Category Archives: Ultimate Guides

Most Common Areas of Law Practiced In America

There are some areas of law which are in more demand than others. Depending on the direction of your legal career, you may want to pursue an area of law that will maintain your business for years to come.

Aside from the financial aspects of your career, you may also want to choose a career that is challenging and stimulating. If you have been wondering which area of practice to focus your legal career, here’s a good place to start.

1. Commercial Litigation

Coming in at the top of this list is commercial litigation. This type of law covers a wide range of legal services relating to the business world. A few examples include:

  • Class action lawsuits
  • Business Torts
  • Contract cases (i.e. breaches)
  • Disputes between partners/joint ventures
  • Shareholder issues
  • Civil RICO claims

In these cases, lawyers will either be the prosecutor or defense attorney for their clients. This area of law requires lawyers to be extraordinarily creative, possess accurate judgment, and quick to build a winning position.

Commercial litigation has some of the highest paying lawyers in the industry. It is the lawyer’s responsibility to work in favor of their clients’ needs and achieve the best results possible.

2. Real Estate Law

Real estate law is a busy area of practice involving a lot of technical requirements focused on sales and entitlements. Some of the services expected from real estate lawyers include:

  • Provide legal support with the contract requiring construction and other agreements toward property development.
  • Examine title, evaluate expectations, and negotiate related insurance policies.
  • Sales and Acquisitions. Represent buyers and sellers and assist with contracting the acquisition and disposition of property.
  • Assist with the negotiation of lease agreements.

3. Personal Injury Law

Some of the most common occurrences of personal injury claims involve car accidents and work-related accidents. However, personal injury lawyers provide services for a range of damages that occur in an individual. These cases are made whenever one person claims to have been injured by another person, business, or legal entity.

Other cases of personal injury include sexual harassment, wrongful death, and fraud.

Lawyers will provide legal services for clients that may be entitled to monetary compensation for any damages. Cases of personal injury must be evaluated by an expert attorney as some situations may be viewed as a criminal offense and require a criminal lawyer. In this case, there may not be any monetary compensation and if the accused is found guilty they may end up serving time in jail.

4. Labor and Employment Law

Labor and employment law involves complex legal support for situations occurring in the workplace. This area of law can my very complicated for employers, especially in the way it affects their employees.

The levels of law handled by these lawyers include local, state, and federal laws. When it comes to the process of law in court or mitigating cases, the outcome often has direct impacts on the lives and livelihoods of both the employees and employers.

Labor and employment laws strive to protect employment rights and wellbeing while ensuring the profitability of a business. The result of this can lead to some very complex situation that is difficult to resolve.

5. Family Law

Family law is a unique area of law that focuses on issues that occur in domestic relationships. This includes marriage, common-law, domestic partnerships, civil unions, and other related types.

It is common for family lawyers to handle cases involved the dissolution of marriages. A family lawyer will also be responsible for spousal alimony, child support, the division of assets, and other family-related liabilities. Family lawyers and divorce lawyers are often interchangeable titles.

Family lawyers have also known the handle cases involving child custody, child support, parental abduction, domestic abuse, adoption, and surrogacy.

6. Bankruptcy Law

Bankruptcy law not only covers situations of bankruptcy but also overlaps with some areas of corporate law and litigation. Bankruptcy lawyers are required to assess a client’s financial debt, transactional history, assets, securities, and taxes. All this information is needed to understand a clients situation and negotiate the terms of their bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy lawyers are involved with a very stressful part of the law. While this type of law applies at the commercial level, the impacts on individuals can be very consequential. Bankruptcy lawyers must have strong interpersonal skills while understanding the functions and operational side of finance.

These lawyers work with their clients to provide them with protections and amendments to their financial situation. Often debtors will be involved throughout the legal process. These debtors are used to offer a wide range of solutions for clients before having to resort to bankruptcy. The ultimate goal of bankruptcy lawyers is to establish and constructive outcome that can restore credit and financial rights.

7. Immigration Law

Immigration lawyers do more than just help immigrants become new citizens of the country they live in. Immigration law involves issues related to naturalization, visa, labor certification, deportation, fraud investigation, and political asylum.

In most cases, immigration lawyers protect their clients from deportation while offering legal advice to help them stay legally in the country. Alternatively, these lawyers offer support for obtaining the right certifications to work legally in a country by obtaining the proper visa.

8. Insurance Law

Insurance law involves cases regarding insurance policies and claims. To better understand insurance law it is critical to know the structure and terms involved:

  • Policy: this is the contract outlining what an insurance company is willing to pay in the case of loss.
  • Insured: this is the person who receives the benefits of the insurance policy.
  • Benefits: these are the services and financial rewards an insurance company provides in the case of loss.
  • Premium: this is the amount of money paid by the insured to the insurance company.
  • Claim: this is a request for benefits when a situation of loss occurs.
  • Coverage: these are the types of losses an insurance company provides coverage and reimbursement for.
  • Insurance agent: this is a person who is licensed to sell insurance policies to someone.

Insurance lawyers handle three specific situations:

  1. Insurance companies are hired to represent the insured in a situation where the insured is being sued for something related to their insurance policy.
  2. Insurance lawyers are hired to help people with a claim against an insurance company.
  3. Insurance companies are hired to ensure that a company under an insurance policy is compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.

Which Lawyers Make The Most Money?

If you’re getting into law just to make money, this may not be a career for you. Lawyers are responsible for working on some sensitive cases that can alter the outcome of people’s lives. Keeping this in mind, there is much more to the law than just money.

However, money is a motivating factor in any career. For recent graduates from law school with heavy debts, getting a good paying legal job is likely a top priority. Also, listening to an experienced lawyer with a six-figure salary might tell new associates not to worry about the money can be demotivating.

Instead, let’s take a look at which lawyers are making the most money.

