Category Archives: Business

Starting A Law Firm

Like any business, there’s risk involved. Starting a law firm, whether fresh out of college or years into a career, requires careful planning, some financial resources, and a marketing plan to succeed.

If you’re serious about starting a law firm, you may find it a little more difficult than passing the bar. Luckily, this is a good place to help you get started.

Before Starting A Law Firm

There are a few things you should consider before going ahead and registering a law firm. The most important place to start is by creating a plan.

Consider these:

The beginning of any new business will be tough and first year startups often struggle before they succeed. Having a little patience and determination will see returns to your personal investments and the only way to get there is with a plan.

Have Enough Cash To Get Started

You need a plan to succeed but you will also need a bit of money. The amount of money you need to invest in the startup of a law firm will vary from person to person. There are many expenses you will have to cover that cannot be avoided. Here’s a list of many of the costs you can expect to pay to get your law firm started:

  • Accounting
  • Answering Service
  • Bank Fees
  • Bar fees and other organizational fees
  • Couriers
  • Insurance (for malpractice claims)
  • Employees
  • Employment Benefits
  • Entertainment Costs
  • Office Lease/Rent
  • Office Supplies
  • Office Furniture
  • Ongoing Legal Education
  • Telephone
  • Unemployment Tax
  • Website for Law Firm

The best way to tackle these necessary costs when starting a law firm is by creating a budget. Look at the bigger picture and develop a budget detailing the next few years. Break down your costs into initial start up (i.e. office supplies, marketing, furniture, etc.) and operating costs (i.e. office lease/rent, staff salaries, etc.).

Choosing a Business Structure for Your Law Firm

Now that you have considered the costs, your area of expertise, and finished all the items on the law firm checklist, it’s time to set up your business.

This part of setting up your law firm requires the legal structure of your business. Choose carefully as to which type you use for your law firm as it will affect various aspects of how you can operate as a business.

Here are the options available to your:

Types of Legal Structures

1. Sole Proprietorship

Starting a sole proprietorship is the most simple option available. In this legal structure, the business is owned and operated by one person (you) and they are liable for any of the business’ obligations.

  • You won’t have to file forms with the state, however they will be needed to obtain licenses and permits.
  • Owners are personally liable for the outcome of the business (i.e. debts)
  • Any income earned is reported on your personal income tax return.

This legal structure is ideal for it’s low cost and basic tax structures, however the unlimited liability and requirement to pay self-employment tax can become a burden. Take for example a client suing you for malpractice. You would be held accountable for any damages.

2. Partnership

A partnership requires two or more people who run and own the law firm. You can create a partnership as either general or limited and is typically governed by an agreed upon contract detailing the partners’ responsibilities

  • Each partner is personally responsible for the partnership’s obligations (for general partnerships).
  • Partners owe fiduciary duties to each other.
  • Taxes are reported and paid by each individual partner’s tax returns.

 Forming a partnership is a low cost and profitable solution for each partner. However, there as joint and several liabilities, sharing profits, and possible disputes between partners that can affect your law firm’s trajectory. If for any reason your partner is sued for malpractice or refuses to participate in some other contractual obligation, your can be held personally liable. The best way to protect yourself from this situation is to consider the next option.

3. Limited Liability Company (LLC)

 A limited liability company (llc) provides members with with protection from personal liability for debts and actions performed by the business, just like a corporation. The difference is that you can choose to be taxed as a partnership.

  • You will be required to file paperwork to your government
  • You will need an operating agreement outlining rights and responsibilities of the members and how the law firm will run
  • Taxes can be dealt with as either a partnership or a corporation

LLCs have the benefits of limited liability and the bookkeeping is less that a corporation. You may not be able to operate as an LLC and it will require research depending on where you live.

4. Corporation

A corporation is a unique, business entity that has limited liability and is owned by shareholders.

  • You will be required to file paperwork to your government
  • You must create bylaws that govern the entire operation of the corporation
  • You will be taxed when the corporation earns profit.

Corporations are taxed twice. First when the corporation earns profits and again when the dividends are distributed to the shareholders.

There are many variations in legal structure to choose from. Whether you are deciding to start your own solo law firm or joining with a partner, choose the right one that suits how you want to run your business and the local laws in your area. You could always start as a sole-proprietorship then upgrade later when your business picks up.

Marketing Your Law Firm

 At this point, you’re cash flow might be depleted but your law firm is ready to go. The next thing you will need to do to start your own law firm is: find clients.

