We recently interviewed some great candidates for a summer internship at Moore Legal Technology and as part of this, we invited the candidates to write a blog post regarding online marketing and the challenges faced by law firms today. We thought it would be useful, given the amount of work they put in, to share their posts here and give each of them some well-deserved recognition and appreciation for their posts.
Online Marketing: The Challenges Faced by Criminal Law Firms Today
The criminal law sector is busy. If you go on to any search engine and input the term ‘criminal defence lawyers’, the returned results are in the multi-millions. The Internet is now irrevocably connected to the world, connecting almost every person and every area of commerce in developed countries. It is, as such, no coincidence law firms feel the need to have a strong online presence, seeking to follow the consumer shift online and drive profitability in what is in the end a profit-driven industry.
There is, however, a serious question posed by the symbiotic relationship between criminal firms and the Internet: how do you stand out in such a crowded marketplace?
It would be somewhat disparaging to argue that there is a simple solution for ‘how to stand out’. In the simplest terms, to stand out firms must not stagnate. Solicitors should be looking at ways to always stay ahead of the curve, using their websites to branch out from the norm, posting blogs and interacting with clients. Indeed, a Harris survey, it was found that 15% of American consumers polled would be swayed by reading online blogs and a whopping 49% were likely to connect on websites where it was possible to ask legal questions. These impressive numbers should be ignored at firm’s peril and should be considered imperative in how criminal firms try and meet their expectations online.
A further inter-market issue online is the varying sizes of firm competing against one another. It must be said that a multi-partner criminal firm with a large marketing budget holds a distinct advantage over a family lawyer on the high-street who may work in an office of just two or three people with little to no marketing budget. The larger firm can be more proactive, perhaps paying for legal expert systems to answer generic questions or pay their solicitor to write blogs on particular issues whereas the smaller firm is not afforded such luxuries.
In the case of all firms it should be remembered that reputation will always trump all in the legal industry and all firms should be looking for ways to disseminate a reputation online of their ability to handle cases efficiently and professionally, providing a platform for a smaller firm to counteract the difference in sizes between firms and their marketing budgets. A presence on review sites is thus key. Pomp and ceremony are good for drawing attention, but it will ultimately be the product delivered which determines success.
There are obvious challenges facing criminal firms in the online marketplace, it however must always be remembered that the Internet is, first and foremost, a friend of commerce and should always be treated as such. There is no catchall answer which will provide remedies to the challenges faced but a strong online presence in this era is imperative. It is no longer possible to get by on paper alone, even if paper may be a whole lot simpler.