Category Archives: Ultimate Guides

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.

What Shoes Should Lawyers Wear?

As you step into the courtroom, you’ll want to put your best foot forward. Your appearance strikes an immediate impression and people are constantly looking you up and down as you move through the room.

A striking appearance can help you build an appearance of authority and your shoes are usually the first thing noticed.

When you’re out shopping for the best shoes for lawyers, here’s a few things to keep in mind.

Tips For Lawyers Shopping for Shoes

If you’re reading this, you’re may be in need of advice to shop for the perfect lawyer shoes. To get things started, depending on price to determine the quality of a shoe is not a smart option. Many designer brands, like Prada or Gucci, depend on their brand reputation to make a sale. While they may offer well-constructed shoes, the overall quality may not be suitable for you.

When you are taking a look at the lower-end of shoe prices, quality can vary significantly. To help you with your shoe shopping, here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Soles: having real, genuine leather on the bottom of your shoe can improve longevity and comfort. When you’re browsing through high-cost shoes, be sure to check the material the sole is made of. Sometimes, shoe companies will use a synthetic leather or create a rubber material that seems like leather. These lower quality materials don’t last as long.
  • Stitching: don’t be fooled. There is a difference between how low-cost shoes and high-cost shoes are bound together. Shoes at a high price point will be delicately stitched together and often use a detailed pattern that is striking and aesthetic. Lower priced shoes tend to have each piece glued together with an illusion of stitching. This can lead to your shoes falling to pieces before the end of their first year.
  • Details: in the lower priced shoe range, you’ll find many shoe companies attempting to mask the markings of high-priced shoes. Instead of hand detailed designs in genuine leather shoes, you’ll find factory machine presses which may have details and miss prints in the final design. A common method of faking design is through injection molding which reduces the appeal of a shoe, especially for lawyers.
  • Leather Quality: avoid cheap leather shoes. It can be tempting for a lawyer to pick a cheap pair of shoes, especially if you’re on a tight budget. However, the factories in China producing many of the shoes being sold today are using cheap scraps of leather and gluing them together to produce high yields. In addition, these shoes will use lower quality, harder leather that will likely be stained to cover any imperfections. Over time, this kind of leather will crease and the imperfections will begin to shine through. Quality leather is often soft and develops a beautiful patina as it ages.

Universal Style

You don’t need a closet full of shoes to be a well-dressed lawyer. Keeping a simple, clean, yet classic appearance is all you need when heading to the office. To achieve that, all you need is black.

Black shoes are a universal standard when it comes to matching your suits to your footwear. It goes with everything and you won’t ever have to worry whether your new suit jacket, whether it is navy, charcoal, or black, will match your shoes.

One thing to keep in mind is that black won’t work with bright colored outfits. However, you are likely not going to be wearing a bright blue jacket into the courtrooms.

Because black shoes are the norm in the business world, it will be easy to find a pair of shoes that fits your budget.

5 Recommended Shoes for Lawyers

If you’re not sure which brands or styles you like, here are five recommendations to guide your shoe shopping.

Paul Evans Brando Semi-Brogue Oxford

While coming in at a high price, the Brando Semi-Brogue Oxford by Paul Evans offers a professional looking shoe for lawyers. It has a classic style with upper lacing and full-grain Italian leather. The Brogue pattern ingrained in the letter is what makes these shoes shine.

Florsheim Castellano Wingtip

The Chicago based company designing these shoes have been around since 1892. Not only do they offer a beautifully crafted for but it also comes at a fair price. If you’re looking for something with a little more elegance, this is the shoe you want.

 

Plain Toe Derbys by Dquared2

Here’s a simple yet powerful black shoe lawyers can wear in any situation. The Plain Toe Derbys by Dsquared2 is made with genuine black leather and use a simple lace style to tie it all together.

 

To Boot New York Finn Chelsea Boots

These professional looking leather boots are great for a lawyer on the go. The leather has a burnished finish with a soft calfskin upper. This shoe delivers confidence in any suit your wear.

Allen Edmonds Verona II Italian Loafer

If you’re looking for something more comfortable and relaxed, having a pair of loafers is a great alternative style of shoe for lawyers. The Allen Edwards Verona II features calfskin Italian leather and silver accessories to accentuate the style.

