Category Archives: Business

Facebook Ads For Lawyers

Facebook has considerable potential for marketing and finding client referrals. With Facebook, you can build strong relationships between users and your legal services.

For your law firm, Facebook Ads allows you to put your law firm in front of people who may be in need of legal aid.

This article will take you through the steps of starting your first Facebook Ad campaign as well as a few strategies you can try.

Facebook Pages for Lawyers

If you haven’t done so already, you may want to consider creating a Facebook page for your law firm.

This is not a requirement to use Facebook Ads, however your Facebook Page can be used strategically to market your law firm.

Facebook pages allow you to create a community surrounding your legal services. Here you can showcase your latest law related blog posts and other promotional information to everyone who likes your page.

As well, you can use Facebook Ads to drive traffic and engagement to your page to boost your online presence and, reputation.

When you’re just getting started with Facebook pages, the best thing to do is grow your page organically to increase credibility and engagement before using Facebook Ads to achieve your goals.

For the remainder of this article, let’s focus on creating a Facebook Ad and how you can use it effectively for your law firm.

What Can Lawyers Do With Facebook Ads?

 Facebook Ads is divided into 3 objectives:

  1. Awareness. Use this objective to create interest in your law firm (i.e. online branding).
  2. Consideration. Use this objective to get people thinking about your law firm and gain access to more information (i.e. articles, contact info, etc.).
  3. Conversion. Use this objective to encourage people to contact your law firm to arrange a consultation or use your legal services.

The goal of your advertising campaign will be different depending on what you are trying to achieve.

If you’re looking to grow your online presence, creating awareness and consideration ads will be your best choices.

If you’re looking to get people to call your office and set up a consultation, creating conversion ads will help you achieve that.

Once you have determined the goal of your advertisement, it’s time to create your first Facebook ad. 

Setting Up A  Facebook Ad

To use Facebook Ads, you’ll need a Facebook Business Account.

Once you have set up your account, you’ll have access to the Ads Manager Dashboard. Here you can use Facebook’s Guided Creation to create your ad.

In this example, let’s look at how to set up a Facebook Ad to drive more traffic to your law firm’s website.

After selecting Traffic under the CONVERSION objective, scroll down to continue. You’ll notice an option to create a Split Test.

If you’re unfamiliar, a split test allows you to create two ads and test them to see which ad performs better.

With Split Testing, you can create different ads that target the same people, use the same ad to target different people, or experiment with different ad delivery methods.

Facebook provides all the analytic tools to measure the results. Depending on how you setup your budget, you can choose to split your budget to run both ads equally or let Facebook decide which is the better ad and use more of your budget.

WHERE TO SEND TRAFFIC

You’re in complete control of your Facebook Ads. When you’re setting up your ad, you can choose to send people who click on your ad to your website, a Facebook Page, or even Facebook Messenger to start a conversation right away.

Not sure where to send people who click on your Facebook Ad?

Try a landing page. Landing pages are single pages online that can be designed like your Facebook Ad with more details about your law firm, how to get in touch, or other information you want to provide.

DO YOU HAVE AN OFFER?

Sometimes, it can be an effective strategy to provide an special offer in your Facebook Ads.

This can be a free 30 minute consultation, reduced rates for a specific legal service, or something else related to your law firm.

Offers can be limited in time (i.e. offer ends November 15th) or amount (i.e. available only to the first 15 people).

The benefit of setting up a Facebook Ad with an offer is that people who see this ad can save it and receive notifications about it.

VARIABLES FOR YOUR FACEBOOK AD SPLIT TESTING

As mentioned before, split testing lets you control different variables relating to how your Facebook Ads will be viewed online.

There are 4 options:

  1. Creative. Allows you to use all variables, 2 to 4.
  2. Delivery Optimization. Allows you to choose how your ads are delivered. You can focus on getting Link Clicks, Landing Page Views, Impressions, or Daily Unique Reach.
  3. Audience. Allows you to define two set of audiences to serve your ads to. You can choose Location, Age, Gender, Languages. As well, you can select some detailed targeting depending on people’s demographics, interests, or behaviors. As an example, divorce lawyers may want to target people between 25 to 35 as this is a common age when couples experience divorce.
  4. Placement. Allows you to choose where your Facebook ads will be placed. Facebook has a range of advertising access. You can feature your ads on Facebook, Instagram, and their partner network. As well, you can choose to have your ads featured in people’s newsfeeds, side column and more.