High Paying vs. Low Paying Salaries

Whether working at a law firm or as a solo practitioner, lawyers, in general, make a decent amount of money.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, these are some of the published salaries for lawyers in America. On the lower end, the average salary is just over $50,000. In comparison, some of the top paying salaries can earn over $200,000.

There are two major factors that influence the amount of money a lawyer earns which are location and area of specialization.

Highest Paying Cities for Lawyers

Depending on where you practice law, you could also earn more money. According to the BLS, the following states offer the highest salaries: California, New York, Florida, and Texas.

Highest Paying States for Lawyers

Some states have a higher salary than others. Here are the best paying states with the highest mean salaries according to the BLS: District of Columbia, California, New York, Massachusetts.

Highest Paying Industries for Lawyers

If you’re an in-house lawyer, you can earn more money depending on which industry they work for. Here’s the what the BLS says are the highest paying industries for lawyers: Scheduled Air Transportation, Industrial Machinery Manufacturing, Beer, Wine and Distilled Beverages, Semiconductors and Other Electronics.

Highest Paying Government Lawyers

There are some positions in government that pay significantly more than others. Public interest lawyers often have the lowest salaries whereas lawyers at the federal level can earn six figures. Here is a summary of the top paying government salaries for lawyers from the BLS: Federal Government, Local Government, State Government.

Highest Paying Law Firms

If you’re wondering which law firms offer the most money, that’ll depend on whether you are a partner or just an associate. The following law firms are some of the top-earning firms in America as of 2016: Latham & Watkins; Baker & McKenzie; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom; Kirkland & Ellis; and Clifford Chance.

Here’s a look at those numbers in more detail:

Firm
Name
Year Established Yearly Revenue Profit
Margin
Profit per Lawyer
Latham & Watkins 1934 $2.65B 50% $606,000
Baker & McKenzie 1949 $2.62B 35% $183,000
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom 1948 $2.41B 51% $727,000
Kirkland & Ellis 1909 $2.3B 55% $771,000
Clifford Chance 1987 $2.11B 36% $251,000


Source of Law Firm Statistics:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_law_firms_by_revenue

Solo Practitioners

What does the salary look like for a solo practitioner? Information for the amount of money earned by solo practitioners gets released each year by the IRS. Often, these lawyers have considerably lower salaries than those listed above.

In 2012, salaries were reported to be as low as $50,000. However, this amount is often seen as the starting salary for new solo practitioners.

The reason why solo practitioners have a lower salary could be due to the fact they are responsible for all aspects of their legal services. If it is not in their budget to hire legal staff to reduce time spent on menial tasks such as administrative and financial related duties, it can limit their salary.

On the other hand, there are various affordable solutions for lawyers to make their legal services more efficient and effective. Legal software help lawyers to free up more time to work with clients and network.

In addition, solo practitioners can be more successful at finding new clients if they have a website for their legal services and learn how to use online marketing.

One thing to remember is that pursuing a career in law should not be for the money. Instead, pursuing a business career may prove to be more lucrative if money is a lawyer’s true motivation.

Solo Lawyer’s Guide To Websites

Being a solo practitioner comes with added obstacles and challenges that established law firms may not experience. From office administration to employee management to client intake, there are many tasks that must be performed in order for a legal service to succeed.

This article will focus on the importance of lawyer websites and why having one would benefit a solo lawyer.

Here’s a quick overview of everything this solo lawyer’s guide will cover:

  • Getting a website
  • Finding web design ideas
  • Starting a blog
  • Promoting the website
  • Improving the website’s performance

Reasons Solo Lawyers Need A Website

Solo lawyers have the ability to choose their own hours, select who they work with, and decide which cases they want to work on. While this may sound appealing at first, the additional work required to run a law firm by yourself can take a considerable amount of extra time.

To reduce some of the inevitable work, solo lawyers can use a website to delegate many of their regular office tasks.

Here are a few benefits solo lawyers can get with their website:

  1. Advertise Legal Services.
  2. Find New Clients
  3. Establish a Brand / Reputation.
  4. Improve Intaking.
  5. Share Professional Legal Knowledge

There are some DIY website builders or if you don’t have the time to build a website yourself, you can hire a professional developer.

Website Design for Solo Lawyers

Although a website should provide useful information, the design and functionality can affect whether a visitor will use your legal services or search somewhere else.

Most visitors coming to any website will be searching for the information they need right away. If your solo lawyer website takes too long to load, has an unattractive design, or is confusing to navigate, expect visitors to leave before ever inquiring about your practice.

Designing a website with your prospective clients in mind will have greater benefits in the long term. Here are a few tips to guide you toward a good website for your solo service:

  • Choose A Good Design. The aesthetics of your solo lawyer website is important. Consider the look and feel of your website. Ask yourself, does it showcase your professionalism? Expertise?
  • Don’t Confuse Visitors. When visitors come to your website, keep the message clear and make your pages easy to navigate. Nothing is more frustrating to someone online than landing on a website and not knowing what to do or where to go.
  • Offer Quality Content. While it may be useful to have a website featuring your office hours and contact information, you can improve your website’s performance by adding a blog and providing helpful information.
  • Have A CTA. You need a Call To Action on your website. This could be an onscreen pop-up requesting an email or your contact number in large font that offers the visitor a free consultation if the contact you today.

When you discuss your website with a web designer, remember to focus on the website’s function while paying attention to the overall aesthetic and design. To get more ideas for you website design, check out 2017’s best lawyer websites or 2018’s best law firm websites.

Blogging About Law

Solo lawyers with a blog on their website can improve their reach for prospective clients. Blogs are a great way to share informal information, showcase your expertise in your area of law, and build an online reputation.

Blogs allow solo lawyers with competitive strategy for marketing their legal services. For example, the information and expertise about the law may be unique to you. Sharing some tips, such as what to do after getting in a car accident, can help you stand out against other law firms in your area.