Guide To Google Trends For Lawyers

If you plan on using search engines to lead new clients to your legal services you’ll want to know the latest trends. Having all the latest data and information about what people are searching for on the internet is the key factor for any business offering their services online. Luckily, Google Trends offers a tool that does that.

Understanding the data surrounding search data allows for an effective marketing strategy to emerge. The behaviors of consumers are constantly changing and adapting. Search data reveals new insights about your clients, competitors, and industry.

Let’s explore how search data can influence your marketing decisions and the content you create for your law firm’s blog.

What is Google Trends?

Google Trends reveals the frequency (or popularity) of a search-term being entered compared to the total search volume across various regions of the world. Using this tool, you will be able to see the trend of a search term across time. You can also look at search data for in real-time, too.

Science Direct studied the usage of big data and found that notable search queries were performed for statistics, policy and law. This big data can be used to make informed marketing decisions for your law firm.

In addition to marketing, Google trends can:

  • Analyze the interest of search users related to your area of practice
  • Forecast legal issues that require immediate attention
  • Acquire a diverse set of information from various sources
  • Access raw search data related to your area of law

Having a better understanding of how people are using Google, especially in terms of people dealing with their legal questions, puts your law firm in a position where it can solve their problems.

How to Use Google Trends

Getting started with Google Trends is simple and the best part is it’s free to use. On the main page, you can browse trending stories or explore topics using the search bar.

To start your own research and analysis of big search data go to Explore and enter your search term or topic.

Before hitting enter, you may want to adjust a few of the settings to obtain search trends related to your practice and your area. You can make adjustments to:

  • Choose your country or anywhere else in the world.
  • Choose from past hour, 4 days, 7 day, 30 days, 90 day, 12 months, 5 years, or from 2008.
  • Choose a category based on your area of practice (i.e. an personal injury lawyer may choose Autos & Vehicles).
  • Search type. Choose from News, Web, Image, Google Shopping, or YouTube.

How Lawyers Can Use Google Trends

If you’re wondering why traffic to your attorney website is declining, Google trends can help you reveal why keywords which ranked well before may no longer bring in new visitors.

However, SEO experts can spend hours creating a strategy from a deep analysis of Google trends. Here’s a few ways your law firm can use Google Trends:

1. You can use the search bar to explore general topics like “practice area + lawyer” or “law related search term” keywords (i.e. divorce lawyer or divorce in New York).The first screen you’ll see is Interest Over Time which shows the popularity of those keywords over a certain period of time.

When you add additional search terms you can better understand the overall search demands related to your area of practice. The peaks and dips show trends throughout the year which can guide you toward when and what you publish on your blog. 

2. Next, you can see where each search words and being used throughout the country. When you browse over each state and you will see the interest based on each search query.

After selecting one of the states, you can get more detailed results of trends based on metro locations.

3. At the state level, you can start to see some specific search queries being made throughout the state. This feature is useful to make decisions about opening an office in a location where law-related terms are being searched the most.

You can see that the search term Divorce has high interest in Bakersfield. This could be an ideal location to open an office because of the high search demand.

From the state level, you can go even deeper to see where and how popular a search term is being made. However, if there is not enough data you will see a notification. You can try using a more general search term to obtain more information.

4. Try searching YouTube trends. Not everyone is using Google’s search engine to find answers to their problems. YouTube is another great source to analyze trends and perhaps find ideas for your own advice or news related video channel.

5. Use Trending Search to find the latest news and searches trending right now. You can find this by navigating to the menu bar on the left. Trending searches is a great way to get ideas for your content. If there’s a popular news item or topic that’s related to your law firm, consider writing an opinion piece or offer your perspective on the situation. Doing so can put your law firm’s website into by spinning current events toward your legal services.

If you want to get notifications to your inbox as-it-happens, each day, or each month, you can click the “+” button to subscribe. When you regularly update your blog with fresh content, this sends a signal to Google and other search engines that your website is active and providing value. Knowing the trends can help you adjust your blog content toward an audience with a specific search demand.

Ready to Use Google Trends?

