All posts by Jo

6 Reasons Why Lawyers Should Use Facebook Ads

Getting your law firm noticed can be one of the most challenging parts of your legal service. While traditional methods of advertisement (i.e. newspaper, radio, etc.) may still have some effect, in today’s smartphone-driven world, lawyers using Facebook Ads can give them an added advantage.

Before getting started, you may want to review this article about Facebook Ads. It’s an overview of Facebook Ads and can help you get started.

In this article, let’s look at the reasons why lawyers should be using Facebook Ads and how it can benefit the firm.

Access to Prospective Clients

Facebook is more than just a place to communicate with friends and share cute videos of cats. Many businesses are using Facebook because of the possibility of building strong relationships with their customers and clients.

Start with a Facebook page. Then share relevant content that people will want to read. Let your law firm website be the place where you advertise your services and your Facebook presence be where you establish a connection.

Facebook is a huge marketplace where people are sharing personal information about their daily lives. From their upcoming divorce to a recent car accident, Facebook gives you access to many prospective clients.

Target Specific People

Looking at the advertising potential of Facebook, the ability to create demographic specific ads allows you to target more people likely to use your legal services.

Facebook Ads has evolved significantly in recent years. They continue to make modifications and improvements to the way you can set up your ads.

For local businesses, the benefits are big. Being able to target specific regions of a city or groups of people experiencing similar problems can guide you toward a more effective Facebook Ad campaign.

Unlimited Customization

Aside from the targeting abilities Facebook Ads provides, you also have unlimited potential for customizing your ad campaigns.

Consider creating a unique landing page on your website that directs people clicking your ad. Send them to an email list subscriber or request a phone call right away.

The most important thing to do is to have a landing page that is related to the Facebook ad you use. Here are a few things you can put on your landing page to improve your ads performance:

  1. A short (~2 minute) video detailing your legal services
  2. 4 to 7 pieces of important information
  3. Your call to action (i.e. submit your email or give us a call).

Keep your landing page short and to the point. The purpose of Facebook advertising is to direct prospective clients toward contacting your law firm. If you have too much on your landing page, it can be overwhelming and cause visitors to leave right away.

An alternative to the landing page approach may be to send those who click your ad on your Facebook Fan Page. When they’re there, you can offer a valuable piece of content for their contact information.

Affordable

Unlike Google PPC, which has competitive keywords costing more than $100 per click, Facebook Ads can be very cost-effective.

If you’re doing the advertising yourself, it may take some time to find the right combinations before you discover an effective ad result.

In contrast, there are many digital marketing services that can offer their expertise in creating a campaign that fits your budget.

Whether you want to spend a few hundred dollars per month or significantly more, you can set up a campaign and measure the results. Knowing where your budget is going and evaluating the return on investment is just another get advantage that Facebook Ads has for lawyers.

Share Your Expertise

Let’s face it, people are using Facebook to be entertained and stay connected with their loved ones. They don’t enjoy being bombarded by advertisements selling products and services.

If you’re going to be using Facebook Ads to attract clients to your law firm, you’ll have to provide valuable information.

If you’re a personal injury lawyer, consider sharing an article like:

  • Car accidents occur daily and studies have shown that most accidents occur because of these major reasons.We discuss 7 reasons how personal injury lawyers help and how you can reduce the stresses that come with getting in an accident.

If your focus is a divorce lawyer, you may want to try:

  • Studies show that children live unsatisfying lives and perform poorly in school when their parents are conflicting at home.We discuss 5 reasons why children can benefit from divorce and live happier, more successful lives.

Providing posts like these for Facebook users allows you to interact directly with prospective clients. Instead of selling your services you can create a relationship that makes you an expert on the legal practice you specialize in.

Build Community Awareness

Even though you are sharing content and providing valuable information, people may not inquire about your legal services right away.

From a consumer’s perspective, it takes multiple encounters with a brand before they make the decision to purchase. With the impacts of marketing and the skepticism of today’s consumers, that number continues to increase.

As you build awareness within the community, you’ll be able to stand apart from other law firms that don’t offer additional information to those on Facebook.

Facebook Ads is just one way to get people to recognize your legal services. When people start reading your articles, they may have questions related to their situation. Having other tools on your website, such as a Customer Response Management app, can help answer their questions and set up a consultation at your office.

Check out this article on CRMs for lawyers to use in combination with your Facebook Ad campaigns.

8 Effective Online Marketing Techniques Used By Lawyers

Lawyer’s with websites need marketing techniques to introduce prospective clients to their legal services.

Whether you’re small- or medium-sized law firm, the techniques in this article can be used by you or review with your team to create an effective marketing strategy.

Take some time to decide which techniques are worth your time and efforts. You can always get one started and begin testing another later on.

The marketing strategy you create for your law firm will be completely unique to you.

Content Marketing

Content is the key to attracting visitors to your website and generating leads for your firm. Here are a few ways to use your content more effectively:

  • Offer Downloadable PDF. This is a simple way to capturing contact information from those visiting your website. Simply write a guide are common legal concerns, your area of expertise, or a course of action to take in situations requiring legal services. Putting your contact information inside the guide is a great way to encourage readers to contact your firm.
  • Write Quality Content. This can be difficult. Writing blog content that connects with your readers can entice them to share your content on their social media, thereby increasing your exposure and readership. Try focusing on the common concerns your prospective clients may be facing. As well, don’t be afraid to add a “share this with your friends” at the end of each article.
  • Share Your Content. For your content marketing to succeed, you have to share it in different places. Join Facebook groups, online forums, and answer questions on Quora. Once there, you can write responses and insert relevant links from your website.

Online Discussions & Groups

As mentioned previously, joining online communities, active forums, and places like Quora is a great place to share your content. In addition, you can also establish yourself as credible and reliable.

Instead of blasting out promotions to your content and links, maintain an active presence and build relationships with those online. Start by choosing just a few places to dedicate your time like LinkedIn, Facebook Pages, and other forums where discussions are regular.

Social Media

If you don’t have a social media presence, start now. As you share your best legal information online, having a place to reach out to prospects and build a community around you can minimize significant time and resources.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are still leading social media platforms where you can provide a place to build your online community.