To create a successful lawyer blog, you’ll want to consider the keywords people are using in search engines. For example, if you’re a solo lawyer practicing divorce law in California, you’ll want to write an article with similar words inside. Keep reading to learn how keywords in your website can improve its performance. 

Promoting Your Legal Services

In order for a solo lawyer website to serve its purpose, finding new clients, it is going to need visitors. Paid promotions can be an effective method toward promoting your legal services and finding your next client.

To get started, two of the most common places to promote a website include Google PPC and Facebook Ads.

Google uses competitive keywords to provide ads on the first page of their results to people making searches related your selected words. Facebook offers this same feature, however, it has an even more powerful tool for targeting the perfect audience.

Depending on your budget and goals, Google PPC and Facebook Ads can have different results. For more information about which one you should use to promote your website, go to Google PPC for Lawyers or Facebook Ads for Lawyers.

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

Improving Your Website’s Performance 

For alternatives to paid promotions, you can make a few modifications to your website to improve the performance. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method of making your website better recognized by search engines which presents your website to more people.

As mentioned before, having a blog is one way to improve your SEO. Blogs allow you to add various keyword rich pages to your website which can improve the likelihood of your website being discovered.

Other methods of improving your solo lawyer website’s SEO includes:

  • Obtain backlinks from other websites
  • Perform competitive keyword research
  • Add titles, sub-headers, and meta-information
  • Submit website to directories

Improving the SEO of a website can be both technical and confusing. To get a better understanding of SEO and the things you can do to improve your website go to SEO for Lawyers.

Inside The Courtroom, Who’s Doing What?

There are a lot of different people who enter the courtroom for a trial or hearing. The common players are the lawyers, their clients, and the judges making the ultimate decision. Let’s take a look at all the people found in a courtroom.

The Parties

The people or entities (i.e. a business) who are involved in a lawsuit are known as “parties”. In civil cases, you’ll have plaintiffs (the suing party) and defendants (the party being sued). In criminal cases, there will only be the defendants involved with the crime. Particularly in criminal cases, defendants have a constitutional right to be present at their trials. The Sixth Amendment says, “the accused shall enjoy the right … to be confronted by the witnesses against him.” Whereas in civil cases, you can opt out of attending the trial.

The Lawyers

Inside the courtroom, lawyers represent their clients or state-appointed parties in the lawsuit. Lawyers provide the majority of the speaking while presenting their party’s side of the case. Lawyers must follow legal procedures while trying to prove a defendant’s innocence or verify they should be accused of their crime.

Criminal cases involve a defense lawyer which can be state-appointed or hired by the defendant and a prosecutor. The prosecutor attempts to prove guilt while the defense lawyers attempt to prove innocence. In some cases, a jury may be present.

Civil cases do not necessarily require a lawyer, however, if a representation is needed, each party must pay for their own.

Lawyers have certain duties to maintain in court, according to the American Bar association, which include:

  • Not seeking court sanctions
  • Not withholding or delaying the disclosure of information regarding discovery objections
  • Only ask questions appropriate for the prosecution or defense

For the complete list, please see ABA’s Lawyer’s Duties.

The Witnesses

In court, witnesses are those who provide a testimony which includes facts and perspective on the case. Witnesses are asked called to the witness stand where they make their statement and can be examined and cross-examined by both lawyers present. Both sides can have witnesses and the kinds of witnessed may be known as plaintiff’s witnesses, defendant’s witnesses, or government witnesses.

The Jury

In some court hearings, a selected group of people, known as the jury, may be present in the courtroom to determine the outcome of the trial. The jury is responsible for listening to and understanding the facts. Afterward, they must apply the law which has been instructed by the judge prior to the hearing. If the facts are conflicting or confusing, the jury must decide together the truth and reach a verdict. Court hearings can get very complicated and jurors have to decide who is telling the truth and make a decision that’ll have a dramatic effect on someone’s life.

A Judge

Playing the most important role in the courtroom is the judge. Judges are responsible for the following tasks:

  1. Presiding over the hearings and maintaining order;
  2. Ensuring that the evidence presented by the parties illegal or not;
  3. Educating jurors before a jury trial about the laws that apply to the case and the conditions they must follow to assist them in making a decision about the facts they hear in court;
  4. Listening to the facts during bench trials to determine what are the facts and decide the outcome of the case;
  5. Convicting defendants in criminal cases.

Courtroom Interpreter

In cases where one or both parties cannot speak or understand English, a courtroom interpreter may be required. Courtroom interpreters will assist with the translation of a testimony which will be included in the court’s records. This is a challenge position since details can be lost in translation. Therefore, interpreters must be precise and only interpret exactly what is said by the witness or defendant. This means, if someone is lying, they must continue with the translation and not make any alterations whatsoever. Doing so can lead to a mistrial and other consequences.

Courtroom Reporter

The courtroom reporter is responsible for recording everything that is said and the evidence that is introduced during the hearings. Reporters use a machine called a stenograph to type information or they can create a recording. After the trail, this recorded information becomes the official record. Courtroom reporters will be responsible for creating a written transcript if either of the parties seeks to appeal the decision made in court. Occasionally, reporters may visit lawyerès offices to record depositions and conferences for judges.

Note: Stenographs are more commonly used by courtroom reporters. This machine uses symbolic keystrokes based on the spoken word. These machines can record upwards of 300 words per minute. Electronic sound recordings will use a special microphone placed within the courtroom. Both recording methods require a written transcript of the hearings afterward.

Courtroom Clerks

Court clerks are responsible for administering the oaths made by witnesses, interpreters, and parties. In addition, these clerks work within the courtroom to take care of records, authenticate copies of court documents, keeps minutes of the hearings, as well as prepare judgment and verdict forms. Courtroom clerks are essentially the judge’s assistant throughout the trial.

Courtroom Officer

Inside most courtrooms will be an officer responsible for security. These are the law enforcement personnel in the case that a hearing gets out of hand and the must maintain order.

Who Works for the Court?

