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Methods of buyers to identify and learn more about professional service providers

Research conducted in 2005 and 2009 by the Wellesley Hills Group “analyzed how purchasers of legal services and other professional services – representing US$1.7 billion in purchasing power – made their purchasing decisions.” A chart from the research reproduced in Prof’l. Legal Mgt. Week, 3rd Annual Issue 2009 at 46, lists 13 “methods buyers are very/somewhat likely to use to initially identify and learn more about professional service providers.”

“Referrals from Colleagues” led in frequency at 79 percent (See my post of Aug. 5, 2007: referrals dominated for finding ex-US firms.) followed by “Personal Recognition” at 75 percent. Recognition presumably covers partners than an in-house lawyer knows from school, prior jobs, and outside of work.

Then came “Presentations at Conferences” (62%), “Website” (58%) (See my post of Oct. 16, 2006: survey data on how law departments find law firms.) and “Internet Search” (55%) (See my post of Jan. 28, 2008: Google search is difficult way to find a lawyer.).

The less relied on methods to locate professionals were “Newsletter from Provider” (45%), “Mail” (42%), “Print Ads” (40%), “Books” (35%), “Social Media” (26%), “Radio Ads” (24%) and – to my great pleasure – “Blogs” (24%).

If these figures apply to how general counsel spot and research potential counsel, what strikes me is that four of them depend on online methods (websites, search, professional networks, and blogs.). The ‘net pervades everything we do!

Other methods mentioned on this blog include referrals from law firms (See my post of July 4, 2006: also mentions websites of firms.), directories of lawyers (See my post of June 2, 2008: survey on ways departments find firms.), and published ratings or league tables (See my post of Oct. 22, 2008: published law firm ratings with 11 references.).