How Much Do Law Firms Spend on Marketing

How Much Do Law Firms Spend on Marketing

How much do law firms spend on marketing and what are the marketing trends and tools you can harness for success?

The reality is that law firms can no longer rely solely on word-of-mouth referrals and courthouse networking to attract prospective clients. Much like any other sector, the legal industry thrives on visibility and reputation. There is no denying that most law firms struggle to find the time to move away from their old ways of marketing, however, without a robust marketing strategy, even the most skilled attorneys may struggle to gain the attention they deserve in a crowded market. According to a recent survey carried out by the American Bar Association (ABA), only 47% of law firms have an annual marketing budget.

Strategic marketing is more than allocating funds. It is about making informed decisions that lead to sustainable growth. Law firms often struggle to determine the right amount to invest in marketing activities. This blog will address these challenges and showcase how an innovative tool such as a Marketing Budget Calculator can aid in creating a more effective and streamlined law firm marketing budget.

We will cover the following:

  1. Why is Marketing Important for Law Firms
  2. Key Legal Marketing Statistics from 2023
  3. How Much Do Law Firms Spend on Marketing?
  4. Challenges in Marketing Budgeting for Law Firms
  5. The Role of Digital Marketing in the Legal Industry
  6. The Importance of SEO in Law Firm Marketing
  7. Innovative Solutions for Determining Your Marketing Budgeting
  8. Partner with a Trusted Legal Marketing Agency

1. Why is Marketing Important for Law Firms?

✅ Client Acquisition

Marketing plays a crucial role in attracting new clients to a law firm. In a saturated market, where potential clients have numerous options, a robust marketing strategy ensures that a law firm’s services reach the right audience. Effective marketing helps in:

  • Increasing Awareness: By leveraging various marketing channels, such as social media, SEO and content marketing, law firms can make potential clients aware of their services.
  • Engaging Prospects: Through informative content, email newsletters, blogs, articles and engaging social media posts, law firms can nurture leads and convert them into clients.
  • Building Trust: Consistent and transparent communication, client testimonials, and case studies on the firm’s website help in building credibility and trust with potential clients.

✅ Brand Visibility

Marketing efforts focused on enhancing brand visibility ensure that the firm remains top-of-mind for potential clients and referral sources. Key aspects include:

  • Consistent Branding: A well-defined brand identity, including a professional logo, tagline, and color scheme, helps in creating a memorable impression.
  • Online Presence: A strong online presence through a well-designed website, active social media profiles, and listings on legal directories enhances the firm’s visibility.
  • Content Marketing: Publishing regular blog posts, articles, and legal insights not only positions the firm as an expert in its field but also improves search engine rankings, making it easier for clients to find them online.

✅ Competitive Edge

Law firms that invest in strategic marketing efforts can differentiate themselves from their competitors in several ways:

  • Unique Value Proposition (UVP): Clearly communicating the unique benefits and services the firm offers helps in attracting clients looking for specialized legal assistance.
  • Client Testimonials and Case Studies: Showcasing success stories and positive client experiences can set a firm apart from competitors who might not have such visible endorsements.
  • Innovative Marketing Tools: Utilizing innovative tools like Conroy Creative Counsel’s Marketing Budget Calculator allows firms to make data-driven decisions, optimize their marketing spend, and improve overall marketing performance.

Marketing is not just an optional activity for law firms. This strategic approach ensures that the firm stays ahead of competitors who may still rely on more traditional and less efficient marketing methods. it is a vital component of their law firm advertising and overall strategy to attract new clients and maintain a competitive edge in the market.

2. Key Legal Marketing Statistics

Last year, the American Bar Association’s (ABA) 2023 Websites & Marketing Report highlighted the following statistics and trends in legal marketing:

  • Law Firm Websites:
    • The percentage of law firms with websites dropped from 94% in 2021-2022 to 87% in 2023.
    • Smaller firms are less likely to have a website (65% for solo practitioners vs. 97% for firms with 100+ lawyers).
  • Website Management:
    • Website management is split between outside consultants (24%), one lawyer in the firm (21%), and firm marketing staff (20%).
    • 60% of solos manage their websites, while larger firms often use marketing staff.
  • Marketing Success and Confidence:
    • 49% of respondents expect their firm’s marketing emphasis to remain the same, while 28% see it as more important.
    • Confidence in marketing effectiveness is moderate, with a rating of 3 out of 5.
    • Only 47% have an annual marketing budget, down from 57% in 2022.
    • 40% of respondents indicated that online marketing accounts for 76-100% of their marketing budget.
  • Marketing Metrics and Client Retention:
    • Few firms regularly review marketing performance reports.
    • Only 35% believe clients have retained them through their website, though this is an improvement from 25% in 2022.
    • Blogging and social media efforts have led to client retention for a minority of respondents.
  • Content Creation:
    • The trend is towards spreading content creation responsibilities, with fewer lawyers directly involved.
    • 44% of firms have multiple lawyers creating content, down from 56% in 2022.
    • Solos primarily create their content (72%).
  • Types of Website Content:
    • Common content includes attorney profiles (96%), recent firm successes (47%), and legal articles (54%).
    • Syndication of content is low, with only 14% of firms syndicating on platforms like social media or Law360.
  • Information Collected:
    • Most law firm websites collect client information like names (90%) and telephone numbers (73%).
    • Disclaimers regarding information security and attorney-client privilege are often lacking.
  • Mobile-Friendly Sites:
    • 74% of law firm websites are mobile-friendly, though 20% of respondents are unsure about this aspect.
  • Website Security:
    • Only 44% of law firm websites use SSL security, with 48% of respondents unsure if their site is secure.
  • Additional Services and Resources:
    • Services like appointment scheduling, document sharing, and online payments are not widely adopted.
    • Only 15% offer online scheduling, and 41% offer online invoicing and bill payment.
  • Client Communication:
    • Email (92%) and telephone (86%) are the primary communication methods.
    • Live chat is rare (12%), and 35% of firms offer secure client portals.
  • Social Media and Blogging:
    • One-third of firms have a blog, and most use social media, especially LinkedIn (83%).
    • Personal social media use for professional purposes is high, primarily for career development and networking.
    • Most law firms think that social media is the most effective way to market themselves, but ironically it is the most underperforming method.
  • Email Marketing and Video:
    • 32% of firms use email marketing, with client alerts being the most common.
    • Only 30% produce video content for marketing.

