We published the 2019 Legal Industry Thought Leadership Report this week and, whilst there is a huge amount of data (33,000 insights and articles in total) the headline statistic for me was the growth in thought leadership across the entire industry; the number of articles and insights being published has nearly doubled in five years. 

This is perhaps the strongest validation of the ROI that law firms derive from sharing their expertise online. It is entirely consistent with the feedback we hear from other industries and reflects two strong broad drivers. 

Firstly, we have been hearing for a while that the way people buy goods and services has changed and many complex B2B organisations are struggling to adapt. This is a very broad trend that has been trickling down towards high-value services ever since e-commerce began transforming the consumer retail experience and it is manifested in buyers wanting to educate themselves about the options available to them to solve problems. For buyers of legal services, this research prior to purchase requires lawyers to be talking about their industry. 

 David Held, Global Sales and Marketing Solution Strategy, Microsoft captures this problem well: "In this digital age, buyers are leading the journey and they prefer to interact with organizations digitally, meaning that organizations need to provide them with content, or they will get it elsewhere."

The second trend is more confined to legal services (and other very high-value advisories); their clients are expecting to be spoken to digitally about issues in their industry in advance of those issues impacting on their business. This is becoming a table-stake for leading firms and the rising tide of expectation is causing all the top tier providers to be vocal as well. 

This second trend - towards guiding clients in advance, gives lawyers a great opportunity to materially help their network which, in turn drives a strong sense of gratitude. This not only reassures them that they are working with a trusted advisor, it also creates a desire to reciprocate. 

The report is available for free download here or, if you'd like to find out how your firm in specific compares with your peers, you can request a personalised version (also for free).