Market Research for Law Firms: the Secret to Reaching More Clients

Plenty of law firms are utilising the power of marketing to help them win more clients and retain their current ones. But to create an effective marketing strategy, you first need to conduct thorough market research to inform that strategy.

Market research for law firms informs a deep understanding of who your clients are, your specific niche in the legal market, and what influences the decisions and behaviour of your target clients.

Once you’ve got that, you’ll be able to target a marketing campaign with laser-like efficiency. 

What is market research for law firms?

Market research is the bedrock of your marketing strategy. Conducting market research requires gathering information about your law firm’s client personas and target audience to assess how successful your legal service would be among that group.

Why should law firms conduct market research?

When you conduct market research, you’re meeting your clients where they already are. The digital world is always becoming increasingly more demanding of your client’s time. It’s easy for clients to become overwhelmed with the amount of information at their fingertips. That’s why it’s important for firms to meet a client on their turf. By understanding your client’s problems, pain points, and desired solutions, you can aptly craft your service to naturally appeal to them.

Market research also provides insight into a wide variety of things that impact your bottom line including:

  • Where your target audience and current customers conduct their product or service research
  • Which of your competitors your target audience looks to for information, options, or purchases
  • What’s trending in your industry and in the eyes of your buyer
  • Who makes up your market and what their challenges are
  • What influences purchases and conversions among your target audience 

Forms of market research for law firms

Once you start delving into the wide world of market research, you’ll likely hear about primary and secondary market research. Both forms of market research are essential to the success of your marketing campaign. 

Some marketers like to break down market research into primary and secondary. Some don’t. It’s a matter of preference. No matter how you break down your market research, we want to ensure you’re covering every aspect of this very important process. 

Primary market research

Your primary research is the first-hand information you’ll be acquiring about your legal niche and potential clients. It’s good to have when segmenting your market and establishing your client personas. Primary market research tends to fall into two segments: exploratory and specific research.

Exploratory research is all about potential problems that would be worth tackling as a firm. This will typically be the first step in your market research journey and might involve open-ended interviews or surveys with small numbers of people.

Once you’ve finished your exploratory research, you’ll next want to complete your specific primary research. This stage of your firm’s research is used to explore issues/opportunities that your clients have. These issues can be of any size – what’s important is that they’re issues that your clients are frequently finding frustrating and that your firm can help. 

Secondary market research

Your secondary market research encapsulates every piece of data you have at your firm’s disposal. That could be your sales data, industry trends, or marketer statistics. Any kind of informed data your law firm has is a great basis for your secondary market research. 

Now that you understand that basis of market research for law firms, we’ll be taking you through how to conduct your market research:

Audience awareness

How to conduct market research for law firms

1. Client personas

Before you try to understand how your clients are making their decisions, you have to understand who they are and what makes them tick. Your client personas will tell you this!

A client persona is a fictional profile of your perfect client. They’re typically made up of this information:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Job title
  • Income
  • Hobbies
  • Typical pain point

A client persona is created to help your firm effectively reach your target audience. Once you understand these key components of a potential client, you can better understand how to target them. Your law firm may have multiple client personas to balance as you’ll be targeting multiple different audiences.

2. Specify your persona group

Now that you know who your buyer personas are, use that information to help you identify a group to engage to conduct your market research with — this should be a representative sample of your target customers so you can better understand their actual characteristics, challenges, and buying habits.

The group you identify to engage should also be made of people who recently made a purchase or purposefully decided not to make one. Here are some more guidelines and tips to help you get the right participants for your research. 

3. Define your key competitors

Next, you’ll want to define your key competitors in your area of the legal market. There are plenty of ways other law firms can be a competitor. They might operate in the same niche, offer the same services or operate within the same location. 

From a content standpoint, you might compete with a blog, YouTube channel, or similar publication for inbound website visitors — even though their products don’t overlap with yours at all.

By defining your competitors, you’ll be able to identify how to distinguish your firm and forge a unique strategy to stand out from the crowd.

4. Summarise your research

Once you’ve done all your great market research, it’s important to summarise it into an easy to digest format. Ensure your report is accessible to every individual that requires it. That way, there’ll always be a bank of information to refer to. 

You could keep your information in presentation software like Google Slides or Microsoft Powerpoint, keep it in online software that specialises in market research, or simply list things out in a plain text document.


Market research for law firms can feel like a gigantic task that could eat up valuable service hours. If you’re looking for an expert to take the reigns, contact us today for a free consultation.

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