BIG Mail NOW Magazine - Issue V-2419

 

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Marketing For Law Firms Via Attorney-Client Matching Services - Part II

What are these new attorney-client matching services? Who are the players? What do they cost? What is the risk to me? What is the return for me? What is the buzz on them? Are they ethical as marketing for law firms? Will they save me money and are they for me? Will they get me clients I would not have otherwise? The answers to these questions was begun in Part 1 which focused on the facts of this marketing for law firms vehicle. This article, Part II, gives you "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would say.

Conclusions and Recommendations on Attorney-Client Matching

Let me list my current thoughts/conclusions in this marketing for law firms niche of attorney-client matching services and from there it is up to you to make your decision:

1.This marketing for law firms vehicle clearly has some merit. This approach can deliver business to you that you would not get otherwise and get it to you now. Yes, you can do better and at least arguably cheaper for yourself through the right Internet attorney marketing strategies (see my website). However, it is not going to happen tomorrow and attorney-client matching can happen tomorrow. You can build your own systems while using these systems and then decide if you want to continue their systems or not. They will always probably get some business you would not have gotten otherwise even if you had your own online systems.

2.Unfortunately you are only “renting” the methods used to get the business you are being sent and don’t “own” the business methods used. If you had the correct Internet marketing for law firms system up you would have a salable asset in those systems and be driving traffic exclusively to you, which is better than this option almost certainly in the long run for most if not all attorneys. Additionally, as a general principle it is not good to be dependent on any one source of referrals as I am sure you know. That said I still think attorney-client matching services are a good option before you have your own Internet marketing systems and/or other marketing systems up. You may even want to continue these services after you have your own systems up. Having your own systems up makes you more secure and now you are at choice about staying with the service or not.

3.Who is this marketing for law firms vehicle for really?
a.Someone who needs more business right now. These systems have a stream of business coming right now and they can send it your way right now. Other attorney marketing systems will take some time to make happen and yield results.
b.Someone who is very, very clear they don’t want to be involved in the marketing process and are willing to pay someone else to do it for them even if it costs them more and they are “renting”. If that is you, then this is probably a good move for you. That said, you still are going to have to “close” the client they send you via email or on the phone so you are going to be involved in marketing at that level, just less marketing. You are never going to get away from that aspect unless you are an associate who does nothing but technical work in someone else’s practice (not that there is anything wrong with that).
c.Someone who is doing some attorney marketing that is not working for them or not working very effectively for them since if you stop what is not working and do this type that is working you may be able to reduce your marketing costs while increasing your revenue stream.
d.Finally, a partner level attorney who has a senior associate that has good people skills that could work this marketing for law firms vehicle and close the referred clients.

4.Who is this type of attorney marketing not for?
a.Someone who won’t attend to the referrals from the matching service most if not nearly every working day.
b.Someone who does not have fair to good “closing skills” or “bedside manner” (Note: you can get some coaching from these firms to improve this aspect if needed and/or see my website for more information on this skill set). You are not the only attorney getting the referral from the match firm so you need to “shine” well enough to get hired. There is still an element of competition involved with maybe 3 to 5 other attorneys who got the same referral.
c.Someone in a geographic area that does not generate a lot of referrals in your practice area. Like a rural area or small town or maybe an estate planner in a low-income area. So you see this marketing for law firms vehicle is not for everyone.

5.The negative information on LegalMatch and CasePost is somewhat troubling to me even though much of it is from the past and has been positively addressed. The negative information of the past on LegalMatch appears to have not troubled the Utah Bar, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. This is reassuring to me.

6.If you were reasonably sure this type of vehicle is for you I would go with LegalMatch first. I am presuming you are willing to work their system diligently and have at least low average “closing” skills (they will work with you to get your closing ratio up if you need some support in that area). Why LegalMatch? They have over 1500 members currently (a good sign I think), over 90 employees and have been in business longer. I figure that gives them an edge in knowledge, results and staying in business over time. Additionally, their “footprint” of bringing business to their members is almost certainly larger since they have more resources to drive business to their site than the others. If for some reason you are uncertain if this type of marketing for law firms is for you then I would go with LegalFish first. Why LegalFish? The LegalFish option would allow you to get into this marketing for law firms arena now with less expense and less risk than LegalMatch or CasePost. Do realize the LegalFish attorney marketing “footprint” is going to be much smaller than either of the other two services so they won’t be sending as large a volume of business your way almost certainly. Do be sure you have in your agreement with LegalFish that they will not charge you for the months they do not send you business. If you had a good experience working the referrals from LegalFish, diligently worked the system almost daily, realized a good return on your investment and you wanted to do more then I would look into LegalMatch next. Either starting with LegalMatch or LegalFish, if you find that you really liked this approach to marketing for law firms there is nothing wrong with belonging to two or even three of the services.

7.If you decide to become a member with LegalMatch, Case Post and/or LegalFish do remember your financial arrangement and term of membership are somewhat to greatly negotiable. Do negotiate a win/win agreement for yourself. Naturally, if you can get references of current members to contact from them in your practice area and in a similar type market to yours so much the better before you sign your agreement.

8.I probably would not go with Lawyers dot com at this point. Why? First, no guarantee. Next Lawyers dot com does not appear to me to be promoting that part of the site enough. Additionally, I am not sure it is worth the cost of the bio and the fee that together will run at least $2,400 for the year. I suspect this money could be better put to use with one of the “big three”. Lastly, given the consumer has a list of attorneys that could be large (search on the site for your zip code and practice areas and see how large it is for your area) you are going to be in a crowd I fear. Thus it looks like not much business and it seems no way to impact the consumers’ thinking in your direction at the point where they are selecting who to contact. An exception to this thinking is if you already have a bio listing with them (and it is delivering business to you) this add on service might be a useful attorney marketing move given you are only spending $495 more per year. That said keep good records and see if it produces you any business. If not you would stop the service of course.

9.With respect to LegalConnection dot com I probably would not go with them at this point. Why? No guarantee. I do see it as an advantage that it is a stand-alone away from the FindLaw site. For that reason alone I would favor it over Lawyers dot com, however, I don’t see LegalConnection or Lawyers dot com as being in the same class as the “big three” at this point in time.




 

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