Remember, Google Trends is showing you what is or has been popular on their networks. Lawyers can use this information to:

  • Discover which keywords (or search queries) are most popular
  • Find related keywords that are becoming popular
  • Compare law related keywords that are gaining or decreasing in popularity
  • Identify geographic locations where keywords are used

While you can use this to create your content and social media posts, there are better and more accurate tools you can use for SEO.

What’s Inside A Lawyer’s Briefcase

Lawyer’s need the right tools to provide their legal services anywhere they have to go. From the office appointments to courtroom appearances having a full suite of supplies will keep a lawyer equipped for any situation.

If you’re soon to be associate at a firm or just a polished lawyer looking for a few new tools for the “toolbox,” here you will discover what’s inside a lawyer’s briefcase.

Digital Recorder

Although smartphones can provide this solution, some old fashion lawyers may still carry around a recording device. Recorders are important to make notes, collect thoughts and record instructions. If you happen to be one of those lawyers using a cassette tape to record, upgrading to a digital device can save a lot of time.

Digital Camera

If you’re required to collect evidence for a case, such as a car accident, having a digital camera is a must. There are many small and compact cameras that can fit inside a small inner compartment.

Smart Phone

You could probably eliminate all the previous items on this list by just using a smartphone. Calculators, recorders, and even matter management software can reduce the weight in lawyer’s briefcase. However, there could be privacy concerns if you’re using your personal phone for your clients. Designating a phone for your law practice can be a smart idea.

Cellular Headphone Set

Cellular headsets are great to have when reception is bad and a client makes an urgent call. These take up little space, however, using a clip from the office to bundle the wires is a smart way to avoid untangle them each time you pull them out.

Notebook Computer

A lawyer’s briefcase is usually designed to perfectly fit a notebook computer. If you’re carrying around your client’s notes, matter, and also a computer, you may want to get a briefcase with a shoulder strap to reduce the load.

USB Scanner

This may not be a common item found in a lawyer’s briefcase, but it can be useful if you’re always on the move. Having a USB scanner can put documents on your laptop whenever you need them. You can send priority documents to clients immediately after court hearings while waiting in the break room.

Stationary Supplies

All lawyers require the stationary supplies to be functional for their job. Pens, pencils, notebooks, and other essentials can be stored in designated compartments for quick and easy use. Don’t forget to replenish your supplies whenever they run out.

Legal Matter

Inside most briefcases, you’ll find a sleeve dedicated for loose papers and folders. Storing the necessary legal matter in these places not only protects the documents but can also keep them organized. However, if you’re caseload is very large, you may require a larger suitcase to handle the load.

Final Thoughts

A lawyer’s briefcase is more than just a bag full of tools to perform legal work. When going from the office to the courtroom, a briefcase provides a secure and safe way to transfer sensitive and private information. Having a briefcase with anti-theft features with tracking may be over the top, but in a worst-case scenario, you’d have no regrets.

One last thing to remember, especially if you’re using or own multiple briefcases, is to be sure to transfer the contents on one into the other. You may find yourself rushing out the door with the wrong briefcase and wonder why all your client files disappeared.

38 Digital Marketing Tools Lawyers Can Use

The old days of listing your law firm in the local newspaper may not be entirely dead, but there are now many effective and cost efficient ways to market legal services. From ads that cost you per click to clever tricks to drive traffic to your attorney website, here’s a list of digital marketing tools even lawyers can use.

Notice: some of the marketing tools on this list may not be specific for legal services, however, these are popular tools used by digital marketers.

1. Lawyer Website. This had to be at the top of the list. If you don’t have a website for your law firm or legal services, you won’t be able to take advantage of the rest of the tools on this list.

2. Law Blog. Starting thinking of a law blog as a tool to attract potential clients to your law firm. You can write about trending topics or provide valuable information about your area of practice.

3. Google Trends. When it comes to popular stories and search terms that create the most buzz, try Google Trends. You can find all the hottest words related to your law firm. You can also read this about Google Trends for Lawyers.

4. Google Keyword Planner. SEO is dependent on keywords. Once you know which words are trending, use Google Keyword Planner to find variations and other stats to influence the content you make on your blog.

5. BuzzSumo. Many digital marketers use BuzzSumo and can lawyers to find the best content across social media and search engines.

6. Google Webmasters. Putting your law firm’s website on Google Console allows you to debug any critical errors to your SEO or receive notifications should your site get hacked.