The people who like your page or follow your accounts are likely genuinely interested in your services. Share content directly with them, they are your closest supporters.

Email Marketing

Lawyers using contact forms to collect leads can nurture those prospects through email marketing.

Email marketing is one of the lowest marketing costs and can lead to the highest ROI.

As you build your list of prospective clients, consider sending text-based emails only. Most people are familiar with opening emails from friends, families and business associates.

Emails that appear too noisy or filled with distracting images can immediately lead to the garbage bin, or worse, marked for spam.

Make A Video

In today’s media-rich world, video tends to be the dominating trend for both entertainment and sharing messages with others.

Creating videos can range from expensive high production features or your law firm to simply flipping on the camera and talking about your legal knowledge.

If you’re already blogging, consider turning your blogs into a full feature discussion involving you in your office. Having both videos and content related to the blog is appealing to a wider audience as well as boosts your credibility.

Facebook Ads / Google Adwords

Wondering how to increase your following on Facebook or boost traffic to your free consultation landing page?

Facebook Ads provide a range of possibilities to target prospective clients. You can set up your Facebook Ad account in a few steps. After that, you can begin to explore the demographic targeting feature to share your ads with specific audiences.

You should start with a low budget then adapt your ad campaign according to which ads are returning the most.

With Google Adwords, you can push your website to the top of search engines. Unlike Facebook Ads, your ads will be triggered based on relevant keywords that people are using to search online.

Knowing which keywords people are using can help your marketing attract more visitors to your website. However, something to keep in mind is that these keywords can be very competitive causing the price per click to be very high.

Before starting your first ad campaign, you may want to consider these Ethical Rules that lawyers must follow by the ABA.

SEO

If you’re a lawyer unfamiliar with how websites are ranked by search engines,  SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

There are both on-page (i.e. modifications to your website) and off-page (i.e. your activities away from your website) which can influence where your website appears in search results.

Improving the SEO on your website is a great alternative to paying for advertisements because this can get you free traffic. However, the SEO changes you make today may not take effect right away.

Some things you can start doing to improve your SEO are:

  • Creating more backlinks to your website (i.e. sharing your content and pages on forums and other places online)
  • Improve the quality of your articles
  • Perform keyword research and use the appropriate words on your web pages and articles.
  • Improve your website’s page speed (page speed is an important factor that search engines use to rank your website)

Note: As you publish more content on your website, you’ll organically improve your SEO.

Live Chat

 Imagine being able to communicate with your visitors while they’re on your website.

Adding a live chat messaging system to your website can enable you to capture more leads and convert more visitors into clients.

Live chat works by triggering a message like, “How can we help you today?” whenever a visitor arrives at your website. Either you, your staff, or an outsourced agent can interact with that visitor.

During after hours, your live chat can continue to collect leads by providing information to contact you via email. You can return to office the next day and respond to any messages in your inbox.

There are a variety of live chat services dedicated to lawyers which is a consideration to ensure confidentiality and privacy of information shared over the chat system.

Law Firm Websites, Advertising, and the ABA: Overview of Online Ethics for Lawyers

Having a website for your law firm is a great way to set your legal services apart from competitors. You can showcase your expertise in a blog, market your services to prospective clients and turn website visitors into new clients.

However, before you make your website live, spend money on advertising, or activate a live chat service, there are ethical rules and regulations every lawyer should follow.

The American Bar Association (ABA) provides clear guidelines for lawyers to follow when it comes to their online activities. This article will cover just a few of the most crucial points and you should review the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct for the state you practice law.

Overview of the ABA Rules for Ethics and Online Compliance

As a practicing lawyer, you should be aware that some advertising materials and online content are prohibited. The rules outlined by the ABA vary from state to state and interpretations can be tangible.

The obvious benefits of a law firm website allow distribution of information to the general public, a 24/7 marketing tool, and immediate access for contacting a lawyer.

In contrast, the content being provided can result in website visitors misunderstanding the information or being misled by legal advice. Visitors may use this information to try and answer their personal legal situation.

Another concern when it comes to providing access to legal services online is the safety and security of sensitive information. Email and live chat servers may be saving copies of digital communications which a lawyer can compromise a lawyer’s commitment to confidentiality.

To combat this, lawyers must avoid publishing misleading or inaccurate information. The ABA expects lawyers to provide updated content containing only general information applicable to a lawyer’s area(s) of practice. This also includes links to any blogs or forums which the lawyer makes a contribution.

In regards to confidentiality, there are a few measures a lawyer can take to secure sensitive personal information. Lawyers are in complete control of how their website interacts with visitors. The ABA expects lawyers to consider how they will interact with visitors and discourage the submission of confidentiality. Having a noticeable disclaimer can help.

Overview of Ethical Rules for Law Firm Websites

Lawyers providing access to their legal services or sharing general information about law should follow the following rules to remain compliant.

  • Disclaimers are used for a range of ethical concerns that can arise online. From confidentiality to the images of people on your pages (i.e. using actors to portray lawyers, judges or fictitious events), a disclaimer should use warnings or cautionary statements for visitors on a law firm’s website.
  • Don’t Make False Client Expectations. Using your lawyer website to convince visitors that you can win their case can be very misleading. You have to be reasonable with your client expectations while convincing clients you are the best choice to hire. If you have factual support and a disclaimer like, “prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes” can prevent a breach of the ABA’s ethical rules.
  • Don’t Make False Statements. In rule 7.1(a), the ABA allows lawyers to (1) make statements comparing other legal services; (2) share testimonials from clients or former clients; and, (3) make statements about the character or quality of your legal services. However, as mentioned before, you must provide a disclaimer, provide factual support, and receive permission from clients to share their testimonials.  

There are more rules regarding lawyer’s and their websites. Some states may require you to submit your entire site for review or just a few pages.

Overview of Ethical Rules for Advertisements

The first thing you should know about advertising, especially via email, is that you may have to include: “Attorney Advertising.”

The next thing to consider is whether the state you practice law requires a submission of advertising materials. In Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, you are not required to submit websites or other advertising materials. However, other states may have mandatory, optional, or different rules for submission and review.