Finding clients will come down to how effective your marketing strategy is, but also, how strong your connections and relationships are with those that know you. Getting a referral from someone who knows your potential makes for easy client acquisition. However, for those that are seeking for legal advice for the first time, they may not have a trusted friend to vouch for you.

Here’s some marketing ideas to help you turn cold connections into your new clients.

1. Announce Your Opening

At the start of your new law firm, send out high-quality announcements to everyone you know (close and distant). If you’ve chosen a niche practice, send it out to those in your local bar association. Don’t forget to send personalized letters to your friends and relatives too. This can be useful for obtaining your first few referred clients.

2. Join a Business Networking Group

There are somethings you can do, and some things you can’t. If you join a business networking group, there are all kinds of opportunities to be found. If there’s lawyers in your group from other areas of specialization, you can create a referral list for them in exchange for a referral list for your specialised legal practice.

3. Become a Public Speaker

If there’s a topic you’re passionate about or a legal issue you want to eliminate, arranging public speeches is a great way to become known in your community. Public speaking allows you to make direct connections with people from the knowledge you have. This type of community outreach lets you display your expertise and build trust in your profession.

4. Start A Blog

Similar to public speaking, consider this public writing. Starting a blog for your law firm is an ideal way to find new clients online. Web sites can receive a lot of traffic depending on how your website is set up and the quality of the content involved.

5. Provide Quality Work

It might sound strange, but you should be providing exceptional “customer” experience. You’re dealing with people and, people talk. Their experience with you, good or bad, has a good chance of being spread on social media and within personal groups. You should always provide your best work to develop a strong referral base and a list or long-term clients.

Struggling to start a law firm? Check out the Starting Your Own Law Firm Checklist.

Starting Your Own Law Firm Checklist

Think of starting your own law firm? Here is a simple checklist to guide your toward setting up your office, deciding on the area of law you will practice, your legal responsibilities, staffing demands, and much more.

Name Your Law Firm

It all starts here: naming your law firm. This is going to be the most important decisions you will have to make for your law firm. Your name will identify who you are and what you do. Using your own surname is a traditional approach to naming a law firm, however, there may be some added benefits when you include the type of law you practice (i.e. Mathers & Son Divorce Lawyers Inc.).

Choose One Area of Law

This is important. You could provide a generic practice and try to assist anyone who comes in the front door. This is a rare approach for lawyers nowadays. Pick one or possibly two areas of law to specialize your practice exclusively. You won’t get good if you practice a little of this and a bit of that. You’ll build you confidence and credibility faster when you dedicate your time and efforts on a clearly defined area of law.

Choose A Location

 Opening a law firm, much like any startup, can be done from home. While this may serve as a financially viable solution in the beginning, in the long run, you’re going to want an office. Starting with an office in a key location (i.e. convenient and comfortable for clients to enter for consultations) is key. If you’re on a tight budget, consider sharing some office space or try virtual law offices to act as your front desk.

Legal Stuff

As a lawyer, the last thing you want to do is miss the fine print for the legal obligations you are under. Permits, licenses and identification numbers are likely required to start your own law firm. Check with your local laws to see what will be required from you.

In addition, you have to consider your taxes. Your choices include sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation. Each has their own pros and cons and you’ll have to decide which will be best for your personal practice.

Office Furniture

If you’ve found a great location for your office, you’re going to need it furnished. Consider how you want the appearance and aesthetic of your office to be. Also, there are a few office necessities you don’t want to forget:

  • Photocopy machine
  • Personal computer
  • Telephone System and requisite service
  • Fax machine (if necessary)
  • Desks
  • Chairs
  • Cabinets and book shelves
  • Trash cans and recycling bins
  • Magazines and magazine racks
  • Interior decorations
  • And, don’t forget the long list of office supplies (pencils, envelopes, etc.)

Get a Professional 1-800 Office Number

This is not a necessity but a great idea for branding purposes. Having a 1-800 of 1-855 number can be used to establish yourself as being professional and serious about practicing law. You can even use this number with call forwarding to your personal or direct phone line. Getting a number like this can be set up in less than a day. Try contacting your local telephone service providers for more information.

Library

Every lawyer needs a library to stay up to date as well as for fact checking and research. In your field, law is an ongoing, evolutionary process. Practice guides and case law are constantly being updated. If you choose a location near a law library, you can minimize the cost of your own. There are also a variety of online sources that can assist you with this as well.

