Lead Generation for Lawyers: Comprehensive Overview by Digital Logic
Section 1 – Direct Lawyer Lead Generation to Your Firm’s Site
This section explains the best practices for marketing strategies that target potential clients by generating leads from a professional website and methods that increase web traffic.
Develop a target Legal Client Profile
The best legal marketing and lead generation practices start with knowing as much as possible about your target clients. Planning marketing efforts to target potential clients in effective ways helps reduce wasted effort and money that is spent advertising to the wrong demographics.
For example, a lawyer who is a solo practitioner specializing in personal injury cases will use very different lead generation methodologies when compared to a major law firm seeking corporate clients.
Here are three steps to use in order to develop a useful client profile:
1. Create an overview description of an ideal client.
2. Identify this client’s wants and needs, including who is the final decision maker if the client is a business.
3. Investigate and clearly understand where these potential clients can be found online.
1st party and self-directed lawyer lead generation online marketing channels include but are not limited to the following:
- Having a Quality Law Firm Website
- Search Engine Optimization
- Paid Search Engine Advertising
- Display Ads
- Location-Based and Geofencing Advertising
- Content Marketing and Blogging
- Social Media Marketing
Having a High-Quality Law Firm Website Design
There is no excuse for having a low-quality website. A professional legal site is often the first thing a potential client experiences when looking for an attorney. Having a quality firm website means much more than simply using attractive graphics with a nice website design.
To follow the best practices for an attorney’s website is to understand what Google considers a high-quality website and then create a website (or upgrade an existing one) that follows those parameters.
The algorithm (analysis rules) used by the Google search engine to rank a website in the search engine results page (SERP) checks various important parameters, which include:
- The website content is unique. Duplicate content is penalized, even if it comes from the same website or elsewhere.
- The value of a website for searchers is strong. A high-quality website successfully answers a searcher’s questions.
- The number of external editorial links to a website increases its value.
- Other high-quality web pages (both external and from the same website) link to the web pages on the website.
- The website homepage loads quickly.
- The website is easy to access and displays properly on any type of device.
- Navigation on the website is intuitive. Content is well organized, easy to use, and easy to understand.
- Content is well-written without any spelling or grammatical errors.
- Content that is not text, such as images, has a text alternative that accurately describes it. Files names should also describe content. For example, attorneyofficename.jpg is a better file name for a photo of the office than using 1234.jpg
- The website content points to additional helpful resources. This includes having a call-to-action with the contact information needed to engage the attorney.
Following these best practices for web page design not only makes a website useful, it also increases the potential ranking of the website on the SERP, which is how to get more non-paid (also called “organic”) web traffic.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques used to boost a website’s ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). SEO is very important in order to help generate web traffic from non-paid searches.
Most attorneys do well by outsourcing SEO work to professionals that are law firm internet marketing specialists to do SEO work. doing this work. Search engines are constantly updating their search algorithms. For this reason, SEO techniques that worked well last year may not work as well this year.
Current SEO best practices include:
- Having easily-accessible web pages that the search engine crawler bots can parse and index.
- Registering a text-based sitemap with the search engines and requesting an indexing of a website.
- Including important keywords and key phrases as well as secondary keywords that are related to the searcher’s interests.
- Searching the keywords using Google to understand how they appear on the SERP. Note that trying to rank high on the SERP for generic keywords, such as “personal injury attorney,” is not the goal. However, ranking high on the SERP for an attorney type along with the name of the local community is a good goal.
- Use a compelling URL (domain name), web page title, and meta description that will appear as the SERP snippet.
- Use compelling schema markup to make a web page more interesting to the search engines. Schema markup is not visible to web users but is the descriptive information in the source code about what a web page contains that can be indexed by a search engine.
- Optimize web pages to make them load quickly and look great on any device.
- Make all web pages secure using secured socket layer (SSL) encryption. This requires registration of the website to get an SSL certificate that needs to be renewed each year.
- Amplify the website’s importance across the web with authoritative links and mentions on social media.
Good SEO efforts are ongoing, not a one-time effort. Content updates and generating new links are part of the ongoing process. This is why most law firms outsource this work to SEO specialists that make these efforts on a continual basis for the firm’s website.
Paid Search Engine Advertising
Paid search engine advertising for law firms can be very effective; however, do not be surprised at expensive click prices for what is considered by knowledgeable attorneys to be very valuable leads. Search engine advertising is also often referred to as PPC.