Of all the people inside the courtroom, only jurors, judges, reporters, clerks, and officers work for the court system. Lawyers will work for themselves or their law firm and require fees to receive support or legal advice.

Lawyers On Demand: The Future of Legal Services?

Could this the future of legal services? A future of lawyers on demand which allows people to choose from a pool of legal talent, at affordable rates, whenever legal advice is needed.

Although the traditions in law run deep, there is a trending new opportunity for those pursuing a legal career. Instead of working at a law firm, working insane hours, and having a portion of your earnings going into the owners’ pockets, you can become a freelance lawyer, working on demand.

Will Lawyers Quit Working At Firms?

Law firms dedicate considerable time and resources training their associates toward full-fledged lawyers. The hours can be long and additional work may be completed outside of office hours.

Becoming a freelance lawyer offers an alternative lifestyle to the traditional hard working demands placed on lawyers at a firm. Freelance lawyers have the ability to decide their working hours. It allows more freedom and flexibility for scheduling, operating a side business, or spending more time with loved ones.

Some freelance lawyers may opt to take a few months off to travel and pursue other lifestyles. Creating a work-life balance is a lucrative choice for young adults seeking to enjoy their adulthood even while developing their career in law.

Are All Freelance Lawyers Qualified?

While it can be easy to distinguish the reputation of a law firm, some prospective clients may be hesitant to work with freelance lawyers. Not knowing whether a lawyer is fresh out of school or was let go from a firm for malpractice may defer people from choosing freelancers.

However, in most cases, freelance lawyers are those that have had experience working at a firm and choose to take their career in law down a different path. Experiences will certainly vary from lawyer to lawyer, however, there are certain standards that all lawyers must follow in order to practice law.

Freelancer lawyers have the opportunity to be more selective with the caseloads and time management. These lawyers can maintain a high level of quality for their services by focusing on providing exceptional client experiences in order to attain future work and referrals.

Benefits of Freelancing

Take a look at how both lawyers and clients can benefit from freelancing:

Lawyer Benefits:

  • More freedom
  • Flexible schedule
  • Higher earning potential
  • Offer higher value work
  • Work on more unique clients and cases
  • Build expertise in the desired niche

Client Benefits:

  • Access to lawyers on demand
  • Affordable rates
  • Reduce overhead costs
  • Cost-effective alternative to in-house lawyers
  • Ability to hire experts in a specific area

Freelancing lawyers have the ability to offer convenient services for short-term and occasional clients. It offers clients an alternative to expensive lawyer fees from a reputable law firm while maintaining the quality of service.

Many law firms are also recognizing the benefits of hiring freelance lawyers on a case-by-case scenario. Law firms can reduce their overhead costs by avoiding fees for health plans, holiday pay, and maternity leave.

Freelance Lawyers vs. Solo Practitioners

It would be wrong to assume that solo practitioners of law are the same as freelance lawyers. In most cases, the difference between the two includes the following:

  1. Clients. Solo practitioners often work from an office and offer legal advice to their clients. Often, freelance lawyers do not provide any form of legal advice unless working on cases with other lawyers, law firms or administrative legal departments.
  2. Hours. For a sole practitioner, working hours can be long and unforgiving. It is common for lawyers to send invoices for 40 to 50 hours worth of work even though they required an additional 5 to 15 hours after hours. Freelancers have much more freedom and can plan in advance which days to take off and enjoy for themselves.
  3. Type of Work. Since freelancer lawyers have the freedom and flexibility to define their services and choose their clients, they can find themselves working for unique and challenging clients. Since freelancers offer more of the time to companies and other law firms, there tend to be fewer worries about dealing with emotionally taxing non-lawyer clients. Lawyers seeking to work more directly with the law and reduce the amount of emotionally draining counseling-like experiences with clients would certainly prefer freelancing.
  4. Flexibility. Solo practitioner typically works from an office. This requires them to purchase office equipment, hire assistants or clerks, and maintain their office space. Freelance lawyers often don’t have this. Instead, freelance lawyers can use a range of locations and technologies to meet and connect with their clients.

Choosing to become either a freelance lawyer or a solo practitioner comes down to who you are as a lawyer. If you know how to manage your time and wish to have extra hours for yourself, freelancing is the way to go. In contrast, if you’re the type of person who enjoys a structured lifestyle that is motivated by a high-stress working style, focus on becoming a solo practitioner.

Freelance Platforms for Lawyers

There are a variety of online sources providing freelance lawyers access to prospective clients. Axiom, Vario, Lawyers on Demand provide unique matches for clients seeking flexible lawyers for their situations.

  • Axiom – The main feature that Axiom offers is a platform for freelance lawyers to create a profile and showcase their legal services to prospective clients. They offer temporary in-house services to clients who can hand-pick their own lawyers. Axiom currently has over 1200+ lawyers available provide services for real estate, litigation, intellectual property, employment and benefits, derivatives, finance and more. Axiom also offers global reach to assist with international businesses and clients.
  • Vario – This freelancing platform for lawyers offers flexible legal support for law firms, in-house companies, and individual clients seeking support. They focus on alleviating their client’s stress, reduce costs, and provide measurable results. Vario understands that the world is changing and remote work has become a staple in today’s working environments. They work directly with lawyers to uncover exactly what a lawyer wants to do and how to do it.
  • Lawyers on Demand – Here you’ll find services dedicated to those who want an in-house team or hired help at a law firm. All freelancers at Lawyers on Demand are carefully screened for quality and talent. They work with lawyers ranging in all areas of specialization to provide access to legal support for anyone looking for a lawyer. As of now, there are over 600 lawyers and consultants available to support prospective clients.

What Are Career Advancement Opportunities for Lawyers?

Are you wondering how to fast track your career in law? While there may be numerous career advancement opportunities for lawyers, knowing which ones to take can define a satisfying and lasting career in law.

To guide your decision making along with your career as a lawyer, here are a few highlights and considerations to keep in mind.

