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Directories Matter: Yes or No?

At his Law Marketing Blog, Larry Bodine offers three good ways to throw away your money: "1. Shoveling bales of cash out of the back of a moving pickup truck; 2. Starting bonfires with wrapped packs of $100 bills; and 3. Buying a listing in a directory of law firms."

At the recent Chief Marketing Officers' Forum in New York, Bodine explains, two speakers -- Peter Columbus, director of business development for Kaye Scholer, and Mark Messing, chief marketing officer of Weil, Gotshal & Manges -- presented research showing that less than 3 percent of corporate counsel use directories to select law firms. Bodine writes:

When Acritas research surveyed in-house lawyers in 2007 about what sources influence their consideration of law firms, none spontaneously mentioned law firm directories. Instead the corporate lawyers said they relied on referrals from companies, personal experience, referrals from colleagues, the reputation of the firm, publications and articles, referrals from outside law firms and referrals from peers.

Overall, three quarters are not at all, or only marginally, influenced by directories in their selection of law firms, according to the research. When Acritas asked, "Do you ever refer to directories when selecting law firms?" the respondents said that less than 3% of work is influenced by directories.

Not surprisingly, one who begs to differ is Laxmi Stebbins Wordham at The Offical Blog of Martindale-Hubbell. Directories do matter, Wordham argues, and the 3 percent statistic is at odds with Martindale's own research.

At Martindale-Hubbell we conduct significant research, both on our own and through third-party companies using blind survey methodology, that indicate a different perspective. The difference in the results largely depends on the specific question asked and the individuals being surveyed. We also track traffic on at the user level based on IP address. Our traffic supports our research that indicates corporate counsel are using on a regular basis as part of their hiring process.

Wordham says that 90 percent of corporate counsel use Martindale-Hubbell when hiring outside counsel and that it is their second most-common method for finding lawyers after personal referrals.

Here's your chance to weigh in. Do directories matter anymore? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on October 16, 2008 at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)


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