With the proper tracking and professional legal SEM services, you can easily reach 500%-100% return on paid search spend. To do it yourself, there is a lot of training that you’ll need to do, or you’ll spend a lot of money and not know what’s happening.
Google helps advertisers with tools to estimate the cost per click (CPC) of ad campaigns. Google Adwords is an auction that sells the advertising web traffic for keywords to the highest bidder.
For extremely valuable search terms such as “mesothelioma attorney TX” law firms bid the price up to over $300 per click in 2014, making this phrase one of the most expensive advertisements on Google Adwords according to AdGooRoo.
Paying that much for a single click, which may result in nothing valuable for a law firm, is very risky. However, some law firms wanted to take the risk because the value of capturing a mesothelioma case was so high during 2014. This price has since come down yet remains in the range of $100 to $200 per click depending on the location of the law firm.
Attorneys that are new to using paid advertising to generate leads need to be very careful about their advertising spends. It is best to work with experts to avoid wasting an enormous amount of advertising money that results in little to show for it. A paid click is worthless unless it results in a conversion.
A conversion is something valuable to a law firm such as a client requesting a call back from an attorney when they visit the law firm’s website or a potential client calling you on the phone.
The key to having a successful paid advertising campaign for attorney lead generation and online marketing is to MAKE SURE to track everything such as Phone calls, Forms, and new cases so you can determine your cost per case acquisition cost from your ad spend.
This is type of tracking and online marketing measurement you need to have for your law practice.
Online Display Ads
Small Biz Trends reports on the reduced effectiveness of display ads compared to search ads. Search ads and display ads are totally different. Search ads are much more intent driven and display ads typically help with branding and brand recall.
The vast majority (63%) of people think banner display ads are annoying and 92% of banner ads are completely ignored. The ways to make display ads more effective are through targeting methods such as re-targeting, geofencing, demographic or interest targeting.
Tracking methods add a “cookie” to a user’s browser that can be interpreted by other websites. The advertisements can be presented again to the same web user by following them when they visit other websites that are related to the first one. For stand-alone display ads, the average click-through rate reported by Small Biz Trends is a measly .07%. Re-targeted ads that are shown again to the same user have click-through rates that are ten times higher at .7%.
Native advertising is a another type of digital advertising that intentionally blends in with the content. One example is a display ad that appears on the SERP that looks like the result of the search engine, yet is marked as an advertisement in a subtle way with t tiny icon that says “ad.” The content of a native ad blends in so well with the non-paid search information and is relevant to the user so this special form of display advertisement is more effective.
A display ad benefits greatly by combing the advertising effort with retargeting and making the ad appear to be native content in order to blend in with the other content being shown.
Location-Based and Geofencing Advertising
For many practices, law firm leads, which are the most beneficial are often the ones that come from a nearby location. Using SEO efforts that combine a keyword phrase with the name of a local community is a helpful way to generate more local-based law firm leads.
Geofencing is a technique that makes use of the physical location of the person to present relevant content. CIO.com explains that geofencing is when an application or web-based service makes use of GPS, RFID, WIFI, or data from the cellular system to specifically target persons in a limited geographic area.
Google has made localization a key component of relevant search engine results. Google has an API that allows developers to use geofencing in order to target potential clients in specific geographical areas.
For law firms that benefit from having new clients that come from a specific geographical area, they should use an attorney lead generator company with a geofencing system to improve legal leads.
Content Marketing and Blogging
For many law firms, content marketing and blogging are an excellent way to create new client leads. Content marketing is creating materials that potential clients will find useful and distributing this content freely in order to gain client confidence in the legal services offered by the law firm.
The distribution of useful content can be made via a download from a website, through an email newsletter, and by posting the information on a blog. To be effective, the content should be interesting and published on a regular basis. It should be about topics that are most likely to appeal to targeted new clients. The content should naturally lead to a call-to-action to engage the law firm without being an overt sales pitch. Google really likes websites who publish content on a regular basis.
Quality content marketing makes for a good read and helps clients understand general legal concepts. Infographics that show legal concepts in an easy-to-understand way are very effective. By informing and educating potential clients, a law practice can build up a substantial reputation and constantly attract new clients.
There are also numerous ways to leverage your blog posts to provide helpful content to potential clients through the use of remarketing campaigns to continually circulate content to people who have been to your website in the last month or two who haven’t previously reached out to your law firm through a phone call or a form.