7. Canva. Here’s a place to get creative elements, such as graphic designs, logos, posters, flyers, and more for free. Use this to attract more prospective clients from your Facebook ads.

8. Visually. If you want to offer a stunning infographic explaining the increasing rates of divorce throughout America, try Visually. Here you can get great ideas and images to create incredible online content.

9. Lexicata. This CRM (Customer Response Manager) is made specifically for lawyers. It helps you with client intake and managing your messaging system to deliver to the perfect message at the perfect time.

10. SEMRush. If you’re serious about your SEO and want a premium tool to dig deeper into popular search terms, use SEMRush. They also provide strategy ideas, content ideas, and technical SEO solutions to help your firm’s SEO methods gain traction.

11. Google Adwords. Once you have an understanding of the keyword your soon-to-be clients are using, start a Google Adwords campaign. You’ll be able to put your law firm’s services to the top of Google’s Search Engine.

12. Facebook Ads. Alternatively, you can tap into the millions of people who are actively using Facebook. Lawyers can use Facebook Ads to target specific people, locations, and other detailed demographics.

13. Facebook Audience Insights. Perhaps you should do a bit of research on your target audience before setting up your ads. Facebook Audience Insights gives you a detailed look at the types of people using Facebook, it’s perfect for understanding the types of clients you can help the most.  

14. Medium. In addition to your attorney blog, you should try this popular platform where people share stories that matter. Who knows, you may be the guru of law your country needs.

15. Ahrefs Blog. For those lawyers with a curiosity for the way to web works, Ahrefs Blog offers incredible insight toward SEO and online strategy.

16. HubSpot Blog. This is a place where you’ll find many digital marketers turning to for internet marketing advice. Maybe you can find some fresh new ideas to market your law firm here.

17. Buffer Blog. If you’re a social media enthusiast, the Buffer Blog is best to read about the latest trends and gain new insights.

18. Adspresso Blog. Sometimes Facebook Ads can leave a dent in your marketing budget. If you check out Adspresso’s Blog, you learn a lot about setting up and succeeding with your ad campaigns.

19. WooBox. Do you offer a free consultation and want to share this with as many people as possible? WooBox helps you create all kinds of creative campaigns to marketing your law firm.

20. MailChimp. Email marketing is a common strategy to send information and content to past clients and newly acquired emails. MailChimp is a simple email automation tool that lawyers can use for their drip campaign.

21. Ad-Roll. Re-targeting is a method of featuring your ads throughout the internet after someone visited your site or saw your ad in a different location. With Ad-Roll, you can tap into their vast network and feature your legal services in your region.

22. Sizmek. Advertising is all about impressions and Sizmek focuses on making the most out of the impressions you get while saving you ad dollars. They use a data-focused approach to serving up and managing your law firm’s ad campaign.

23. Vimeo. Does your law firm offer video content? An alternative to publishing all your videos on YouTube, you can use Vimeo to share your content and reach more viewers.

24. Unbounce. Instead of sending web traffic to your website you can use Unbounce to create landing pages. Here you can design a strong message that tells potential clients why your legal expertise is the best in town.

25. VWO. Marketers understand the internet in terms of conversion optimization. This means the traffic you send to your website has a greater chance of purchasing a product (or becoming a new client). With VWO, you can get detailed analytics and test variations of your lawyer website, content, or call to actions to achieve the best results.

26. Google Analytics. This free analytics tool gives lawyer a basic overview of the traffic coming to their website, from what source, and more. Setting up Google Analytics requires an account then adding a small piece of code to your website.

27. Facebook Analytics. Does your law firms use Facebook? If so, setting up your Facebook Analytics will give you additional insight to optimize the journey from your Facebook Page to your law firm’s office.

28. IFTTT. Is this you? After you write a beautiful blog post you publish it, then share it on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and any other place you can find that will accept your link. Well, with IFTTT you can automate that process and save a significant amount of your time.

29. Feedly. You can use Feedly to create an aggregate of news channels and offer them on your website. If you’re a personal injury lawyer, you can add blogs and other news sources related to accidents and incidents in your community.

30. Scoop It. If you want to join a content network, join Scoop It. Here you can share your latest blog posts and write exclusive articles to drive new clients to your firm.

