Last week I wrote about how the desire to control one’s case is the top reason why many people don’t consider hiring a lawyer. I also explained how, once people do consider hiring a lawyer, cost becomes the primary barrier to following through with that plan.
Most importantly, I debunked the myth that people don’t hire lawyers because lawyers are hated.
So, we now know why people don’t hire lawyers. Why do they?
One legal consumer I recently talked to started his legal journey online, researching information, reading guides and tips, and looking at multiple sites to figure out how to solve his problem. But then he hit a wall. He looked and looked, but the answers weren’t there for him. “I didn’t understand the stuff I was finding,” he said. “It was time to get someone who would understand.” When I asked who that someone was, he said, without hesitation, “A lawyer.”
I talked to many consumers who described the same experience. 56 percent of legal consumers recently surveyed by Avvo said they felt stuck during the course of their case; 42 percent said they felt so stuck that they needed a lawyer to help them get through it. And, according to our research findings, feeling stuck is the No. 1 reason why people seek a lawyer’s help. When it comes down to it, there are some things only a lawyer can do. Think about it: you wouldn’t operate on yourself, would you? Fill your own cavity? Replace the spark plugs in your own car? We all get to a point where it doesn’t matter how smart we are . . .
A lot at stake
Our research also found that a lawyer is necessary when the stakes of a case are high. It’s no surprise, then, that people involved in criminal cases are more likely to hire a lawyer than people with traffic tickets. But many people (61 percent, in fact) going through a divorce also feel the stakes are high, as do people engaged in immigration (51 percent) or small business (48 percent) legal issues. You don’t need to face jail time to take your case seriously.
Lawyers are inevitable
What this boils down to is that we should let the haters hate. It doesn’t matter much. Lawyers are necessary. Sure, some people have the kind of personality that makes them avoid professional help at all costs. Maybe those people cut their own hair. But there’s not much you can do about people like that. And their bangs are probably crooked.
The real challenge isn’t getting people to recognize the value of lawyers. It’s getting them to hire you instead of someone else. In last week’s post, I talked a little about the importance of your professional information, as well as bedside manner, in getting people to hire you. In the next and final installment, I’ll share more consumer data we’ve collected to help you understand what makes potential clients decide to hire you—or go with someone else.