Classic Career Path for Lawyers

The common path for lawyers finishing their graduate studies and search for a firm to get hired will typically start as an associate working with other experienced lawyers. After a few years, some lawyers may be offered to become a partner of the firm.

Becoming a partner entitled lawyers with partial ownership over the law firm, additional responsibilities, and greater liabilities. Depending on the amount of time with the firm, partners came receive further career advancements such as becoming an executive partner or a managing partner.

Depending on a lawyer’s area of specialization, there may be opportunities to take on greater roles and responsibilities.

With the increasing amount of students graduating from law school each year with limited number careers available, competition is fierce. Lawyers who can’t maintain their positions as a partner may experience the “up and out.” This is when partners are forced to leave the firm because they were not able to contribute to the profitability of the firm.

Overall, this makes high-paying legal positions at prestigious firms extremely competitive. The selection process for these firms will often be limited to experiences and students graduating from specific schools.

However, those who do not obtain their ideal career as an associate at their law firm of choice can opt for alternative law careers.

Alternative Opportunities for Lawyers

After studying law for so many years, becoming an associate at a law firm is not the only option. Instead, law students can continue their education and pursue masters and doctorate degrees in areas specific to an area of specialization.

Pursuing an academic legal career can lead to a full-time position as a faculty member at a law school. Administrative and other teaching opportunities can also be found.

In addition, some lawyers may choose an internship. Internships offer freshly graduated law students with a chance to receive real experience while working with judges and other professional legal workers.

Another option may be to work for a corporation. While this is not a common path, some of the bigger corporations require a team of lawyers and legal support to keep their operations running smoothly.

Here is a suggestive list of alternative careers for lawyers:

  • In-house counsel for corporations/companies
  • Paralegal workers
  • Government lawyer
  • NPO / NGO lawyer
  • Real estate broker
  • Freelance attorney
  • Legal recruiter
  • Journalist
  • Politics
  • Insurance

Self-Employed Lawyers

Lawyers account for almost 800,000 jobs in America. The following is where those lawyers are employed:

Legal services (i.e. law firms) 48%
Self-employed lawyers 20%
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 7%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 6%
Federal government 5%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

Some lawyers who have worked with professional law firms and choose not to become a partner may pursue to form their own law firm. As seen in the chart above, 20% of all lawyers are self-employed.

Those who choose this career path can succeed by establishing a strong marketing plan and business strategy. Seeing their legal services as a business is a vital understanding of how to survive when competing against other self-established and long-lasting law firms.

Self-employed lawyers may place a heavy burden on solo lawyers who can’t afford to hire an assistant or secretary. However, some software products have been made available to handle various tasks such as accounting, invoicing, and other matter.

Other ways for self-employed lawyers to survive their first year as a lawyer would be to get a website, start a blog, and use paid advertisements.

Career Prospects for Lawyers

According to MyFuture, employment rates for lawyers are expected to grow 6% from 2014 to 2024. This prediction is based on the anticipated growth of other occupations in the United States which will increase demands for legal services. Individuals, businesses, and various levels of government will need legal assistance to support this growth and new demands.

Due to this increase in demand, the cost for legal services may consequently increase as well. This may cause law firms to reevaluate their staffing requirements and opting for law management software may prove to become a cost-effective solution.

Other methods to reduce costs while remaining competitive may lead to lawyers outsourcing their staffing to low-cost agencies. In addition, routine work can now be automated with various document programs dedicated to lawyers.

Dress Code For Lawyers

Lawyers are traditionally known to wear tailored suits to look professional for their daily responsibilities. However, recent trends in fashion have seen some lawyers working in their offices wearing casual attire.

If you’re unsure what to wear to the firm or you’re looking for a change of appearance, here’s a brief overview of dress codes for lawyers.

Dress Code for Male Lawyers

Lawyers spend a significant amount of time in office with occasional appearances in court and other public locations (i.e. interviews with clients, research at a library, etc.). There are two dress codes for lawyers which call for either a formal business attire or something more casual.

  • Formal Business Dress Code: Lawyers should wear a white dress shirt which a neutral collared tie beneath their tailored suit. Common suit colors include gray or navy (note: wearing black is known to represent funerals which are advised to avoid in the courtroom environment). This lawyer’s dress code is meant for court appearances, interviews, meetings with clients, and other business-related activities.
  • Casual Business Dress Code: Here, lawyers can skip the tie and discard the suit to wear something less formal. Wearing a golf shirt or attractive sports shirt with casual trousers or khakis is acceptable. Having a sports jacket, cotton sweater, or a vest can also be a suitable addition. These outfits are common for less formal events and gatherings.

Lawyers should remember to wear appropriate shoes. Leather dress shoes are the legal industry’s standard that can be paired with black, brown, dark gray, or navy socks depending on the suit color. Loafers may also be acceptable in casual days. Here you can read more about shoes for lawyers.

Dress Code for Female Lawyers

The dress code for female lawyers is a bit more complex. In the history of legal work, women were predominantly providing legal support and not working on legal cases. However, recent years has seen an increase in female lawyers which has led to some controversy over what a woman should and should not be wearing.

Regardless of the situation, whether it is a casual event or a formal court hearing, there are some articles of clothing that female lawyers should never wear. These garments are often forbidden by a law firm’s dress code and they include:

  • Tight fitting and low cut tops of any kind
  • Shirts with straps, open backs, halter tops, etc.
  • Stretch pants, yoga style pants, etc.
  • Miniskirts and capris that end above the knee

As a general rule of thumb, female lawyers should avoid showing any cleavage and revealing too much leg.

To keep things simple, females should follow similar guidelines that define male lawyer’s dress codes. Expect to wear suits in similar styles and made to fit in a similar fashion as men. However, as an alternative, some law firms allow for skirts to be worn so long as they are not too short.