Start A Blog To Find Your Clients

Starting a blog may be one of the best solutions for finding new clients. Sharing your knowledge and expertise online can help build your credibility and authority in your community. Also, websites allow people to search and choose lawyers and firms that best suit their needs. If your website is setup correctly, clients will be coming to you instead of you having to search for your clients.

Build a Referral Network

 Let everyone know that you are going to be starting a law firm. Meet with other practicing lawyers and ask how they found and received their cases. If they’re in a different field of law, you may be able to build some connections that pass off some clients in your direction. Or, they may be overwhelmed with work of their own and will refer clients to other lawyers they have a relationship with (i.e. you). This is a mutual exchange. If you’re a divorce lawyer and someone comes to you asking for criminal defense, you can refer them to someone in your network.

Another alternative is to set up a system where you can pay people you trust a referral fee. This can incentivise people to send work to you. There are certain laws in place that govern this so you should try to learn how it would be applied to you.

Join Local Organizations and Listservs

Aside from building a referral network, join local organizations like Southern State Criminal Law Association, to connect with fellow lawyers in a similar area of law to discuss cases. Joining this or a listserv, which is an email that gets sent to every single member on the list, is a great way to gain advice and other perspectives from lawyers in your practice. This is extremely useful for those just starting out and require a mentor who can answer questions.

Systems

Like any business, have a key outline of operating principles will help you manage and run your law firm more efficiently and effectively. Here are a few key systems you should consider:

  • Accounting: There are a variety of software programs that can easily manage your finances. Another alternative is to hire an accountant.
  • Time Tracking & Billing: Keep on top of how you track your time and the way you bill your clients will save you from a lot of headaches. Your billing system should issue invoices to clients regularly and in a timely manner for all work as it is completely.
  • Filing: There are going to be a lot of files to organize and storing away. Having easy access so you can find certain documents in the future will create a hassle free work environment.
  • Docketing and Calendar System: Every law firm should have a system in place that manages docketing and calendars. Lawyers are humans too and the chances of forgetting something can happen to them too.
  • Client Conflict: At some point in your career you are likely to experience a few clients unimpressed with your practice. Have a system in place that allows you to manage conflict and keep it in check is a must.

Get Insurance

This is the last thing you want to happen to you in your law firm. However, it is something that must be consider: getting sued for malpractice. There are malpractice insurance companies that can provide you with the protection you need for your practice. This is especially important for those starting a sole proprietorship.

Final Notes

Starting a law firm requires a lot of planning and preparation. You’ll need a budget to cover startup expenses, opening of new accounts, and much more. When the office is set up and you’re ready to work, the next thing to do is to start marketing your law firm.

Rise Of The Machines? Will Lawyers Become Obsolete?

Let’s consider this for a moment: lawyers being replaced by robots.

It sounds like a farfetched, sci-fi movie featuring advanced robotics bringing clients to court with analytical judges determining the fate of humanity.

However, as crazy as it may sound, will lawyers become obsolete with the growing trends in technology and communication?

Since the dawn of industrialization, there have been numerous revolutions in robotics technology that has freed up labors for the blue collar workers. From the view of human progress, this is the step in the right direction. However, as more and more people are losing jobs to robots, how will this affect the legal world?

Advancements in technology allows for information to be stored and retrieved in an easily accessible and systematized way. If artificial intelligence can be designed to extract evidence useful for litigations, to collect details for contracts, and trigger red flags whenever companies are committing fraud or other illegal activities, would this eliminate the number of lawyers needed in the world?

Automatization of Legal Work

Automatization is an ongoing development that allows for time efficiency and saving significant amounts of money. From a client’s point of view, if utilizing an online database, or “e-lawyer” to get accurate results, fast.

The early beginnings of technology designed to make a lawyer’s life easier started with chatbots. Technology from Ross and Lex Machina provide a chat lot system that makes setting up consultations simple for clients to do.

Another rising robot is called DoNotPay which was developed by Joshua Browder. This is a free parking ticket fighting chatbot that asks you a series of questions about your case. Questions like, “Were you illegally parked because of a medical emergency?” or “Were road signs clearly marked?”

At the end of the chat, the bot prepares a letter that can be used to fight parking tickets. So far, this system has been used to help hundreds of thousands of people to win parking ticket violations in Seattle, New York, and London.

