Legal directories – worthless?

A recent survey of 500 General Counsel by Acritas found that only 5% felt that legal directories were even relevant to their firm selection process and only 3% felt they were “influenced” by the information the directories contained.

Given the cost – often a six figure amount for mid to large size law firms and the cost of  keeping the directories current – it seems a no-brainer to spend money elsewhere for more effective marketing and business development (nice dinner with key clients, for example?)

However, before getting out your trash cans, here a few things to consider:

1.  Was this survey done only on GC in the UK and is there a cultural bias against directories across the ocean?

2.  What about the 5%?  What if having an extensive listing in a legal directory tipped the scales for a GC with a million dollar litigation to hand out to outside counsel?  Only one such a case in five years would probably justify the cost.

3.  What about the situation where a company gets sued in Alaska and has no idea who to turn to but finds a suitable, appropriate listing in a legal directory?

These questions aren’t meant to justify a very questionable expenditure but may mean that legal directories have a value at a much lower price point.  Negotiating price is always very appropriate and necessary in these cases.

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