Image result for lawyer advertisements

Another important consideration is where you obtain your advertisements. Lawyers can use a lawyer referral service that has been approved by proper authorities; use written, recorded, or electronic advertisements; and, must provide an address or contact information to the lawyer or staff from the firm responsible for the ad.

Rule 7.2 covers the ethics of advertising in more detail.

Overview of Ethical Rules for Live Chat

Live chat is becoming a popular feature on websites because it allows lawyers or their staff to interact directly with visitors. While each state has their own interpretations of the ethical rules, here is a quick summary:

  • Duty of Competence: Lawyers should be cautious when responding to questions outside their area(s) of practice.
  • Client Confidentiality: Lawyers must maintain confidentiality to current and former clients.
  • Communication with Person Represented by Counsel (Rule 4.2): Lawyers must be careful not to communicate with an opposing party being represented by counsel.
  • Unauthorised Practice of Law (Rule 5.5): Lawyers are not permitted to answer legal questions regarding states where the attorney is not authorized to practice law.
  • Communication of Lawyers Services (Rule 7.1): Lawyers must ensure not to use false or misleading communication. Some states require a “Disclaimer” when communicating via live chat.
  • Solicitation (Rule 7.3): Live chat, depending on how it’s used, may not be used to solicit legal services for prospective clients.

This article is just an overview of the ethical rules and/or interpretations of those rules, it does not cover all possible ethical concerns regarding Website, Advertisements, and Live Chat. For a complete review, go to the ABA’s Model Rules.

Best Live Chat For Lawyer Websites

Choosing the best live chat for your law firm’s website may come down to pricing, support, and functionality. Before reviewing a few live chats you can use for your website, let’s look at a few key features to help in your decision making.

The first thing to understand is what you can do with live:

  • Pre-chat Message: provide a pop-up to a visitor to prompt them toward clicking the button and starting the live chat session.
  • Pre-chat script: provide a series of questions the visitor must answer before the live chat session begins.
  • Proactive Live Chat: offering a live chat session to a visitor upon arrival.
  • Reactive Chat: waiting for a visitor to initiate the live chat button.
  • Unavailable Chat: when live agents are not available, an optional form is sent to the visitor to provide their email.

Next, in the marketing world, turning a website visitor into a paying customer (or client) is known as a conversion. Live chats are a great tool to increase conversions if you know how to use them.

Quick Tips for Live Chat

Take into consideration the following when choosing and setting up a live chat solution on your law firmès website:

  1. Who Will Be Responding to Chat Requests? Will you be handling the chat notifications or an assistant? There is also the option of hiring a virtual receptionist and outsourcing. Are you aware of the ethical implications to answer legal related questions?
  2. How Are Chats Being Answered? If you understand the ABA’s ethics rules for lawyers, you’ll know what kind of information you can or cannot collect during a live chat. If you have chosen a live chat with outsourced assistance, will they be given a script? Are they proficient in English? How should they handle sensitive information?
  3. What Are Your Costs? There are many live chat solutions available and prices range from completely free to high hourly rates for active chat agents. You may also find the option to pay per lead or to pay per chat.

Now that you have an idea what to look for in a live chat software for your website, let’s look at a few options.

Live Chat for Lawyer Websites

Client Chat Live

Overview: Client Chat Live offers live chat solutions for small business, medical practices, and legal practices.

Installation: Their installation team provides you with the HTML to include on your website and simple steps to get started.

Features:

  • Proactive Pop-ups: invites visitors to start using the chat messenger
  • Branded chat boxes
  • Monthly chat reports (include all chats, summary of visitor details, and analytics)
  • Custom scripts for their operators
  • Live phone transfer
  • CRM Integration
  • 24/7 operator availability

Languages: Available in English and Spanish  

Pricing: Contact the company for a free quote. 

Legal Chat 24/7

Overview: Legal 24/7 is a live chat provider dedicated exclusively to lawyers. They offer a team of trained operators capable of using legal language. They can also assist in designing custom chat scripts that suit your law firm’s style.

Installation:  N/A

Features:

  • Legal training operators with focus on conversion
  • Live phone call transfer
  • Live chat 24/7/365
  • Branded chat boxes
  • Analytics
  • CRM integration
  • Lead notification (email, phone call, etc.)

Languages: Available in English and Spanish

Pricing: Pay per lead. Contact the company for more details.

Apex Chat

Overview: Apex Chat offers both live chat software and professional agents 24/7/365. They have agents specialized in personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, family law, immigration, estate planning, and other legal areas. Apex Chat is a leading provider of live chat solutions for lawyers.

Installation: N/A

Features:

  • Multiple chat agents available 24/7
  • Live phone call transfer
  • Practice area trained operators
  • Pre-defined scripts
  • Customizable messenger (for branding)
  • CRM Integration
  • Geo-mapping and routing
  • Detailed reporting

Language: Available in English and Spanish

Pricing: Pay per lead, with the ability to cap billing. For more information, contact their sales team.

The following live chat providers are not specific for legal services.

Chat.io

Overview: Chat.io offers a highly functional live chat messenger for your website. You’ll see a simple chat messenger in the bottom right corner of your website with the option to add the chat agent’s image and personalized message. They also offer 14-day free trial.

Installation: After you sign up for your account, you’ll receive an HTML code to place on your attorney website. They offer easy-to-understand instructions for this task.

Features:

  • Create canned messages
  • Check chat status
  • Share files
  • Create smart or manual chat (for offline)
  • Use on multiple websites and integrate into Facebook
  • Receive chat ratings
  • Access to agent profiles and transparency
  • Only $10 per teammate/month

Please note, this chat service only offers access to their live chat software. If you need agents, you may have to outsource.

Other live chat software similar to Chat.io include:

These live chat services offer manual live chat solutions. If you don’t have the staff to manage your live chats, you can outsource and provide scripts or set up an autoresponder requesting contact information.

Overall, the benefits of using non-legal focused live chats would be their affordability. However, the inability to hire staff available 24/7 can lead to missed leads and prospective clients.

In contrast, the live chat services devoted to the legal industry include operators who can speak both Spanish and English. In addition, with pricing being pay-per-lead from talented operators focused on conversions, you’ll get exactly what you pay for.

