How to be a Leader in Your Law Firm

Watch Michael J. Swanson's recent interview with Attorney Rocky McElhaney of The Rocky McElhaney Law Firm in Nashville, TN where they discuss how to make the leap from manger to leader in your law firm.

Michael J. Swanson About Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has over 13 years of senior executive level experience in trial law firm financing. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the PILMMA advisory board and ASTC.

A Key Factor in Growing and Managing Your Law Firm

By Michael J. Swanson

Attorney Christian Scranton of Scranton Law Firm in Concord, California shares with Author  and Educator Michael J. Swanson how being responsive is the "secret sauce" to grow your law firm.

 

How To Go Paperless At Your Law Firm

Attorneys Bob and Brad Simon of The Simon Law Group in Hermosa Beach, California, share with Author and Educator Michael J. Swanson what to do to go paperless at your law firm and how it can help you get better results for your clients.

 

How To Go Paperless At Your Law Firm

John K. Zaid of John K. Zaid & Associates has used a paperless system since the start of his law firm over 17 years ago. In today's video, Micheal J. Swanson interviews Attorney Zaid about his experience with going paperless. Check it out for some helpful tips.

Michael J. Swanson About Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has over 13 years of senior executive level experience in trial law firm financing. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the PILMMA advisory board and ASTC.

Unique Way to Use Video in Law Firm Marketing

In part two of author and educator Mr. Swanson’s interview with America’s Top Trial Attorney, William Ricigliano of Ricigliano & Filopei, and his business partner, Michael Sorrentino of Nationwide Legal Video Services, they discuss different unique ways to use video marketing at your law firm.

 

Michael J. Swanson About Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has over 13 years of senior executive level experience in trial law firm financing. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the PILMMA advisory board and ASTC.

Law Firm Marketing Magazine – Now Free!

Law Firm Marketing Magazine – Now Free!

Some of you may have heard about the new publication available for the iPad called Law Firm Marketing.  If you have not, I suggest you check it out. It was launched in October of 2012. It is the legal industry’s first interactive, digital magazine and it’s now available for free! It is designed to help you learn the best marketing practices from other successful lawyers as well as some of today’s top legal marketing experts. You can get the latest issue free by subscribing on iTunes or downloading the app by clicking here. Since the magazine is digital, it makes use of video interviews, hyperlinks and other interactive content. You can download the magazine in several different languages as well.

If you do not have an iPad, don’t worry! You can view the recent video interviews feature in the magazine on The Law Firm Marketing Magazine YouTube channel.

In the very first issue, the magazine featured Gerry Spence.  Spence is widely known as one of the best trial lawyers of all time, which is why he was an easy pick to be featured in the first edition of the magazine.  Spence founded the Trial Lawyers College in 1994 and has an amazing record of accomplishments with zero criminal cases lost. Also featured so far in the magazine is current American Association for Justice President, Mary Alice McLarty and well-known marketing guru, Jay Abraham.

Cindy Speaker is the CEO of Speaker Media and Marketing and the developer behind the Law Firm Marketing Magazine. She is known as “The secret weapon of personal injury lawyers and trial attorneys throughout the U.S.” It is no wonder attorneys across the country run to Cindy for marketing advice, she has an extensive list of successful clients as well as a published documentary, “Well of Dreams”. She believes this magazine will help law firms stay on top of an ever-changing marketing landscape.

If you are a trial lawyer (or are involved in law firm marketing) you should download your own copy of Law Firm Marketing right now!

Tina Burns
Vice President

Is Your Law Firm Utilizing Inbound Marketing?

Is Your Law Firm Utilizing Inbound Marketing?

By Jenell Henning

The phrase 'inbound marketing' is becoming increasingly popular, and chances are that you have heard the term before especially when marketing professionals discuss it as a means to help supplement lead generation. However, why is inbound marketing so important, and how can it help your law firm generate real leads and cultivate real relationships?

What Is Inbound Marketing?

An inbound marketing strategy focuses on attracting prospects through a variety of marketing channels, like your website, SEO, blog articles, and email discussions, and then systematically provides relevant and helpful follow-up information to build credibility, rapport, and conversions.

With traditional marketing (outbound marketing), businesses focus on finding clients, often using unwelcome marketing techniques like cold calls and junk email/print mail. Instead of interrupting people with these invasive tactics, inbound marketing positions your law firm to be the solution to the answer that your ideal clients are seeking by speaking to their specific needs.

The heart of inbound marketing focuses on building awareness and creating valuable, educational content that pulls people toward your website where they can learn more about the solutions to their problem on their own time. Providing valuable content gives your prospective clients the guidance they need to develop trust and recognition in your firm, and ultimately helps convert them from a prospect to a paying client. Nowhere is trust more important than in the relationship that exists between an attorney and his/her client.

Why Your Firm Should Consider Inbound Marketing

If you are looking for an effective way to generate more clientele, then you should consider adopting inbound marketing techniques for the following reasons:

Inbound marketing increases lead generation:

Inbound marketing is a website-driven campaign that promotes strategic calls-to-action and useful consumer resources (e-books, checklists, “how-to” guides, etc.) that motivate visitors to provide their contact information. It gives visitors who are earlier in the buying cycle an opportunity to engage with your website and receive educational information through a series of highly targeted emails. Considering only about 5 percent of website visitors convert into a lead, this strategy targets the other 95 percent of visitors that your website doesn’t convert.

Inbound marketing has more robust data collection and segmenting:

Inbound marketing leverages automated data collection by programming every website contact form and download form to feed into your marketing database. It also segments your new leads and contacts into separate databases, including clients, service-specific leads, hot leads, low-commitment contacts, etc.

Inbound marketing utilizes marketing automation:

In addition to automated data collection, inbound marketing also sends automated yet highly-focused emails to segmented contacts. Prospective clients receive multiple follow-up resources to help move them through the buying cycle, rather than generic promotional materials. Some key statistics:

  • Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months (Gartner Research).
  • Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10% (Aberdeen Group).
  • Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads (The Annuitas Group).

In short, nothing will replace your need to continue to network and manage referral and client relationships, but inbound marketing can offer an easy, low-cost, high-ROI solution to generate more business for your law firm.

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

How Could the Pending Tax Reform Affect Your Law Firm?

Could the pending tax code changes have a substantial impact on your law firm?

Watch this must see interview with attorney and CPA, Joseph E. Fournier and President and CEO, Michael J. Swanson to find out more.

Michael J. Swanson About Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has over 13 years of senior executive level experience in trial law firm financing. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the PILMMA advisory board and ASTC.

Even a Small Law Firm Deserves Its Own Bank Account

Even a Small Law Firm Deserves Its Own Bank Account

 

Why You Should Open a Business Bank Account for Your Firm

There are millions of small businesses in the United States, and many of them of have a business bank account. There a numerous reasons to have a separate bank account for your law firm, even if you are the sole owner. But don’t take it from me. I came across an article by David M. Steingold, in which he covers the following:

  • The Reasons to Have an Account For Your Firm
  • The Required Documents to Open It
  • The Actual Process of Opening the Account

Check out his full article, Opening a Business Bank Account, to get the full scoop.

Copyright:  123RF Stock Photo

Updating Your Law Firm’s Blog: Set a Schedule for Success

Updating Your Law Firm’s Blog: Set a Schedule for Success

By Yvette Valencia

How often should I update a blog for my law firm's website?

Whether you've been practicing law for a few months or a few decades, most attorneys know that their busy schedules don't make it easy to constantly update a blog for their law firm. The good news: that's okay. There is no set standard for how often you should update a blog on your law firm’s website. But keeping a regular schedule can help you build your audience and drive traffic.

Sometimes Less Is More When It Comes to Blog Updates

How often you should blog depends mostly on two things: your time and your ideas.

Before you set yourself on a blogging schedule, take into consideration your own time constraints. If you know you can't dedicate at least an hour to write a post a few times a week, try once a week, or every other week, or even once a month. It's better to space out your posts rather than trying to meet a tight blogging deadline.

