Customer Acquisition Cost for Legal Services

Many law firms are unaware of what their customer acquisition cost (CAC) should be for their legal services. Having a target CAC when preparing and executing legal advertising campaigns is critical, as there is an objective measurement for success and a number to optimize towards.

This article includes the most common legal services advertised and the target CAC across various advertising channels. Before the data is presented, it may be helpful to know how we are calculating CAC. 

CAC = Total Spend on Sales/Marketing ÷ Customers Acquired

Because this is a long article, you can click the category you are most interested in to skip directly to the information. There is also a roll-up average of the information available below.

Personal Injury Law Family Law Criminal Defense
Estate Planning Bankruptcy Law Business and Corporate Law
Real Estate Law Employment Law Immigration Law
Tax Law Intellectual Property Law Environmental Law

Where This Data Came From: The data below was compiled using a meta-analysis combining our client data and published data from other reputable sources. Updates are made continually to ensure the data is relevant. 

Note: We have included the top advertising methods for which we had complete data under each category. If you have specific questions about a current campaign and what a recommended CAC should be for a channel that is not listed, feel free to reach out on our contact page.

Average CAC by Practice Area

The table below contains a roll-up average of all of the various practice areas broken down by organic and inorganic forms of marketing. Organic marketing includes advertising such as SEO and organic social media, as dollars are not directly traded for impressions. On the other hand, inorganic marketing includes any form of advertising where attorneys must pay for impressions in front of potential customers such as radio, TV, and Google Ads. 

Service AreaOrganic CACInorganic CACAverage
Personal Injury Law$1,324$1,921$1,622
Family Law$770$1,117$943
Criminal Defense$569$826$698
Estate Planning$785$1,139$962
Bankruptcy Law$231$335$283
Business and Corporate Law$923$1,340$1,132
Real Estate Law$616$893$754
Employment Law$631$916$773
Immigration Law$431$625$528
Tax Law$954$1,385$1,169
Intellectual Property Law$631$916$773
Environmental Law$1,016$1,474$1,245

Average Personal Injury Law CAC

Personal injury law is known to have some of the highest CACs of any type of law. See the averages in the table below. 

Personal Injury LawCar accidentsSlip and fall casesMedical malpracticeProduct liability
Organic Social Media$301$501$2,507$1,003
Google Ads$451$751$3,755$1,502
Meta Ads$361$601$3,006$1,202
Email Marketing$160$266$1,331$532
TV Ads$753$1,254$6,272$2,509
Radio Ads$663$1,105$5,526$2,210
Print Ads$541$901$4,507$1,803
Public Transportation Ads$513$854$4,272$1,709

Average Family Law CAC

The average family law CAC figures are in the table below. 

Family LawDivorceChild custody and supportAdoptionPrenuptial agreements
Organic Social Media$1,003$802$401$301
Google Ads$1,502$1,202$601$451
Meta Ads$1,202$962$481$361
Email Marketing$532$426$213$160
Print Ads$2,509$2,007$1,004$753
Radio Ads$2,210$1,768$884$663

Average Criminal Defense CAC

Criminal defense CACs may vary based on how “tough on crime” a jurisdiction is. Generally, the tougher a jurisdiction is on crime, the lower CACs will be, of course assuming equal amounts of total crime. 

Criminal DefenseDUI/DWI defenseDrug offensesAssault and batteryTheft and burglary
Organic Social Media$602$501$401$351
Google Ads$901$751$601$526
Meta Ads$721$601$481$421
Email Marketing$319$266$213$186
TV Ads$1,505$1,254$1,004$878
Radio Ads$1,326$1,105$884$774
Print Ads$1,082$901$721$631

Average Estate Planning CAC

Average estate planning CACs are available in the table below. 

Estate PlanningWills and trustsProbateEstate administrationElder law
Organic Social Media$251$1,003$802$501
Google Ads$375$1,502$1,202$751
Meta Ads$301$1,202$962$601
LinkedIn Ads$337$1,349$1,079$675
Email Marketing$133$532$426$266
Print Ads$451$1,803$1,442$901

Average Bankruptcy Law CAC

Bankruptcy CACs will generally go lower during tougher economic times and vice versa. 

