New Data-Driven Report Provides Insight into What Clients Look For in Attorneys

Kelsey Montague Kelsey Montague
Associate Director of Marketing and Public Relations
October 29, 2019

More and more legal professionals want to know what clients want from their attorneys.

What is it that clients value in, and want from, their lawyers? How does a lawyer meet the requirements of their clients? More and more legal professionals want to know what clients want from their attorneys. This information has traditionally been gathered informally and only shared internally within offices that collect client feedback.

To address this gap in our understanding, IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, has partnered with Avvo to create Think Like a Client. This report uses an evidence-based approach to illuminate clients' preferences, needs, and expectations when working with their attorneys, providing valuable and much-needed insight into how lawyers can better serve their clients. 

The findings in this report can serve as a resource to lawyers and assist them in meeting the needs of their clients. The report provides access to first-person accounts of which qualities clients routinely noticed and valued in their attorneys.

IAALS worked with Avvo to obtain nearly 700,000 client reviews, compiled from 2007 to 2017. After applying sampling criteria to obtain a random sample, IAALS ultimately analyzed 2,232 client reviews to paint a picture of what clients value in their lawyers—and the results reveal that clients value so much more than just traditional legal skills.

"The qualitative approach we took with Think Like a Client allowed us to take this initial step in exploring the client perspective without bringing in any of our own assumptions or biases," explains IAALS' senior research analyst, Logan Cornett.

The report breaks down the five most prominent themes that emerged from the analysis of client reviews. Reviewers valued traits in their lawyers such as the timeliness of their responses, integrity and trustworthiness, the ability to offer high-quality legal advice, and their willingness to see a case through from start to finish. The entire report lays out the qualities and skills that, time and again, clients found noteworthy.

"Of course," says Cornett, "every client wants a competent legal advocate, but they want more. Our work on Think Like a Client supports a truth that many in the profession are discovering—that a good lawyer possesses a broad range of legal, professional, and interpersonal abilities."

Think Like a Client is the first step in providing the profession with long-overdue insight into the client's perspective. The information compiled in this report will both show attorneys where they are hitting the mark as well as where there are opportunities to improve.

The full report can be accessed here.

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