And if you don't have a good topic to blog about, you could be sabotaging your blog by putting out boring, bland, or useless information. If you’re struggling to regularly come up with topics, a looser schedule with more time between posts can give you adequate time to create a topic or monitor relevant news that you can comment on.

Further, set yourself up for success by gathering "evergreen" topics. An "evergreen" topic is one that's relevant no matter what time you write it. These are good topics when there's no hot news in your field, ensuring you'll always have something to write about when you need to blog.

If You Create a Blogging Schedule, Stick to It

One of the biggest advantages to blogging regularly is that Google and other search engines will take notice of your site's regular updates. Google loves fresh information, which may benefit you in the search results.

Also keep in mind that blogging on a schedule creates expectations as you build an audience. Think about your favorite TV show like Game of Thrones. Fans have come to expect a new episode every week, and if the show's creators couldn't get an episode out for the week, the fans would riot.

While your law firm's blog may not have the following of Game of Thrones, it can look just as bad if your readers expect a weekly blog and you fail to deliver.

Blogging Services Are Available for Those Who Don’t Have the Time

If you want to set up a regular posting schedule but know you don't have the time or topics to support it, don't fret. We Do Web Content can set up your law firm blog with a regular schedule that drives traffic to your website. To get started, reach out to us to speak with our sales manager about all of the content services we offer for law firms.

Why You Want Your Law Firm on Wikipedia (If You Can Get It There)

Why You Want Your Law Firm on Wikipedia (If You Can Get It There)

By Adam Rowan, Content Specialist at Page 1 Solutions

For many years, Wikipedia was seen as a dubious source of information. Its open-source model initially gave the impression that pages on the platform were riddled with questionable quality and unreliable research, especially among academic and professional circles.

However, few websites have so rigorously enforced quality standards, and Wikipedia is now recognized not only as a prominent, trustworthy brand but a go-to source for information on people, places, companies, and other entities. When you do an online search, relevant Wikipedia pages consistently rank on the first page of results.

Not just anything or anybody can qualify for inclusion on Wikipedia, and law firms are no exception. But if your firm has the extensive history and quality backlinks that are the hallmarks of any good Wikipedia article, there are several benefits your firm's website can enjoy from being included among the nearly 5 million articles on The Free Encyclopedia.

Benefit #1: Search Authority

Wikipedia has a perfect 100 domain authority score, a metric developed by search engine optimization (SEO) company Moz to analyze and predict the performance of a given website in search results. This score means that pages from the domain are extremely likely to rank well in search.

If your firm is the subject of a Wikipedia article, make sure there is a link back to your website somewhere on the page. A backlink from such an authoritative domain like Wikipedia (even if marked “No Follow”) should enhance the authority of your own site, potentially increase your performance for target keyword terms against your competitors, and generate more website traffic.

Benefit #2: Consumer Legitimacy

As noted in a recent Inside Business article, only 10 percent of online consumers trust the advertising created by brands. More and more consumers are seeking out third-party sources, such as review sites, to arm themselves with what they perceive to be impartial information before choosing to engage with a brand.

Today, few websites enjoy greater objectivity in the eyes of consumers than Wikipedia. Though anyone can create an article, new articles are reviewed within days by moderators who can and will enforce Wikipedia's guidelines for acceptable content. One of those guidelines is eschewing content that reads like an advertisement.

If your law firm is deemed noteworthy and the Wikipedia page provides verifiable information that isn't written in a promotional fashion, the more likely it is that the article will stay online. The longer the article is online and the better written it is, the better your brand will look to clients seeking legal services.

Benefit #3: Potential Knowledge Graph Placement

Over the past few years, you've likely noticed that some of your searches on Google return not just the expected list of results but also informative, eye-catching graphic boxes displaying information and images relevant to your search. This is Google Knowledge Graph, a tool engineered by the search giant to deliver answers more immediately to users.

How is Google able to find and display this information in such a neat little package? The search engine crawls a number of reliable websites for digestible information, and one of the most reliable is Wikipedia.

A search for a big-name brand will likely return a Google Knowledge Graph result. But you don't need to be a Fortune 500 company to show up on the Knowledge Graph. Your firm can also appear in these results.

First, as discussed recently by Search Engine Land, your firm will need to have an article on Wikipedia and be entered as an entity in Wikidata, a data knowledge base Google crawls to provide Knowledge Graph results. Then, by using structured data markup tagging on your site (see the article to learn how to do this), you tell Google that your website is the same as the entities identified on Wikipedia and Wikidata, thus increasing the likelihood that your firm will show up prominently as part of Knowledge Graph.

The information that shows up in a Google Knowledge Graph result is difficult to predict, and like anything in SEO there is no guarantee that the above process will work. But the increased visibility of your firm above and beyond traditional search results is another way to set yourself apart in the eyes of users in need of an attorney.

Here are a few examples of law firms and lawyers with Wikipedia pages:

At Page 1 Solutions, we regularly work with attorneys to identify the aspects that set their firm apart and use those strengths to build competitive Web marketing campaigns. If you're struggling to find traction in search results, Page 1 Solutions can help! Call (800) 368-9910 to speak with one of our team members.

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

What Can Excel Do For Your Law Firm?

What Can Excel Do For Your Law Firm?

 

Well, as it turns out, there is a lot Microsoft Excel can do when it comes to helping you manage your firm. Sure, it’s great for keeping track of numbers, simplifying the use of formulas, etc. Fun stuff, we know.

However, there are more ways you can use Excel. Jeff Bennion, contributor to AboveTheLaw.com, recently covered some the basic ways it can be used.

  • Calendaring Court Dates
  • Analyzing Voluminous Privilege Logs
  • Deeper Analysis With Pivot Tables

Mr. Bennion gives a detailed guide on setting up Excel so that can be used for the three uses listed above. Once you’ve set up a spreadsheet for the three uses (or one, depending on your current needs) managing the aspects of your firm will become less time consuming. And hopefully paperless!

Click the link below to view the full article.

Why Excel Is The Most Underappreciated Program In Your Law Office

Photo Credit: harunatsukobo

Creating Seasonal Web Content for Your Law Firm

Creating Seasonal Web Content for Your Law Firm

By Yvette Valencia

 

There's more to "seasonal web content" than just following the calendar patterns of spring, summer, fall, and winter. There are many more seasons that matter to different businesses. CPAs, for example, perk up around tax season, while roofers and disaster repair specialists might see a pickup in web searches for their services around hurricane season.

Attorneys: Take a Look at Your Own Seasonal Observations

Seasons exist for attorneys as well. If you've been practicing for a while you should have started to notice trends in your caseload and the types of cases you get during certain times of the year. Understanding this information will help you craft the most relevant content for the season. For example, many family law attorneys find that January is a major month for divorce cases.

Personal Injury: Consider the Recreational Seasons

For personal injury attorneys, there's never an "off season" where people don't get injured in accidents. However, depending on where you practice, there are several "seasons" that can influence the types of accidents you see.

Injury attorneys in warm coastal areas like Florida and California may see patterns of decreases and increases relative to weather and tourist season in water-related accidents.

  • Boat crashes
  • Parasailing injuries
  • Defective water products like jet skis

Personal injury lawyers in rural areas may see an increase in hunting accidents during the various game seasons. Lawyers in or near large cities with high tourism may anticipate more accidents with lost or distracted drivers from out of town during certain seasons.

Keep in mind the major holidays to tailor content to those celebrations, like pedestrian safety for Halloween and decorating safety during the winter holidays. Another type of content to keep in mind during holidays is driving safety.

Every year AAA publishes heavy traffic warnings during major holiday weekends like Memorial Day Weekend, Labor Day Weekend, and 4th of July Weekend. These are all times when more people take road trips or drive while intoxicated from holiday parties.

