Welcome to 2019, the year of equilibrium, reports  Forbes . Whereas in 2018, consumers were eager to escape reality and sought out brands that “offered people moments of respite from the daily grind,” now, according to a recent consumer trends report , “people are seeking equilibrium in all aspects of their lives – between humans and technology, brand and personal, global and local” and want to confront the realities of today’s world rather than escape them. And it’s that desire to address reality that has propelled responsible consumerism — hardly a new trend — into the mainstream for 2019.

Responsible consumerism refers  to efforts by customers to use their purchasing power to promote sustainable and ethical practices with positive effects on the environment, society and consumers themselves.  Thus, brands like Warby Parker  – which donates a pair of eyeglass for every pair purchased, Ikea – with its goal of being fully powered by renewable energy by 2020  or services like Community Supported Agriculture subscriptions – resonate so powerfully with today’s consumer, as does the Netflix series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo  which urges consumers to scale down and purchase only what they need rather than everything they want. But consumers don’t only want the companies they patronize to act sustainably and charitably – they also want businesses to respect their privacy and be forthright in disclosing how information collected from consumers is used. Facebook has already suffered significant backlash as a result of its creepy advertising practices and its dealings with Cambridge Analytica which was provided data from millions of Facebook users without their consent. 

Law firms aren’t immune from these trends. Sure, all clients want a capable lawyer who can produce good results, but truth is, there are plenty of lawyers out three that fit the bill. So when it comes time to choose between two indisputably capable lawyers, many of today’s consumers will look to non-law related factors to break the tie – from how a law firm treats its employees to how it safeguards consumer data or promotes sustainability.  

Does your law firm communicate its commitment to sustainable and ethical practices?  You may wish to consider doing so because more than ever, today’s clients are listening.

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