Consider placing an eye catching ad in a new feed to drive traffic to your legal services.

 Notice: Most Facebook Ads are charged based on Impression. This means, each time Facebook serves your ad, you’ll be charged. If you’re looking for a different advertising method, try Google Adwords for Lawyers. With Google, you can set up a pay-per-click ad campaign.

BUDGET & SCHEDULE

Once you have determined how your ads will be delivered, who your target audience will be, and where your ads will show up, you can set your budget.

With split testing, you can start with an even split then select to end the test early if one of your ads performs better than the other. This way, you can gain the most results from your Facebook Ad.

DESIGNING YOUR LAWYER AD

It’s time to design the ad for your legal services.

Start by naming your ad. Then, decide whether you will be connecting your Facebook Page to the ad or not. If you don’t have a Facebook page, be sure to click “Don’t Connect a Facebook Page.”

Next, choose the ad format you want to use.

The next step allows you to add photos to your ad. Facebook offers some Free Stock Images or you can upload your own.

Design Smart Lawyer Ads

Figuring out Facebook Ads can itself be difficult. However, creating an effective ad can be equally challenging.

There is no one design that will send people to their phones and to contact your law firm. This is where Facebook’s split testing allows you to create variations in your ad designs to see what works, and what doesn’t.

Here’s some sample ads to give you ideas for creating your own Facebook Ads:

See more Lawyer Ads on Adspresso

When you’re satisfied with your ad design and have set up a billing account, you can create your ad and test the results.

Should You Use Facebook Ads?

Marketing your law firm using Facebook Ads provides you an opportunity to find client referrals and expand your legal services.

Although Facebook is used predominantly for entertainment and staying connected with friends and family, it can be used to reach new people, build your online presence, and give access to legal services.

Facebook ads are just one way of marketing your law firm. You may also want to give Google Adwords a try.

Office Supplies Every Lawyer Should Have

For lawyers who are starting their own law firm having the right office supplies with help with staying organized and improving productivity. An additional purpose that office supplies should provide lawyers is to set a strong first impression whenever clients enter the office.

Whether you’re changing directions in your career or just getting started practicing law, having the right supplies and best website design will be determined by your budget and personal preference. However, one thing to consider is that purchasing the supplies for your lawyer’s office is one of your first business decisions. Purchasing a beautiful mahogany wood desk then experiencing budget cuts, later on, could result in an office environment that’s less than ideal.

Furniture Set First Impressions

Although legal services aim to help people in various situations, lawyer’s must consider their practice with business in mind. Setting a good first impression begins the moment prospective clients steps foot in your office, takes a look at your suit, and scans the conditions of your office.

  • Desks: This will be your workstation. Having a spacious and large desk can help with productivity and reducing the feeling of working in a cramped space. You should consider the height of your desk in relation to your body size. If you have a computer, will you place it on your desk or have an additional side table to use it?
  • Chairs: While your desk is vital for your workflow, having the right chair requires careful consideration. Consider this the throne of your working world. You’ll want to invest in something that is comfortable for the days you’ll spend hours working on your cases. Depending on whether you purchase a chair with wheels or four wooden legs, you may want to purchase a plastic floor covering to improve mobility and reduce damage to the office floor.
  • Bookshelves: these are a necessity for a lawyer’s office. Bookshelves allow you to organize all your law books, keep them in place, and show them off to those browsing around the room. It’s best to choose a bookshelf that matches your office furniture to avoid clashing.
  • Writing Supplies: this one may seem obvious, but it is important to have a bulk supply of writing instruments to work with your clients. In addition, your clients may be required to fill out forms and provide their signature so it is important to have extras at hand. As your practice grows, you can invest in branding your law firm, you can get pens with your logo, law firm name, and contact number.
  • Envelopes: here’s an office supply lawyer’s don’t want to run out. Law offices send out letters to clients and other attorneys on a daily basis. Buying envelopes in bulk is a simple and affordable solution which allows you to have envelopes available whenever you need them.
  • Lighting: most offices are built with good lights to keep the office bright and functional. However, you may find that some parts of the office may feel darker than others, especially if you’re stuck working after hours. Investing in a lamp to provide additional light in the office can help make it more inviting.