Having a blog on your practice site helps to demonstrate expertise in a specific area of law. For example, for a practice that specializes in litigation a discussion of legal cases and their outcomes from the public records is an easy way to find ideas for blog posts. These concepts can be very interesting. The blog post should not be boring. The blog post should start with catchy titles that create a curiosity and then explain real-life examples of how the cases progressed and what the results were for the cases.
Cases that were decided in favor of a law firm’s clients that have become part of the public record are very good topics for a professional blog. Descriptions of general practice ideas that lead to law firm’s engagement are also very helpful. For example, an estate attorney could create a blog post describing the benefits of having a living trust and this will help generate clients for these legal services.
An attorney doesn’t actually create the content used for these purposes as there are plenty of freelance writers and legal marketing companies that can be hired online to create content for a law firm. All legal practices benefit from content marketing.
To get started with what blog content you need to post, think about the questions you get from clients and start building a list of those questions. The list of questions will give you a good foundation for blog topics.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is useful for almost any law practice, why wouldn’t you want free exposure? For practices that want lead generation targeted towards consumers, Facebook marketing is the best choice.
Facebook marketing benefits from combining a targeted-advertising campaign along with useful content as described in the content marketing information given above. Facebook marketing is about being friendly with potential new clients and giving them something useful as a reason to engage a law firm.
There are seven steps to follow in order to create a successful Facebook marketing campaign, which are:
- Determine Goals: Before commencing a Facebook campaign, it is important to have a clear set of goals and how to measure success.
- Identify the Target Audience: The target audience needs to be clearly defined. Be very specific about the demographics of who is desirable. There is no point wasting efforts and money to attract people who cannot become a new client.
- Budget Properly: Create a budget that is adequate and that allows enough effort to produce a result.
- Create Engaging Content: Have a stockpile of engaging content created in advance of the need to be able to supply a continuous stream of helpful content. This helps covert the attention generated into more new clients. The average rule of thumb is that it takes at least seven pieces of engaging content to trigger a positive response from most people.
- Create Value: Avoid a sales pitch in the ads. The most effective ads are those that give away the engaging content created in the previous step. Give them something before you get something back.
- Monitor Advertising Results: It is possible and beneficial to monitor advertising results in real-time. If an ad is failing after a reasonable test, pull it before it wastes more money.
- Use A/B Testing: To find the most effective ads, test them against each other by A/B testing them. Run two different ads that have the same target audience and see which one performs better. Repeat this process with all ads to find the best ones.
For business-to-business (B2B) legal services such as corporate contract law, Facebook is much less effective than using LinkedIn for social media marketing purposes. LinkedIn is the most popular social media service that generates business leads. LinkedIn readily enables networking with other professionals. Falcon reports that LinkedIn is responsible for about 64% of the web traffic that comes to corporate websites from social media.
One new thing on LinkedIn for law firms to consider is the addition of video advertisements that can be used as an attorney lead generator. Content marketing using video may be a very effective tool to use in order to generate leads for lawyers.
A compelling video is useful in creating web traffic to an attorney’s website and to and is good for constant branding and lead generation companies depending on the area of practice.
Someone who is doing a great job of LinkedIn Video Marketing as an attorney is Derek Hawkins who is a Trademark Attorney at Hawkins IP.
Section 2 – Reviews of 3rd Party Lawyer Lead Generation Services
This section takes a look at the top ten paid lead generation systems for attorneys.
Ten popular attorney lead generation companies (in alphabetical order) include:
- Unbundled Attorney
4LegalLeads is a lawyer lead generation system that is useful for attorneys, law firms, and legal media companies. It also works for legal plan associates and for legal insurance companies. 4LegalLeads has been providing leads for lawyers since 2001. The leads generated by this system happen in real-time and are only sold once.
4LegalLeads advertises to generate leads for its members. The system follows the rules of the American Bar Association that require advertisements not to be misleading. 4LegalLeads does not endorse or recommend any particular attorney or law firm. All members of the systems are treated equally. All leads are at a consistent cost. There is no commission participation by 4LegalLeads, no matter how valuable a new client lead becomes.
4LegalLeads offers services that can be chosen depending on the specific areas of law and the geographic location. It is possible to target multiple areas of law. The price of the leads generated depends on the categories selected. Attorneys who are a member of the 4LegalLeads system and have funds available in their accounts receive a fair allocation of leads in the geographic areas that they select.