The Biggest Mistakes Lawyers Make With Advertisements

Lawyers depend on advertisements to build an awareness of their legal services and attract new clients to their firm. While traditional methods are still in use, online marketing (via Facebook Ads and Google Adwords) are becoming the common trend for advertising.

If you’re considering to use advertisements for your law firm, here are some of the biggest mistakes lawyers make and what you can do to avoid them.

Unfocused Marketing Campaigns

You may have a large budget to spend on marketing your law firm, but if you don’t have a focal point you’ll be spending your money on nothing. You can create a generic “contact for a free consultation” marketing message and take anything that comes in the door.

Or, you can segment your marketing message and target the specific legal services you offer. Invest your time and money creating marketing messages related to the specific cases your law firm handles.

Once you concentrate your marketing efforts you can find the right prospects for your firm.

Poorly Written Content

The content you publish on your website is a representation of you and your law firm. The internet is filled with spammy websites and people know when they’re being sold to.

Your content should be informative, error-free, and relatable to the people you think will read it.

Also, to improve the effectiveness of your content, add logical and emotional reasons to hire you. People are searching for someone who can truly help them with their problems.

Use your content to tell people you understand what they are dealing with and that your legal services are here to help.

Asking For Too Much

Your advertising efforts may be effective and delivering high traffic to your website. However, you may find that no one is contacting you for more information or to start a consultation.

If you’re asking prospective clients too much information in your contact boxes, many prospects are likely to turn away. People are constantly concerned about their privacy and with the rise of identity theft, there is a hesitancy to sharing personal information online.

Nonetheless, lawyers require some information to begin evaluating their case and being able to respond to it. Only ask for as much as you need and after receiving their contact information you can begin to ask the questions needed to get their case started.

Complex Web Design

There’s nothing more frustrating for a visitor to a website than a complex and confusing web design. This is known as your bounce rate, which is the number of visitors that come to your website then leave right away.

When you’re putting your legal services online, consider your visitors. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the most useful information my visitors need?
  • Does my law firm web design have a clear call to action (i.e. call for a free consultation)?
  • Is my contact information easy to access or will a visitor have difficulty finding it?
  • Does my website invite visitors to join my social?
  • Would adding a pop-up lead capture improve my conversions from visitors to clients?

If you’re struggling to come up with an effective web design for your law firm, consider these best law firm websites from 2017.

Also, if you have analytics set up on your website (i.e. to monitor where visitors are coming from and where they are frequently visiting) find your best content and feature them in the sidebar of your content pages.

Spending Your Entire Marketing Budget

Whether you’re using Facebook Ads or Google Adwords, you have complete control over the duration and style of your marketing campaign. If you spend your entire budget without testing different ideas, you may end up with a lower return than you hoped for.

Start by setting your budget low and creating a series of tests to see which messages make the most impact on your target audience. The analytics offered in Facebook Ads and your Google account can help you determine which campaign is effective and could use more of your marketing budget.

Incongruent Landing Pages

In the world of advertising, having a congruent message is crucial. You’re marketing message and your landing pages should live up to the promise you’re making.

Advertising something like, “Steps to take after getting in a car accident,” then sending them to a landing page with a promotion to your service may not deliver the best results.

The purpose of proving valuable content online is to establish yourself as an authority in law as well as trustworthy.

Use your landing pages to capture leads in exchange for content that people are looking for.

Not Focused On Converting Visitors

You can spend thousands of dollars on advertising to get traffic to your website. However, if your website is not developed to turn those visitors into clients, you’ll be wasting your marketing budget.

The purpose of any website, especially a lawyer’s website, is to convert visitors into clients. There are many ways to do this. You can send visitors clicking on your Facebook Ads to a landing page requesting their email in exchange for valuable content.

Or, perhaps the most effective method of converting traffic, is by adding live chat to your website. Having the ability to communicate with visitors while they are live on your site allows you to address any questions they may have and arrange a consultation immediately.

The alternative would be to hope they find your contact page and send you an inquiry.

Not Having A Unique Selling Point

Having a distinct call to action is an important feature for any lawyer’s website. In addition to that, your website should have a unique selling point which differentiates your legal services from others online.

What makes you different from other law firms? How can you help more than other law firms with the same legal services?

Having case studies and client referrals on your homepage are one way of showcasing your legal abilities to prospective clients. However, you should take a moment and ask yourself what can you offer that differentiates you from your competitors.

Now that you know some of the mistakes lawyers are making with their advertisements, you may want to review advertising regulations from the State Bar.

Legal Malpractice Insurance For Attorneys

Whether you’re a solo practitioner of law or working with partners at a firm, having legal malpractice insurance will protect you from any unfortunate situations when a claim is made against you or your firm.

Mistakes are bound to happen and lawyers are liable for the decisions they make which have a direct impact on their clients personal lives and well-being. While some states may require legal malpractice insurance for attorneys, if you’re thinking about going without, understand the the consequences of being at the losing end of a claim against you can be devastating for your career.

This article will guide you through some of the benefits, considerations and examples of policies you can get to protect your legal services.

Why Purchase Legal Malpractice Insurance?

First and foremost, purchasing malpractice insurance protects you from any liability issues that can occur while performing legal services.

The cost of malpractice insurance for attorneys can come with a high annual premium. Depending on where you practice law, the area you practice, the years of experience you have, and the size of your firm, these are all factored into the annual insurance price.

Areas of practice such as real-estate lawyers and personal injury lawyers tend to pay higher premiums because these are seen as “high-risk” fields. Also, when a city has a higher number of malpractice claims, you can be sure to experience higher rates.

While he premiums may be extreme, especially if you’re a solo-practitioner or small law firm, malpractice insurance protects your reputation and personal indemnity.

For more detailed FAQs, please see the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability 

What to Consider When Purchasing Legal Malpractice Insurance

Legal malpractice insurance for attorneys can cover many situations while leaving you liable for claims you may not see coming. When your considering which legal malpractice insurance to purchase, here is a few things you want to have in your insurance policy:

  • If you’re outsourcing or using a virtual receptionist, can your policy provide protection against outsourcing risks?
  • Does the policy protect all your staff and associates?
  • Will the policy give you peace of mind and confidence to practice law?
  • Does the policy legitimize your practice and build client trust?
  • Will you be protected against claims of professional negligence?
  • Does the policy cover the expense of hiring an independent legal counsel to represent you in the case of a complaint?