What Areas of Law Could Be Most Affected

Technology is advancing at an extremely rapid pace. Each and every year a new highly developed superphone is being shoved into our pockets. If automatizing the lawyer process is the next step into the future, there may be some areas of law that will be impacted more than others.

The areas of law that once required many forms, contacts, and documents to be made may soon become obsolete. Things like business documents, contested filings, and estate planning documents, while performed by non-lawyers, are a part of the collective income of a law firm.

Currently, there are companies racing to innovate this area of law by creating efficient online services that can provide these documents in a single click.

Take for example LawGeex. They have developed an AI system that allows for the automation and approval of contracts. There focus is to eliminate paper work altogether.

Once, lawyers were required for their legal knowledge and careful selection of law like words. Now, AI machinery will be able to analyze text to review and understand the legal document.

What Are the Possibilities  of Robolawyers?

These chatbots could be the beginning of a complete legal revolution. There could be dramatic changes to the way bankruptcy, divorce disputes, and deportation can be dealt with. Instead of using a lawyer to dispute the finer points of law, AI systems can be developed to analyze every possible situation and find the exceptions, loopholes and historical cases needed to win a case.

Essentially, an AI will have access to a whole database of legal language and the history of legal cases to make decisions. From this perspective, the argument of human error leading to mistakes in law can certainly be avoided.

Here’s a couple more examples of law being replaced with technological solutions.

Judicata which is developing a database that was just mentioned above. While it may not be a go to tool for people experiencing a legal issue, it’s an AI program that provides lawyers with a chance to extract the information they need to build a case or contract.

Another AI based law solution comes from FairDoc. FairDoc focused on creating a virtualized legal team allowing for intake of clients to be made online and even tracking your client activity. It’s another cost effective solution to reduce the amount of work that is typically demanded by lawyers.

How Can You Fight The Rise of Robots?

There’s no avoiding the rapid growth that technology has in the world. As the old saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

In this case, the some of the roboticized approaches to law may work in your favor. Since you are a lawyer with the knowledge and experience in the field, many of the time saving services that are reducing the amount of paperwork can still be performed through you.

When it comes to sensitive issues and human beings, going to see a lawyer will almost always be the preferred approach to dealing with a machine.

However, to assure yourself a job in the future to come, here’s a few things to consider:

  1. Approach new technology cautiously. Technology is often being tested and does come with some setbacks. While AI lawyers may seem like a smart solution, a single hack could leak a lot of sensitive information.
  2. Question what may be “replacing” you. Be skeptical. Not all technology may be the best for you, your law firm, or your clients.
  3. Accept changes. You can stick to traditional law practice, and perhaps you’ll be just fine, however finding a few new pieces of software that makes your law practice easier and more efficient may be in your best interest.
  4. Preserve your practice. Let’s face it, some parts of technology can be good, but outsourcing significant parts of your business with 3rd parties can become a liability. Your clients trust you. Therefore you have to make decisions as to whether the products and “robots” used in your practice can be trusted for the long term.

Conclusion

Likely there won’t be a terminator situation rising anytime soon for lawyers, however being up-to-date will help you stay ahead. One of the best things to is to embrace the coming changes but doing so with a hint of skepticism. To really succeed, bringing your law practice online may be the cutting edge you need to stay alive. Imagine having your own blog, you could be the leader in the transition from human based lawyers to AI law machines.

How Much Do Lawyers Make A Month?

Law tends to attract a lot of people seeking high salaries, competitive jobs, and rewarding work. However, the amount of money a lawyer makes vary greatly and depends on the type of work you do, the organization you work for, you educational experience, and where you are located in the country.

Starting your own law firm has the potential to bring in much more money than a entry level position at a firm. There are a number of obstacles to overcome but if you have the right plan in place and a strategy to succeed, your salary can be whatever you make it.

Like any career, doing your own research will help guide you on the decisions you make for your legal career. Since the monthly salary for a lawyer has such a large discrepancy, make sure your expectations match reality.

Remember that law is constantly changing and  that some areas may become less needed than others. From a financial point of view, this can be significantly less profitable and result in lower monthly wages.

Now that you have an overview of the financial situation in the legal career path, let’s take a look at the finer details.

Average Monthly Salary For Lawyers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average annual salary for a lawyer in 2016 to be $139,880. This works out to be around $11,656 per month on average.

Some of the lowest paying salaries started around $55,870 per year. This is around $4,655 per month. When you look at the private, corporate sector, some lawyers are making up to $214,630 per year. This is around $17,885 per month.

