and cases?

The answer: differentiate your law firm to separate yourself from the pack.

Don’t do what the others are doing. Be authentically you. Tell your story. Make emotional connections with the real people you seek to help. The more authentic you are, the better you can set yourself apart, the more likely you are to attract the cases and clients that you’re after.

2. 81% of clients read reviews before hiring a lawyer.

In today’s world, reviews influence 93 percent of consumers’ decisions across industries — your law firm included.

Social proof is so powerful because potential clients are listening to real consumers, just like them. There’s an inherent trust in impartial sources of information. Why would they give a dishonest review? Reviews allow consumers to make relatively informed decisions in otherwise ambiguous situations.

When it comes to asking for reviews, however, law firm owners are often at a loss. Here are some tips:

  • Publicize your various social media channels and encourage clients to “like” and review your firm. This can be done with signage in your office, automatic emails after consultations, or simply asking them in person if they’d be willing to do so. If you provided the positive experience you know you’re capable of offering, your happy clients will be thrilled at the opportunity to rave about you.
  • Create your own testimonials from real clients. This is different from the social media approach because it resides on your law firm’s website and you can select which ones you display. While a written quote certainly helps, social proof is far more effective when there are accompanying pictures or videos.
  • Offer gift cards, discounts on future services, or send a thank-you note. Consider how valuable the review is to your business and compensate your clients accordingly.

If you didn’t prioritize requesting reviews from your clients in 2022, there’s no time like the present to start.

GCS Praise

3. 85% of legal professionals used some form of software to manage their firms.

We’re living in the 21st century. If you still haven’t fully integrated technology into your practice, you’re falling behind.

If you still need some ideas on where to get started, consider some of these game changing tools:

  • Email automation: These platforms can be used to automate email campaigns and manage your email lists.
  • Graphic design resources: Platforms like Canva can empower your team to create graphics for social media, websites, business cards, and much more — without being a master at Adobe Photoshop.
  • Social media management platforms: There are many options for platforms to automate and schedule your social media posting. They also help you track trends to better resonate with your audience.
  • Freelance marketplaces: If you need graphic designers, copywriters, data managers, or practically any other kind of service your firm may need, there is someone on a freelance marketplace that can do it for you for a fraction of the average cost.
  • Accounting software: There are several accounting systems on the market that are ideal for managing your books. Be sure to do some research on all the available options to determine the best fit for your law firm.

There are project management tools, finance tools, marketing tools, and many other types of software that can help you to save time and money in your law firm. Don’t fear the future — you can do this!

Duana Boswell-Loeschel Case Study

4. 88% of lawyers and managers in law firms and legal departments said it’s challenging to find skilled professionals.

In the U.S. alone, voluntary attrition increased by almost 800,000 in the past year, while involuntary attrition decreased by almost 400,000 during the same period according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — so it’s no wonder that law firms are finding it difficult to find skilled professionals to work for and stay with them.

The best talent wants to work for an organization that is unlike any other. Consider what makes your firm unique, and use that to appeal to skilled potential team members during the hiring process.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the personality of your law firm’s brand, both externally in your marketing and internally for the people who work there?
  • What are the perks and benefits your law firm’s team members can expect to enjoy?
  • Are the compensation and benefits packages up to par?
  • How will this role contribute to your long-term vision or big-picture mission?
  • Why should potential team members want to work for your law firm over any others?

Another important factor in creating a competitive workplace is your law firm’s culture.

Culture is the character and personality of your organization. It’s what makes your business unique, and it matters more than you might think.

INC 5000 announcement

Check out these powerful statistics surrounding culture in the workplace:

  • When searching for a new job, 77% of respondents said they would consider a company’s culture before applying.
  • American millennials are more likely to care about work culture over salary (65%) than those age 45 and older (52%). Similar numbers were found in the U.K. (66% vs. 52%).
  • 89% of adults polled told researchers that it was important for employers to “have a clear mission and purpose.”

Don’t be afraid to show potential team members what makes your firm special. Your market is as competitive as it comes, even when searching for the ideal candidates.

5. 55% of law firms of 10-49 lawyers have a marketing budget, while only 35% of law firms of 2-9 lawyers and 7% of solos have one.

In today’s world, marketing your law firm is essential. How else will people know that your firm exists? How will they know you are the best choice to represent them when they have a legal need? You’ve got to show your potential clients who you are, what you do, and that you do it better than the other firms they might be considering.