Digital marketing is an increasingly important aspect of promoting a law firm -  74% of consumers use a search engine to find legal advice.

It is clear that despite advancements, many law firms still face challenges in effectively using technology and marketing strategies to communicate and attract clients. Digital marketing is an increasingly important aspect of promoting a law firm. After all, according to the latest Legal Trends Report, 74% of consumers use a search engine to find legal advice, underscoring the importance of SEO for attracting potential clients.

3. How Much Do Law Firms Spend on Marketing?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, industry benchmarks offer a starting point for law firm marketing budgets. Recent research shows that, on average, law firms spend around 2% of their gross revenue on marketing initiatives, though this can range from 1% to 20%, depending on several factors:

  • Small Firms (Solo to 30 associates): Many solo practitioners and small firms do not have an annual marketing budget; only 14% of solo attorneys and 32% of small firms report having one. Marketing efforts may include basic online presence management, local SEO and networking events.
  • Medium-Sized Firms (10-49 associates): Medium-sized firms typically allocate a more substantial budget to marketing, with 63% reporting having an annual marketing budget. Their marketing strategies often involve a mix of digital marketing, content creation and public relations to increase visibility and attract clients.
  • Large Firms (50+ associates): Large law firms, especially those with 100 or more associates, tend to have comprehensive marketing strategies and significant budgets. They might invest heavily in diverse channels, including digital marketing, TV ads, and public relations, often employing dedicated marketing staff or agencies.

Detailed Marketing Expenditure Breakdown

Here’s a general breakdown of the latest law firm marketing budget trends across various channels:

  • Internet Marketing: 28% of the marketing budget.
  • Print and Billboard Ads: 19% of the marketing budget.
  • TV Advertising: 17% of the marketing budget.
  • Networking: 16% of the marketing budget.
  • Podcasts/Radio Commercials: 14% of the marketing budget.
  • Other Initiatives: 10% of the marketing budget.

Building Brand Awareness vs. Maintaining Recognition

The amount you invest in marketing should be directly tied to your brand awareness. Firms with a less established brand (newer firms or those in competitive practice areas like personal injury or family law) will likely need to allocate a higher percentage of gross revenue (15-20%) to marketing efforts. This investment helps build brand recognition and attract new clients.

Conversely, well-established firms with a strong brand reputation might be able to maintain their visibility with a more moderate budget (5-10%). These firms can focus their marketing efforts on retaining existing clients and staying top-of-mind within their target market.

Going Beyond Averages

While industry benchmarks provide a general guideline, relying solely on averages can be misleading. Here’s why:

  • Your Specific Needs: Your firm’s unique goals and target audience are more important than an industry standard.
  • ROI Matters: The true measure of a successful marketing budget is Return on Investment (ROI), which refers to the net profit generated from your marketing efforts. Focusing on ROI ensures your marketing spend directly contributes to your firm’s bottom line.

Partner with Conroy Creative Counsel to find out what marketing channels should  law firms budget for and what a law firm spend should be.

Planning a law firm’s marketing budget involves determining the appropriate spending, effective channels, and whether to hire employees or a marketing agency. ‘Planning a Year of Legal Marketing with Michelle Hunter‘ is a valuable resource to get you started and cut through the noise.

4. Challenges in Marketing Budgeting for Law Firms

👉 Non-Billable Spending:

Marketing expenses are non-billable, which makes their perceived risk higher. Research shows that 95% of lawyers perceive marketing as a risk because of this reason.

👉 Measuring ROI:

Determining the return on investment for marketing activities can be challenging. Marketing efforts often have long-term benefits that are not immediately quantifiable, making it difficult to attribute revenue increases to specific campaigns directly.

👉 Adapting to Trends:

The marketing landscape is constantly evolving and law firms are expected to stay updated with the latest trends and technologies to remain competitive. This requires ongoing learning and adaptation, which can be resource-intensive.

