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It’s instinctive. Clients (and potential clients) thinking about hiring you search the internet for your firm by name. They may want to browse, look for ideas, or just get their head in the game. A named search is a proxy for your brand’s reach and strength.

We analyzed the relative number of searches each of the Am Law 200 law firms enjoyed during 2021. The results look like this:

  1. Sidley tops the firms most searched for by name. The firm is strong and was able to generate more weeks than all others as the most searched firm to gain the top spot for the year.
  2. Skadden registers 2nd. Skadden enjoyed a strong showing as the 2nd most searched firm and strong ongoing named searches.
  3. Davis Polk comes in at number 3 with a steady flow of weekly searches and several especially strong weeks of named searches throughout the year.
  4. Greenberg Traurig enjoys the number 4 position on the most searched law firm list, largely due to the strength of a steady flow of weekly searches.
  5. Morgan Lewis is ranked 5th and is one of the few firms generating spikes in named searches in the 4th quarter of 2021.
  6. Paul Weiss comes in at number 6. The firm enjoyed a week as the top searched firm in January 2021 and then a steady stream of named searches followed.

The relative difference between law firm searches for each firm gets smaller quickly. So, we researched the smaller firms attracting more named searches than their peers and even a few larger firms. These firms include:

  • Carlton Fields
  • Mintz
  • Nelson Mullins
  • Ogletree
  • Thompson Hine 

Mintz, Nelson Mullings, and Ogletree were able to build off spikes early in the year. Mintz and Ogletree also enjoyed surges in the 3rd quarter as well. Carlton Fields enjoyed 2 surges in the first half of the year.

These relative rankings offer 3 lessons in digital marketing for law firms:

  1. Surges are playing a role in attracting named searches — law firms would benefit by designing a program to leverage these searches into ongoing traffic
  2. The lack of differentiation between firms suggests ample room for turning thought leadership into ongoing business development tools by designing the content for continued consumption instead of singular events
  3. The calendar is playing a role. Named searches drop off in the 4th quarter — think of this as a time for compelling content to drive named searches

The firms with the most named searches show more surges during the year — suggesting they have hit on a key topic, released new thought content, or are conducting targeted campaigns.

Law firms can rethink their existing programs and content to give it a longer life and attract more named searches — as well as show up more often and higher in their other search results. It may be too late to plan for a spike in Q1 of this year — but the timing is just right to plan for the rest of 2022.

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!

The Mad Clientist

Still a few spaces left: The BTI Client Service and Market Review 2022; January 13, 2022. Noon Eastern by Web.

(BTI used Google Trends to compare the popularity of a search for the name of each law firm on the Am Law 200. Google Trends offers only relative rankings. It does not provide absolute numbers.)

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