More than ever before, firms that provide legal aid need to find alternative revenue streams. In England and Wales, the effects of LASPO are still being felt. North of the border, the Law Society of Scotland are expressing concern about the proposed cuts to legal aid announced in December's 2016's Scottish budget. As such, law firms that provide legal aid services throughout the UK need to look at ways in which they can future proof.
With lower fees and fewer cases eligible for legal aid, already slender margins are getting slimmer. In our dealings with law firms throughout the U.K., we are seeing increased consolidation with firms being more inclined to explore merger opportunities. Firms are also narrowing their focus by moving away from less profitable areas of work.
One trend we have noticed over the past couple of years with firms that handle a mixture of legal aid and non-legal aid cases, is that their focus is shifting significantly towards more lucrative private work.
"Working with MLT has quite literally transformed our practice"
Principal Solicitor, London
If using the Internet more effectively to target more privately funded work is currently on your radar, here are 4 things we would recommend you consider :
Very often, the notion of the law firm as a brand may only exist as a nebulous idea in the heads of a handful of senior figures without ever having been expressed or committed to paper. While this can require some deeper reflection, focusing on brand can prove to be very valuable to ensure that everybody is on the same page with regards to the image the firm wishes to portray, its value proposition, tone of voice etc.
Getting this right at the beginning before any design work is undertaken or content written is crucial and will ensure that future activity is aligned with your brand identity, business objectives and appeals to the audience that you want to get in front of.
Having gone to art school many (many!) years ago, it has been noted by some members of our team that I can be a bit of a design snob! Over time though, I have come to appreciate that it's not what is aesthetically pleasing that matters when it comes to design (I should point out that our design team is very creative!), it's what's effective.
When we meet firms for the first time, more often than not we're asked to provide them with some links to other sites we have created and continue to manage.
Some of our best performing sites in terms of enquiries generated wouldn't win any design awards (and I'm sure our designers won't mind me saying that!) but they appeal to their target audience and have a very high web conversion rate (visits turning into enquiries) due to an appropriate, conversion focused design being applied.
Are you Aldi, Tesco, or Waitrose? There is no right or wrong, but it's crucial that you know your audience and market yourself appropriately.
The phrase ‘Content is King’ is still as relevant as it’s ever been. For lawyers, a content marketing strategy is vital. Developing a website, rich with relevant, authoritative, on-brand, targeted content will help you present better to search engines, convince clients that you are the solicitor for them, and help increase your overall number of enquiries. However, just as it’s important to create a visual aesthetic that is appropriate to your target audience, it's crucial that your web (and any offline) content is written using language and a tone of voice that is appropriate for your target audience.
Present yourself effectively to search
It doesn't matter how your site looks or how great your content is if nobody is ever going to find you online. If your site isn't effectively presenting to search from a technical SEO perspective it will never make you money. Click here for more information on search engine optimisation.
Leverage the mobile experience
Many of the enquiries that our legal aid focused clients get in via the Internet are sent out of hours and from a mobile device. Make sure that you take advantage of good rankings by ensuring that the mobile experience and user journey is aligned with your clients’ needs (e.g. Establish expertise and make it easy to get in touch)
Dedicated to your law firm’s success
At Moore Legal Technology we are dedicated to your law firm's success. We want to help you increase your turnover, enhance your brand, improve your efficiency and future proof your firm. If you are increasingly feeling the effects of less legal aid funded work coming in through the door, we can help you gain more privately funded work. For further information contact Chris on 03333 442 722 or email .