These challenges necessitate a strategic approach and often the expertise of a dedicated legal marketing agency or Fractional Law Firm CMO.

5. The Role of Digital Marketing in the Legal Industry

Digital marketing has become essential for legal practices in today’s tech-savvy world. It allows law firms to connect with potential clients who are increasingly searching for legal services online. Research shows that 74% of potential clients use Google as their primary research tool when looking for a lawyer.

Through various digital marketing channels, firms can build brand awareness, establish expertise and attract clients with specific legal needs. These channels include:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimizing a firm’s website to rank higher in search engine results for relevant legal terms.
  • Content Marketing: Creating informative blog posts, articles, or videos that address potential clients’ legal concerns.
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Running targeted ads on search engines or social media platforms to reach a specific audience.
  • Social Media Marketing: Engaging with potential clients and showcasing the firm’s expertise on platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter.
  • Email Marketing: Building relationships with potential and existing clients through targeted email campaigns.
  • Online Reviews and Directories: Encouraging clients to leave positive reviews on platforms like Google My Business and Avvo.

6. The Importance of SEO in Law Firm Marketing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for lawyers is one of the most effective channels for generating leads and increasing organic traffic, as evidenced by various studies.

Here are some key statistics that highlight the importance of digital marketing in attracting potential clients who are actively searching for legal services:

  • Effectiveness: According to a 2020 Brandmuscle study, 79% of surveyed participants identified SEO as the most effective marketing channel.
  • Conversion Rates: Ruler Analytics’ 2021 report found that organic search generates 66% of call conversions in the legal sector, with a conversion rate of over 4% compared to the overall 2.4% across various channels.
  • ROI: FirstPageSage Statistics 2024 found that the three-year ROI on SEO is an impressive 526% for the average law firm.
  • Spending: The same report found that an average law firm spends about $150,000 on SEO annually.
  • Recouping Costs: The report also highlights that on average, it takes 14 months for law firms to recoup their SEO investment
  • Traffic Increase: Firms see an average 21% increase in organic traffic by enhancing their SEO efforts.

These statistics underscore the significant impact SEO can have on a law firm’s marketing success. However, when asked about the barriers to adopting legal technology, nearly 50% of Legatics survey respondents cited a lack of time to learn the new technology as a significant constraint.

7. Innovative Solutions for Determining Your Marketing Budget

At Conroy Creative Counsel, we work with a diverse range of law firms and we understand the unique challenges they face in securing the right marketing budget and allocating resources effectively. This is why we have developed an innovative Marketing Budget Calculator specifically tailored for the legal industry, based on our extensive experience in legal marketing.

Our Marketing Budget Calculator integrates seamlessly with your law firm’s marketing strategy; it is easy to use and provides data-driven recommendations, empowering you to make informed decisions and maximize your marketing performance.

Our Marketing Budget Calculator integrates seamlessly with your law firm's marketing strategy; it is easy to use and provides data-driven recommendations, empowering you to make informed decisions and maximize your marketing performance.

8. Partner with a Trusted Legal Marketing Agency

Navigating the complexities of legal marketing can be daunting, but you don’t have to go it alone. Our award-winning legal marketing agency leverages extensive experience and digital marketing expertise to bridge the gap between your marketing goals and achieving real results. Our team specializes in creating tailored strategies that address your law firm’s unique challenges, ensuring that every marketing effort is efficient and effective.

From enhancing your online presence to optimizing client acquisition channels, we provide the expertise needed to transform your marketing initiatives into measurable success.

Why Choose Conroy Creative Counsel?

  • Deep Legal Industry Expertise: We are not just another marketing agency. Our team possesses a deep understanding of the legal landscape, allowing us to tailor our strategies to your specific practice area and target audience.
  • Data-Driven Approach: We don’t believe in guesswork. We utilize data and analytics to inform every step of the marketing process, ensuring your budget is spent wisely and delivers a strong return on investment.
  • Proven Results: We are passionate about helping law firms thrive. Our track record speaks for itself, with a history of success stories demonstrating the effectiveness of our strategies.

Take Advantage of Our Marketing Co-Counsel

In today’s competitive market, having a strong marketing leader is crucial. However, hiring a full-time Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) can be a significant investment for many law firms. Our Marketing Co-Counsel program provides you with the expertise of a seasoned CMO on a fractional basis. Think of it as having your very own marketing partner, available on a retainer basis, to guide your strategic marketing decisions, manage campaigns and ensure your firm achieves its marketing goals.


  • Access to Top-Tier Marketing Expertise: Gain the insights and experience of a seasoned marketing professional without the full-time cost.
  • Scalability: Tailor your engagement level to your specific needs and budget.
  • Focus on Your Core Business: Free yourself from the burden of marketing and focus on what you do best – practising law.

Ready to Take Your Legal Marketing to the Next Level?

Contact us today and explore how we can empower your firm to achieve lasting success.


I'm Karin Conroy

Founder of Conroy Creative Counsel, an award-winning recognized leader that has cracked the code of smart, sophisticated, and strategic marketing for law firms.

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