31. ColorZilla. If you’ve ever seen a color on the internet and wanted to know what it was you can use ColorZilla to get you the code.

32. Evernote. You likely keep your office organized and you can use Evernote to help with your computer related tasks. However, as a lawyer, you may want to keep confidential information off this platform and stick to more secure apps for lawyers.

33. Calendly. Looking for a simple solution to schedule new intakes directly from your website. Calendy lets you manage what times you are available which can be particularly resourceful if you want to offer a free 15-minute consultation by phone.

34. Trello. If your law firm has a lot of lawyers and you want an efficient way of sending notes and making sure office related tasks are achieved on time, use Trello. Their platform lets you create “boards” with lists of tasks and to-do lists which can improve the workflow in your office.

35. Chat.io. When visitors come to your website having a live chat button in the bottom right corner can help turn questioning visitors into new inquiries. Chat.io offers an easy to install lawyer chat on your website which can be monitored by your or your staff.

36. Screaming Frog. Sometimes a small improvement to your website can increase the amount of visitors. Screaming Frog is a free web auditor tool which can evaluate your law firm’s on-site SEO.

37. PageSpeed Insights. Here’s yet another resourceful Google tool that allows you to measure your site speed and receive suggestion on how to improve it. Remember, a website with a faster load time improves the likelihood they’ll stick around for it to load and contact the firm.

38. SimilarWeb. Have you ever wondered why your competitor’s law site is doing so much better than yours? With SimilarWeb you can figure out their online strategy by gaining an inside look at their content and keywords.

Should You Become A Partner At A Law Firm?

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

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

The Path to a Partner at a Law Firm

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

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

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

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

Partner vs. Non-Partner

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

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

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

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

Cost of Making Partner

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

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

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

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

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

Why “Buy-in” to a Partnership?

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

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

Benefits to Becoming a Partner at a Law Firm

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

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

Disadvantages to Becoming a Partner at a Law Firm

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

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

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

Law Firm Virtual Receptionist

If you’re a solo practitioner or small law firm you may want to reduce your workload while improving the performance of your legal services. To do this in a cost-effective way, hiring a virtual receptionist can handle many of the small tasks required to run a law firm.

Virtual receptionists are able to help with tasks like social media, marketing, administration, advertising, answering phones and more.

Here you’ll find a variety of places to find a virtual assistant for your law firm.

What is a Virtual Receptionist?

Virtual receptionists offer highly-skilled service solutions that can manage many of the tasks your in-house staff would do. They can operate remotely, in office, or completely computer automated.

The benefits of hiring a virtual receptions include::

  • Cost effective
  • Time savings
  • Efficient
  • Reduce labour costs
  • Increased productivity
  • Access to expert talent
  • On-demand labour services

Virtual receptionists, also known as outsourcing, comes in the form of independent contractors, temporary office workers, remote workers, or

Are There Risks Using Virtual Receptionist?

While the benefits of having a virtual receptionist seem appealing, let’s take a moment to evaluate the risks of having a virtual receptionist.

Here’s some of the common risks that come with using a virtual receptionist:

  • Security & Confidentiality Risks. Providing legal services can expose you to a range of sensitive, personal information from your clients. If you choose a virtual receptions to handle your incoming calls, be sure there job requirements are clear: take calls, make appointments, and schedule consultation. Keeping sensitive information and data secure is a top priority at a law firm.
  • Quality Risks. Situations where quality becomes a risk include outsourcing calls to countries where language and cultural barriers exist. Potential clients may become frustrated explaining their needs to someone who is assigned simply to book appointments and set up an initial consultation.
  • Reputation Risks. Virtual Receptionists is another way of saying “outsourcing.” When you’re outsourcing work to other countries, it can sometimes lead to bad publicity and it may affect other staff working in house who may worry that they’ll lose their job to a cheaper, outsourcing solution.

When deciding how you’ll use a virtual receptionist at your law firm, if the risks outweigh the benefits, you should avoid including these outsourcing solutions at your law firm.

Law Firm Virtual Receptionists

If you’re busy providing legal advice or in the middle of a consultation, having an agent answering calls can increase the likelihood of securing new clients.