National campaigns receive the most leads. Attorney leads can be narrowed to select specific states. If preferred, a number of miles can be selected as a radius from a certain zip code. This will restrict leads to a certain distance from a law firm and also can be restricted not to cross state lines. Another way to limit leads to a geographical area is to select the counties in a particular state.
95% of all lawyer leads are disseminated in real-time. Only 5% are held back to use for quality-control purposes. Leads are kept on file for 30 days and incoming leads are checked against the existing leads in the database to eliminate duplicates.
The system uses a third-party verification service to determine if an area code and the prefix of the phone number is legitimate. Attorneys who are members of this service can reject bad leads that have incorrect telephone numbers or undeliverable email addresses. Any bad leads are immediately replaced with good ones.
New attorney members of this system can set up an account and after funding the account can start to receive leads within 24 hours. Sometimes it takes up to a week for leads to begin if the area of law selected and the geographical limits are narrow.
Leads are delivered by email to system members in real-time from national marketing campaigns. There is also a live call-transfer system available for leads that come in by telephone. Lead notification is possible by SMS text message to a cell phone. Leads can be downloaded in a spreadsheet file format or as pdf files. Major client members can benefit from having leads automatically posted to their law firm’s client database as well.
This system sells leads at a cost of $20 to $600 per lead, which depends on the category selected. It is possible to fund an account with only $100 to get started; however, the recommendation is to fund a new account with an amount that will cover the cost of 10 to 20 leads in order to give the system a fair test.
The average funding amount for member law firms is at least $500 to up to $2,000. A 5% bonus is added to accounts funded with $1,000 and a 10% bonus is added to accounts funded with $2,000. National firms that cover a large geographical area fund their accounts with many thousands of dollars.
There is no automated billing. Account funding is done manually by the attorney members so that they always have full control of the advertising spend. Any unused funds will be automatically refunded by request and by giving 24-hours notice. There are no long term contracts.
Current prices (November 2018) for specific areas of law are:
- Auto Accidents: $125 to $600 per lead
- Bankruptcy: $50 per lead
- Business Law: $30 per lead
- Child Birth Injury: $70 per lead
- Civil Lawsuits (No Injury): $20 per lead
- Consumer Law: $20 per lead
- Criminal Defense: $60 to $85 per lead
- Debt and Collection: $20 per lead
- DUI: $80 to 100 per lead
- Employment and Labor Law: $20 to 25 per lead
- Estate Planning: $40 per lead
- Family Law: $40 per lead
- Foreclosure Defense: $55 per lead
- ID Theft: $30 per lead
- Immigration: $20 per lead
- Intellectual Property: $30 to 40 per lead
- Landlord/Tenant: $30 per lead
- Medical Malpractice: $40 per lead
- Nursing Home Abuse: $70 per lead
- Personal Injury: $75 to 150 per lead
- Real Estate and Property Law: $30 per lead
- SSDI or Social Security Disability: $40 per lead
- Tax Law: $60 to 120 per lead
- Traffic Violations: $20 per lead
- Workers Comp: $70 to 100 per lead (higher in NY/IL/CA)
- Wrongful Termination: $20 per lead (higher in CA)
Attorneys and law firms appreciate the 4LegalLeads system because it is a well-established national wholesaler of leads. When an account is established with a sufficient advertising budget it is fairly easy to determine if the benefits of receiving these leads produce a profit for the firm. The 4LegalLeads system is confident in its long-term value in providing leads for attorneys because it does not require any contractual commitments.
Avvo is part of the Martindale Legal Marketing Network that reaches over 25 million consumers each month, making it the largest legal network online. Other popular legal websites in this network include Martindale.com, Lawyers.com, TotalAttorneys.com, and Nolo.com
Avvo provides a comprehensive rating system for almost all (97%) of the attorneys in the United States. The ratings for attorneys on the Avvo system are listed on a 10-point scale. The lowest ratings are 1 or less and are categorized as “exercise extreme caution.” The highest rating is a 10, which represent a superb lawyer.
Ratings are based on an attorney’s experience and background, the number of licensed years, work experience, and education. There is also consideration given for legal community recognition and legal thought leadership that includes peer endorsements, associations, awards, publications, and speaking engagements.
Disciplinary information is a factor in negative ratings; however, this information on the Avvo system may not be comprehensive or up-to-date, so people are encouraged to check with the state bar association before hiring an attorney.