Seasonal Calendars Can Help You Plan for Maximum Content Success

If you're going to take advantage of content seasons to increase web traffic and lead gathering, do some pre-planning. At the start of every year make up a content calendar and highlight all of the different seasons that matter to your law practice. They don't all have to be legal-related, either. If you have a charitable cause that's near and dear to your heart like breast cancer awareness, highlight that in October during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Planning seasonal content in advance allows you to ensure your content is written, proofread, and ready to post when the appropriate season comes up. Not only does this help you keep your content timely and current, it also ensures you'll have something ready to post when you don't have a regular article or blog to go up.

If you're hitting a wall trying to come up with seasonal content, don't fret! We Do Web Content has your back! Just fill out our contact form and we'll be in touch to discuss your practice and what kind of content we can provide year-round to take advantage of the seasons and other hot topics in your area. Call us at 888-521-3880.

Why is a Succession Plan Important for Your Law Firm?

Joseph E. Fournier, attorney and CPA of Fournier Legal Services, joins Michael J. Swanson to discuss why it is important for law firms to have a succession plan.

Michael J. Swanson About Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has over 13 years of senior executive level experience in trial law firm financing. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the PILMMA advisory board and ASTC.

How to Add Value to Your Law Firm

In today's video, Michael J. Swanson interviews attorney and CPA, Joseph Fournier about the many ways lawyers can add value to their firms.

Michael J. Swanson About Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has over 13 years of senior executive level experience in trial law firm financing. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the PILMMA advisory board and ASTC.

Why is it Important to Build Trial Teams?

Attorney Tom Metier of Metier Law Firm sits down with Author & Educator, Michael J. Swanson, to talk about why building trial teams is important to your law firm's success and how to build trial teams.

Michael J. Swanson About Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has over 13 years of senior executive level experience in trial law firm financing. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the PILMMA advisory board and ASTC.

Recent Ruling Confirms That Case Expenses Are Loans, Not Expenses

Recent Ruling Confirms That Case Expenses Are Loans, Not Expenses

In yet another ruling in United States Tax Court, case expenses advanced by a contingent-fee law firm on behalf of its clients have been found to be “in the nature of loans” rather than tax-deductible expenses for the law firm. (Humphrey, Farrington & McClain, P.C., v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue).

Like many rulings before it, this case upholds Private Letter Ruling 8246013 (6/30/1982, IRC Sec(s). 162) which states that a law firm “…may not deduct as ordinary and necessary business expenses the various litigation costs advanced for a client on a contingent-fee case…”.

If you would like to receive a copy of either the Humphrey ruling or PLR 8246013, please click here.  I recommend you consult with your CPA today to make sure that your law firm is in compliance on this important issue.

Tips on How to Work Remotely & Still Effectively Serve Your Clients

Attorney Sally Morin of Sally Morin Law Firm, in San Francisco, California shares with Author and Educator Michael J. Swanson the benefits of working remotely, and gives a few tips on how to do so.

Providing Even Better Service for Your Clients

Attorney Craig Carlson of The Carlson Law Firm in Killeen, Texas shares with Author  and Educator Michael J. Swanson the importance of being a true counsellor at law and taking time to listen to your clients.

Why is it Important to Properly Invest in Your Cases?

In today’s video, Attorney Sean Claggett of Claggett & Sykes Law Firm sits down with CEO and Chairman, Michael J. Swanson to discuss the importance of investing properly in your cases.

Michael J. Swanson About Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has over 13 years of senior executive level experience in trial law firm financing. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the PILMMA advisory board and ASTC.

Ask The Lawyers

Attorney Tom Metier of Metier Law Firm sits down with Author & Educator, Michael J. Swanson, to discuss a marketing program for lawyers called Ask the Lawyers.

Michael J. Swanson About Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has over 13 years of senior executive level experience in trial law firm financing. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the PILMMA advisory board and ASTC.

Three Marketing Tips to Grow Your Law Practice

Attorney John Fisher in Kingston, New York shares with Author and Educator Michael J. Swanson marketing tips that he uses to contribute to the growth of his law firm.

 

For a free copy of "The Power of a System," email Mr. Fisher at [email protected]

Michael J. Swanson About Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has over 13 years of senior executive level experience in trial law firm financing. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the PILMMA advisory board and ASTC.

How To Use Networking To Grow Your Law Practice

In today's video, Attorney John K. Zaid of John K. Zaid & Associates shares with Author and Educator, Michael J. Swanson how he used networking to grow his law firm from a solo practice to a firm with over 50 employees.

Michael J. Swanson About Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has over 13 years of senior executive level experience in trial law firm financing. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the PILMMA advisory board and ASTC.

Tracking Emotional Damages Evidence with Genie Harrison

In today’s video, you’ll meet America’s Top Trial Lawyer Genie Harrison of Genie Harrison Law Firm in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Swanson interviews her about tracking emotional damages and her new app that will help attorneys do so.

Michael J. Swanson About Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has over 13 years of senior executive level experience in trial law firm financing. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the PILMMA advisory board and ASTC.

Is Winning All That Matters In Order To Be Profitable?

Is Winning All That Matters In Order To Be Profitable?

Winning verdicts and settlements typically mean a law firm is on the right track. After all, if your clients come out victorious, it typically translates into more profit for your firm. Is there anything else worth keeping track of when it comes to knowing whether or not your firm is profitable after a series of wins?

Years ago, a “no” might have sufficed. However, the recent changes in technology have ushered in advanced software, litigation support that can give a jury a clear picture on how accident happened, and new ways of getting your firm’s name out into the public that go beyond the historic newspaper and TV ads. In order for these things to work, one must be willing to cover the costs.

I just recently came across an article  by Frank Strong called “Six Business Metrics Every Law Firm Should Measure.” To view the full article, click here. I have to agree strongly with the article, as some of the metrics mentioned were:

  • Cost of servicing a client
  • Marketing expenditure as a percent of revenue
  • Technology expenditure as a percent of revenue

I believe keeping track of these metrics of business is extremely important, especially for a contingent-fee based law firm. Even if an attorney is winning a lot of cases, he can quickly find himself in a financial bind if he is only focusing on the money coming in.

Paul B. Myers

Paul B. Myers

A graduate of the University of the South (Sewanee), Mr. Myers has held several top level management positions with finance and banking companies over the past twenty years, including his role as Senior Vice President of Corporate and Investment Banking at Bank of America for ten years. In 2002, Paul brought his financial expertise and knowledge of credit and underwriting policies to the trial law firm community when he became Chief Credit Officer at Advocate Capital, Inc.

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Michael J. Swanson

Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has been working at the senior executive level in trial law firm financing since 2000. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the  ASTC.

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Donna Jones

Donna Jones

Ms. Jones graduated with honors from the Southeastern Paralegal Institute. From there, she went on to gain 14 years of experience as a trial paralegal and was an active member of the Association of Legal Administrators. She is currently Senior Vice President for a law finance company and  a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor. Ms. Jones' years of experience working in and around personal injury litigation gives her a one-of-a-kind perspective into all that is involved in managing a law firm.

Ms. Jones is a proud member of the National Association of Professional Women.

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Michael J. Swanson

Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has been working at the senior executive level in trial law firm financing since 2000. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the ASTC.

Paul B. Myers

Paul B. Myers

A graduate of the University of the South (Sewanee), Mr. Myers has held several top level management positions with finance and banking companies over the past twenty years, including his role as Senior Vice President of Corporate and Investment Banking at Bank of America for ten years. In 2002, Paul brought his financial expertise and knowledge of credit and underwriting policies to the trial law firm community when he became Chief Credit Officer at Advocate Capital, Inc.

Donna Jones

Donna Jones

Ms. Jones graduated with honors from the Southeastern Paralegal Institute. From there, she went on to gain 14 years of experience as a trial paralegal and was an active member of the Association of Legal Administrators. She is currently Senior Vice President for a law finance company and a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor. Ms. Jones’ years of experience working in and around personal injury litigation gives her a one-of-a-kind perspective into all that is involved in managing a law firm.

