What I Learned About Law Firm Marketing When I Needed an Attorney

Illustration of a person using a smartphone with a search engine interface on the screen, set against a night-time cityscape background with lit windows, reflecting the buzz around recent headlines in social media and search from July 2015.

Though it’s true that law school doesn’t teach future attorneys everything about being a lawyer, I was surprised to find myself in the position of needing to consult with an attorney without knowing where to start.

A difficult time for my family, my grandfather needed to be put in a long-term care facility. New to this experience, my law school training didn’t prepare me for this legal matter. I realized that my grandmother needed outside legal help to navigate the proper reconfiguring of his assets. 

In searching for this attorney, I found myself going through the exact journey that PaperStreet carefully crafts our clients’ websites for: I conducted a Google search and took it from there.

Below, I outline how I unavoidably needed to follow the potential client journey common to the majority of people searching for an attorney, and the marketing lessons it confirmed.   

In truth, I can 100% say that what most (credible!) marketing agencies outline as a marketing strategy for attorneys is precisely the recommendations law firms need to keep in mind when creating a website and legal marketing campaign

Lesson 1: Search Results Matter

As we needed to move fast to hire the attorney and get paperwork in order, I didn’t take the time to ask acquaintances who they recommended. I also don’t typically pay attention to ads for this kind of law, so no one came to mind. Google was the method of choice for finding a law firm.

As such, I found myself looking solely at page 1 of Google. A few attorneys seemed applicable, so why would I need to look elsewhere?

Takeaway: If you’re not on page 1, potential clients won’t find your practice’s website – or be aware of your existence. Google yourself and some of the claims your handle and see if your website pops up.  

Lesson 2: Your Location Impacts If a Client Will Contact You 

Living in a metro area with heavy traffic, location was a heavy factor for the attorney I chose. Perhaps if heavy damages were at stake or we were fighting an arrest, I would consider a larger distance. For a legal matter that appeared fairly straightforward, convenience was an important consideration for my family and I. I weeded out many firms that were over 20 minutes away. 

Takeaway: Don’t waste too much of your marketing campaign dollars to target areas that may simply be too far away to attract clients. Some cases may be worth the drive, but decisions regarding seemingly routine legal matters may simply be based on convenience. 

Lesson 3: Reviews Can Be a Deciding Factor

Still on Google, the next step in my family’s hiring process was looking to see who had reviews for their firm. A skeptic and a marketer, I know that negative reviews can be false and/or not relate to the key elements of your legal matter. 

Instead, I was looking to see which attorneys had favorable reviews. In my mind, if your clients were so pleased as to take the time to leave you a review, then perhaps you displayed a high level of service. 

Two attorneys had over 100 ratings. Accordingly, those were the law firms that seemed worth my click. Here again, I know positive reviews may also be fake, but if I had to make a decision on the blind, reviews were at least worth considering. 

Takeaway: Quantity and quality of reviews matter. Even potential clients who take reviews with a grain of salt, may still use the availability of positive reviews as a deciding factor in who to hire. 

Lesson 4: Provide Enough Detail About Your Practice Areas

The first attorney website I visited was actually not the law firm I hired. While the firm had come up in a search for “elder lawyer,” there was no mention of elder law on their site. 

As a legal marketer, I’m aware that a lack of information about a practice area is often a simple oversight of the firm. That said, I didn’t want to waste my time researching to see if the firm does handle the claims we needed. I simply moved on to the next site that also had an abundance of reviews. 

Takeaway: If you don’t clearly map out the claims you’re willing to handle, potential clients are likely to go elsewhere to see who specifically addresses their needs. 

Lesson 5: List the Details About Your Law Firm That May Not Be Common to Every Firm 

A huge consideration in my selection of an attorney was someone who could either come to my grandmother’s home or be able to Zoom or Skype with her. I knew she wasn’t well enough to venture out into the cold, and I also knew she may feel more at ease in her own home.

The firm that openly stated how they would come to our home ended up being the law firm I chose for my grandma. Here again, perhaps the other law firm I considered would have done this, but it was a much simpler journey to contact the firm that specifically matched all of my criteria.

Takeaway: Accessibility, language barriers, and other less considered factors for potential clients are not always addressed on law firm websites. Attorneys should strive to offer various office services to better help potential clients, and then take the time to advertise these options accordingly. 

Final Thoughts

A fellow attorney, I do know the importance of where a lawyer went to law school, what cases or awards they’ve won, etc. If anything, I understand the significance of those achievements more than the average person searching for a law firm. 

Nevertheless, the typical gold standards that lawyers hold for themselves were among the last of my considerations. Instead, I acted more like the potential clients law firms are attempting to grab.

Accordingly, search engine optimization, content marketing and factors completely independent to legal credentials were how I made my selection.

As such, I strongly encourage other law firms to either create personas to test their marketing or ask their non-lawyer relatives to assess their marketing campaigns and website. 

Take off your lawyer hat as I had to do, and place yourself on the same level as your clients. You’ll be grateful you did.  

Share This
Blog Decorative Background

Join the Sales and Marketing News, receive our last insights, tips and best practices.

Our 7 Guarantees

Keeping 2,000+ Clients Happy Since 2001.

You Will Love Your Design We design to please you and your clients
Same-Day Support 24-hour turnaround edits during business hours
Free Education We provide knowledge to help you expand
No Hidden Charges We quote flat-rate projects
Own Your Site No strings attached
We Create Results SEO, PPC, content + design = clients
We Make Life Easier One agency for web, branding and marketing