Lawyer’s Fashion Worldwide: In Pakistan, the dress code for lawyers is dependent on the seasons. In the summer, lawyers wear a white shirt with a white neck band and trousers. This dress code is strictly enforced in the country.

Overview of Unacceptable Clothing

To help distinguish what can vs. should not be worn, here’s a quick list of unacceptable clothing choices that would breach a lawyer’s dress code:

  • Tight fitting clothing
  • Shorts or jeans
  • Casual, non-collared shirts
  • Sweatshirts, sweat suits, or gym clothes
  • T-shirts
  • Cargo pants
  • Golf shirts emblazoned with logos and images
  • Crazy colors or leopard print
  • Novelty items (i.e. ties, clips, etc.)

General Appearance

Lawyers are expected to be well-groomed when arriving at the office or the courtroom.

In regards to hairstyle, men are expected to maintain shorter hairstyles that are neat and conservative in style. Facial hair is acceptable as long as it is well groomed. Arriving to work with wild long hair or rugged facial hair would be inappropriate.
For women, both long and short hairstyles are acceptable. As long as the style is neat and professional, there won’t be a problem. Arriving with untamed, messy styles or brightly colored hair may cause alarm. Also, some limitations may include having hair longer than their waist and child-like hairstyles.

Accessories

Perhaps this may apply more to women than men, but there are a few dress codes considerations regarding accessories.

For women, jewelry and accessories are acceptable if they are not in excess or too extravagant. Alternatively, wearing cheap jewelry may be frowned upon. Wearing strong perfumes, too much makeup, revealing bra straps or tattoos, and long nails should be avoided.

For men, having professional looking tie clips and pins may be suitable for their attire. Wearing a professional watch would be acceptable. Wearing too much jewelry, excessive cologne, or revealing tattoos should be avoided.

Briefcases

While this is not necessarily lawyer’s attire, briefcases play an important part of a lawyer’s job. Having the right briefcase to carry legal documents and office supplies while working on the go should also follow along with the dress code for lawyers.

Imagine arriving into the courtroom with a briefcase showcasing an image of your favorite superhero fighting crime. For advice on briefcases for lawyers, try this.

Law Firm’s Dress Codes

If you work at a law firm, the dress code detailed may be different from what you read above. Every firm reserves the right to create a dress code for their lawyers to maintain the image and professionalism of the firm. This article is meant to provide a general overview of what lawyers should wear and what to avoid.

5 Tech Tools For Lawyers

Trending everywhere is an increase of technology being used at the workplace. These changes occur swiftly and are meant to make jobs easier or more efficient.

In the world of law, there’s no exception. Even lawyers are gaining access to more clever tech tools to make their lives better. However, you won’t have to worry about upgrading your phone or downloading hundreds of new features and struggle to try to figure things out.

If you’re like most lawyers, technology has a few standard features and that’s all you need. Well, wouldn’t you like to discover the true potential that technology can provide you and your legal services?

Let’s take a look at a few of the best tech tools for lawyers which will help your legal practice in the 21st century.

1. Research Tools

If you’re spending endless hours researching the old way (i.e. in a law library), you may want to try these advanced research tools. If you want to try powerful but affordable research, check out Ravel Law or Casetext:

  • Ravel Law is a resourceful legal search tool that allows lawyers to search legal data, analyze results, and create understandable visualizations. Ravel Law obtains all their data from Harvard Law Library. Use Ravel Law to put new information into practice.
  • Casetext is another provider of legal information and offers free services to law students and pro bono lawyers only, otherwise, it’s a subscription-based service. Casetext’s unique contextual legal research technology, CARA AI, automates key legal research, arming lawyers with the highest quality research possible, ultimately allowing firms to spend time on higher-value, billable work — and avoid missing key precedents or decisions. Consider CARA as you’re very own, digital assistant.  

Ravel Law is best for gathering information for a litigation while Casetext serves to find relevant data and information for legal briefs, memos, letters and other legal documents.

2. Live Chat for Websites

Lawyers with a website can really benefit by implementing a live chat system on their websites. This useful tech development is becoming increasingly popular as it allows owners of a website to engage directly with visitors.

If you’re thinking about putting together a powerful Facebook Ads campaign, having live chat ready to go can potentially boost client intake.

One thing to keep in mind with using this technology on a lawyer’s website is the American Bar Association’s Ethics and Regulations regarding online marketing.

3. Accounting Software

Accounting software is a great tech choice for lawyers. There is a wide range of service providers available and they’re focused on providing solutions for lawyers. Here are a few of the things your accounting software can do for you and your firm:

  • Legal calendaring
  • Time tracking
  • Invoicing and billing
  • Document management

Many solo, small and medium-sized law firms use accounting software to automate some of the work responsibilities at the office. Some of the top software provides include Clio, Abacus Law, Bill4Time, Legal Files, and PC Law.

This accounting software provider typically provides a free trial which allows you to test out their features. For a comprehensive review of these this lawyer tech tool, see best accounting software for lawyers.

4. Cloud Storage

Although some accounting software programs offer additional storage, you may want a dedicated cloud provider to store your data. Cloud storage allows for data to be stored on servers away from your computer.

This can provide you access to important files and information while you’re on the go and even on your cell phone. Dropbox and Google Drive are two common and easy to use save files and documents.

However, you may be concerned about the security of your client’s data. One thing to consider is that as a lawyer, putting all your sensitive information on cloud storage could lead to it getting hacked. It is a lawyer’s responsibility to safeguard their client’s personal and sensitive information.

If you do decide to use a cloud storage to save your legal documents off your computer, try setting up two-step authentication.

5. Virtual Office

While this may be not a dedicate tech tool for lawyers, it has become a go-to solution for many solo and small-sized law firms. Setting up a virtual office allows lawyers to save time and focus more on the success of their firm.