Ms. Jones is a proud member of the National Association of Professional Women.

Capital Structure: It’s Important

Capital Structure: It’s Important

 

A Fair Warning about Your Firm’s Capital Structure

 

Capital structure probably isn’t at the top of the list when it comes to your concerns about your law firm. After all, in order to have a firm, you have to win cases, or you probably aren’t bringing in any money. There is a whole lot of other concerns that come with achieving a case victory, so it’s easy to see how capital structure could quickly fall into the backdrop. Hopefully you have an experienced accounting employee or office manager, but sometimes that just not possible when you are in the first year or so of starting your own firm.

If capital structure isn’t something you pay much attention to, Sean Larkan’s article might just help bring the importance of capital structure back to priority level. The article, Ignore your law firm capital structure at your peril, covers several good points, including why capital structure matters, why you might trick yourself into thinking it doesn’t, and how you can prevent it from becoming a problem. Go ahead, give it read.

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

The Small Business Heath Care Tax Credit is designed to help small businesses offer health insurance coverage.  If you provide health insurance coverage to your employees, your law firm may qualify for the small business health care tax credit.  Can you answer yes to these two questions?

  • Does your firm have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees that earn an average wage of less than $50,000?
  • Does your firm pay at least half of the cost for your employees’ health insurance premiums?

If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, talk to your Certified Public Accountant (CPA) about your firm’s eligibility.  Click here to read the IRS’ tips regarding this credit.

Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CITP
Director of Finance and Administration

Advocate Capital, Inc.

Advocate Capital, Inc.

Advocate Capital, Inc., is a commercial finance company that was founded in 1999. Our main focus is providing an alternative to the “interest free” loans that most trial lawyers make to their firms for case expenses. We do this through a unique combination of commercial lines-of-credit and specialized accounting services.

Our clients are the best and the brightest of trial law firms from all over the United States. Our typical client-firm is a well established, experienced trial law firm whose partners are high-net-worth attorneys at the “top of their game”. Many are leaders of state and national trial lawyer associations, and quite a few are authors and expert speakers in the profession.

Advocate Capital, Inc., has enjoyed consistent, rapid, profitable growth during its history and now has clients in over 35 states. We look forward to adding you to our family of satisfied clients!

Website: www.advocatecapital.com

Are You Compensating Your Partners the Right Way?

Are You Compensating Your Partners the Right Way?

 

It’s said that partner compensation can be a fairly tricky issue when it comes to law firm management. After all, when you’re making decisions on how someone gets paid, things can get complicated rather quickly. With this in mind, I recently came across an article titled, Partner compensation: Start making sense. It was written by Jordan Furlong, who is a partner with Edge International and a Senior Consultant at Stem Legal.

Jordan helps make sense of partner compensation by covering three main points:

  • “Stop over-valuing sales”
  • “Start properly valuing everything else”
  • “Stop paying partners to bill hours”

To view the full article and find out more about what you can do to improve your firm’s compensation, click here.

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

Sam C. Rumph, III

Sam C. Rumph, III

Sam is an experienced trial attorney and engineer.  As the managing partner for his law firm he has been a driving force for office automation, innovation and efficiency.  It was this relentless quest that led Sam and his law partner Jeff to develop a cutting edge case management system and the formation of Symbioshare.  Sam earned his B.S. degree in Ocean Engineering at the United States Naval Academy and was commissioned in the U.S. Navy in 1993. After completing the Navy’s nuclear power training program, he served aboard a fast attack nuclear submarine as a naval Submarine Warfare Officer and was certified by the Naval Reactors Division of the U.S. Department of Energy as a Nuclear Engineer. Sam holds his Juris Doctor from the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University in Raleigh, North Carolina.  As a partner with Symbioshare, Sam works closely with lawyers in strategic planning to put OnPoint.Legal and its capabilities to work for their businesses.

Connect:emaillinkedin

Sam C. Rumph, III

Sam C. Rumph, III

Sam is an experienced trial attorney and engineer. As the managing partner for his law firm he has been a driving force for office automation, innovation and efficiency.  It was this relentless quest that led Sam and his law partner Jeff to develop a cutting edge case management system and the formation of Symbioshare.  Sam earned his B.S. degree in Ocean Engineering at the United States Naval Academy and was commissioned in the U.S. Navy in 1993. After completing the Navy’s nuclear power training program, he served aboard a fast attack nuclear submarine as a naval Submarine Warfare Officer and was certified by the Naval Reactors Division of the U.S. Department of Energy as a Nuclear Engineer. Sam holds his Juris Doctor from the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University in Raleigh, North Carolina. As a partner with Symbioshare, Sam works closely with lawyers in strategic planning to put OnPoint.Legal and its capabilities to work for their businesses.

Social Media Manners for Law Firms

Social Media Manners for Law Firms

In today’s marketing world, it has become obvious how important social media is. However, just like every other social form of communication, there are manners that not only help one maintain a level of respect, but also help set one apart from the rest. I know this from my own professional experience, which is why I felt compelled to share an article by Samantha Collier, writer of the award winning “Social Media for Law Firms” blog.

Samantha covers several “do’s” and “don’ts” in social media, all of which are specifically aimed in helping attorneys and others in the legal profession. To read her full article, click here. Here are just a few she mentioned.

  • “Remember reciprocity when utilizing social media for business development.”
  • “Respond to criticism and conflicting opinions.”
  • “Remember your reputation and brand on social media.”
  • “Do not over-promote yourself when using social media.”
  • “Don’t boast about your praise online.”

I highly recommend this to any attorney who is utilizing social media to market their firm. Marketing a law firm today is already challenging enough, but the proper use of social media can help leverage your efforts.

Providing the Right Health Insurance

Providing the Right Health Insurance

 

Health insurance is a very big deal, especially for small business owners. With all that has developed over the past few years, business owners have had to quickly adapt to legal changes and provide health coverage for their employees. The rush to find employee insurance in order to avoid penalties has undoubtedly lead to some poor decisions when choosing a health insurance provider.

If you happen to be a small law firm owner who rushed into the decision, or you are starting up a small firm for the first time, I came across an article that may be able to assist you in making the right choice. Choosing the Right Health Plan for your Employees, an article on FindLaw.com, covers some helpful things to consider when choosing a health insurance provider, such as;

  • What Type of health Insurance
  • Whether you should use an insurance broker
  • Finding a better deal
  • The way to evaluate a policy
  • Doing your homework on the provider

To check out the article for yourself and gain some helpful advice, click here.

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

Content Conversion for Legal Blogs

Content Conversion for Legal Blogs

How to Use Your Legal Blog Content to Convert Readers into Clients

 

By Yvette Valencia

Convert readers into new clients for your law firm by understanding what topics will draw their interest. Whether you’re a lawyer flying solo with your own single-employee law firm or a partner of a multi-attorney firm with several staff members, getting to know your customers is key to content conversion.

The first step is to pay attention to interactions between your business and your existing clients. It’s here where you can do a little investigative reporting to uncover the hot topics that really grab clients’ attention.

Ask Your Employees about Their Day-to-Day Customer Interactions

When you run a medium to large law firm, you may not find yourself meeting directly with clients as often as your legal assistants, paralegals and case representatives. However, that doesn’t mean that you should be in the dark about what’s on your clients' minds.

Make it a part of your weekly or monthly routine to meet with the staff members who have the most direct interaction with your clients and pick their brains for the latest hot topics. For example, family law attorneys in a state where the ban on gay marriage was overturned recently may see a surge in same-sex couples seeking help in preparing prenuptial agreements. Personal injury law firms in states with harsh winters may notice more slip and fall cases at shopping malls during the winter shopping months.

Your employees can keep you abreast of what kind of cases or situations are most commonly brought to your office so you can tailor your legal blog content to really get in-depth about those topics. Ask your employees to keep track of the most commonly asked questions they hear on a regular basis – these questions are excellent for bulking up your FAQ section.