Services like AnsweringLegal provide dedicated call center solutions for law firms. They offer the following services:

  • Call handling
  • Message taking
  • Call routing
  • Legal intake
  • Customer support
  • Polite and professional customer experience

Call center virtual receptionist can be given a professional script to handle a range of questions and types of phone calls. Other services can provide 24/7 legal answering services to reduce missed opportunities at your law firm.

Here are a few more call answering services you can consider for your law firm:

PatLive – Offers 24/7 legal answering.

  • Pat Live provides virtual receptionists employed from the United States. They can help your law firm with message taking, appointment scheduling, lead collection, event scheduling, after hour agents, and more. With 27 years experience, Pat Live offer competitive virtual receptionist solutions for all business types.
  • Hours of operation: 24/7 services.
  • Pricing: $99 per month (50 call minutes) to $899 (1000 call minutes); provides additional features and a free 14-day trial.

Conversational – Offers friendly virtual receptionists in North America.

  • Conversational is an industry leading virtual receptionist service provider. Their team of professional and friendly receptionists come from the United States and Canada. They have over 14 years experience and are one of the few with 100% North America only receptionists.
  • Hours of operation: Custom operation solutions.
  • Pricing: $300 per month (600 call minutes) to $1000 per month (2400 call minutes); offers a 30-day free trial.

RubyReceptionist – Offers professional virtual receptionists and a mobile app to synchronize and manage all calls effectively.

  • Ruby Receptionists is a popular virtual receptionist service used by smaller law firms. They provide you with your own phone number which can be used to transfer to different lines and use detailed instructions to handle any situation coming into your office.
  • Hour of Operation: 8 am to 12 am EST + 5 am to 9 pm PST (can also operate on weekends)
  • Pricing: $259 per month (100 call minutes) to $989 per month (500 call minutes); includes 21 day money back guarantee.

AlertCommunications – Offers bilingual virtual receptionists and provide services exclusively for the legal industry.

  • Alert Communications has been providing their services since 1965 and use a client intake call centre strategy with their virtual receptionists. Instead of taking a call and transferring it to you, these virtual receptionists can handle any call volume and turn them into prospective clients at your law firm.

    Since Alert Communications is exclusive to the legal industry, their virtual receptionists are trained to use and understand legal terminology giving you that added edge of professional at your law office.

  • Hours of Operation: 24/7 services.
  • Pricing: Contact a sales representative to receive a quote for your law firm; requires a 1-month upfront refundable deposit.

Answer 1 – Offer a tech based virtual receptionist that can also provide web chat, text messaging, emails and more.

  • Answer 1 offers virtual receptionists for businesses of all kinds and every size. If you have a website for your law firm, their software system can be integrated to add additional intaking solutions. You don’t have to feel restricted to answering phone calls only and can include web chats and other virtual methods for prospective clients to contact your law firm.
  • Hour of operation: 24/7 services.
  • Pricing: $90 one-time setup fee; $239 per month (100 call minutes) to $749 per month (500 call minutes); provides a 21 day free trial.

Alternative Law Firm Solutions

Looking for more ways to make your law firm run more efficiently? Try these software solutions to reduce your workload and focus on providing quality legal services:

Steps For Setting Up A Virtual Office At Your Law Firm

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

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

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

Step 1: Understand your needs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 2: Consider the Pros and Cons

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

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

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

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

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

Step 3: Measure costs

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

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

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

Step 4: Stick to your budget

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

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

Step 5: Analyze effectiveness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legal Malpractice Insurance For Attorneys

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

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

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

Why Purchase Legal Malpractice Insurance?

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

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

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

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

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

What to Consider When Purchasing Legal Malpractice Insurance

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

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

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

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

Rates for Legal Malpractice Insurance  

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

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

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

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

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

Insurance Company Red Flags

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

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

Researching the Best Legal Malpractice Insurance

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

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

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

Insurance Updates & Renewals

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

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

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

7 Simple Steps To Become A Freelance Lawyer

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

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

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

Step 01: Decide Your Legal Services

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

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

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

Step 02: Register Your Services

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

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

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

Step 03: Administrative Tasks

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

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

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

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

Step 04: Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 05: Get a Website

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

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

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

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

Step 06: Start a Blog

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

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

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

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

Step 07: Be Patient

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

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

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