Attorneys can claim their free profile on Avvo. This allows them to upload a photo of themselves, give contact information, add their resume, and delineate their areas of legal practice. To boost their Avvo profile, attorneys can ask for peer endorsements and solicit reviews from clients.
Attorneys can increase their profile’s visibility by paying for premium membership. Premium membership removes competitive ads from an attorney’s profile page. It improves contact capability with enhanced visibility that includes having a priority in the search results. It allows the placement of the best reviews at the top of the profile page.
Clients can post a review of an attorney and give them a rating on a five-star scale. Avvo users are encouraged to review attorneys and write about their experience with them.
Avvo offers sponsored listings that move a profile to the top of a directory page and makes them the first thing seen by prospective clients. Avvo also has display ads that are featured on the highest-trafficked web pages. There are no long-term contracts for advertising and no setup fees. Advertising can be tailored to specific practice areas and locations. Advertisers receive up to 70 times more contacts than non-advertisers.
Avvo builds professional websites for law firms that are responsive, which means that they display properly on any device. The websites are designed to increase consumer engagement and be easily updated. Website creation requires a 12-month minimum contract commitment.
Free Legal Advice
The Avvo system offers free legal advice, which includes a database of nearly 13 million searchable legal questions and answers. This free service also includes the ability for site visitors to ask a legal question and get advice from an experienced attorney for free, who responds in a matter of a few hours.
Attorneys who participate in this program increase their online reputation and improve their search results on the major search engines of Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Attorneys who answer about 15 questions experience, on average, 10 times the number of contacts as those who do not participate in this program.
The basic profile on the Avvo system is free. The upgrade to a premium membership is $100 per month. Advertising starts at $100 per month and depends on the placement of display ads and the sponsored listings. Custom websites that are linked to profiles cost $200 per month.
Attorneys benefit from managing their Avvo profile because a negative rating on this system can be harmful to their reputation. Attorneys that have a good reputation on the Avvo system tend to do well and the system generates plenty of good client leads for a modest cost.
FindLaw is owned by Thomson Reuters. The system started in 1996 as one of the earliest directories of attorneys on the Internet. The website offers free legal advice and receives over 9 million visitors each month. FindLaw is part of a network that also includes the websites of SuperLawyers.com and LawInfo.com.
FindLaw offers integrated marketing solutions that include websites, legal directory listings, SEO, PPC campaigns, and blogs.
FindLaw created over 17,000 websites for small law firms. The website design used by FindLaw is adaptive, which means that it displays properly on any device and specifically well on mobile devices.
A FindLaw website includes:
- Custom content and cutting-edge website design.
- Optimization with SEO for easy indexing by search engines.
- A design for conversion with a call-tracking phone number and an online form that makes it easy for clients to make contact.
- A FindLaw.com profile for visibility by over 9 million consumers each month.
The FindLaw legal directory has over 2 million monthly visitors that are searching for a lawyer. A premium profile gives a law firm prominence in the directory and increases visibility on the major search engines. A spotlight listing highlights a firm’s expertise in a certain area of the law. The FindLaw network also includes SuperLawyers, LawInfo, and Abogados (Spanish language) directory listings.
Search Engine Optimization
FindLaw provides search engine optimization (SEO) for attorneys’ websites to increase their ranking on the search engine page results. These SEO techniques include using tags and website code along with unique authoritative content, improved local presence, and citation links from legitimate sources to increase a website’s credibility.
From what we’ve experienced first hand, FindLaw SEO and Firm sites are pretty low quality and not much SEO is done on them.
FindLaw offers a 12-month program for lead generation that focus on the areas of law practice and geographically-defined territories.
FindLaw provides pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign management services that help a law firm target certain customers in geographically-defined areas who are looking for the legal services offered by a law firm.
A FindLaw blog builds authority for a law firm and increases a website’s visibility. A blog is an effective component of content marketing that increases client loyalty and influences the decisions of potential clients when they are searching for a legal firm to represent them.
Call Answering and 24/7 Web Chat Services
FindLaw offers an interactive voice response system along with live telephone operators and live chat on a 24 hours, seven days per week basis to make sure attorneys never miss a client contact, whether they are available or not.
Premium Directory Profile Listing and Spotlight Listing – Starts at $158 per month
Lead Generation – Leads are $10 to $100 per lead depending on the practice area.