A few more fundamental supplies lawyers should have in their office include trash cans, recycling cans, magazine and coat racks.

Lawyer Office Supplies: Quick Checklist

In addition to the items above, you probably need the following items below. You can cut costs if you buy in bulk and keep extras in a storage space. Also, creating a partnership with a supplier can provide you with additional benefits and discounts.

As you prepare your office it can be easy to forget all things you need for your office. Here’s a checklist to ensure you have everything you need:

  • Stationary supplies
  • Legal pads
  • Paper (legal-size and standard)
  • Envelopes
  • Protective desk covers
  • Coffee Machine (a must)
  • Sticky notes
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • File folders
  • Staplers
  • Staple remover
  • 2 and 3 hole punch
  • Tape
  • Sticky tabs
  • Scissors
  • Rubber bands
  • Paper clips
  • Corkboard and pins
  • Three-ring binders

This list should serve as a starting point to getting the supplies you need at your office. You will be able to find most of these supplies at your local stores or you can shop online to find more variety and style. While it may be tempting to cut corners to save some money in the start, remember that the environment of your lawyer’s office can shape the overall impression of your legal practice. If you’re not too concerned about your office space because you often meet clients somewhere in the community, here are some things you’ll find in a lawyer’s briefcase.

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.

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.

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 AdwordsGoogle Adwords Express
BENEFITSPay only when your ads are clickedPay only when your ads are clicked
SETUPAdvanced features requiring: keyword selection, bid pricing, and account structuringMinimal management: simply setup your ads and let them run
EASE-OF-USECan be difficult for new usersEasy to use
REQUIREMENTSAdwords account + Credit cardAdwords express account + Google My Listing + Credit card
KEYWORDSYou choose all your keywords + phrasesYou choose some of your keywords + phrases; Google will come up with more related to your ad
AD FORMATSSearch Network, Display Network, Shopping Ads, Video Ads, Universal App AdsSearch Network on via Google, Google Maps, & Partner Sites
REACHReach potential clients in any geographic locationReach potential clients in any geographic location
MIN. BUDGET$0.01 per Day$1.63 USD per Day
MAX BUDGETN/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.

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

Should You Become A Partner At A Law Firm?

When you’re law career begins, you may find yourself working at a law firm as an associate and provided with a base salary. Transitioning from employee to becoming a partner at a firm is a great leap.

The path from associate to partner at a law firm may not always be clearly defined. However, there are a few criteria that can assist you if you’re being considered or have been offered to become a partner at a law firm.

The Path to a Partner at a Law Firm

Firms hiring lawyers often choose the best they can find. Applicants from top law schools are recruited first with interviews being limited to specific schools only.

There is a chance of distinguishing yourself in another way, however, most candidates for law firm positions will be considered by pre-selected schools.

Upon hire, your career often starts as an associate. You will be working with a mentor to learn how to practice law. At this time, you will be paid a relatively high salary as the law firm is investing in you at their firm.

While law firms seek to find the best potential lawyers, not all make partner at their firm. Some may leave to start their own private practice or start a firm of their own after a few years with the firm. The path to becoming a partner can be long and take now take over ten years before it occurs.

Partner vs. Non-Partner

On becoming a partner at a law firm, you not only take on more responsibility but also receive an equity stake in the firm’s profits. This provides you access to draw profits to cover your bills and monthly expenses. At the end of the year, you’ll be able to take a larger share when profits are distributed.