Solo Attorneys: Analyze Your Customer Interactions for Content Opportunities

Attorneys with solo practices can use the same techniques to develop ideas for new blog posts. Because you are working directly with your clients, the rapport you build with them can be used to test different blog ideas. For example, if you have a good working relationship with a car accident client, see if he or she would be willing to do a short interview with you to get some information from the client’s perspective on the injury claims process.

Your client’s answers to the following questions can help you generate blogs explaining the kind of information they learned or wish they had known prior to their accident.

  • How much did you know about the injury claims process before your accident?
  • What was the most shocking thing you learned about the injury claims process?
  • What did you wish you had known about injury claims before your accident?
  • What advice would you give to someone who has just been in an accident?
  • What do you think is the biggest myth about the injury claims process?

These article ideas will fulfill a necessary role of your legal blog: It will help you write entries that answer common client questions and alleviate fears and misconceptions about their legal rights and their case. During your questioning, keep your ears open for repeated terms – these can become your keywords for your blogs.

We Do Web Content Writes the Legal Content Your Potential Clients Want

The writing team at We Do Web Content knows how to think like a potential client and write to their needs and interests to help transform readers into customers. To get started, give us a call or fill out our contact form to speak with our sales manager about all of the services we offer to help grow your business through Internet and SEO marketing: 888-521-3880.

The Dos and Don'ts of Social Media for Lawyers

The Dos and Don'ts of Social Media for Lawyers

By Yvette Valencia

 

Who says lawyers can't be social? A healthy social marketing plan is a key component of successful law firms across the country, but it takes more than just a Facebook profile and a Twitter handle to conquer the social media marketing world.

Before you put your law firm out on the social channels, read our list of dos and don’ts of social media for lawyers.

The Dos of Social Media for Lawyers

Do brag about your achievements. Potential clients want to see that you’re an attorney who gets results. Pictures of yourself along with satisfied clients and a brief note about their successful case can help instill confidence in your legal skills and puts a human face on your legal services.

Do engage in discussions with your followers. When someone comments on a social post from your firm, make sure you respond appropriately. Even if it’s just a compliment, thank the commenter for taking the time to write on your page. You also should look at engagement as an opportunity to ask satisfied clients for testimonials on AVVO, Yelp, Google+ and other rating/review sites.

Do post entertaining and informative content. The most shared content on social media is content that entertains and content that informs. It might include videos, photos, infographics or just helpful content. If you want your social networks to be heavily trafficked and really give you the full benefit of social marketing, you need to share content that your followers will find useful and/or amusing.

The Don’ts of Social Media for Lawyers

Don’t be arrogant. While you should share your successful cases, you also need to be tactful about doing so. Avoid gloating, demeaning or deceptive language in posts about recently resolved cases. Your goal in posting case successes is to show humbly how honored you are that your clients chose your firm for their case and how happy you are to be able to help them achieve justice for their cases.

Don’t ignore comments. The point of social media is to be social, and ignoring comments -- even negative ones -- defeats the purpose of having a social channel. You should respond to all interaction with your social profiles in a professional and prompt manner. If a discussion gets too heated, you may wish to ask politely that it ends or move the discussion to private communication.

Don’t post confidential content or content that could violate your local bar rules. Details of your recent case victories should be kept as general as possible to avoid breaching the attorney-client privilege. You also need to keep in mind that your state bar may have restrictions about social media conduct for attorneys, and you may not be allowed to post case results or may have to include a disclaimer on your profiles.

Don’t Make a Social Blunder – We Do Web Content Handles Social Marketing for Lawyers

We Do Web Content, Inc. handles social media for lawyers. We help attorneys and law firms across the nation keep their social presence up and lively. To get started, give us a call or fill out our contact form to speak with our sales manager about all of the services we offer to help grow your law firm through Internet and SEO marketing. 888-521-3880.

Responding to Positive or Negative Web Comments

Responding to Positive or Negative Web Comments

By Yvette Valencia

Comments on your web content are a sign you're doing something right! Whether they're good or bad, receiving comments on your blog is an indicator that people are finding, reading and being influenced by your posts. Because your readers are taking the time to comment on your content, you should return the favor by responding to their web comments.

Responding to Positive Comments Increases Client Dialogue

Everyone loves to get a personal thank you note after giving a gift. Consider comments gifts from your readers and your response a thank you note.

Even if somebody writes something short like, “Great info!” take the time to acknowledge the comment, especially if you don’t get a lot of comments. A simple, “Thank you!” could suffice for these short comments. If you get hundreds of comments, you might choose to write a single note to all the readers who commented thanking them for their kind words if you don’t have time to respond to each one.

When you get longer comments that go in depth about your content, take a bit more time to respond. If you get dozens of these longer comments, you might have to pick and choose which you respond to. But showing commenters that you read and respond to their thoughts will help promote a dialogue between the readers and your site. This, in turn, may foster a stronger relationship with your potential clients.

Responding to Negative Web Comments

While words will never hurt you, you should discourage outright harassment on your site, especially if it attacks your law firm or the clients your law firm serves. Sometimes negative comments come from clients using your blog as a public sounding board for issues with their cases. In these situations, it's best to add a public follow-up comment briefly addressing their concerns while mentioning that you will be contacting them privately to discuss their issue further.

In other cases, you'll get general harassment from non-clients just out to bother you. Always remember to keep calm and civil when responding to these negative comments. You don't want to create the impression that a few negative comments from strangers can ruffle your feathers. Address their comment with respect. If the commenter took issue with something you wrote, calmly explain your reasoning.

The last thing you want to do when responding to negative web comments is encourage hecklers. Responding with animosity will only make the matter worse.

Never Turn Your Back on a Comment

Even spam comments deserve your attention. If your site is receiving too many spam comments (nonsensical words or ads for unrelated sites), talk to your webmaster about anti-spam measures. Fixing spam can be as easy as adding the Akismet plugin for WordPress-based sites or adding a Captcha or other human vs. robot check mechanism. Letting spam get out of control will hide relevant comments and can hinder discussion or engagement with your readers.

Remember that you can't get quality comments unless you have quality content. Let We Do Web Content fill your blog and website with quality, engaging content that will inspire your readers to talk about and share your posts. Just fill out our contact form or call us at 888-521-3880 to inquire about all the services we offer to help grow your web traffic and boost your Internet presence.

Harlan Schillinger

Harlan Schillinger

Harlan Schillinger is a thirty-nine year veteran of the advertising industry. He joined Network in 1985 to lead their attorney marketing efforts. Prior to joining Network Affiliates, Harlan was Vice President and one of the founding partners of Madison, Muyskens & Jones, in Lakeville, Connecticut. Along with his partners, Harlan founded the first syndication TV  production firm's for retailers, creating television commercials that aired throughout the United States.

When asked about his approach to legal marketing and client relationships, Harlan says, "Creating opportunities and increasing market share for our advertising law firm clients is my #1 priority."

To that end, Harlan is committed to understanding each client’s business and discovering new opportunities for their growth. Throughout the year, Harlan attends  many attorney meetings, conventions, and prominent roundtable forums throughout the country as a speaker and contributor, in order to help clients stay on top of the legal marketing world. He is on the National Trial Lawyers Association executive committee that puts together  their annual summit each year in South Beach, FL. Harlan is both a speaker and moderator.

Harlan  Schillinger is an avid motorcycle enthusiast who enjoys being a member of the most unique and prestigious custom motorcycle club in the world, the Hamsters USA. His passions are building and riding custom motorcycles and  trying to play golf. Harlan sits on the Board of the Children's Care Hospital in South Dakota (http://cchs.org ), a special needs hospital dedicated to help special needs children from all parts of the country. He is co chairman of the Hamsters USA effort each year in their fund raising effort for this charity. Together with his motorcycle friends, they have raised well over 2 million dollars over the past 8 years.

Specialties:

Creative, polished and successful advertising, marketing, public relations and consulting for clients that want to flourish in their practice.