Another important consideration when choosing legal malpractice insurance would be the types of coverage you can receive. Each claim can have limitations of liability ranging from a few thousand dollars up to millions.

If a claim is made against your law firm, you may want to know if you’ll receive an increase in policy charges in future years.

Rates for Legal Malpractice Insurance  

The actual rates of your legal malpractice insurance will depend upon factors listed above as well as the answers to some questions you’ll have to provide.

Here’s an example of some of the questions you’ll be asked which will be used to calculate the cost of your insurance coverage:

  1. How many claims or incidents have you had per lawyer per year?
  2. What was the nature of the claims (i.e. frivolous, ordinary negligence, gross negligence, criminal conduct)?
  3. What was the degree of fault by the lawyer, (i.e. clear malpractice, statute of limitations, vicarious liability [when a lawyer leaves the firm])?
  4. Have you been rejected from other insurance carriers or was renewal refused previous insurance provider?
  5. What is the nature of your practice (i.e. family law, personal injury, etc.)
  6. What was your attitude / conduct with the client in resolving claims (i.e. attitude toward client)?

Insurance companies will examine your firm carefully to determine your eligibility and insurance premium rates.

Be prepared to share some of the intimate details of your law firm or solo-practice. You’ll have to share information like your attorneys professional conduct, history of previous claims, list of attorneys, their roles, hours worked, and more. Applications will vary from insurance company to insurance company.

Insurance Company Red Flags

Some of the major factors contributing to increased insurance premiums come from the following list of “red flags” which insurance companies are looking for.

  1. 2 or more claims from the past year
  2. 3 or more claims from the past 10 years (depending on the size of your firm)
  3. Type of claim
  4. Pattern of claims
  5. Being uninsured the previous 5 years
  6. Not paying a deductible
  7. Not cooperating with client suing
  8. Any bar disciplinary incidences
  9. Continued business relationship with clients that previous sued
  10. Possession of other professional licenses.

Researching the Best Legal Malpractice Insurance

The list above determining the rates of your insurance policy can seem daunting, you have complete power to research and find the best policy provider for your firm.

Performing your own due diligence and criticizing the fine details of the policy will be in your best insurance. Insurance policy providers is a business and the advertisements you receive in your inbox are simply trying to sell you on their premiums while not providing you the right coverage for your firm.

 In the case that you are rejected from an insurance provider, you can make any requested changes to the practices at your firm and reapply. There are plenty of insurance companies to choose from and comparative shipping will allow you to find the best price at the best coverage.

Insurance Updates & Renewals

Once you have selected the best legal malpractice insurance for you and your attorneys, you’ll have to continue to send any information to your insurer regarding changes to your practice.

If you hire on more attorneys or take on different kinds of clients, you may have to make changes to your policy.

When your insurance policy expires, you are responsible to make any necessary updates to avoid defrauding the insurance provider which can lead to legal consequences.

Law Firm Accounting Software

Whether you’re a solo practitioner, a small law firm, or a large legal enterprise, there is a law firm accounting software that’s right for you.

Accounting software for law firms allows you to record and process accounting transactions. Each software differs however you can find a range of services such as accounts payable, receivable, ledgers, payroll, balance sheets, invoicing, purchase orders, billing, and more.

Use the following list of law firm account software solutions to compare features, benefits and pricing to choose the best one for your law firm.

AbacusLaw

AbacusLaw is a leading technology solutions provider for both legal and accounting professionals. Some of the features you can enjoy with AbacusLaw are:

  • Billing
  • Invoicing
  • Payroll processing
  • Calendaring
  • Time tracking

You can customize one of AbacusLaw’s accounting software plans with case management and other professional solutions. One feature that makes this law firm accounting software unique is that they offer solutions by area of practice and type of law. If you’re a bankruptcy lawyer, employment lawyer, criminal defense lawyer, or practicing another area of law, AbacusLaw has a custom software for you.

You’ll have to contact AbacusLaw for pricing or you can sign up for a free demo.

Bill4Time

Bill4Time is used by thousands of legal practitioners accessing their end-to-end mobile-ready legal time billing software. Here are some of the exclusive features you can use with Bill4Time:

  • Time tracking
  • Online invoicing
  • Payment tracking
  • Matters management
  • Trust and IOLTA accounting
  • Document management

Bill4Time uses a secure, 256-bit data encryption to ensure your sensitive information remains protected. You can purchase a industry specific Bill4Time platform that incorporates the American Bar Association Task Codes, LEDES for exporting and conflict of interest checking.

You can use Bill4Time for 30 days and afterward you can choose one of their plans which start at $12 per month.

LegalFiles

Although not a dedicated law firm accounting software, LegalFiles is a comprehensive software solution to be used alongside any accounting software you choose to use. LegalFiles management features are superior when compared to other accounting software solutions on this list. Here’s a few of the things you can do with this:

  • Matter management
  • Phone messaging
  • Response tracking
  • Document and text searching
  • File notes and management
  • Automated task scheduling

LegalFiles is used by legal departments, law firms, insurance companies, university legal departments, and governmental agencies. They are a secure and effective legal software solution for all-in-one legal management. As well, they do have an optional e-billing and invoicing management solution.

You can try a demo or contact their sales team for a quote.

Clio

Clio was designed to allow lawyers to worry less about their administrative tasks and focus more on time with their clients. Clio provides all the you need to keep your law firm running and they have additional and powerful features beyond their accounting software:

  • Time tracking
  • Billing
  • Invoicing
  • Billing reports
  • Payment management
  • Matter management
  • Trust accounting
  • Lead tracking

Clio includes the option to choose law specific software which is tailored to your area of practice. It uses a cloud based accounting program to keep your information secure and accessible worldwide.

You can try Clio for free or start their entry package for only $39 per user / month.

PCLaw

Developed by LexisNexis, PCLaw is a scalable legal accounting software. The key feature that makes this law firm accounting software stand out is that your pricing is based upon the size of your firm. If you don’t have many clients to begin you can still use PCLaw at a very affordable price.