This is the typical style of partnership, however, there is also the possibility of becoming a non-partner which does not give you an equity stake in the law firm. Law firms have been adopting varying styles of multi-tiered partnerships which provide increases in salaries (and responsibilities) instead of receiving a small percentage of the firm.

In some cases, law firms may have different types of partnerships available. For example, you can be able to become an executive or managing partner.

There are many factors that influence the structure of a law firm and how it establishes available partnerships. Depending on the size and growth of a firm, offering a non-partnership promotion may be more financially secure than offering equity stakes. Law firms can be an LLC or a corporation and their level of success can determine how much access to equity their rising associates may receive.

Cost of Making Partner

Becoming a partner may not come cheap. Law firms that offer a partnership with an equity stake will often ask for a “buy-in.” That amount varies for each firm, however, some of the top firm’s may require hundreds of thousands of dollars as a capital investment.

Law school is already an expensive investment and many lawyers take years to pay back their loans. If you’re one of the few being fast-tracked to a partnership, consider the capital that may be needed to partner-up.

The “base” capital investment is not the only expected cost new lawyers are expected to cover. Becoming partner means you will be responsible for the costs of benefits and additional income tax deductions.

Finally, some associates moving into a position of being a full-fledged lawyer may experience a shift in lifestyle. This too can come with a heavy price tag.

Putting the financial situation into perspective, law firms don’t want to see their selected partners making less than senior associates. Partners are carefully groomed into their position and law firm’s take precautions to choose them carefully.

Why “Buy-in” to a Partnership?

The capital required to “buy-in” to a partnership position is needed to make investments and expansions at the law firm. You may not have to contribute the full amount as some law firms allow for a contribution that is spread out over a couple years.

Firms may offer a loan structure which secures the capital while imposing a debt onto the partner. However, other firm’s may opt out of requesting “buy-in” capital to avoid paying out a partner who decides to leave after the first few years. Another approach may be to delay the required capital investment by a year so that new partners can develop their services and get into the flow of their new career.

Benefits to Becoming a Partner at a Law Firm

After years of law school and enduring the high-stress legal world as an associate, becoming a partner adds the following benefits to a career in law:

  • Increased pay
  • Equity stake in the law firm
  • Greater prestige and power

Disadvantages to Becoming a Partner at a Law Firm

While the increased pay and access to the firm’s profits may seem like a lucrative leap in your career, here’s a few things that may be disadvantageous:

  • May take years to the firm before being considered a partner
  • Greater liability (i.e. sued for malpractice or if the law firm goes bankrupt)
  • Must pay additional fees: medical insurance, malpractice insurance, etc.
  • Required capital “Buy-in”
  • Consequences for not keeping the firm profitable

If becoming a partner at a firm is not your interest, you may want to consider starting your own law firm.

Types of Lawyers

If you’re trying to find a lawyer to solve your legal problems, you’ll likely realize that there are many types of lawyers. The range of Legal services can make it difficult to determine which one you need for your specific situation.

You won’t find a lawyer that can fix all problems because most lawyers will specialize in a specific area of law. The type of lawyer you need will depend on the legal problem you have.

Since there are so many types of lawyers this guide will cover the most common practices to help you choose the right lawyer for your legal needs.

Personal Injury Lawyer

An injury is defined by law as an injury to the body, mind, or emotions. The laws covered by this type of lawyer include Civil and Tort Law. Tort law involves cases that result in injury but is not considered to be a criminal offence.

Personal injury lawyers focus on obtaining compensation from damages caused by other parties. The range of injuries include professional malpractice, car accidents, workplace injuries, slip and fall accidents, dangerous products, and more.

Intellectual Property Lawyer

Intellectual property covers a range of creativity that comes from the mind. These include the inventions, artistic work (visual and literary), lawyer websites, symbols, images, designs, and names used for financial purposes.

Intellectual property lawyers work with these original creations to secure patents, trademarks, copyrights, and licensing agreements. Intellectual property lawyer require significant skill when drafting documents to protect the rights of creators.

Immigration Lawyer

One of the common tasks of an immigration lawyer is to assist immigrants in obtaining citizenship in a new country. In addition, these lawyers will protect immigrants and prevent them from being deported.

