Why People DON’T Call Lawyers

by David Rumsey | February 19, 2015

To a bunch of direct-response advertisers like us, there’s no sweeter sound than that of a ringing phone. When our clients are getting calls, it means our commercials are working, and people are getting the legal help they need.

To make sure we’re producing every call we can, we’ve spent thousands of collective hours honing our understanding of why accident victims call lawyers. So we were pretty excited when Mr. Carter Mario of Connecticut hipped us to an ongoing blawgosphere discussion about the opposite, but equally relevant topic:  why people DON’T call lawyers.

True to the spirit of the cj Advertising family, when we get a hold of something good, we’re always happy to share. Relax. It has nothing to do with a negative perception of lawyers. Read on.

It always starts with a study…

This discussion took off after the American Bar Foundation published “Accessing Justice in the Contemporary USA,” a report that studies why people do not seek “assistance from a third party” in “civil justice situations.”

In this context, civil justice situations are defined as conflicts involving “money, debt, housing, insurance, employment, government benefits, children’s education, clinical negligence, personal injury, and relationship breakdown.” And third parties would include someone outside a respondent’s immediate social network, “such as a lawyer, social worker, police officer, city agency, religious leader or elected official.”

According to the survey, here’s what randomly selected participants in a medium-sized Midwestern city did when faced with qualifying civil justice situations:

Ignore the numbers. Read the content.

Don’t dwell too long on the numbers themselves. As I said above, this survey does not focus solely on personal injury cases, but rather includes a broad swath of situations that MIGHT require outside help. Also, the survey clearly states that personal injury victims actually do seek third-party help more often than any other group (Probably due to good advertising. You’re welcome).

Furthermore, it’s safe to say that there would be a clear divergence of response patterns between your typical car accident victim and let’s say… a guy who got dumped by his live-in girlfriend.

What I DO find relevant for our purpose are the types of actions the respondents took and the reasons they gave for not getting help.

Check this out.

What’s really cool is that these sentiments mirror the messages contained in some our more effective spots and echo the thousands of discussions we’ve had over the years with lawyers, intake personnel, and actual accident victims. Messages such as you can’t afford to do nothing, don’t know a lawyer, we take care of everything, don’t go it alone, and don’t give up are peppered throughout our ads.

Again, just like with the previous chart, don’t fall in love with the percentages; just focus on the content. Why? Because if we’re limiting the definition of “third party” to just lawyers, you gotta believe it would skew the results. Take cost for example. While your average citizen might not have cost concerns when reaching out to the police, a judge, or a social worker, I think everyone would have a higher concern when dealing with one of you “big-city lawyas.” No Fee Guarantee, anyone?

Send us a survey!

This study has some other useful tidbits that I didn’t discuss here, particularly about demographic diversity and surprisingly optimistic opinions of our justice system. Have a look for yourself and let us know your thoughts.

At Creative Services, we always love looking at research that helps us connect with our target audience. If you ever find a survey, study, or hell, just a pretty pie chart that you think others will find interesting, post it in the comments section.

I guarantee we’ll read it, blog it, and probably make a spot about it.

Photo credit: Better Call Saul, AMC.