  • Contact management
  • Client management
  • Case management
  • Matter management
  • Trust accounting

PCLaw has a devoted team of customer service representatives to make the introduction to their accounting software seamless and simple. PCLaw allows you to accurate bill your clients and account for time which would have been lost without using this service.

You can start by contacting an agent to assist with setup, start a trial, or begin with their $39 per user / month package.

LeanLaw

LeanLaw is an accounting software designed by a lawyer. They use a simple user interface that makes timekeeping and invoicing quick and easy to do. Here’s a few of the features they provide:

  • Time tracking
  • Invoicing
  • Billing
  • Calendars
  • Trust accounting

With LeanLaw you can monitor your accounting on the go with their mobile app and dictate input data using their hands free, voice dictation. LeanLaw strives to give you a fully functional and practical accounting software to boost your law firm’s productivity.

Give LeanLaw a try or get started as low as $28 per user / month.

NuLaw

If you’re focused on improving the profitability of your law firm, NuLaw is an accounting software service backed by SalesForce. If you’re unfamiliar, SalesForce is a powerful cloud-based CRM provider dedicated toward increasing sales and revenue. Here’s what you can expect from NuLaw:

  • Intake management
  • Matters management
  • Case milestones
  • Checklists
  • Advanced calendaring
  • Billable hour tracking
  • Invoicing
  • Payment processing

NuLaw also comes with integrated research tools and aggregate data points to create an intuitive dashboards with detailed reports. You can use your dashboard to make real-time decisions to respond to clients accurately and quickly.

You’ll have to contact NuLaw for pricing and a free trial.

Coyote Accounting

If you’re a solo, small or mid-size law firm, Coyote Accounting has a law firm accounting software that might be right for you. Check out their features:

  • Time management and billing
  • Calendaring
  • Financial management
  • Contact Management
  • Document management
  • Business intelligence
  • Custom reporting

Coyote Accounting offers a simple, easy to use solution to enter, track, and manage all the critical data at your law firm.

You’ll have to contact the for a quote and demo.

Advantage Law

Advantage Law has been providing nationwide legal software since 1979. Their desktop software comes bundled with numerous features to assist law firms of any size.

  • Time integration
  • Cost tracking
  • Billing
  • Trust accounting
  • Financial reporting
  • Budgeting
  • Case management

With their expertise and experience, Advantage Law has an easy-to-use accounting software that can be picked up and implemented into your law firm quickly.

Purchasing Advantage Law is a one time licensing fee depending on the product you require. You can also receive full money back guarantee within 60 days if you are unsatisfied with the product.

How To Find A Lawyer

If you’re in a situation where you need legal advice, you might be wondering how to find a lawyer.

From divorce lawyers to civil rights lawyers, there are many types of lawyers available. You’ll want to find the right lawyer for your situation to get the best legal advice possible.

How To Find a Lawyer

  1. Get a personal recommendation. The first thing you should do is ask your friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances if they know a lawyer or have used a lawyer in the past. Personal recommendations can ease the stress of searching for a trustworthy and reliable lawyer.
  2. Ask a lawyer. If you already know a lawyer but they aren’t practicing law in the area you need help, ask for a recommendation. Most lawyers are well connected in their community and may have a great referral for your situation.
  3. Check your local bar association. You can find a lawyer with your local bar association. In your county or city, your bar association will have a lawyer referral service. There is also the American Bar Association which has a database to help you find the right legal help.
  4. Online lawyer directories. If you want to find a lawyer from home, you can use an online directory to search for a lawyer. Lawyer databases like Avvo and Martindale Hubbel allow you to search for lawyers in your location and the area of specialization.
  5. Legal Aid Services. In case you can’t afford a lawyer, you can contact many local legal aid offices for free or pro bono legal assistance. Typically, these services are offered to low-income people in non-criminal situations. To find these free services, you can search the white pages of your phone book or perform an online search using “Free Legal Aid [your city / state].”

Things to Consider Before Hiring a Lawyer

Perhaps one of the most notable features of a good lawyer-client experience will be the way you are treated. As you search for a lawyer to handle your legal situation, take special notes of the way you are treated, how quickly they respond to your calls and e-mails, the professionalism of the office and conduct, and the number of staff working.

You have every right to ask prospective lawyers for some references of their past or present clients. Get as much information as you can about the lawyer, how they treat their clients, and a history of how they handle cases like yours.

Finally, the most important point may be to trust your instincts. When you walk into an office do you feel comfortable in the presence of the lawyer or completely terrified. You will be sharing private details of your life and you’ll want to be sharing this information with someone you feel you can trust and communicate well with. Depending on your situation, you may be putting your entire life on the line with this lawyer.

Questions to Ask a Lawyer Before Hiring

Now that you have some ideas about how to find a lawyer, you’ll want to ask them some questions before you make your choice. Here’s a few suggestions you can ask your soon-to-be lawyer:

  1. Do you offer a free consultation? If not, what is the cost of our first appointment?
  2. How long have you been practicing law in their field?
  3. Have you ever been subjected to disciplinary action? If so, what happened?
  4. Do you have experience with cases like mine? What were the outcomes of those cases?
  5. What are your fees? How do I pay you (advances, installments, lump sum, etc.)? Can we negotiate your fees or are they fixed? What services are included with your fees?
  6. How busy are you with other cases? How much time can you commit to my case?
  7. Is there any advice you can provide given my situation right now?

Law Firm Management Software

If you want to improve the efficiency and operations of your law firm, having a good quality law firm management software can help. Whether you want to automate payments, increase security of client documents, or an easier client intake system, there are a range of management software available.

Here you can explore the features, benefits and prices of the best law firm management software available to guide you toward choosing the right system for your law firm.

Top Features of Law Practice Management Software

Not all law firm management software are the same. The following is a list of features you can find in certain software solutions.

  • Accounting – Manages your payroll, accounts, billing, receivables, and creates financial reports.
  • Billing and Time Tracking – Records your billable hours and transactions.
  • Case Management – Provides your with a central database that can check for statute of limitations and conflicts of interest. You can use this software solution for quick searching, task management, and phone messaging.
  • Customer Relation Management (CRM) – Track, store and relay e-mails and messages to clients. Create an automated messaging system to send reminders to clients and more.
  • Docketing and Calendaring – Allows you to schedule appointments, meetings, court appearances, deadlines, etc., by day, week, month and year.
  • Document Assembly – Creates automated templates for legal documents which can be simple letter heads to complex legal documents.
  • Document Management – Connects files and links to a word processing application and your attorney website.