Bankruptcy LawChapter 7 bankruptcyChapter 13 bankruptcyDebt reliefCredit counseling
Organic Social Media$201$301$150$100
Google Ads$300$451$225$150
Meta Ads$240$361$180$120
Email Marketing$106$160$80$53
TV Ads$502$753$376$251
Radio Ads$442$663$332$221
Print Ads$361$541$270$180

Average Business and Corporate Law CAC

Business and corporate law CAC figures may vary depending on the company size in the target market, but these are generally correct as an average. 

Business and Corporate LawBusiness formation and incorporationContract lawMergers and acquisitionsIntellectual property
Organic Social Media$301$501$1,504$702
Google Ads$451$751$2,253$1,051
Meta Ads$361$601$1,803$842
LinkedIn Ads$405$675$2,024$944
Email Marketing$160$266$799$373
Print Ads$541$901$2,704$1,262

Average Real Estate Law CAC

Real estate law figures will vary slightly depending on the transaction size. 

Real Estate LawResidential real estate transactionsCommercial real estate transactionsLease agreementsLandlord-tenant disputes
Organic Social Media$1,003$201$251$702
Google Ads$300$375$1,051$770
Meta Ads$301$842$616$721
LinkedIn Ads$944$691$809$944
Email Marketing$373$213$186$186
Print Ads$721$878$878$627

Average Employment Law CAC

Employment laws in various areas of the United States can alter these figures up or down. 

Employment LawWrongful terminationDiscrimination and harassment casesWage and hour disputesEmployment contracts
Organic Social Media$702$401$351$351
Google Ads$601$526$526$375
Meta Ads$421$421$301$361
LinkedIn Ads$472$337$405$675
Email Marketing$266$186$413$373
Print Ads$631$1,397$1,262$1,803

Average Immigration Law CAC

Again, we observed a variance in immigration law CACs based on the area of the United States. 

Immigration LawVisa applicationsGreen cardsDeportation defenseCitizenship and naturalization
Organic Social Media$251$301$501$351
Google Ads$375$451$751$526
Meta Ads$301$361$601$421
Email Marketing$133$160$266$186
Print Ads$451$541$901$631

Average Tax Law CAC

The strongest correlation we found to tax law CAC was the budget and personnel of the IRS along with the current tax laws and regulations. 

Tax LawTax planning and complianceIRS audits and disputesEstate and gift tax issuesBusiness tax law
Organic Social Media$702$1,502$802$602
Google Ads$1,051$1,202$1,202$901
Meta Ads$842$1,349$962$721
LinkedIn Ads$944$1,998$1,079$809
Email Marketing$373$2,509$426$319
Print Ads$1,262$1,803$1,442$1,082

Average Intellectual Property Law CAC

IP law CACs may be affected by changes in R&D tax treatment and the increase in patent issuances but are generally stable. 

Intellectual Property LawPatent applicationsTrademark registrationCopyright protectionTrade secrets
Organic Social Media$1,003$301$251$501
Google Ads$1,502$451$375$751
Meta Ads$1,202$361$301$601
LinkedIn Ads$1,349$405$337$675
Email Marketing$532$160$133$266
Print Ads$1,803$541$451$901

Average Environmental Law CAC

Environmental law CACs vary greatly based on how heavy environmental regulations are. In the 2024 election, we expect CACs to increase if Donald Trump is re-elected due to his history of cutting environmental regulations. 

Real Estate LawResidential real estate transactionsCommercial real estate transactionsLease agreementsLandlord-tenant disputesProperty zoning
Organic Social Media$1,003$201$251$702$514
Google Ads$300$375$1,051$770$901
Meta Ads$301$842$616$721$842
LinkedIn Ads$944$691$809$944$540
Email Marketing$373$213$186$186$133
Print Ads$721$878$878$627$753

Next Steps: Lowering Your CAC

The best way to lower the CAC of a law firm is to implement a thought leadership SEO strategy coupled with value-based email marketing, as these consistently product the lowest CACs. If you are interested in working with Focus Digital to provide this service, we can be contacted on our contact page.