Virtual offices function by outsourcing phone calls to trained professionals who can schedule consultations and assist with intaking. The benefits of a virtual office include:

  • More time for clients
  • More time to market legal services
  • Reduced operations costs
  • Increase productivity
  • Flexible employment
  • Operate 24/7/365

Getting a virtual office for your law firm is an effective use of technology for your practice. Depending on the area you specialize, you can receive a team of dedicated receptionists who can understand and use appropriate legal language.

Learn more about setting up a virtual office at your law office.

Lead Generation Ideas For Lawyers

You might think the purpose of your lawyer website is to provide information about your law firm’s legal services or a place where people can request a consultation. While these may be the primary objectives, there are a few things you must do before the phones start ringing.

From a digital marketing point of view, lead generation is a popular term you should understand. When you’re looking for potential clients for your firm, driving the right traffic to your website is the first step then turning those visitors into clients is the next.

If you’ve been wondering how to get more leads at your law firm, perhaps this will help you out.

What is Lead Generation?

Perhaps you’re new to owning a website and you’re just getting into all the technical language that comes along. Here’s a quick overview of common words used in online marketing:

  • Traffic refers to the number of visitors to your website which can either be real people or bots. You can see this if your website connected to a tool like Google Analytics. Once installed, you’ll be able to track both web visitors and the number of page visits.
  • Lead Generation is the process of curating or collecting prospective client’s contact information and taking them as clients.
  • Landing/Squeeze Page can be used to send web traffic to a specific web page to offer valuable content in exchange for their contact information. Alternatively, you can offer a special promotion (i.e. free consultation) which can only be found on this page.
  • Sales Funnel is a series of steps that takes leads through the process of becoming a new client at your firm. From a lawyer’s perspective, you use various strategies to market and bring in new clients (i.e. drip marketing).
  • Conversion Optimization is a process of increasing the percentage of visitors to your website and converting them into a new client.

Perhaps you can start to see that there are various angles you can take when it comes to marketing your law firm’s website. The essentials include web traffic to generate leads and a landing page to collect them. As well, you’ll have to perform ongoing site analysis to find new ways to turn more visitors into clients at your firm (maybe changing some of the colors on your website will work).

This will likely be an ongoing process for your online marketing strategy. In the meantime, let’s explore how you can improve you lead generation at your law firm.

More Leads. More Clients.

When you’re considering a lead generation strategy for your law firm, you want to ask yourself these kinds of questions:

  • What kind of clients do I want?
  • Where can I find these clients on the web?
  • How can I attract these clients to my firm?

By addressing these questions, you can start to develop your own methods to finding clients that you prefer to work with. Remember, this is your business which means you ultimately decide which types of clients you choose to work with or not.

What Kind of Clients Do You Want?

Let’s start here. Do you even know what kind of clients you prefer working with?

You probably don’t enjoy taking on clients that add more stress and more work than is needed. Perhaps if you’re in a desperate situation, you may accept these clients because you need the cash. But, you know if you continue doing so, you’re going to burn out.

Instead, take a moment to determine who you enjoy working with and what specific cases you handle best.

If you’re depending on the internet to find almost all of your clients, you have to be prepared that people are going to be “shopping around” for the lowest rates. Nonetheless, that’s not to say you can’t find quality clients online, it’ll just take a bit of effort and testing to find.

Now, before you keep reading, ask yourself this: was there ever a client you would rather not work with?

Where Will You Find Your Clients?

Your prospective clients are likely a few clicks away from stepping into your office to get their legal struggles solved.

You should be aware that search engines receive a lot of queries from people looking for solutions to their legal problems. Some common search entries may be:

  • [Lawyer Type] + [Location]
  • [Lawyer Type] + Fees
  • Cheap/Affordable Lawyers + [Location]

Often, you can design your website in a way to attract these searcher to your website. This is the process of SEO and you can find more information about that kind of strategy for your law firm here.

Knowing where your clients are spending much of their time online can be difficult if you’re not familiar with the web. However, social media (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn), are great places to start targeting specific groups of people who may be in need of your legal expertise.

Ideally, you should have your website listed on as many local directories as possible as well as search around to find niche locations where people may be search for a lawyer.

For the solo lawyer doing all the marketing yourself, you may want to consider these marketing ideas coming next (these ideas also apply to lawyers and law firms of any size).

How Will You Attract Those Clients?

Are you familiar with the term bounce rate? It wasn’t defined above however it refers to the amount of people who visit your website then leave right away.

This happens because the content or information on your website and landing pages aren’t fulfilling the need that people were looking for.

In order to attract more clients to your firm, you’ll have to test a few different strategies to see what works and discard what doesn’t work from your marketing methods. Here’s a few strategies you can consider to start generating more leads:

Strategy #1: Compelling Landing Pages

If you’re running a PPC campaign, you’ll want to make sure your marketing dollars are getting you the biggest return possible.

The best way to ensure you don’t waste all your money is making sure the keywords you use in your ads is congruent with the message on your landing page.

If you think of your website in terms of a sales funnel, consider offering a free consultation. As you run your ads, target the immediate needs of people thinking about divorce, those recently in a car accident, or a new business in need of copyright protection.

You should understand the fundamentals of keyword research to know which words people are using to serve better ads. As well, you should create ads that not only look good but remain consistent to the overall message.

Then, when people start are arriving to your landing page, use a strong and compelling message that gets them to sign up to an email list, send a message to your firm, or to call you right away.

Strategy #2: Helpful Videos

Are you Camera Shy? Hopefully, not.

Offering a helpful video, especially with your expertise in your area of practice, can allow you to make stronger connections and build better trust online.

Let’s face it, a few words on a screen may not be the icing on the cake when it comes to choosing a person who’s going to help a dire situation or prevent someone from going to jail.