Benefits of Having a Law Firm Management Software

There are numerous benefits for using a law firm management software. Here are a few:

  • Increased Efficiency. The tasks between lawyers and support staff can be coordinated, recorded, and managed with ease. You can set deadlines and delegate duties to staff appropriately.
  • Time Saving. By linking all contacts, tasks, appointments, important dates, and notes in an easy to access format for cases and scheduling.
  • Improved Organization. Instead of relying on cabinets of files and papers, you can securely store information in searchable archives. Retrieving important information about your clients and cases become quick and easy.

List of Law Firm Management Software

  • Clio. Clio is an all inclusive law firm management software with many practical tools to run your law firm. Clio provides tools for invoicing, billing, calendars, time tracking, reporting, accounting, and management for cases, clients, and documents. Their Starter Plan goes for $39 per user / month.
  • Bill4Time. Bill4Time is a dedicated time tracking software that allows you to track time accurately and efficiently. You can use your laptop, mobile phone, or tablet to track time with your clients and bill them accordingly. Getting started is as low as $25 per month.
  • Lexicata. If you’re looking for an easier solution for client intake, Lexicata is a Customer Relationship Management software. Lexicata allows you to keep track of prospective clients, send follow up messages, and increase your chances of obtaining new clients. Pricing is customized and based upon the size of your law firm.
  • MyCase. MyCase is a professional case management software that lets you manage your cases, track time, automate billing, and communicate with your clients. MyCase aims to improve efficiency between lawyers and their clients by providing an intuitive all-in-one platform to manage your law firm. MyCase is available for $39 per user / month.
  • Firm Central. Developed by Thomson Reuters, Firm Central is a powerful cloud based law firm management software. They boast strong security features to give you peace of mind with your confidential client information. You can use Firm Central to manage your documents, contacts, calendar, legal research, time tracking and billing. Their pricing starts at $40 per user / month for their basic package.
  • FilePro. If you’re looking for a powerful law firm management software, FilePro is packed with features to make your legal service run smoothly. With management tools for document assembly, activity based pricing, conflict checking, time tracking, trust and office accounting, and workflow processes, FilePro can be tailored to maximize your firm. FilePro offers a free trial or you can obtain a quote for your law firm.
  • SmartAdvocate. If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art Plaintiff’s personal injury case management software, SmartAdvocate would be your choice. This law firm management software was designed by active, practicing, personal injury lawyers and paralegals. You can use SmartAdvocate to manage all your cases, access them anywhere through the cloud, and improves productivity at your law firm.
  • Lawcus. Lawcus is a simple and legal practice management software that provides everything you need to run your law firm. From work automation to document assembly, Lawcus has a range of tools to improve the efficacy at your law firm’s office. Pricing starts at $34 per user / month.
  • App4Legal. App4Legal focuses on providing your law firm with an intuitive way to track your data, manage your processes, and access your data anywhere. This law firm management software operates on a secure cloud server and starts at a very affordable price. To get started with App4Legal it’ll cost you $10 per user / month.
  • Case Master Pro. Case Master Pro is a unique law firm management software because of it’s additional debt collection system. You’ll also have access to a series of tools for case management, billing, accounting, administration, custom reporting, document management, and an integrated payment dashboard. You’ll have to contact their sales team to receive a quote for your law firm.

Hesitant To Get Started?

If you’re hesitant to invest in these law firm management software, you can start by signing  up for a free trial. You can give each system a try and if you find it makes your law firm much more efficient and effective, you can make the investment and purchase it. The following legal management solutions offer a free trial: Clio, Bill4Time, MyCase, Firm Central, FilePro, App4Legal.

Google Ads For Lawyers

Google Adwords is an effective way to turn online web browsers into prospective clients for your law firm.

Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising system uses keyword phrases and displays your ads to those searching for your legal services.

Something to keep in mind, it takes time and money to see a measurable ROI with Google Adwords. You’ll see that considerable planning and research is involved.

As an alternative, Google also offers Adwords Express which a simple solution to setting up advertisements without any worries.

With this article, you’ll learn how to get started on Google Adwords and launch your first lawyer PPC campaign. Once you get the hang of it, you can grow your law firm and provide your services precisely to those who need it.

Understanding Google’s Ad Types

Google Adwords has 4 kinds of ads  you can use to attract clients to your law firm. Those are: Display Ads; Video Ads; Search Ads; and, App Ads.

  1. Display Ads. Google has a network of websites where your ad will be featured. These are the banner ads you see at the top and side of websites.
  2. Video Ads. If you’ve made a promotional video for your law firm, you can use video ads which can attract new clients from YouTube.
  3. Search Ads. These are the ads found at the top and bottom of every Google search.
  4. App Ads. You probably won’t use App Ads since they are focused on promoting an App.

Check out the free PDF: Advertising Tips for Lawyers to get some design ideas and easy-to-use tools to a powerful advertising message.

Getting Started on Google Adwords 

If you’re completely new to Google Adwords, you can contact one of Google’s support team and they’ll walk you through the set up, free. Or, you can continue reading this article to see a step-by-step tutorial to getting started and running your first PPC campaign.

After clicking START NOW you’ll be taken to a signup page. Enter your email address and lawyer website then click next.

If you don’t have a website for your law firm and want one, go here for more information.

After you have signed in to your new Google Adwords account, you’ll be taken to a dashboard displaying an overview of your account.

To set up your first PPC campaign, click on Campaigns then the “+” or “+ NEW CAMPAIGN.

Once you have selected NEW CAMPAIGN, you will be taken to a page to choose the type of ads you want to display.

You’ll notice an additional ad choice for shipping products, this will be irrelevant to you.

For the sake of this tutorial, display ads will be selected.

There are 3 choices of Display Ads: Sales, Leads, Website Traffic.

Depending on the purpose of your campaign, you may want to choose Sales / Leads and create a goal like “Get Phone Calls.”