Immigration lawyers also provide legal advice and support regarding the appropriate visas required to work in different countries. For some countries, obtaining citizenship can obtain several years, having an immigration lawyer makes the process much more efficient.

Criminal Lawyer

Criminal lawyers, also known as criminal defense lawyers or public defenders, help individuals, companies, and other entities charged with a criminal offense. These offenses may include domestic violence, physical abuse, sex crimes, drug crimes, theft, fraud, and more.

Criminal lawyers can provide bail bond hearings, trial defense, plea bargains, revocation hearings, appeals, and post-conviction remediation. In addition to these legal services, the work required from criminal lawyers include investigating cases, interviewing witnesses, researching case law, building a defense strategy, negotiate for lesser charges, advocate for their defendant, and much more.

Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice lawyers are specialized in dealing with situations of malpractice. These may include a bad or wrong diagnosis, surgery gone wrong, doctor committing fraud, obtaining the wrong prescription, and doctors breaching patient confidentiality.

Medical malpractice lawyers are also able to protect medical professionals if they are being sued for malpractice.

Family & Divorce Lawyer

Family and divorce lawyers deal with many of the legal aspects of marriage. Whether you need a prenuptial agreement or planning for a divorce, these are the lawyers to go to.

In addition to dealing with divorce, these lawyers handle sensitive cases dealing with child custody. The decisions this type of lawyer has to make require incredible interpersonal and listening skills while dealing with these sensitive situations.

Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you’re struggling financially and considering filing for bankruptcy, having a consultation with a bankruptcy lawyers would be the first step. This type of lawyer provides advice and information regarding your eligibility for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy lawyers also provide information regarding alternatives for bankruptcy and types of bankruptcy.

Business Lawyer

A business lawyer, also known as a corporate lawyer, covers a range of legal services such as employment, intellectual property, tax compliance, mergers and acquisitions. These lawyers specialize in areas like startups, small businesses or large enterprises.

The duties required by some business lawyers include drafting legal documents or dealing with lawsuits filed against a business. These are transnational lawyers (dealing with negotiation and employment terms) and litigation lawyers (handling lawsuits when a company violates the terms in a contract).

Estate Planning Lawyer

This type of lawyer helps their clients with their estates, assets, and other important legal actions when someone passes away or becomes incapacitated. Estate planning lawyers draft legal documents like trusts, wills, and deeds.

In addition, estate planning lawyers focus on taxes and tax implications for their clients.

Civil Rights Lawyer

Civil rights lawyers protect the rights of citizens. Their purpose is to protect against discrimination and harassment based on physical or mental disability, religion, race, gender, nationality, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Civil rights lawyers also protect the rights and freedom of thought, conscience, speech, expression, the press, and religion. Whenever someone’s rights have been violated, this type of lawyer will recover damages in the court of law.

Entertainment Lawyers

While there are some overlaps with an intellectual property lawyer, this type of lawyer focuses solely on representing clients in the entertainment industry. Entertainment lawyers work with artists, employees, companies and solo entertainers in film, music, radio, television, theater, and video games.

An entertainment lawyer typically drafts contracts, negotiate deals, and handle any intellectual property issues.

Digital Media and Internet Lawyers

Focusing on internet law, these lawyers handle all kinds of legal issues from the digital world. Digital media and internet lawyers handle cases like ensuring compliance with internet laws, privacy complaints, and advising on the use of trafficking tools.

Public Interest Lawyer

Public interest lawyers work toward furthering the interest of the general public or significant segments of it. The work required from these lawyers include broad topics such as environmental protection, child welfare, illegal discrimination, and domestic violence.

Public interest lawyers work with the general public who may not be able to afford private legal support. This type of lawyer is known to have one of the lowest lawyer salaries and they often work for NPOs of government agencies.

Steps For Setting Up A Virtual Office At Your Law Firm

For a solo practitioner or a small law firm, setting up a virtual office at the office can make legal services run more effectively and efficiently.