PPC campaign management depends on the advertising spend.
Customized services are quoted on a per client basis.
The FindLaw legal directory is used by many consumers to find an attorney. Of the visitors to FindLaw, 68% make a decision about the attorney to hire within one week and most only contact a single legal firm. FindLaw offers the most comprehensive services for integrated marketing of any lead generation company.
Lawyer.com has a similar name to Lawyers.com but is a different company. Lawyer.com has over one million monthly visitors to its website. This system is unique in that it offers leads for attorneys in the USA, Canada, the UK, China, India, and other countries. It is a good system for international law firms.
The Lawyer.com website offers free legal advice and content. The website markets a legal protection plan to consumers that starts at $14.99 per month for free legal consultation and discounts on legal fees from participating attorneys. There is a directory of attorneys and advertising opportunities that create leads for lawyers.
Lindsay Lohan is the celebrity spokesperson for Lawyer.com. Lohan is a part owner of the company. She brings attention to the website from her 20+ million followers on social media. Having been through plenty of legal difficulties in her personal life, she now supports drug abuse causes and women’s rights as well as promotes the availability of affordable legal services.
Legal Directory Listing
Lawyer.com gets information for its directory from other legal services and that forms the basic listings of attorneys in a specific area. There is no way to register for a free listing. Attorneys can register for a premium listing and then pay an additional amount to be included in the top practice listings as a county authority or as a statewide authority. There is no long-term contract and the company offers a 90-day money back guarantee.
Directory information is easy to update by a law firm or they can choose to have a staff member of Lawyer.com update the information for them.
Custom LawSite Website
Lawyer.com offers the LawSite system that builds custom websites for attorneys, which includes design, hosting, and editing using the best practices for SEO and website features.
The Jumpstart plan includes a Premium profile along with a Top Firm listing. Also included is a LawSite custom-designed website that is indexed by Google, which includes integration with Google Maps and Google Analytics. The LawSite supports unlimited amounts of content with an existing domain or a newly registered domain. All Jumpstart members receive a custom logo created for the law practice and 500 business cards along with the graphics needed for future use.
Included in the Jumpstart package is CaseFox case management software, FastCase legal research software, and free attendance at a two-day Barbri Boot Camp for professional development.
A website evaluation includes comprehensive technology and browser tests. A recommendation is made for optimized placement of contact forms. Image sizes are evaluated. The website is tested for ease of use on mobile devices. Web page loading speed is tested. Recommendations are made for the inbound and outbound hyperlink strategy. Guidance is given for social media platforms. SEO tips are noted to increase traffic from Google searches along with a full Google Analytics implementation.
Google AdWords Review
A Google AdWords review helps fine-tune an AdWords campaign to remove negative keywords that are a wasteful spend. It helps optimize location and time of day settings. It maximizes the use of search and display advertising content and options. An analysis is made of the loading speed for landing pages, the content, calls-to-action, and the conversion rates.
Keyword quality is scored along with ad-copy ratings. A study is made of competitor’s AdWords. Recommendations are made for campaign extensions including localization and reviews. Google Analytics are used along with conversion tracking scripts for benchmark testing.
Google AdWords Campaign Management
Google AdWords campaign management includes a Google Adwords review and ongoing monthly management of a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign.
LawyerLine™ Call Answering Services
This service provides 24/7 answering of incoming calls by intake specialists who are skilled at converting information requests to clients.
Local Expert Profile – $149 per month
Profile and County Leader Advertisement – $349 per month
Statewide Authority Package – starts at $999 per month
Custom LawSite – $99 per month
Jumpstart Plan – $499 per month
Website Evaluation – $599 flat fee
Google AdWords Review – One-time Fee of $599
Google AdWords Campaign Management – $99 per month
LawyerLine™ call answering services – starts at $99 per month (custom setup $99 to $399)
The Lawyer.com system works well for law practices that focus on consumers with common legal needs and offers reasonably-priced practical solutions for smaller law firms or solo practitioners.
Lawyers.com is part of Martindale-Hubble Legal Network that includes the websites of Martindale.com, Avvo.com, Nolo.com, and TotalAttorneys.com. It is not affiliated with Lawyer.com that has a similar name.
Martindale-Hubbell has a 150 year history in rating attorneys. This system evolved from being a written directory to an online service. This system offers over one million lawyer reviews that help consumers evaluate a lawyer’s ability and ethical behavior.