After you click CONTINUE, there are 3 steps to complete before your PPC campaign goes live.

SELECT CAMPAIGN SETTINGS

Step 1 takes you through the campaign settings such as Campaign Name, Networks, Locations, Languages, Bidding, Budget, Start and End Dates, and Ad Schedule.

Two important sections are the location and bidding.

Setting the location will determine who narrow or wide you want your ads to reach.

As well, bidding determines how much of your budget will be used toward keywords being searched. More information on bidding is provided later in this article.

Bidding for Lawyers

There are different bidding strategies to consider when it comes to targeting prospective clients using Adwords.

Google provides a comprehensive chart detailing all the different bidding strategies here.

If you’re looking to get the most phone calls to your law firm, choose Maximize Conversions (be sure to set the goal on the previous page to “Get Phone Calls”

You should use the Enhanced CPC if you want Google to automatically increase your bidding when it will improve conversions or decrease your bids if it is less likely to convert.

NOTICE: The search terms Lawyer and Attorney are the most expensive search words for Lawyers. Bids can range up to $100 for a single click.

As you gain more experience with Google Adwords, you can experiment with the different options to see which settings give you the best ROI.

When you are finished selecting your campaign, click SAVE AND CONTINUE.

SET UP AD GROUPS

When you are setting up an Ad Group, focus on one purpose. In this example, we choose NYC Lawyer as the Ad Group with a range or related keywords:

If you put keywords without “ ” (i.e. NYC Lawyer) your ads will be displayed to less specific searches (e.g. Is Bernie Sanders a NYC Lawyer?).

If you put “ “ around a keyword (i.e. “NYC Lawyer”) your ads will be featured to those using that keyword in their search (e.g. Most affordable NYC Lawyer).

If you use [ ] around a keyword (i.e. [Affordable NYC Lawyer]) your ads will be displayed only to those who search the exact same keyword, (i.e. Affordable NYC lawyers).

CREATE ADS

If you’re unsure which keywords to use, try Google’s Keyword Planner.

Once you have chosen all the right keywords related to your law firm or goal, you can start creating ads.

Here you can test a range of different copy. If you clicked the “Enhanced CPC” Google will soon use the ad getting the most clicks and conversions.

When you’re satisfied with your ads, click SAVE & CONTINUE to review everything.

Landing Pages for Your Google Adwords

The “Verification URL” is used to send people who click your ad to a contact page or location on your website with your phone number and any additional contact information.

If you don’t have the ability or budget to change your website to send traffic onto a specific webpage, you don’t have to.

There are landing page softwares provided by companies like LeadsPages and ClickFunnels which allow you to easily design a place for visitors to go after clicking your ads.

Check out the free PDF: Advertising Tips for Lawyers to get some design ideas and easy-to-use tools to a powerful advertising message.

Getting started with Google Adwords can be a little overwhelming. If you keep reading, you can learn about Google Adwords Express which makes the setting up advertisements easy and worry free.

Google Adwords Express

Google Adwords Express (AWE) is a simplified version of Google Adwords that automatically manages your online ads. All you have to is set up a campaign and your ads will be featured for a month.

Before you can use, you must first register your law firm on Google My Business Listing (GMB).

With GMB, you can create a free marketable tool for your law firm. Start by submitting your law firm’s location and other business information. Once your account if verified (you’ll receive a verification code in the mail) you can help potential clients find your business and learn more about your services.

Now that you have a GMB listing, you can create a new AWE campaign.

After selecting your GMB listing, there are 3 easy steps to get your ads up and running:

Start by picking a goal.

  1. Do you want prospective customers to call your law firm?
  2. Visit your law firm?
  3. Take a specific action on your website?

After choosing one, you’ll be requested to “Pick Goal”

The next step allows you to choose your location and the range around it to target your ads. If you’re law firm operates in various locations, you can select “In specific cities, states or countries.”

After you have chosen your location and range, you can define your service using keywords prospective clients may be searching for.

Example. Law firm, Defense lawyer; etc.

The next step requires you to write the ad.

Once you have crafted your ad, you’ll have to confirm your phone number:

The last step requires you to determine your budget. You determine your daily budget which will be calculated into a per month maximum.

You will only pay when your ad has been clicked on and when your budget is spent your ads won’t display until the next day.

You can set up a budget as low as $1.64 USD per day up to $76.32 USD per day.

Clicking next will take you to a review page where you can check the detail of your ad before it goes live.

If you haven’t set up a payment method, you’ll have to submit your credit card information to finalize your ad.

GOOGLE ADWORDS VS. GOOGLE ADWORDS EXPRESS

If you’re unsure about the differences between Google Adwords and Google Adwords Express, here’s side-by-side comparison:

Google Adwords Google Adwords Express
BENEFITS Pay only when your ads are clicked Pay only when your ads are clicked
SETUP Advanced features requiring: keyword selection, bid pricing, and account structuring Minimal management: simply setup your ads and let them run
EASE-OF-USE Can be difficult for new users Easy to use
REQUIREMENTS Adwords account + Credit card Adwords express account + Google My Listing + Credit card
KEYWORDS You choose all your keywords + phrases You choose some of your keywords + phrases; Google will come up with more related to your ad
AD FORMATS Search Network, Display Network, Shopping Ads, Video Ads, Universal App Ads Search Network on via Google, Google Maps, & Partner Sites
REACH Reach potential clients in any geographic location Reach potential clients in any geographic location
MIN. BUDGET $0.01 per Day $1.63 USD per Day
MAX BUDGET N/A $76.32 USD per Day

SUMMER OF GOOGLE ADS

Google Ads has incredible potential to drive prospective clients to your law firm’s website. If you’re looking for something quick and simple to gets ads running online, try Google Ads Express.

Whether your goal is to drive readership to your blog, a following to your social accounts, or phone calls to your office Google Ads is a budget friendly solution for your business.

As an alternative, Facebook Ads allows you to tap into social media to drive more referrals and clients to your law firm. Read Facebook Ads for Lawyers.

Check out the free PDF: Advertising Tips for Lawyers to get some design ideas and easy-to-use tools to a powerful advertising message.

In this eBook is packed you get sample ads, advertising resources, and other marketing strategies you can use to boost your law firm.