Sunday, April 28, 2013

Legal Marketing - Managing Internet Content to Maximize Law Firm Exposure

Most law firms are beginning to understand the profound impact that generating a high volume of quality Internet content can have on their Web exposure.  Once a law firm has committed to incorporating Internet content as part of its marketing strategy, the next questions that usually come to mind are:

1) What do I write about?

2) Should I use a blog, articles, or both?

3) How often should I post?

4) Who should be handling these posts?

5) Is there anything else I need to know in order to make this a profitable use of my time?

OK, let's address these one at a time.

1) What do I write about?

First, decide how you want to position your firm to the marketplace. Are you a generalist personal injury firm, do you specialize in medical malpractice, worker's compensation, auto accidents, junk faxes, securities litigation, nursing home abuse, police brutality, inmate rights, toxic torts, no fault, or some of the above? This is a critical business decision that requires serious consideration, because you will be branding yourself to the world as such.

How you make this decision may be a good topic for another post, but the bottom line is that once you decide on your focus, your content should be consistent with this.

You can write on anything related to this subject. For example, even if your specialty is as narrow as "construction accidents" you can still come up with creative ideas. Tell you readers how to avoid construction accidents, share updates on your verdict and settlement successes pertaining to these types of cases, talk about what a client can expect during the claim process, talk about what makes commercial claims different from auto injury claims, provide different links to interesting facts and statistics on construction accidents, other Internet resources that someone who has been involved in this type of personal injury accident may find useful.

2) Should I use a blog, articles, or both?

The two most common ways to generate low cost exposure online is through the use of a blog or articles. I happen to use both in my Internet marketing strategy. If I deem that some of my blog posts are sufficiently applicable to a broader audience I tweak and turn them into articles and then submit them to a major online article site such as EzineArticles.  I recently started using this service and am already at around 100 article views and it has already started generating some meaningful traffic to my Web site - not too shabby for a niche focus, I think.  Plus, your articles will be around forever...

You can blog, post articles and send out Internet press releases - the choice is yours. Of course, the broader the range of tactics, the greater the impact on your search results and the stronger your overall online exposure and brand.

3) How often should I post?

Let your own time and resources dictate how much time you spend.  Often, a low-cost managed law firm Internet marketing program can be very effective.  You can outsource the production of some, or all of your content and simply handle the review and approval internally to ensure compliance with your firm's guidelines and needs.  

4) Who should be handling these posts?

This depends on the size of your firm and your resources.  If you are a solo practitioner, maybe this is something for which you may wish to set a few hours aside.   If you already have a steady flow of business and have the capital to grow, but not the time, an efficient way to accomplish this is to have a lower cost resource research idea topics and produce preliminary drafts and then have them reviewed and approved by an attorney, or marketing resource.  
Decide what works best for you and your firm, but make sure that you do not take up too much of your revenue producers' time with non-core law firm activities.   Remember, everything you do is all about achieving a positive return on your marketing investment.  If you spend too much money, or too much time, your return will be diminished.

5) Is there anything else I need to know in order to make this a profitable use of my time?

Yes.  Promote your Internet presence to clients and other referral sources.  This is the other piece of the puzzle.  These efforts are not only designed to drive more Internet traffic to your law firm Web site, but also to increase your reputation and brand among those in your network.

In addition, and this is very important.  Your content should not be arbitrary.  Your keyword phrases should play to the search engine results you desire.  Now, there is an art and science to doing this and this is where it really pays to have expert backup.  For example, back in the day, one could simply have the term "personal injury law firm" appear two dozen times in this article and up to the top of search engines it would go.   No more.  Google is smarter and knows what to look for and what to ignore. 
The way to be successful is to write content naturally, while also remaining mindful of the keyword phrases and incorporating them in an appropriate manner.  Yes, this takes thought and time, so if you are planning to generate a solid income for your firm, you may want to consider outsourcing your marketing efforts to a law firm Internet marketing company that will get you top value (read new client cases) for your buck.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Law Firm Funding: A Cash Flow Management Solution for Plaintiff Attorneys

Today's plaintiff attorneys face a unique set of financial challenges, especially given the current volatile economy. Working on a contingency basis, they typically incur hefty expenses long before collecting their fee. Discovery costs, salaries, expert witness fees, advertising costs, and day-to-day operating expenses can add up quickly, making it difficult to compete with deep pocketed defense firms.

Unfortunately, the plaintiff attorney working on a contingency basis must wait for the case to settle before receiving payment, which can often take years. Furthermore, even once the case has settled, it can take several additional months and in some cases several additional years, before payment is actually received.

There are several reasons for this delay in payment. Defendants, especially large insurance companies, are often slow to pay. In addition, there are sometimes administrative delays that are often coupled with sluggish court approvals.

