Rocket Matter’s Lisa Pansini shared a nice infographic with 10 surprising stats on law firm websites. The first being that nearly 40% of all small law firms don’t have websites.

More consumers of legal services start their search for attorneys using online resources. But, many law firms still don’t have a website…

On the face of it, this seems surprising and a business opportunity for companies providing website development work to lawyers. It was certainly the point made over and over by the higher ups in the short time I served as a VP of Business Development for LexisNexis Martindale.

Look at the opportunity. Over three quarters of the lawyers in this country are in solo and small firms and 40% of them do not yet have a website. All we have to do is get in touch with these lawyers and explain why a website is so important.

I never saw the logic. Some of the best lawyers I knew were solos or in small law firms. These lawyers had all the work they wanted. Their work came by word of mouth and relationships.

They worked hard to over deliver. They were active in their communities through serving on boards and the like. They served in bar positions to build referrals and impress on the public their stature in the legal community.

The last thing these lawyers would want is the telephone to ring so they had to heavily screen potential clients. Imagine a website sales person coming to their office and telling them why the need to buy a website. It would be as silly as buying a yellow page ad.

I clerked for Attorney John Dutton in Auburn California, a small town in the foothills outside Sacramento, while in law school.

Dutton began his career at McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen in San Francisco. It wasn’t for him. After stints serving as a Santa Clara Municipal Court Judge and deputy district attorney in Yuba County, Dutton opened his office in Auburn.

Speaking with the California Bar Journal’s Kristina Horton Flaherty a few years ago, Dutton explained what he liked about being a general-practice sole practitioner:

The challenge, the new things that you continue learning and the variety of experiences you have both in cases and with people — it’s a headache sometimes, but it’s something I enjoy.

Dutton wouldn’t need a website anymore than he would need a hole in his head. I always thought of Dutton when Martindale saw the opportunity of selling solos websites.

I still do when I hear what a surprise it is that many small law firms don’t have websites. Did anyone pause to realize that many of these lawyers did not need a website nor want a website?

Don’t always look at solos and lawyers in small law firms as luddites or curmudgeons because they don’t have a website.

Sure, most lawyers will have websites, and when they do they ought to be well done by firms like Pansini’s. But many other lawyers will be step ahead – getting their work via relationships and word of mouth.

Some presence on the Internet would be nice for these lawyers, but a website with calls to action and a phone number on every page would not be the prudent choice.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Paul Adonis Hunter