" If your not rubbin, Your not Racin"……….DEjr.

Vice President, Director of Marketing

Connect:email
T: 800-525-3332 x275 | C: 303-817-7313 | W: netaff.com
Network Affiliates | 940 Wadsworth Blvd, Suite 300 | Lakewood, CO 80214

James Mitchell Brown

James Mitchell Brown

James Mitchell Brown has practiced law with passion, enthusiasm, energy and creativity since 1973which is one of many reasons has been Martindale Hubbell AV rated since he first became eligible.  Jim’s practice has been almost exclusively representing people on a contingency fee basis. Jim sold his practice in 2003 for health reasons, took a year off and .in 2004 founded Attorney Consultant Inc. Jim is currently nationally known as the leading consultant for contingency fee law firms.

His first book, Marketing for the Contingency Fee Law Firm was published in July, 2012 and has helped many firms increase their practice, improve their image and do wonders for their bottom line in unique ways that define who they are as attorneys and individuals. His second book, Nuts and bolts of Law Office Management will be published this fall.

Brown has made presentations throughout the country to attorneys, law students, physicians, politicians and potential clients about issues of importance in their venues as well as appearing on National and local radio and television.

He enthusiastically shares his dedication and expertise with lawyers throughout the United States in marketing, practice management, business, crisis management, buying and selling practices and every other area of practice.

The company trademark, Enjoy Your Practice; Enjoy Your Life® is something Jim helps instill in every one of his clients.

Connect:email

www.attorneyconsultant.com
877-621-2022

Time For A Database

Time For A Database

Are you ready to take your case management to the next level?

 

A case management database is something that is typically thought of as not needed for smaller firms. After all, why would an attorney pay for a software that would only be used by him and a few other staff members? Admittedly, there was once a time when everything could be stored in a single physical location, like a filing cabinet, and no one would think anything of it. That was also a time when “It’s in my filing cabinet at the office,” was a good enough excuse.

We don’t live in that time anymore. The more technology progresses, the more people want to be able to access services and information on the fly. Businesses must adapt, including law firms. Sure, trusting a database can be a scary thing, and I am by no means saying you should throw out your filing cabinet and stop carrying that coffee-stained briefcase. But, I am saying that that the ability to make a adjustments and track changes at a moment’s notice is one of the biggest advantages of living in the present day, and it can greatly improve the service you’re able to provide your clients.

How does one go about picking the correct database for one’s firm? A lot of it, like all choices, typically comes down to what your needs are and what you value most. I recommend you take a look at Haley Odom’s article, “Choosing a Database for your Law Firm.” Ms. Odom is a contract legal technology consultant and writes for Stacey E. Burke’s blog, Business Solutions for Law Firms. In the article, she talks about choosing between a cloud and server based database, volume & complexity, security and more.

Are you currently or have you once tried a case management database system? Tell us about it in an article and we might publish on www.LawPracticeChannel.com!

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

James Mitchell Brown

James Mitchell Brown

James Mitchell Brown has practiced law with passion, enthusiasm, energy and creativity since 1973which is one of many reasons has been Martindale Hubbell AV rated since he first became eligible.  Jim’s practice has been almost exclusively representing people on a contingency fee basis. Jim sold his practice in 2003 for health reasons, took a year off and .in 2004 founded Attorney Consultant Inc. Jim is currently nationally known as the leading consultant for contingency fee law firms.

His first book, Marketing for the Contingency Fee Law Firm was published in July, 2012 and has helped many firms increase their practice, improve their image and do wonders for their bottom line in unique ways that define who they are as attorneys and individuals. His second book, Nuts and bolts of Law Office Management will be published this fall.

Brown has made presentations throughout the country to attorneys, law students, physicians, politicians and potential clients about issues of importance in their venues as well as appearing on National and local radio and television.

He enthusiastically shares his dedication and expertise with lawyers throughout the United States in marketing, practice management, business, crisis management, buying and selling practices and every other area of practice.

The company trademark, Enjoy Your Practice; Enjoy Your Life® is something Jim helps instill in every one of his clients.

Harlan Schillinger

Harlan Schillinger

Harlan Schillinger is a thirty-nine year veteran of the advertising industry. He joined Network in 1985 to lead their attorney marketing efforts. Prior to joining Network Affiliates, Harlan was Vice President and one of the founding partners of Madison, Muyskens & Jones, in Lakeville, Connecticut. Along with his partners, Harlan founded the first syndication TV production firm’s for retailers, creating television commercials that aired throughout the United States.

When asked about his approach to legal marketing and client relationships, Harlan says, “Creating opportunities and increasing market share for our advertising law firm clients is my #1 priority.”

To that end, Harlan is committed to understanding each client’s business and discovering new opportunities for their growth. Throughout the year, Harlan attends many attorney meetings, conventions, and prominent roundtable forums throughout the country as a speaker and contributor, in order to help clients stay on top of the legal marketing world. He is on the National Trial Lawyers Association executive committee that puts together their annual summit each year in South Beach, FL. Harlan is both a speaker and moderator.

Harlan Schillinger is an avid motorcycle enthusiast who enjoys being a member of the most unique and prestigious custom motorcycle club in the world, the Hamsters USA. His passions are building and riding custom motorcycles and trying to play golf. Harlan sits on the Board of the Children’s Care Hospital in South Dakota (http://cchs.org), a special needs hospital dedicated to help special needs children from all parts of the country. He is co chairman of the Hamsters USA effort each year in their fund raising effort for this charity. Together with his motorcycle friends, they have raised well over 2 million dollars over the past 8 years.

Specialties:

Creative, polished and successful advertising, marketing, public relations and consulting for clients that want to flourish in their practice.

"If you're not rubbin', You're not Racin'"……….DEjr.

Vice President, Director of Marketing

Capturing Clients with Keywords: The Art of Search Engine Optimization

Capturing Clients with Keywords: The Art of Search Engine Optimization

We are always on the lookout for valuable content to share on our blog; adding worth beyond case expense financing for our readers.  Today we welcome guest blogger Yvette Valencia.  She is the co-founder and COO of WeDoWebContent.  I hope this is useful to you!

By Yvette Valencia

If you’re reading this post, you likely found it in one of two ways: you’re either a subscriber to our blog or you used a search engine, like Google, to find information on “capturing new clients.” If the latter is true, my keyword (or “on-page search engine optimization”) strategy worked. You see, I wrote this article for two reasons: 1) to educate and help you succeed on the Web; and 2) to attract potential clients to my company’s website where they could learn more about our services and eventually hire us to design their law firm’s search marketing strategy.

Today I am here to tell you that you can do the same for your law firm. When you research and use the terms your ideal clients are using to find information on the Web within your Web content, you increase your chances of being found. And, when you write truly informative pages, ones that give your readers valuable takeaways, you will earn your stripes with Google and be rewarded with top spots on their search results pages (referred to as “ranking”).

During my presentation at the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association’s monthly luncheon, I revealed the biggest mistake most lawyers make with their legal marketing strategy and offered tips on creating a loyal fan base for the purpose of expanding their firms’ reach and increasing referrals. Now I’m ready to discuss one of the most powerful components of search marketing: keywords.

If you took the time to identify and develop a niche for your business and are taking the necessary steps to grow your practice, you will have a good idea of how your ideal clients search for information on the Internet. So if you want to continue building your list with similar clients, you should start by looking to your current clients for keyword inspiration.

Get Into Your Clients’ Heads

Conducting interviews with past clients can help you better understand how they search for legal resources on the Internet. Some questions you could ask are:

  • When you were searching for a personal injury attorney, what was more important: 1) their office location; or 2) their specialty or exclusivity in handling cases similar to yours?
  • How did you initiate your search? Did you believe you had a viable legal issue and knew you needed an attorney and therefore started your search there, or did you set out to learn whether or not you had a legal issue?
  • If you received a referral from a friend or family member, did you first research the attorney or firm online or did you contact the attorney without researching?
  • Did you search for lawyers that handled the type of accident in which you were injured or the specific injury you suffered?