This is where law firm funding can be a lifesaver for the plaintiff attorney. There are two major classifications of legal financing: pre-settlement funding and post-settlement funding. Pre-settlement funding is a cash advance on a case before the case settles. This is the most common kind of law firm funding.

With a pre-settlement advance, the risk to the funding company is relatively high. Therefore, the rates are quite expensive, usually exceeding 3% per month. In addition, many finance companies will charge a flat upfront fee of 10%-20% of the advance.

Pre-settlement funding becomes very costly when a case takes over a year to settle, as the high monthly interest rate compounds over the course that the funds are outstanding. The amount of the advance usually will not exceed 10% of the estimated case value.

Post-settlement funding involves a finance company purchasing the fee after the case has settled. The attorney receives an advance based on a discounted value of the determined legal fee. This is also referred to as legal receivable factoring.

Rates for post-settlement funding are generally much cheaper, as there is no pre-settlement risk. Legal funding companies usually charge anywhere between 1.5% and 2.5% for advancements on settled cases.

If a lawyer is facing financial difficulties, attorney funding can help to smooth out irregular cash flow. Pre-settlement funding is quite expensive and should only be used when other financial options have been exhausted. Post-settlement financing can be obtained at a much cheaper price and can therefore be utilized as a cash flow management tool on a more regular basis.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Importance of a Creative Business Card Design for Your DUI Law Firm

Starting your own DUI law firm should be treated like any other successful business out there. Often times young DUI Attorneys don't think like business owners, but they think like lawyers. It's important to be able to do both. Make business decisions when needed, and of course be a zealous advocate for your client.

Like most businesses a good business card can mean the difference between making a good impression and a bad one. Here are a few things to look for when designing your business card for your DUI law firm.

Distinct concept: Many DUI law firms if not all have business cards. In my opinion most of the business cards I have seen from fellow DUI Attorneys are boring, plain, and simple. In today's day and age owning and operating a DUI law firm is very competitive. Having a business card that sets your apart will help you stand out from the competition. Having a distinct concept is one aspect of this. Different colors, fonts, and designs help accomplish this.

If your business card was designed at the local copy shop, and its plain black and white. Guess what. Your business is not going to stand out, and in the end a potential client is just going to throw the card away. On the other hand if the card is unique, it has a creative design and colors, a potential client is more likely to hold onto that card and keep it.

Description: Having a business card that is cluttered with information and having one that is completely sparse is a fine line. To have a successful business card the DUI Attorney needs to put just enough information about their practice to let the potential client know what they are about, but not so much it looks like a bunch of scribble together. In addition having a tag line, or description of the type of law practiced (i.e., DUI defense) is important. It lets the reader of the card know the area of expertise for the particular Attorney.

Identifiable logo: Most successful businesses have an identifiable logo. Think about the apple logo, the Google logo, Facebook. All of these businesses have easily identifiable logos that people associate with the business. Just because those businesses are different than a law firm doesn't mean a DUI law firm can't have a logo. In fact I think a logo is a great way to set yourself about from the competition, and shows potential client that your law firm is a viable business. Placing this logo or icon on your business card is an important way to get it out to the public. Especially if it is contained in other advertisements, the firm's website, and/or other materials.

In the grand scheme of things having a business card is a small decision to make when opening up a DUI law firm. However small it is, it can have a huge impact on the success of the firm and is definitely worth the extra money to have a great looking card designed.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Services You Can Get From Business Law Firms

Running a business - whatever type of business it may be - is not an easy task to do as this involves all the complexities of B2B and B2C relation. This is the main reason why every step you make, as a business owner, needs careful planning before it is executed to ensure that no problem will arise along the way. You need to make it sure that all transactions you make comply with all the legalities and technicalities as mandated under the law. But how can you do that when you are not an expert in business law? Well, business lawyers (persons who specialize in business law) can surely help you on that and there are many good business law firms in town that offer legal services for various businesses. But what are these legal services you can get from these firms? You can have the following:

  • Licensing - this is one of the primary requirements when putting up a business and a business lawyer is the right person that you should work with when obtaining license to operate, he can give you legal advice and can work in your behalf to ensure that your business complies with the licensing laws.

  • Entity Formation and Infrastructure - under this service, a business law firm can assist you with the formation and dissolution of various forms of entities. It can also help for the establishment of the right infrastructure based upon your business' needs. Legal works such as shareholder agreements, buy-sell agreements, stock option plans are some areas that a business lawyer can help you with.

  • Mergers and Acquisitions - you can ask for help in dealing the difficult process of closing mergers, acquisitions, and other similar transactions.

  • Commercial Transactions - a business lawyer can also help to address your need in negotiations, structuring and implementation of various commercial transactions (e.g. manufacturing, development, consulting, and distribution agreement).

  • Capital Raising - a business law firm can also help you with business transactions like debt and securities and other private placements. It can also help in preparing the necessary legal requirements that must be complied with before staging any capital raising transactions.