A virtual office allows for lawyers to reduce their management and also their marketing efforts. This can help free up time to focus on client cases and other aspects of growing the firm.

If you’re thinking about setting up a virtual office, here are 5 steps to help you get started.

Step 1: Understand your needs

A virtual office can exist anywhere with the common belief that telephone operators from developing are taking calls and working the front desk.

In the legal world, having inexperienced and unprofessional telecommunication companies handle the intaking and scheduling of your prospective client’s can be both bad for your reputation and your business.

There are telecommunication services available that are dedicated to lawyers. They have trained staff that may even be specialized in your area of practice, such as criminal defense or family law.

Alternatives to using a telecommunication service are to add Live Chat to your law firm’s website. In this list of the best Live Chat services for lawyers, you can quickly and easily add a professional button to your website and interact any visitor.

Overall, there are various types of virtual office solutions. Here’s an overview of a few services virtual office service available to lawyers:

  • Customer Relation Management (CRMs)
  • Live Chat
  • Accounting Software
  • Virtual Receptionist

Virtual offices allow you to automate and improve the efficiency of your daily routines at your firm. In addition, with technology trending toward mobile interactions, you can expect to find various solutions you can manage with your smartphone.

Step 2: Consider the Pros and Cons

Establishing your law firm into a virtual office comes with both benefits and disadvantages. If you’re sure this is the right decision for your firm, there must be substantial reasoning and benefits to do so. Here are some of the benefits a virtual office can include:

  • Reduce costs
  • Increased productivity
  • Effective client intaking
  • Flexible employment
  • Operate your intaking 24/7/365

The disadvantages to a virtual office may be difficult to imagine. However, when considering the sensitive information that passes through a law firm, you may want to think twice before outsourcing work to those outside the office. Here are a few disadvantages to establishing a virtual office:

  • Reduce moral in current employees
  • Lack of support
  • Privacy liability
  • Bad for reputation (i.e. outsourcing calls)
  • Security risks

Using technology and outsourced solutions will always alleviate the workload at the office. However short-term benefits may have long-term consequences. Carefully evaluate which services are right for your legal practice.

Step 3: Measure costs

Cost reduction and savings are two major factors that influence the decision to establish a virtual office. Accounting software can provide invoices with the click of a button while tracking cash flow to make taxes easier. Virtual receptionists can handle inquiries at the office and schedule appointments for serious inquiries.

When selecting the services for your law firm, it’s best to shop around. The pricing and features offered with each will vary. There is a competitive market to provide solutions specifically for lawyers and each service will provide similar yet varying options.

If possible, you can start with a trial of their services which is usually free and does not require a credit card.

Step 4: Stick to your budget

When you sign up for virtual services you’ll be locked into a monthly or yearly billing cycle. You’ll have to determine your monthly costs accordingly and select the services that you feel will help your law firm yield the best returns.

There are services that stick to a monthly pricing plan and others that invoice you per client or lead they acquire. If you’re paying per lead, be sure that you are successfully converting those prospective leads into new clients. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your money.

Step 5: Analyze effectiveness

Even though you have spent a significant amount of time and money investing in potential virtual office solutions, it is best practice to analyze their effectiveness on a quarterly or yearly basis.

If you’re using a virtual receptionist, measure how many new clients they help you acquire per month. Determine whether their services are providing you an improvement to your legal services or simply using up your budget.

Here are a few points to analyze with your law firm’s virtual office services:

  • How many clients does it yield
  • How much time is being saved
  • How are much are costs being reduced
  • How many issues have occurred
  • How often is tech support needed

The ease of installation for more virtual office services may reduce the hassle of finding a talented staff to hire at your firm, taking the time to develop in-house employees can sometimes be worth the effort.

In-house staff can reduce headaches of spending hours on a phone with support teams that may or may not be able to resolve your problems right away. Also, training staff can establish to long-term employees which understand the process of how your law firm functions and can lead to better performance than outsourced solutions.

These 5 steps are just a guideline if you’re thinking about turning your law firm into a virtual office. For solo-practitioners, reducing the number of administrative tasks may be the best option to improve efficiency and effectiveness of your legal services. If you’re looking for the best virtual solutions, check out these law firm management software.