Instead, videos allow you to reveal your personality and send a direct message to those considering a lawyer in their community. Take a look at this lawyer who takes a camera to his office and capturing his entire day:

Strategy #3: Offer Free Information

You’ll see this strategy used a lot of online services. They create a free piece of valuable content, host it on their website, then give it away for free in exchange for someone’s contact information.
As a lawyer, you know there’s all kind of questions people have about their legal situations. For example:

  • Those going through divorce want to know what rights they have, the risks involved, and the possible outcomes to their situation if they and their spouse can’t come to an agreement.
  • In the business world, copyright infringement can ruin a business. People want to know how they can protect their creative intelligence and what kind of legal action they can take if their ideas are stolen.
  • Some people experiencing a traumatic event may not know what actions to take in their situation.

This list can go on and on, however, the point here is to create some valuable content that addresses these common concerns. Consider creating a short ebook that addresses them and creating a dedicated landing page to make the exchange.

You can then follow the same idea from above where you use the emails collected to send more content, offers, and information about your legal services.

Quick Warning About Lead Generation

If you ever consider hiring someone to help with your lead generation, there are a few things you should consider before you do. These services may offer pay-per-lead or pay-per-click vendors. However, you have to watch out because you can get a lot of leads (i.e. emails, phone numbers, etc.) but they may not be interested in your business.

In case you want to go ahead and use these services, consider these lawyer specific pay-per-lead services:

Please do your own due diligence before using any of these services. We do not endorse nor receive payment from these services. These are just a few of the available PPC and PPL services you can use for your firm. Results will very and should always be measured for cost effectiveness.

30 Marketing Tips For Lawyers

Marketing your law firm can take up a lot of time and money, but it doesn’t have to. You don’t have to be a sales expert, naturally outgoing, or excessively charming either. Instead, growing your law firm starts with a strong marketing plan that uses successful strategies targeted at the right audience and performed consistently. While you may not see results overnight, given time, new clients will be calling up your office.

To help you develop the right marketing plan for your business, here’s a list of marketing tips and ideas specifically for you.

    1. Meet with referral contacts regularly. No matter how busy you are, take the time to meet or contact your referrals personally to remind them that your services are ready and available.
    2. Know your target market. Obviously, if you’re a divorce lawyer you won’t be searching for a client with workplace injuries. However, you’ll want to know everything possible about your target audience and tailor your marketing plan to them.
    3. Attend annual/monthly dinners with colleagues and law school classmates. Even as you pursue your career in law, it’s important to reach out to old classmates and build upon your referral network.
    4. Study more briefs and related cases. The more you know about the cases you intend to provide legal services for, the more knowledge and expertise you will have. This is critical for building trust with potential clients and answering questions backed by the research you performed.
    5. Put your law firm on social media. Social media is a smart way to reach out to communities and specific groups of people to inform them of your legal expertise.
    6. Get a website for your law firm. If you haven’t done so already, having an attorney website for your law firm can increase client intake by finding new clients searching for lawyers online.
    7. Make networking a priority. This should be a habit. Go out and meet people every day even when you don’t feel like it.
    8. Start a law blog. Writing articles and guest posts on other blogs is a great way to share your expertise in your area of law.
    9. Create a content marketing strategy. Once your blog is filled with quality content, you’ll need a smart marketing strategy to reach out to people interested in reading it.
    10. Offer free consultations. Everybody loves free stuff. If you can give a few free minutes of your time, you can use this as an introduction to yourself and a chance to sell your legal services.
    11. Have a unique and compelling CTA. Your call to action, either on your website or throughout social media, should be clear when telling readers what to do (i.e. call today for a free consultation about your personal injury).
    12. Attend public events with an attitude to give, instead of receiving. Often, the most successful lawyers are those with a giving mindset rather than taking from every opportunity they see.
    13. Know your USP. What is your Unique Selling Point? Remember, people are hiring lawyers to work for them, not the law firm itself. What makes you so special?
    14. Create a brand and spread it. Consider developing a stationary set with your business logo and some short descriptions that capture what you can do.
    15. Use Facebook Ads. You can set up cost-effective and highly targeted Facebook Ads to find new clients.
    16. Start a drip marketing campaign. When you start collecting contact information for potential clients, you can create a series of timely messages to nurture them into new clients.
    17. Give away free resources. While you may want to bill for every minute of your time, consider taking a moment to put together some free resources (i.e. pamphlet, ebook, etc.).
    18. Be helpful to those in your community. When you meet new people in your community, find a way to give a helping hand. Sometimes it pays to be helpful.
    19. Market your law firm if it feels right to you. Don’t think that you have to commit to every marketing method available. For example, if you don’t like social media, don’t use it.
    20. Make sure it’s easy to reach you. Similar to having a strong CTA, you should have a distinct and easy way for people to get in contact with you.
    21. Use accounting software programs for lawyers. There are a few accounting software programs that can automate your entire firm and all you more time to focus on finding more clients.
    22. Start a Google PPC campaign. There are a lot of competitive keywords that can be expensive. However, if you use the right words you can increase traffic to your website and leads for your legal services.
    23. Ensure that your content is shareable. If you do have a blog, be sure social media share buttons are visible and don’t be afraid to ask readers to share it when they reach the end.
    24. Understand the basics of SEO. Learn how to make the necessary changes to your website to increase your ranking in search engines.
    25. Focus on getting referrals. Getting referred clients makes the intake process so much easier. Plus, referred clients tend to be more loyal and more likely to provide you with referrals in the future.
    26. Send referrals to other lawyers. You can send referrals to others in your network (i.e. when your too busy with other cases or a prospective client asks for work in a different area of law). If karma exists, you can expect these favors to be returned to you.
    27. Don’t be shy, ask directly if your clients know anyone who needs you. Perhaps others people your client knows needs your services but they’ve been too focused on their case to see it.
    28. Release content on social media at specific days and times. Sometimes the mornings get more engagement than the evenings and vice versa.
    29. Volunteer at various legal groups and activities in your community. It doesn’t have to be specific to law, you can join an organization to give back to your community while getting your name and legal services out there.
    30. Go to bar association events. Whenever there are events from your local bar association go and network to again, build your referral network.