Thursday, July 21, 2005

Give A Man A Fish - Teach A Man to Fish


As just about any lawyer will tell you, legal professionals don't advertise - they market. Within the last 7-10 years, the Internet has revolutionized the way attorneys market and attract clientele. However, comprehensive studies on new marketing methods using the Internet are sparse and generally reflect the mixed results legal professionals have experienced with Internet marketing.

Any solo/small practitioner that is a student of the Foonberg law practice bible will immediately notice that Foonberg's venerable guide is lacking with regard to Internet marketing. His recommendations regarding the use of telex machines and yellow-page advertisements almost seem quaint in 2005. So where should small/solo practitioners go to look for advice on Internet marketing?

A March 2004 article in the ABA Law Journal attempts to at least partially answer this question. Entitled, Casting for Clients, (90 ABAJ 34) the article written by Terry Carter, lists examples of past successes and failures small/solo attorneys have had with the Internet over the years. What seems to be clear is that lawyer referral web sites are becoming increasingly specialized, especially around some of the more unsavory aspects of the legal profession as evidenced by www.classaction.com. However, for the average general practitioner, Randolph James of Winston-Salem, North Carolina recommends:

"...[James] started getting some good cases when Martindale-Hubbell's www.lawyers.com, which handles his Web site, entered into agreements with MSN.com, America Online and others to boost rankings in search engines. Suddenly he was hearing from a lot more prospective clients by e-mail, which has the added value of being more efficient than fielding phone calls. Lawyers.com is one of several better-known lawyer-client matching services that either survived the dot-com bust of a few years ago or took advantage of its lessons."I'm staying pretty busy and getting my share of work," says James, who has a wide-ranging practice that includes personal injury, construction law and professional liability. "Work tends to find prominent, cutting-edge attorneys, but if you're like the rest of us, you've got to find the work yourself or make sure it finds you."

Does your practice still buy yellow-page advertisements? If so, why?

What percentage of your clients are generated by lawyer referral services? Are they from brick-and-mortar referrals or over the Internet?

What other electronic tools do you use to promote your practice? What is the reach?

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