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.

7 Simple Steps To Become A Freelance Lawyer

If you’re looking for a change in your law career that provides more freedom and flexibility, becoming a freelance lawyer could be it.

Life at a law firm isn’t for everyone. The working hours are long, the caseloads are stressful, and the working environments may not meet your ideals. Becoming a freelance lawyer allows you to choose which client projects to work on and who are your colleagues.

There’s no doubt that being a freelance lawyer has benefits. If this is the direction you want your legal career to take, keep reading to learn a few simple steps to get started.

Step 01: Decide Your Legal Services

The first thing freelance lawyers should do is decide what legal services they are going to provide their clients. At a law firm, associates and fellow lawyers must choose a single area to focus their practice. For a freelance lawyer, there’s a bit more flexibility.

When shifting your legal career toward freelance, it’s best to do some research before taking the plunge. If you decide to provide legal services in an area that is uncommon in your region, you can expect to go out of business pretty quickly.

Choosing the right area that has a steady demand will keep you in business longer as well as provide you with stimulating cases on the job.

Step 02: Register Your Services

Depending on your personal goals, you have complete control over the destiny of your legal profession. Once you have an idea of what you want to practice, the next step is to begin the legal steps to register your service.

Will you be a sole proprietorship? A limited liability company? Or, a corporation?

Understanding the differences between the three can help determine how you wish to operate your freelance legal services.

Step 03: Administrative Tasks

With your legal services registered, you’ll need other important elements to organize and maintain your administrative responsibilities. You may need a separate bank account for billing and tax-related purposes.

If you plan on working completely on your own and without the support of any legal assistants, consider using lawyer accounting software. Not only do these program help automate repetitive administrative tasks, they can also be used for the following:

  • Calendaring
  • Document management
  • Invoicing
  • Billing
  • Payroll
  • Time tracking

See a complete review of the best accounting software for lawyers.

Step 04: Network

Once you have laid the foundation for your freelance legal services, you can share your new service with your network.

Traditional lawyers working at a law firm tend to target individuals and other businesses for work. The clients you’ll often find as a freelance lawyer will typically come from other lawyers and law firms.

If you have a large list of contacts, this is the best place to start searching for business.

Alternatively, you can set up accounts on social networking websites to begin expanding your personal network. If you don’t have one already, LinkedIn is one of the leading social networking websites for all professionals. Other sites to network with lawyers and in-house job opportunities can be found here:

If you want to join a social networking website rising in popularity check out Foxwordy. At Foxwordy, you can reach out and connect with other lawyers and contribute toward various projects in the legal industry.

Finally, if you haven’t done so already, you should join your local bar association and participate in as many local events as possible.

Step 05: Get a Website

Freelance lawyers with a website can offer a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Lawyer websites are a great way to showcase your services and allow for prospective clients to discover what you do.

Your website can feature some of your past legal projects and highlight your area of expertise.

If you decide to get a website, it is also important to understand how to use it in a way to benefit your business. If you’re on a tight budget, performing these local SEO methods can help more people find your services.

Or, if you some money to spend, you can try advertising your services using Google PPC or Facebook Ads. Both advertising choices have their own set of benefits and features.

Step 06: Start a Blog

Are you an expert in a particular area of law and want to share your knowledge with others? Starting a blog is a great way for freelance lawyers to make more connections with prospective clients.

If you’re unsure about the benefits of blogging about law, here are a few:

  • Free service promotion
  • Improves your website’s SEO
  • Make connections with prospective clients
  • Build a credible reputation online

It will take a bit of time and commitment for a blog to become a successful marketing tool. However, with these tips for lawyers who blog, you can get ahead of your competition.

Step 07: Be Patient

Becoming a successful freelance lawyer is not going to occur overnight If you decide to take this path in your legal career remember that it is going to require strategic planning, time, dedication, and most importantly patience.

Keep in mind that your legal services are much like a business and like all business, there is a chance of failing. The beginning will be some of the toughest moments until the momentum builds and your reputation spreads amongst your community.