Best Paying Industries for Lawyers

In the corporate sector, there are a few industries that provide lawyers with a generous wage. Those in scheduled air transportation were the ones who received an average of $17,885 per month. Lawyers working in Beer, Wine and Distilled Alcohol, were making around $17,125. Another nice paying industry is the Cable and Other Subscription Programming which had an average monthly wage of $16,272.

Here’s a look at the wages based on occupational industries:

Finance & Insurance$12,166
Federal Government$11,621
Legal Services$9,888
Local Government$7,661
State Government$7,335

Wages for Public Lawyers

In this stream of law, lawyers represent clients on cases ranging from traffic violations

to criminal felonies. In these situations, people may prove to the court that they cannot afford to pay the lawyer’s fees. Typically, these kinds of lawyers are paid by the government as a regular employee or case by case, as needed by the state.

Even though trial cases and patent laws tend to provide the biggest payouts, not all lawyers pursue a corporate career. Public lawyers can make a respectable wage with the starting wage typically around $4,166 to well over $8,333 per month.

Wages Based On Location

Lawyers practicing law along the coasts tend to receive a significantly high wage than those practicing law in the mainland. When you’re working in the big cities like New York and Washington, wage are competitively higher than places like Alabama and Kentucky.

Here’s a breakdown of monthly salaries for lawyers throughout various U.S. cities:

Coastal Cities

San Jose$17,000
San Francisco$14,000
Los Angeles$14,425
New York City$13,438

Nonmetropolitan Cities

Southwest Montana$6,244
Northeast Mississippi$9,600
Central Kentucky$5,146
Northern Vermont$9,385

 

Wages from: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes231011.htm

Wages for Solo-Practitioners

If you’re fresh out of law school or even a veteran in the field, you might have considered starting your own law firm. Doing so allows you to create a wage based on as many hours as you want to work. Of course, the demand for your legal services should also be factors in addition to your marketing plan and marketing success.

Nonetheless, starting your own legal service can see monthly wages ranging from $2,978 to $26,099 per month.

This incredible range may be due to the following factors:

  • Caseload / work demands
  • Location within a city
  • Location within the country
  • Marketing plan/strategy
  • Referral network
  • Online access (i.e. lawyers with a blog)
  • Legal Experience
  • Area of practice

The Wage And Workload

 While the upper paying salaries are are to get excited for, the amount of work required to receive it may not be as appealing. Many law firms hiring new lawyers can expect between 80 or 90 hours per week to show their dedication to their profession.

If you are unable to handle this kind of workload, seeking a lower-paying job within the legal industry may be more suitable.

The kind of work that will be required of you includes:

  • Advising clients (i.e. business transactions, claim liability, prosecutions or defense of lawsuits, legal rights and obligations)
  • Represent clients in court during summary cases to judges or juries
  • Collect and research evidence for defensive or offensive legal actions
  • Evaluate research and develop strategies and sound arguments to present in court
  • Analyze and interpret laws, rulings, regulations and other legal actions for individuals and business

Lawyers deal with situations where they must advise their clients on a specific course of action. They are responsible for the legal rights and responsibilities their client’s must take. In the business world, lawyers may provide counsel to corporate clients when making business transactions. As well, there are lawyers who work in the legal system and represent their clients in court actions.

There is a wide range of work required from lawyers, from contract litigations, criminal cases to patent contracts. The amount of hours required from a lawyer will vary month to month. Working at a firm will provide you with a stable monthly income, as detailed above. However, if you’re a self-employed lawyer, your monthly wage is likely to change depending on the number of clients coming in.

Overall, working in the legal system is a time-sensitive environment with extreme working demands. There will be long hours and extensive research to prepare for court cases and client situations. All these factors lead to the wide differences in how much a lawyer makes per month.

Picking The Best Domain Name For Your Law Practice

In order to run a successful law practice, you’re going to need a website. Your website is the place for potential clients to discover your legal services, get to know you, and  schedule a consultation.

However, before you or hired help creates your website, you’ll want to pick the best domain name for your law firm.

A website and a domain name are not the same, although they are closely connected. The website contains all your content, information, and images. Whereas the domain name is the address that people type in their browsers that bring them to your website.

There are many types of domain names available and there’s a few important guidelines to follow when choosing the best one for your law firm:

Top Level Domain for Lawyers

 Top Level Domains (TLDs) are the little part of the domain name found after the DOT. These include, .COM, .ORG, .NET, and .GOV. There is even a specially created TLD for lawyers called .LAW.