Over 23 million consumers search for attorneys on the Martindale-Hubble Network each month according to practice area and location. Having a professional profile listing on this system increases traffic to a law firm’s website. Links from this system to a law firm’s website increase the SEO value and help improve rankings on the search engines.
The Martindale-Hubble network built more than 40,000 websites for law firms. Website packages are available in four levels of complexity called bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.
The bronze package includes standard web pages to introduce the law firm with background, practice, and location information. It also includes a FAQ page, reviews page, and an awards page. Up to 15 pages of website content can be ported over from an existing website. A library of legal content for each practice area is included. A profile on Lawyers.com is included along with a social media starter kit that has curated articles for use on social media.
The silver package adds to the bronze package by allowing up to 50 pages to be ported over from an existing website. It adds two custom pages at launch and one new custom page each year to keep the site updated.
The gold package adds to the silver package by allowing up to 75 pages to be ported over from an existing website. It adds a top state placement on Laywers.com. It adds the feature of online reviews from across the web and generates more Google reviews. It adds comprehensive SEO services, star ratings on Google, backlinks, listings in other legal directories, one legal video for YouTube promotion, and an SEO dashboard to track website conversion and traffic.
The platinum package adds to the gold package by allowing up to 100 pages to be ported over from an existing website. It adds five custom pages at launch and three new custom pages each year to keep the site updated. It adds top placements on Lawyers.com. It adds 12 legal videos for YouTube promotion.
Lead generation is available for all practice areas and locations.
Live Chat Services
Lawyers.com offers Ngage Live Chat services on a pay-for-performance model. Attorneys pay for leads that are generated. There is a one-time fee for activation and integration of the chat service with a website. Options include live call transfers, notification of leads by email or SMS messaging, Spanish language chat, and Facebook Messenger chat.
Directory listings start at around $100 to $300 per month. Website design costs are quoted upon request. Lead generation through enquiries or chat range from $10 to $100+ per lead depending on the practice area and the location.
This system does not have transparent, published pricing. To get a quote requires engaging a high-pressure salesperson that tries to lock a law firm into a long-term contract for a minimum of 12 months. Although many law firms have used this system, it is considered pricey.
Attorneys who are only looking for lead generation and not a website may find it more effective to work with the other websites owned by the Martindale company such as Nolo.com or Avvo.com rather than trying to work with the main company through lawyers.com.
LegalMatch started in 1999 as a free service for consumers to use to find an attorney. Users of the website post information about their case. They are matched by the system to an appropriate attorney in the area of law needed and in a nearby location so that they can make an appointment for an initial consultation.
More than three million cases have been posted on the system. LegalMatch also offers a free legal library that contains over 7,000 articles. The library received a total of over 25 million page views so far.
Detailed Case Intake
LegalMatch differs significantly from other lead generation services. Users of the system who seek legal counsel give detailed intake information about their case. Attorneys, who are members of the system, review the potential cases and select only the ones that they think have the most potential for becoming a new client.
Intake questionnaires are designed by attorneys to gather the pertinent information that allows rapid case evaluation by members of the system.
Leads are not sold on a per-lead basis in this system. Instead, law firms join as a member and pay a monthly fee on a long-term contract of three years. The cost of a membership in the LegalMatch system depends on the practice area and location. It is estimated to range on average from $350 per month to $2,500 per month. In some big cities, the price increases to over $6,000 per month.
Some law firms benefit from this system even though it is pricey because the cases are pre-qualified. However, the long-term contract commitment of three years is intimidating. Moreover, there is competition within the system as more than one law firm from the same area gets to see the same case leads that are entered into the LegalMatch system.
LegalZoom started in 2010. It is a consumer-focused, self-help legal website that assists users with basic legal forms such as simple contracts and business documents. It also offers legal services as monthly subscription plans that give access to member attorneys. These plans offer help with more complex legal matters than those that can be accomplished by do-it-yourself efforts.
The monthly plans for legal services offered by LegalZoom are called “Legal Advantage Plus” for individuals and “Business Advantage Pro” for small businesses.
Attorneys interested in the Legal Zoom system must have at least five year’s experience, be active and in good standing with their state bar association, not have any history of disciplinary actions with state regulators, and maintain errors and omission insurance with a minimum of $100,00 per occurrence and a minimum of a total coverage limit of at least $300,000.
