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Dolly Parton, EastEnders, Facebook, Strictly Come Dancing and the Queen. What do all these things have in common and how could they be helping lawyers with their clients?

The answer… they’re all things your clients are interested in.

A major YouGov study, commissioned by the Legal Ombudsman (LeO), has shed light on just what makes the ‘typical’ legal service user. Using the YouGov Profiles Tool – which draws on information from a database of 120,000 data points taken from 250,000 YouGov Members – more than 32,000 people who have used legal services in the last two years have been profiled.

Who am I?

At first the findings paint the ‘typical’ user as a white, married, and financially-stable conservative in the later years of their life:

  • 92% of service users were of white British origin
  • 52% were married or living with a long-term partner
  • 64% earned £35,000 or more and fit into the ABC1 demographic (middle to upper class)
  • 24% had a gross personal income of £70,000 and over

What am I interested in?

The main interests of the typical legal service user seem to reflect this social paradigm; gardening, travel, home and cooking were popular topics of interest, especially when it came to magazines.

Research into the media consumption of users formed an important part of the investigation, especially in the way users get the news:

  • 42% use the radio to listen to the news
  • 38% of users watched TV to get the news
  • Only 13% use print newspapers

When it comes to non-news related shows Strictly Come Dancing, Coronation Street and Britain’s Got Talent were some favoured programmes.

Social and digital media

As for social media, Facebook and Twitter came top of the list of sites used everyday by legal service users, with others falling far behind:

  • 49% of users visit Facebook at least once every day
  • 14% use Twitter every day
  • Four per cent visit Instagram or Tumblr every day
  • Three per cent visit LinkedIn or Google+ every day
  • Only one per cent visit Pinterest

However, when we drilled down to look at just the ABC1 demographic bracket:

  • 25% used Twitter
  • 21% preferred LinkedIn
  • Only seven per cent used Google+ regularly

Some commonly followed accounts included Stephen Fry (@stephenfry), BBC News (@BBCBreaking), Jonathan Ross (@wossy) and Queen Elizabeth II (Queen_UK)

When it came to internet activity in general:

  • 88% check their emails
  • 78% do general browsing
  • 73% buy and browse for online goods/services
  • 72% do online banking
  • 58% access social networking sites
  • 57% access news and sports websites

Anything else? Are they all neat and middle-class?

As for the other demographics, law service users were more likely to have voted Conservative in the 2010 election, shop at Waitrose, watch Homes Under the Hammer and like Dolly Parton on Facebook.

But not everyone fitted in with this somewhat neat, middle-class stereotype. Almost a tenth surveyed earned less than £25,000 per annum and a third fell under the C2DE demographic – being either working class or unemployed. Over a third were not working at all or studying.

When compared with the general public, legal service users tend to be married, retired, own outright and fall into the ABC1 bracket. They are also more likely to:

  • Listen to BBC Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4, Classic FM, Gold or local radio stations
  • Watch programmes about the news, current affairs and documentaries
  • Watch BBC News, ITV News and Channel 4 News
  • Be newspaper readers, especially The Daily Mail, The Times and The Telegraph
  • Have interests in personal and business finance, gardening and travel
  • Earn £40,000-£44,999 p.a.
  • Use desktops and tablets

These findings certainly seem to reflect the demographics of older legal service users, especially those over the age of 51, who make up a large proportion of users. Older clients were more likely than younger (18-29) clients to:

  • Listen to BBC Radio 2,  Radio 4, Smooth FM, Classic FM, BBC World Service and local radio stations
  • Watch the news, current affairs, drama and documentaries on TV
  • Watch BBC region news, BBC News at Six, Bargain Hunt, The Antiques Road Show and The One Show
  • Have voted for the Conservatives in the 2010 general election
  • Read printed versions of newspapers, especially The Daily Mail,  The Express and The Mirror
  • Come under the ABC1 bracket

What am I reading?

Considering legal service users under the ABC1 bracket, the findings for most read newspapers are perhaps surprising. In fact the most read newspapers were red top, with 25% of users reading this rather than broadsheet (23%) or blue top (20%). The findings showed that the top daily print newspapers for the ABC1 bracket were:

  • The Daily Mail, read by 17% of users
  • The Sun, read by 14%
  • The Times, read by eight per cent
  • Only four per cent read the Guardian on a daily basis

However the picture is quite different when we look at online newspaper viewership in the last 30 days:

  • 24% had viewed the Daily Mail (
  • 19% had viewed the Guardian (
  • 15% had viewed the Daily Telegraph (
  • Only five per cent had viewed the Sun (

The main TV channels watched by ABC1 legal service users were:

  • BBC One, with 73% of clients preferring this channel
  • BBC Two, with 43% watching
  • Channel 4, with 34%
  • BBC News, at 26%
  • ITV 4 with only four per cent

News was the most popular thing to listen to on the radio, with 45% of clients preferring this genre. The most popular radio stations were:

  • BBC Radio 2 – 31%
  • BBC Radio 4 – 29%
  • Classic FM – 14%

The clients of tomorrow

When it came to younger legal service users the findings were quite different, tending to be single, renting a home, employed and living in London. Compared with the over 51 age range, clients between the ages of 18-29 were more likely to:

  • Listen to BBC Radio 1, Capital FM, Kerrang, Kiss and Heart
  • Watch reality shows, comedy and entertainment on TV
  • Watch a large number of American programmes on TV, like Family Guy, The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother and American Dad
  • Watch the channels E4, BBC Three, Comedy Central and MTV
  • Read online versions of newspapers rather than print, especially The Sun and The Star
  • Come under the C2DE bracket

Why does this matter?

The findings really do give us much to consider, especially in terms of targeting clients and getting marketing right. In fact, they force law firm marketeers to ask some pretty tough questions of themselves.

  • When it comes to advertising, are law firms striking the right balance of online and offline in terms of where they spend their marketing money?
  • Are PR agencies targeting the right publications?  We saw that the Sun has the largest print readership with the Guardian falling far behind, while the figures were almost flipped when we look at the online readership. Does your law firm marketing and PR reflect this?
  • The same is also true when it comes to radio stations and TV channels.
  • As for non-legal sector brands, what can law firms learn from the way they need to interact with their audience, now that they have a clearer idea of just what that audience is and who they’re interested in?
  • Similarly, is there going to be more of an attempt to engage with audiences that were previously harder to reach?
  • What are you doing on social media and is this really getting to the right people?
  • What is the financial profile of your target clients? Are you pitching your pricing correctly?

And that just scratches the surface…

LeO is sharing its findings as part of its commitment to “disseminate its learnings more widely”. You can find the full study here.

For more information on this or other areas of law firm marketing please contact Helen Hammond.