The kind of TLD you decide will play a role in your ability to being found online. The universal TLDs are those listed above. There are also country specific TLDs such as .CA (Canada), .CN (China), .EU (European Union). Using these domains are restricted to those residing in that country and may not have as large a global reach as a .COM.

Most domains can be registered by anyone, however, the .LAW specific TLD requires proof of license before it can be issued.

Is a .LAW the best domain for you?

What Are Lawyer Keywords?

 Consider your domain name as a very important keyword that aides in your website getting found. People looking for a lawyer may search the following in Google: Florida Divorce Lawyers.

 Those words, are considered keywords and they play an important part in how your website is found online.

One thing to keep in mind is that keyword stuffing your domain name could lead to penalties by search engines and prevent your site from ever being noticed.

For example,

“childcustodydivorcelawyers.com”

While a name like this appears to be congruent with your services, there are a variety of reasons to not use this kind of name.

Best Domain Names For Lawyers

 Creating a domain name that is memorable and brandable is the best approach to take. This is important. Your domain name will serve as a banner that not only catches people’s attention but prepares people for what they’ll find on your website.

So, consider the following: what is the overall message you’re trying to say? Can people remember it easily? Can they type it into their browser without difficulty? Are there other websites with domain names similar to yours?

In addition, here are a few points to help you pick the best domain:

  1. Keep it short and simple (KISS). Shorter names are easier to remember and simpler to type into the browser. Just imagine, if your name was Bernie, you could have this: bernietheattorney.com!
  2. Be consistent. Your domain name should be a reflection of the services being offered and/or the location you provide them. Having a name like nyccourtconsultations.com (implying that you offer court consultations in NYC) would be more powerful than worldoflaw.com (potentially implying this site is about a world of flaws?).
  3. Don’t use unpopular TLDs. There are many different domain names available that may seem ideal for branding purposes but have less effect as a common TLD like .COM. Many people are familiar with .COM as a domain name.
  4. Avoid using hyphens. Search engines sometimes consider websites using hyphens as spammy and trying to stuff too many keywords. For example, best-lawyers-in-san-francisco.com may signal to search engines that this website is spam. While hyphens can be used without receiving penalties.

Lawyers Starting A Blog

 Having a website allows your to showcase your practice, services, past clients, and contact information to the entire world. As well, another useful thing to do on your website is starting a blog.

As mentioned before, keywords play an important part in getting your site noticed online. While the domain name plays a significant roles in directing people to the website, the content is the most valuable.

The best way to make your website stand out online is by providing expert advice and quality content. Blogs allow you to build your reputation online as well as discover new, potential clients.

Domain Name Overview:

DoDon’t
 

●        Do use your personal or business name(s). Remember to keep it short and simple. Use a domain name like, smithlawassociates.com, instead of smithandtullylawassociates.com
●        Do use your area of practice. If you’re a divorce lawyer, legal advisor, or criminal lawyer, feature that (i.e. smithdivorcelawyers.com)
●        Do use something memorable. Especially for blogs, having a domain like, fortheloveoflaw.com or leagueoflawyers.com could serve as a great platform to express your legal work as well as for branding purposes.
●        Do use a common TLD (such as .COM or even .LAW).
●        Do consider the ethical code. Making claims that cannot be proven, or misleading (i.e. always-win-lawyers.com) may be a violation of your local jurisdiction’s ethical rules.

 

●        Don’t use names that may change in the future (i.e. if an associate leaves your law firm)
●        Don’t use abbreviations of your legal service that could create a negative reputation (i.e. Austin, Stevens, and Smith Lawyers Group: asslawyers.com)
●        Don’t use spammy words like, best, top, greatest, etc. While you may feel that your law firm is #1 in your area, the search engines may flag your site as spam.
●        Don’t make it too personal. Whatever you are interested in and passionate about should not be used for your domain name, unless, it is relevant to your area of law.
●        Don’t use hard to remember or difficult to spell words.
●        Don’t copy another domain name. If serveandprotect.com is taken, avoid taking serveandprotect.net (or any other TLD). This can confuse your potential clients.

Choosing the best domain name for your law practice is not going to be easy. Remember that search engines like Google do provide benefits when a keyword is matched in your domain name. However, try to avoid coming off as spammy and use a name that is broad but to the point. For branding purposes, short and catchy would be the better approach.

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.

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.

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.