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Trends in the world’s most crowded legal market – Israel‎

During August 2012, Israel saw a reform to its bar law, allowing foreign law firms and foreign lawyers to provide legal services regarding the law in their origin countries. Vast and interesting implications wait for the legal marketing industry

The article was published at the UK magazine ‘Professional Marketing’ at October 2013. To see the full article, please Click here

Trends in the world's most crowded legal market - Israel‎

Israel is a relatively small country, in terms of both territory and population. Yet, with a current ratio of one lawyer to 126 citizens, Israel is the world record holder for lawyer per capita ratio in the world, and after opening the gates to foreign law firms – suggest vast opportunities to those who aim for opening their law firms for new markets

Those huge numbers of attorneys present a real challenge to the legal marketing industry. The outlines of the challenge are simple to understand: an over-crowded market with thousands of attorneys, which makes it harder for the marketing agent to make his client stand out

Israel as a country is a source for innovation – despite being located at the Middle East where security concerns is part of everyday life, when it comes to Finance and Legal – Israel has shown itself as a bastion of stability

Israel is known for its high-tech industry, and as a home for important technological advancements- from instant messaging, through renewable energy solutions, advanced agricultural technologies, water desalination techniques, to medical equipment and more. Commentators often refer to Israel as a “Startup Nation“, a hub of innovation

As a result, Israel is experiencing relative economic prosperity and constant rapid growth. Recent gas discoveries along the Israeli shores may ensure its positive economic climate for future generations, and may create new path of growth for its economy

israel foreign law firms robusThe economic situation has trickled down to the legal sector, keeping it a high-profit occupation throughout the last global economic recession. During the last 20 years, the Israeli legal sector has been growing meteorically, resulting in an ever growing need for a specialized and highly competent legal marketing sector

The legal marketer’s job is derived directly from the nature of the local legal profession. The new reform allowing foreign lawyers to operate in Israel is expected to escalate the competition in the local legal market. Therefore and understandingly, Israel’s young yet vigorous legal marketing community faces both challenges and opportunities

As much as Israel’s policy for the qualification of lawyers is liberal (becoming a lawyer in Israel takes only 5 years), Israel’s legal sector itself is the complete opposite of liberalism

The Israeli legal sector is conservative, and legal marketing is still not a well-known concept. The majority of the country’s law firms are still not aware of the benefits and advantages of hiring a marketing expert’s services

That being said, Israel’s leading largest law firms are beginning to understand the importance of marketing, and some of them have already integrated am in-house legal marketing team which deals mainly with marketing, and just scratching the surface of actual business development

A young Israeli lawyer will probably encounter serious difficulties in the beginning of his career, due to the overcrowded market and the low salaries in most of the mid-level law firms. Therefore, many young lawyers opt for starting a new self-managed practice

However, newly established firms may find it’s hard to adapt to the tough competition in the current legal market situation. This poses a particularly interesting opportunity and challenge to the legal marketing community. A young lawyer starting out his own practice has little to no experience in leading a practice, desperately needs a professional’s assistance. Legal marketing firms now lend themselves to the development of small law firms

A particularly interesting issue is Israel’s bar law’s extensive advertisement restrictions. Due to these heavily enforced restrictions, a legal marketer needs to be especially creative in devising a campaign of its client

Fierce competition continue to develop

The harsh competition between Israeli attorneys is especially prevalent in the real estate practice, where some firms reduced their fees to less than 0.5% of a transaction’s worth – a non profitable rate according to any standards, and by so harming the entire practice

Generally speaking, law firms charge hourly rates that may vary according to an attorney’s experience, the size of the firm and the nature of legal work performed.

The Israeli rates are not high in comparison to the US and EU countries, and can vary between 75$ per hour for work done by a legal intern to 250$ in the case of a more experienced lawyer. Legal experts at prestigious law firms may charge a great deal more (prices shown are for Israel’s biggest law firms)

Israel’s legal markets’ current trend is consolidations and mergers among mid size and large law firms, probably in response to the escalating competition

israel law firmsDuring 2011, the total revenue of Israeli law firms continued to rise although most of the growth can be attributed to the big firms. On the other hand, salaries at the smaller firms have decreased. The majority of the ‘victims’ are young lawyers with an experience of 5 years or less. These statistics demonstrate the increasing hegemony of the large law firms in the country, which currently lead the way in a variety of practice areas

The deluge of Israel’s law practice is at the heart of a local public debate. Israel’s Bar Association have been publicly demanding regulatory intervention in order to toughen the qualification process for those interested in the legal profession.

Some of the problems which were mentioned above are similar to those that have been successfully dealt with in the American and European market by using effective legal marketing strategies. Learning from others’ experiences may therefore hold the answer to Israel’s young lawyer’s ominous future and to the legal marketing profession as well

Adv. Zohar Fisher is the CEO of Robus (, Israel’s leading Legal Marketing company


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