Think Like a Client

In 2019 the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System and AVVO partnered up to better understand what clients value in their lawyers. The result?
A 32-page report reflecting client preferences, needs, and expectations. Here are some of the key findings:

Communications

It’s no surprise that what matters most to clients is promptness. When you can’t respond promptly, ask staff to reach out. Use outgoing messages or auto-replies that provide information about your availability then follow-up as promised.

Keep clients informed. Don’t make the client ask you for a status update. This is another area where staff can help. Let them make calls or draft emails and memos. If the client has a legal question, you can follow-up. Always copy the client on documents and case activity as the matter proceeds.

Fully answer client questions, give an honest evaluation of the case, discuss options, and review case strategies. Clients want to be in the know.

Demeanor

Professionalism, tolerance, sensitivity, compassion, sociability, courtesy, and respect are all part of demeanor in the client’s eyes. Clients want their lawyer to take a personal interest in their case and demonstrate qualities associated with integrity and trustworthiness.

Fees

Clients who reported positive experiences felt the lawyer’s fee was fair, reasonable, affordable, or competitive. Flexibility, including willingness to set up an alternative fee arrangement, was appreciated. Many clients emphasized the need for billing transparency and avoiding surprises.

More to Learn

As you might imagine, there is more to learn on the subject of thinking like a client. View the full report here.

All Rights Reserved 2020 Beverly Michaelis

SEO Your Website Using Free Directory Listings

With so many good marketing folks to follow on social media, who should you choose? I previously featured two of my favorites here.  Another great contender is Edmund Yan of Yan Media.

seo

I like Edmund because his posts are concrete: he gives you specific content you can act on now. For example, Free Legal Directories Every Law Firm Should Exploit for SEO.

Boost Your Website Ranking

In this post, which is an update of an earlier piece, Edmund talks about how you can boost your website ranking on Google by creating free profiles on legal directories. You may have heard this before, and true enough some of the directories will be ones you already know like Avvo or Findlaw.  But others were new to me.

As Edmund points out, Google’s ranking system is all about popularity.  Add your link to a popular site and ta-da!  You’re popular in Google’s eyes too.  Or at least more popular.

The more popular you are, the more credible you’ll appear in the eyes of Google and the higher you’ll rank on organic search result pages. It’s that simple.

Read the full post on using free legal directories for SEO here.  At the end are six suggestions for must-include content in your directory profiles.

Why You Should Claim Your Directory Profile Even if You Don’t Care About SEO

Even if you don’t need an SEO boost from online legal directories, you should still claim your profile.  Notice I said “claim.”

Whether you set up a profile or not, I can just about guarantee that Avvo has a listing for you.  The same is true for other popular online legal directories.

  • If you want to control what is being said about you, claim your profile.
  • If you want to remove inaccurate information or scurrilous reviews, claim your profile.

This worked for at least one Oregon lawyer who Googled herself and was shocked to discover a bad Avvo review.  She was shocked because she’d never set up an Avvo account.  By claiming her profile she was able to get the information removed.

Thankfully this experience isn’t a recurring one.  Nonetheless, this is one lesson that many lawyers have yet to learn: you need to control (and know) what is being said about you on the Internet.  You may have Google reviews, Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews, or other reviews you don’t know about.

Set Up Alerts When Your Name is Mentioned

A good place to start is by setting up Google Alerts for your name and your business name.  This allows you to receive an email anytime you or your business is mentioned on the Web.

You may also want to try some of the alternatives to Google.  In recent years users have complained that Google Alerts wasn’t working as well for them.  Some prefer Yahoo! Either way do something to learn what is being said so you can take better charge of your online presence.

All Rights Reserved Beverly Michaelis 2017

2016 ABA TECHSHOW Wrap Up – 10 Most Important Upgrades

On the heels of the 2016 ABA TECHSHOW, here is a roundup of the top 10 most important upgrades compiled by Jared Correia.  Most involve new features of established case management programs, but there were also important developments in lawyer referral (Avvo), job search resources (Evolve Law), and peer-driven security standards for cloud computing (LCCA).  If you are ever tempted to attend TECHSHOW, you’ll also find a link to an interactive map of where to eat/drink (Gyi’s ABA TECHSHOW Recommendations).