Thinking about starting your own law firm instead of being a freelancer? Give this a read.

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.

Top 7 Benefits of Being A Solo Practitioner

Whether practice big law and you’re looking for a break or you’re junior associate searching for your career path, becoming a solo practitioner comes with some unique perks.

Solo practitioners are considered to be private lawyers who work for them self at their own office or remotely. Typically, these lawyers handle almost all of the responsibilities required for their legal services and may occasionally hire legal assistance (i.e. clerks) for support.

If you’re considering your career path in law, here are 7 benefits of being a solo practitioner.

1. Complete Control

Since solo practitioners work for themselves, they’ll have more control over the direction of their service as a business. Not only should a solo practitioner be a great lawyer, but they should also have a strong sense of business as well.

Having control over the destiny of your legal services allows you to decide which client cases you take on and which ones you don’t. There will no longer be a need to seek approval before making a decision that affects a law firm. Instead, every decision you make will have a direct impact on your legal services as a business.

2. Diverse Clients

Working as a solo practitioner can allow for a greater diversity of client experiences. For example, lawyers who work at a firm and have been told to focus on criminal cases associated with violent crimes may not be able to specialize also in property crimes. In some cases, violent crimes and property crimes can overlap. Solo practitioners can have a greater flexibility in the areas which they practice.

If you’re the kind of person that enjoys new challenges in their work, being a solo practitioner offers just that. You can gain experience discovering which cases and legal situations you are more interested in and can later tailor your legal services to areas you are more interested and dedicated.

3. Cost Effective

There is a significant difference in cost of operations between big law firms and solo practitioners. Big law firms tend to have higher bills which cover rental expenses, staff, benefits, and more. Solo practitioners on the other hand usually operate out of a small office and may have few to no staff at all.

In regards to staffing, if you’re a solo practitioner that really wants to save, there are various lawyer software which makes operating your legal business more efficient and cost-effective. If you want to improve your intaking, you can hire a virtual receptionist or place some live chat on your website. Or, if you need something to manage your taxes and ensure invoices are sent out there are accounting software programs specifically for lawyers.

4. Benefits for Clients

Not only are there great benefits for being a solo practitioner but also for their clients. By reducing the overhead costs, solo practitioners can cut the total costs of their legal fees. In situations where a client may have to hire their lawyer for a longer amount of time can allow for more time and resources to be dedicated to a case.

One of the biggest influencing factors which affect someone’s decision to hire a lawyer is a price. If you’re able to cut your operating cost while providing legal services at a competitive price, you may be able to take on more clients. This can be very strategic for new lawyers searching for their first clients to get their name out there.

5. Work Environment

When you have the ability to design your work environment it can lead to a happier and more productive work environment. Solo practitioners have complete control over their working conditions. From the office space to the office supplies, everything is decided and designed by the lawyer in charge.

Creating the perfect office environment may come out of your own budget, but this will be the foundation of your legal services. Working from a place that suits your style and quality of service can set a strong first impression with your clients.

6. Custom Work Hours

Custom hours if often one of the most rewarding benefits for solo practitioners. Working at a firm, big or small, can create a high demand for a lawyer’s time both after hours and in the off-season.

By gaining more flexibility over your legal services, you can choose just how much, or how little, you want to work. If you want to take time off for vacationing or to attend a conference to further your professional development, you can. For those who have a family, being a solo practitioner allows for more time at home.

Having more time to focus on your legal services can also lead to better quality work. You can create strong marketing campaigns to find prospective clients that need your service. Or, if you have a website you can dedicate any extra time toward developing a blog and sharing your legal expertise to more people (see lawyer’s with a blog).

7. Higher ROI

 

The choice of becoming a solo practitioner may have a greater risk but it also involves greater reward. To emphasize the importance of having strong business skills, solo practitioners can work harder and see a high net gain.

If you’re working at a law firm, you may take on more client cases yet your salary stays the same. As a solo practitioner, the profitability of your legal practice will be based on your ability to find clients and handle their legal needs successfully.