Conduct Research & Analyze the Data

More and more people are using search engines like Google and Bing to find products and services on the Web. By analyzing what your prospective clients are looking for and how they are searching for it online, you will increase the chances of your website appearing on the first page of their search results.

You’ll want to start by gathering data from your website’s analytics service, as well as using a couple of independent keyword tools available on the Web. When you work with data that is accurate, you move away from assumptions and the dreaded possibility of wasting a lot of time and money.

Keyword tools allow you to evaluate the performance of millions of search terms – an essential step for creating the best keyword list for your business.

Google AdWords is a free and pretty robust keyword tool that provides the popularity and competition level of a specific keyword, as well as related keywords. You should be expanding your focus beyond the original keywords you research and open yourself to similar search topics – synonyms are great!

When coded properly into your website’s off-page code, Google’s Webmaster Tools and Analytics will track your domain’s performance and offer a treasure trove of information. In other words, from these tools you can gather up-to-date data about your audience, traffic sources, content, and conversions. In some instances you will be able to see the keywords that were responsible for drawing in new and repeat visitors, and which of them also led someone to buy your products or enlist your services. You’ll want to continue to promote these keywords within your Web content so as to not compromise your rankings and the ability to generate leads.

SEMRush is a paid keyword tool that’s definitely worth the price. You can track the performance of your chosen keywords over time. And, the reports you can generate will take the guesswork out of determining whether a keyword will be beneficial to your content as far as attracting potential clients.

You can generate lists with hundreds of keywords using these tools, but the real trick is knowing how to choose and target the right ones.

Evaluate Your Keywords

KeywordsThe keyword lists you generate during the research phase of your Web content strategy are only suggestions of what MAY work. To truly unearth the money-making keywords, you have to evaluate these keywords based on the following three points:

#1: Relevancy to your website. Ranking for a keyword that is completely unrelated to your company, your products, or service is completely futile. For example, a personal injury law firm has no business ranking for the keyword “teen pop star” unless it only represents celebrities like Justin Bieber. This will only lead to meaningless website traffic and do nothing for your firm’s bottom line. Instead, focus on the keywords that are closest to the end of your sales cycle so you can increase your chances of generating leads and gaining new clients.

Quality over quantity is the name of the game.

#2. Popularity in terms of web traffic and conversion potential. While keywords with high search volume can drive traffic to your website, they may not do much in the way of converting visitors to clients. This is why keyword research is critical to the success of any online marketing campaign.

A visitor to your website is just another notch on your Web traffic belt. You’re better off paying attention to the keywords that have the best conversion potential. Before you put all of your eggs in the expensive, high-competition-keyword basket, test the effectiveness of your business’s most important phrases with some pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns.

If your chosen keywords are generating Web traffic and new leads, you know you’re on the right track.

#3: Competition to rank for the keyword. While it’s great to want the #1 spot on page one of Google for “personal injury lawyer,” it’s highly unlikely that your law firm will gain this position using only organic marketing methods.

Your organic marketing efforts will consist mainly of a Web content strategy that ethically infuses both the keywords and synonyms your target audience is using to find the topics that interest them. Unlike paid advertisements, which I will go into shortly, the Web pages you create are indexed by the search engines, which means they will exist on the Web forever and will be served to the searcher every time your page meets their search criteria at no additional cost.

Knowing the competition level of a specific keyword will allow you to determine what it will take to rank for it and whether or not you are willing and have the budget to jump through those perpetual hoops.

Be Open to Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Most times, acquiring and/or maintaining a top position for a highly-competitive term means you will have to engage in a lengthy and expensive pay-per-click campaign.

The Beatles said it best in their 1964 chart topper “Money Can’t Buy Me Love,” but it can buy you a spot on Google’s search results pages. Through the search engine’s AdWords program, Google allows businesses to buy ad space on page one for the keywords they want to target, but this is a costly option, especially for attorneys whose top search terms typically range from $50 to $80 per click.

In highly-competitive geographic areas, like South Florida, Denver, Colorado, and Los Angeles, California, for example, engaging in pay-per-click advertising is necessary for the long-term health of your online presence. However, in other, not-so-competitive areas, you can get away with engaging in a modest and temporary pay-per-click campaign meant to accelerate your website’s exposure and ranking, as well as complement your organic (non-paid advertisements such as landing pages, informative articles, and blog posts) efforts.

The one advantage to pay-per-click advertising is that you will find out very quickly whether or not a highly-coveted term is actually a money-making term. If it’s not, you can drop it from your campaign and invest your money in another term that will actually generate qualified leads for your firm.

Get Organized!

A smart and savvy businessperson is always organized. Microsoft Excel can be your best friend when it comes to organizing and tracking your keyword placement once the research and evaluation phases are complete.

You’ll want to develop a keyword matrix that has separate worksheets to group related keywords. For each keyword, keep notes on their popularity and competition, as well as when, where, and how you used them within your pages.

Discover How We Do Web Content Can Boost Your Online Presence

There’s no doubt that developing a keyword strategy for your website is a daunting task, especially when you have a successful law firm to run! Don’t take up your valuable time researching keywords when We Do Web Content can do the work for you!

Get started on one of our SEO plans today. Call 888-594-5442 or complete our online contact form to speak with our sales director about all of the services we offer to grow your practice.

How to Get Clients with Your Legal Blog

How to Get Clients with Your Legal Blog

By Yvette Valencia

 

“How do I attract clients to my law firm?” Attorneys ask themselves – and others – that question all the time. The answer can be pretty lengthy. Here, we’ll discuss how to get clients as an attorney by using the content of your blog. The following three steps can help you establish authority to reach out to potential clients and then influence them to take action.

Achieve a Position of Authority

Blogs that develop a following do so because the author has established a position of authority or celebrity status. As an attorney, “celebrity” is probably not the niche you want. Acting as an authoritative source will serve you better.

Establishing authority begins with dispensing information. Spread your knowledge and expertise freely; don't make people hunt or pay for content. One way to establish yourself as an authority is to write an eBook about your legal area of expertise and offer it as a free download.

If you're not the book-writing type, develop a robust FAQ section on your website to answer the most common (and not so common) questions potential clients might have. If you have an AVVO profile (and you should) spread your knowledge by contributing to its Q&A section or posting articles to its legal library.

Learn What Your Clients Want and Deliver On It

The first steps of successful content conversion are to learn what your clients want and then give it to them. Sometimes a client will walk into your office knowing she is going to hire you to represent her. Others might know they have a legal issue but might not know if they should hire a lawyer.

It’s the same with your blog or article library. Some readers will be looking for general information about a legal topic. After reading your content, they may realize they should contact you for legal consultation. Others will come right to your website looking to set up a consultation with you.

Address both readers. Write general content about legal topics for readers not yet looking to hire you. And write content geared towards\ readers who know they need to hire a lawyer. But how do you know which topics to address?

Your own experience addressing clients’ concerns could help. Brainstorm some topics and questions you address a lot. Keyword research can also be valuable for learning what potential clients are searching for on the Internet. Tools like SEMRush can tell you how popular certain keywords are or tell you what keywords are associated with your site and competitor sites.

Make sure you have Google Analytics activated on your site as well; the queries tool can give you a lot of insight on what search queries bring the most users to your website.

Once you have some topic ideas generated, build up your blog with quality posts on those topics. Make sure you're using blogging best practices.

  • Keep entries between 400 and 600 words
  • Use diverse keywords and synonyms
  • End with a strong call to action

Influence Readers to Take Action

A strong call to action is a statement near the end of a blog post that tells your reader exactly the action step needed to solve his or her problem. Your call to action might encourage the reader to contact your law firm. A less direct approach is to invite the reader to learn more by reading other posts on your blog or downloading your eBook.