Jared’s Top 10 Upgrades List Includes:

  • Rocket Matter
  • VineSign
  • Smokeball
  • MyCase
  • Evolve Law
  • CosmoLex
  • Clio
  • Avvo
  • Legal Cloud Computing Association (LCCA)
  • Gyi’s ABA TECHSHOW Recommendations (food/drink)

Access the top 10 most important upgrades here.

 

The Best of TECHSHOW – Lesser Known Social Media Sites

In this “best of” ABA TECHSHOW post I feature the best tips, tricks, and insights for lesser known social media sites.  To get off on the right foot take heed of the following:

Practical Advice for All Social Media Interaction

  • Always present the best public face that you can.
  • Keep all social media accounts updated and refreshed to boost SEO and search engine rankings.
  • Fill out profiles completely, use images, interact respectfully, observe ethical constraints, and be honest.
  • Claim your accounts!  Sites like AVVO create profiles based on publicly available information – better to log on, claim your account, and be certain the information presented is accurate.
  • If you blog, post headlines to Twitter, LinkedIn, and other appropriate sites noted below.  Start a discussion linking back to your post.

Pinterestimages

Pinterest is a visual social network.  Users upload, share, and comment on images pinned to a virtual bulletin board.  A Pinterest page for your firm might include infographics, videos, pictures, and slideshows.  Photos from your blog posts and PowerPoint CLE presentations are just two possible sources of content. Remember to follow other users and link to or repin their content.  When uploading, use keywords and organize your Pinterest boards around specific themes.

Google+images

Facebook remains the big dog in town, but creating a Google+ business page will help boost the SEO of your Web site or blog (in Google’s search engine at least).  Once your page is up, use Google+ communities to reach out and connect to others.  Sort your contacts into Circles (family, friends, clients, colleagues) and tailor your posts to each circle.  Google+ has unlimited linking to other social media profiles, so take advantage of the opportunity to publicize your presence elsewhere on the Web.

Location Based Social Media – Google Places, Waze, and Foursquareimages1

Required: create a Google Business Places account – the more you participate in the Google suite of products the better your visibility on the Web.  Make sure your business listing is easily found on Google.com and Google Maps.

Optional:  consider adding your business location to the GPS-based Waze so clients can find you or create a Foursquare badge to attract clients and offer a “special” for anyone who checks in at your venue.  What is Foursquare?  A free app to “help you and your friends make the most of where you are. When you’re out and about, use Foursquare to share and save the places you visit. And, when you’re looking for inspiration for what to do next, Foursquare will give you personalized recommendations and deals based on where you, your friends, and people with your tastes have been.” Foursquare boasts 30 million users worldwide and offers a merchant platform for businesses.  One option is to create an ad that will appear when a user “checks in” at a nearby location, perhaps a restaurant or coffee shop.

Business Review Sites

Like it or not, clients post reviews of law firms.  One of the most popular review sites is Yelp.  Be proactive and claim your Yelp page to track what clients and others are saying.  Post Yelp badges on your blog or Web site, make announcements on Yelp, and respond to ALL reviews.  Try the free version first.  If you upgrade to the paid version of Yelp it will boost your firm to the top of the list, allowing you to feature a review of your choice.

Slideshare and Flickr – The Forgotten SM Sitesimagesf

Slideshare is a document and presentation sharing site that is poorly utilized, but gets tons of traffic and sharing.  Accounts are free.  Repurpose posts and articles by uploading to Slideshare and linking back to your blog or Web site.

Use Flickr as another means to interact with your network or as a source of images for blog posts.  Check the use or permission level of the image, link back, and always include attribution to the source.

A Final Word about Ethics and SM as Part of YOUR Firm

Tailor social media to your specific practice and the ethical rules in your jurisdiction.  For example, it may not be the best idea to offer clients the opportunity to “check in” on Foursquare at your criminal defense firm.  Start conservatively, use your common sense, and contact your bar’s ethics hotline when in doubt.

Many thanks to Samantha Meinke and Allison Shields for all the great ideas!  These top notch professionals are two of the reasons why you should come to ABA TECHSHOW 2014.

All Rights Reserved – Beverly Michaelis – 2013

25 of the Best Tips from Twitter on Ethics, eDiscovery, GTD and More

This post is part of a continuing mission to share some of the best tips from Twitter.  Today’s topics: time management, GTD, financial management, ethics, and eDiscovery.

Time Management – Getting Things Done

Financial Management

Ethics and eDiscovery

Enjoy!

Copyright 2012 Beverly Michaelis