Marketing is an investment that is meant to be maximized rather than a cost to be minimized. If you’re experiencing a decline in incoming cases or attracting low-value cases, missing out on high-quality clients, and ready to improve your law firm’s branding, you probably aren’t investing enough in your firm’s marketing efforts.

Your ideal clients can’t hire you if they don’t know you exist.

Your dream team can’t apply to work for you if they don’t know you exist.

You’ve got to invest in marketing.

6. It takes nine or more exposures for a marketing message to be effective.

According to one study, which looked at over 20,000 advertising campaigns in order to understand the relationship between frequency and awareness and persuasion, it takes at least nine exposures to drive purchase intent and brand favorability.

Your target audience sees thousands of ads per day. Yours must stand out.

That’s why effective frequency is so important.

Effective frequency is the number of times a consumer needs to be exposed to an advertising message before the advertiser gets the desired response. It takes what it takes to reach your potential clients; Don’t let them pass you by.

Client Hears of You

7. 37% of firms have a legal blog.

A blog is one of the easiest and most effective ways to market your law firm. Check out just a few of the benefits it provides:

  • It increases your website’s SEO
  • It establishes your firm’s authority
  • It serves as a source to create more content
  • It’s a one-stop-shop for your clients and potential clients to gather information

The benefits of blogging for a law firm are numerous. Studies show that internet users in the US spend 3X more time on blogs than they do on email — but getting started can seem daunting. Writing a blog post can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it, so it’s best to start off small and then work your way up to more complicated topics.

Get the lowdown on how to write the ultimate blog post here.

8. 86% of firms maintain a social media presence.

Finding your followers is one of the most important things you can do as a law firm owner. Spoiler alert: your followers are on social media.

As of now, the average time US adults spend on social media is around eight hours a day. You’ve got to do everything you can to reach those people, connect them with your law firm’s messaging, and lay down the foundation for them to come to you when they need you.

These days, however, making one post on your Facebook business page isn’t going to cut it. You’ve got to be everywhere, all the time, and that comes at a price. The possibility of reaching new clients organically continues to decrease year after year. Paid advertising on social media is the most powerful option thanks to its robust target capabilities, strength of reporting, and low cost of acquisition.

That being said, are you willing to pay to play? The choice is yours.

Social Stack pics

9. 81% of potential clients seek referrals to aid in their hiring decision.

Humans love referrals. We are much more willing to do something if someone else has done it first and then recommends it to us. The same concept applies to your law firm: when your existing clients refer their friends and family to your firm, that automatically opens the door up for new clients — and more revenue.

How do you get referrals? By becoming a world-class organization.

When the clients you serve choose independently to leave positive reviews, share their experience on social media, and tell their friends about your brand — that provides all the evidence that client experience is a competitive advantage.

10. Jobs for lawyers are expected to grow 10% between 2021 and 2031.

With such rapid growth, you can guarantee that there will be many rapid changes to the industry as well. Are you prepared for what’s to come?

Let’s talk about Rule 5.4 and how it’s going to affect your law firm. The rule states that, “Legal services must be provided by a law firm that is owned, managed, and financed exclusively by lawyers.”

But that’s changing. Check out the timeline so far:

2001 — New South Wales, Australia lifts restrictions on non-lawyer firm ownership and investment.

2007 — The UK passes the Legal Services ACT (LSA), allowing for the creation of Alternative Business Structures. This structure allows legal services to be provided alongside other professional services, and owners don’t need legal training.

August 2020 — Arizona eliminates Rule 5.4, allowing for non-lawyer investment and fee-sharing.

Also August 2020 — Utah creates a “regulatory sandbox” pilot program for firms to test alternative business structures.

Florida also recently announced plans to develop their own “sandbox” modeled after Utah’s regulatory changes.

The trend is clear: Non-lawyer firm ownership is coming to the United States — and it may happen sooner than you think.

Over the next 10 years, the legal landscape will undoubtedly look different than it does right now. Can you say you’re truly ready for what’s coming your way?

Crisp Coach can help you. Check out the invaluable tools, insights, and strategies you can potentially learn and use within your own law firm. Apply today.

Join them and see what you’re made of.


Final Thoughts

The legal industry is constantly going through changes, but one thing is certain: the committed law firm owners like you are the ones who keep it alive and thriving. You did it in 2022, and there’s no doubt that you will continue to learn and grow in 2023 and beyond.

If you think you need an extra hand in the upcoming year, Crisp Coach is here to help. Join a closed-door community of the highest-performing law firms and get ready to overcome whatever life decides to throw at you.

Ready for this?