If coming up with all this content seems daunting, don't fret! We Do Web Content specializes in online marketing for lawyers and other professionals. We produce top quality, unique legal content for law firms across the nation. Just fill out our contact form and we'll reach out to you to discuss a custom content plan to draw readers to your website and convert them into clients. You can also call us at 888-521-3880.

7 Reasons Why Not Having a Clear Video Marketing Strategy is Depriving You of Meeting Your Ideal Client Online

7 Reasons Why Not Having a Clear Video Marketing Strategy is Depriving You of Meeting Your Ideal Client Online

 

by Gerry Oginski, Esq.

(1) “Objection! I Direct You NOT to Answer That Question.”

That’s the title of one of my videos. Why would I create a video with such a pointed question?

Here’s another video title...

(2) “Surveillance video backfired. New York medical malpractice attorney explains.”

Who is that video title for?

Here's another laser focused video title...

(3) “Why would I discontinue a case against two gynecologists in a failure to diagnose breast cancer case?”

Again, why would I create such pointed and specific titles for videos? Would you like to learn the answer? Come join me as I share with you this great information.

If you are going to take the time, energy and resources to create great educational video, you must have a clear and concise video marketing strategy before ever pressing the record button.

Do not think for a moment that you can take your iPhone, android device, or iPad or video camera and start shooting a quick and dirty video and expect that viewers will flock to watch your video.

PLANNING AND STRATEGIZING IS CRITICAL

The most important part of creating great video involves the planning phase. During your planning you need to map out a clear video marketing strategy.

If you fail to have a clear and concise video marketing strategy your ideal clients will never find you online and here’s SEVEN REASONS why:

  1. Your videos will not be found by Google or YouTube. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world directly behind Google. (Who owns YouTube? Google).
  2. Even if your video somehow comes up in a search results page, your ideal client will likely overlook the title of your video and move elsewhere.
  3. A viewer who presses the play button on your video will quickly recognize that you do not have great information for him and he will leave quickly.
  4. Simply providing rambling content will force your viewer to watch someone else’s video.
  5. Most attorney videos lack a strategy to get viewers to pick up the phone and call.
  6. You may think you have great content to offer your ideal clients, but if you don’t really know what content your viewers want, you are spinning your wheels and missing great opportunities.
  7. If your strategy is to be all professional and use big legal words, your ideal consumers who are searching for you online will eagerly look elsewhere for someone they can relate to.

BONUS

IF YOU DON’T HAVE VIDEO YET, YOU ARE INTENTIONALLY IGNORING THE SECOND LARGEST SEARCH ENGINE IN THE WORLD.

HOW DO YOU GET SOMEONE TO TRUST YOU IN 3 MINUTES?

Remember, as attorneys we have a very large hurdle to overcome when we market ourselves both online and offline. Our ideal clients who do not know us are searching for an attorney to help solve their legal problem. The obstacle is that new clients who don’t know us typically do not trust us.

That’s a fact.

So how is it possible I am able to generate trust and expertise without ever talking about my credentials or selling myself in this video?

The answer is with a clear and concise video marketing strategy.

In the first headline, who is that video for?

In the second headline, who is that content for?

Importantly, what do you think I’m discussing in each of those videos directed to those specific potential viewers?

Want to see what I’m talking about?

Take a look at this video... the embed code is: <iframe width="640" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/n-7E2nKRmqs?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The url for the video is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-7E2nKRmqs.

A FINAL THOUGHT

You must have a clear and concise video marketing strategy when using video to market your law firm. Failure to do that will result in you scratching your head wondering why no one is watching your videos.

The #1 Mistake You Are Making With Your Legal Marketing

The #1 Mistake You Are Making With Your Legal Marketing

We’re always on the lookout for useful content for our friends and clients.  Today we welcome guest blogger Yvette Valencia.  She is the co-founder and COO of WeDoWebContent.  I hope this is useful to you!

By Yvette Valencia

Are you sitting in your office wondering why your attorney website content isn’t generating a flood of leads? Are you racking your brain for ways to increase your online presence and conversions to no avail? Well, you’re in luck! In this post I will reveal the number one mistake you could be making with your content strategy.

First things first – take your hand to your face and gently remove your blinders. It’s time you come to terms with the fact that you are in one of the most commercially competitive spaces on and offline. So, it makes sense that as you journey off to make a name for yourself online, you look for ways to set yourself apart from the hive and become the king or queen bee of an untapped/under-serviced area. In other words, dominate a piece of space that is not so competitive.

It’s equally as important to understand that before you can begin to think about conversion, you have to know the type of clients you want to represent. Be honest with yourself. Do you know your target audience as well as you know yourself? When asked what you want to do, do you vaguely respond: “I want to represent ‘anyone’ who has been seriously injured in an accident.” If you’ve answered “no” and “yes” respectively, it’s time for some tough love. You are not converting because your attorney website content is not laser-focused. If you’re not creating the content searchers are looking for, you will never convert them to clients.

Consider this before starting an online marketing strategy – develop a niche. Sure, some folks might say that niche marketing is bad business or that you’ll be limiting your potential clients. Not true! In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Niche marketing can open the door to:

More Effective Marketing

Focusing on the cases you really want enables you to market directly to that segment of the population with clear and actionable attorney website content. This focus will also help you and your prospects understand the types of legal scenarios your firm will and will not handle, saving you time and money, as well as increasing the amount of attention you can devote to viable cases.

More Referrals/Cases

When a prospect contacts you with a legal situation you don’t handle (or care to handle), it’s likely you know an attorney who does. A referral partner whose name pops into your mind immediately. Think of all the referrals you’d get if your peers thought of you in the same way? That’s exactly how it goes down when you position yourself as an expert in a particular field. “The dog bite attorney” or “the lawyer for toxic mold injury claims,” for instance.  Your networking partners – other lawyers, doctors, etc. – will no longer have to guess who your “anyone” is. They will know who your ideal client is because you have taken the guesswork out of the equation for them. To get business, you have to make it easy on everyone. No guesswork allowed.

More Networking Opportunities

Speaking of networking, when you begin to pursue your newfound niche, you’ll start meeting other professionals in your field. For example, if you’re looking to represent individuals with injuries from asbestos exposure, you may be connecting with construction and medical professionals in the respiratory field. These connections build your potential client pool and can eventually lead to speaking engagements at industry seminars. Suddenly, your reach goes from hundreds to thousands just by narrowing your focus!

Convinced? Great!

Find Your Niche Now!

Let’s start the niche exploration process by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What cases do I care most deeply about?
  • Which clients do I relate to or sympathize with the most?
  • Who will benefit most from my services?
  • Which area of law do I already have the most experience with?
  • If I were in a room with 200 potential clients and could only represent one, who would I choose?
  • Who are the clients that are most likely to give me positive feedback on my services?

Once you know the answers to these questions, your path (and ultimately your attorney website content) will become clearer. Only then can you begin the process of validating your potential niche.

Validating Your Legal Niche

Start exploring your niche by researching how your ideal clients are searching for information online. Google’s AdWords tool is free and effective in identifying the terms your ideal clients are using at various stages of the buying cycle. It can also provide suggestions for similar keywords (and maybe even a new niche!).

chart1-1024x462Keyword research is also critical in determining whether your potential niche satisfies these three criteria: 

  • Demand - are there enough monthly searches to justify going after the term?
  • Buyers - is this segment of the audience hiring lawyers online? If not, you will have to identify another niche.All Posts
  • Viability - are the search terms you want to go after reasonable in terms of competition? Always aim for medium to low. Otherwise, expect to engage in a costly pay-per-click campaign for the highly-competitive terms.

ChartIf your potential niche is worth the investment, it’s time to start implementing. You do this by identifying and creating the content that will satisfy your potential clients, as well as the search engines. This is the winning combination that gets your law firm found and increases your conversions.

Remember, searchers will only click on the content that promises to answer their queries. If your attorney web content is off-mark or misaligned with their needs, they will continue their search until they find a legal website that will.