  • Bid Protests and Dispute Resolution - this is another service you can get; they can also represent you in dealing with the complex process of bid protests and dispute resolution, which could include prosecuting and defending your business based on your legal rights.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Google Keywords for Lawyers - Best Law Keywords for Legal Help Online

Put simply, even the best law firms need to employ online advertising. Google keywords are still the primary way in which members of society let their needs be known throughout the web.

Thus, for matters of estates, accidents, vehicle tragedies, wills, probate, or even family concerns, utilization of the best possible law keywords can superbly match consumers with firms that appropriately service their needs.

Even though lawyers may have typically elected to stick with traditional advertising and client contact methods, legal help online now exists as a natural outgrowth of continuously developing Internet technologies.

Within legal disciplines online, as well, the most recent updates in search engine algorithms serve to simultaneously rid the web of extraneous results, plus better guarantee the enjoyment of a wonderful law-related search experience on the worldwide web.

With the above changes now in effect, law firms themselves can also select superior Google keywords which best provide mutual interaction with additional law keywords clients who deserve and need legal assistance.

Now, regardless of popular perceptions or rumors about the expensive prices which legal firms often render upon potential users of their services, law firms provide their legal help online in a way that is no different from basically any other business. Meaning, when the time comes to find new clients and form a lasting relationship with those consumers... proper selection of keyword phrases becomes a component which helps parties on both sides of the equation.

For example, even users who have little formal knowledge about what online legal help will offer them, can still find their preferred type of attorney for legal guidance on the web.

Via matched law keywords and Google keywords phrasing, some of the advantages which the web offers to both consumers and law firms today are:

-- Tools and legal help online programs for better investment issue outcomes;

-- Accurate plus fast access to answers about significant legal questions; and

-- Assessment kits and packets that help simplify preliminary case concerns.

How can law firms better serve their business clients and the general public, as well? In the online environment, again it helps tremendously to explore the assembly of appropriate key word phrasing for almost every case-specific concern.

In other words, a concerted effort to match customer queries with complementary law keywords goes a long way for both the legal firm and the customer.

Lawyer services on the web SHOULD reflect a win-win scenario for basically every party who uses legal help online. Google keywords in the law industry now help to optimize that online experience.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Law Firms - Learning and Adopting of Corporate Methods

Unlike other industries, law firms have not felt any of the intensive pressures of competing with each other, until just 15 years ago.

According to President Jasmine Trillos-Decarie of the Legal Marketing Association, New England chapter, it has only been 15 years ago when competitions for clients and work started among law firms and thus, the need for them to operate similar to a business.

Given this situation, law firms in the country are lately starting to adopt the competitive methods of corporate establishments.

The Legal Marketing Association facilitated a seminar regarding competitive intelligence in Boston. This activity is conducted with due consideration to the fact that competitive intelligence has already started to make the rounds on law firms all over the country as a business strategy.

In the corporate scene of America, competitive intelligence has been a usual buzzword. For a business to possess competitive intelligence, they have to monitor the industry trends, collect feedback from clients, conduct market research and utilize other strategies similar to these in order to keep on top of their game.

All of the important knowledge that can be concretely used to arrive at crucial business decisions is considered competitive intelligence. The other terms used to imply it are opposition research, market analysis, and even considered as corporate spying.

Once, according to Trillos-Decarie, work comes in for law firms simply just by having an in-house counsel pick up the telephone and call up a friend. Lawyers also tend to work only with one company so they always get a load.

Nowadays, the law firms' nature of business has gained significant changes. They are already competing with each other for work. Thus, it is helpful for them to have sufficient understanding of what and how to do "competitive intelligence analysis."

"Competitive intelligence analysis" for lawyers may include the following:

- How an imminent law firms merger could affect the competitive arena and change it

- How projected regulatory adjustments could have an effect on the business

- When the time comes that a practice area is already probable for significant expansion

- What implications and threats could arise in the arrival of a national law firm

These are but several of the important knowledge a firm must not take into account. With gaining sufficient market analysis, there will be no chances of overlooking some promising opportunities, like entering into a merger or gaining a lucrative client over a considered rival firm.

Lawyers everywhere are giving a lot of stock with competitive knowledge since the market trend of the legal industry is geared on increased competition.

Here are the conditions that have brought up this trend:

- rising number of attorneys all over the nation

- abundance of mergers between law firms

- Companies becoming more budget conscious resulting to reduction of hiring law firms and resorting to bidding contests among those vying to be hired.

According to comments from personalities involved in organizations dedicated to propagation of competitive intelligence awareness and practices, the present trend of legal industry gives fertile opportunity for law firms to apply totally new approaches in doing their business. It encourages them to think of better ways on how to serve their clients and improve working methods with clients in the future.