Oh my goodness!  How unfortunate.

You obviously must not be a very good lawyer.  Or just maybe you were smart enough to fend off the snake-oil-directory salesperson.  Sure, some unsophisticated clients may be impressed with your being in the “Best”, “Top”, “Prominent”, “Super”, etc. lawyer directory.  Most clients, particularly corporate clients, don’t care, period.  They want to know what you can do for them.

IMHO  these directories, particularly the “pay-to-play” ones, are worthless.  They are a waste of valuable marketing dollars. I could go on and on about why, but I won’t.

Reason: I couldn’t begin to put it as well as one of the brightest legal marketing consultants out there has put it.  Ross Fishman of Fishman Marketing has a post today on Attorney at Work entitled “Those Stupid Superlative Directories.”  Not only is it an entertaining piece, but spot on. It is a MUST read.

I simply can’t improve on it.

 

P.S. I got an email from a reporter today asking me to comment on what should be left out of RFPs. Take a WILD guess what one of my suggestions will be.

 

There is an interesting discussion going on over on LinkedIn’s CMO Forum initiated by Heather Suttie about investing in yourself instead of legal directories.  One paragraph that caught my eye:

“Last October—repeating themselves for the sixth year in a row—a panel of General Counsel at a Toronto Legal Marketing Association event said directories are not used to make decisions about whom to approach or hire, and that some of the best lawyers are not found in directories.”

I was prepared to concur after reading Suttie’s post, since I believe most people, especially corporate counsel mostly hire outside law firms through referrals and online sources.

Two years ago, I wrote a post on this blog about not wasting your firm’s money on yellow pages. Sure some people still have no computer and may use them to find a lawyer; but I hold that as a general rule they’re expensive and a waste.  I still believe so.

Were I to argue that legal directories are a waste of money too, I’d be wrong apparently.  After Bob Weiss disagreed with Suttie’s premise, I did some research myself.  A simple search on Google uncovered a summary of a 2011 survey by The BTI Consulting Group, commissioned by LexisNexis, about the Role of Legal Directories and Online Lawyer Profiles.  Since a BTI survey is a more credible indicator than a panel of in-house counsel at an LMA conference or two, I quickly scolded myself on my initial, instinctive reaction (Well, I didn’t scold toooooo much).

So, what did the survey show?  That Martindale-Hubbell and LinkedIn have an important role to play in the hiring of outside counsel, specifically:

  • “77.1% of in-house counsel and staff use a legal directory or online lawyer profile to validate the credentials of a referral
  • “Absence from a legal directory hinders up to 51.4% of clients from hiring a law firm…
  • “LinkedIn and Martindale-Hubbell are the most frequently used resources overall, for any reason…”

I still believe that yellow pages are a waste of money.  Legal Directories?…not so much.