Attorneys who join the network of LegalZoom agree to give free 30-minute consultations to LegalZoom members in exchange for a small portion of the legal plan subscription fees.
Lawyers who are not members of the LegalZoom network can register for a listing in the LegalZoom directory to get referrals of LegalZoom members who need legal services that are not within the scope of the LegalZoom plans. These attorneys must offer LegalZoom members a 25% discount from their regular rate for legal services except for cases subject to statutory limits or cases taken on a contingency basis.
There is no cost for an attorney to join the LegalZoom network or for a listing in the LegalZoom directory except for the requirement to discount legal fees by 25% for any legal services not covered by the LegalZoom plans.
For attorneys who work with general consumers and small businesses, LegalZoom offers an excellent opportunity to get more clients without taking any financial risk.
Nolo started in the 1971. It was developed by a group of attorneys in Berkeley, California. They wanted to help make the U.S. legal system more accessible to regular people who may not have the ability to pay significant amounts for legal representation.
Nolo is a publishing house that produces a large number of self-help legal guides that make common legal issues understandable. Nolo offers help with personal legal forms and legal forms used by small businesses.
Besides the main website of Nolo.com the company also produces the topical websites, which include:
Many millions of web users visit Nolo websites each month. Over 100,000 want to speak directly to an attorney, making this system a good source of leads for lawyers.
In 2011, the Nolo websites became a part of the Martindale Legal Network, which also owns other popular legal websites such as Martindale.com, Avvo.com, Lawyers.com, and TotalAttorneys.com.
Nolo is part of the Martindale Legal Network that publishes a comprehensive legal directory for all of its websites.
Attorney Profile Promotion
Many searches on the major search engines looking for legal self-help information produce results from the Nolo law library. Each of the Nolo articles displays profiles of attorneys that practice in the related area of law and from a nearby location relevant to the web user.
Nolo Lead Generation
Nolo offers a specific opportunity for attorneys to purchase leads that come from an attorney request form on the home pages of its websites. Web visitors, who are looking for an attorney, fill out the Nolo web form. They provide their contact information and some information about their legal case.
Attorneys, who are registered members of Nolo, are offered these leads on either an exclusive basis or on a shared basis (where the leads are also given to other Nolo member attorneys at the same time).
Directory listings in the Martindale Legal Network directory start at about $200 per month. The price of lawyer profile promotion and direct leads from the Nolo websites depends on the practice area, the location, and whether the lead is sold on an exclusive basis or if it is also shared with other attorneys. The costs per lead are $10 to $100+.
Nolo is an excellent source for leads if an attorney’s practice focuses on legal work for general consumers or small business owners. Exclusive leads are very likely to convert into new clients; however, these leads are more expensive.
Thumbtack is a geo-location service for all businesses, not just law firms. Attorneys should use this service to attract clients from the local area near their offices.
Consumers go to Thumbtack to enter the information about a job request for services. This creates a lead within the Thumbtack system that is offered to Thumbtack members who meet the requirements of the job request in terms of the area of legal practice and geographical location.
Listings for attorneys on Thumbtack are free. With promotion turned off, an attorney will get fewer leads and pays the full price for any leads that they wish to reply to, according to the price that the lead is offered for sale.
With promotion turned on, an attorney gets a boost in the Thumbtack search results and thereby gets more leads. Payment for these leads is automatic, whether or not a response is made. These leads are charged at a 20% discount from the full price.
As long as the Thumbtack account has a funding mechanism in place, promotion can easily be turned on and off when an attorney is looking for more leads.
With promotion turned on, there is a special feature available called “instant match.” With instant match turned on, Thumbtack members create a profile of the types of clients and work that they want.
Thumbtack members who pay for the instant match system, set their job preferences, prices, and availability. These settings can be changed at any time. The Thumbtack system matches up job requests with the appropriate Thumbtack members. If the user then responds and makes a request for work; the Thumbtack members pays for the lead.
The cost per lead on the Thumbtack system is determined by the price that the local market will pay for the leads. Thumbtack uses an algorithm to set these prices that makes a calculation of the value of the leads to the Thumbtack members. All Thumbtack members get to see some of the leads that are available and can make a decision based on the price per specific lead whether they want to reply or not.
All attorneys should register for a free Thumbtack account just to get an idea of the types of leads that come through this system. Most attorneys who work with general consumers and small businesses will likely benefit from paying for leads that come through the Thumbtack system, since they are pre-qualified. The Thumbtack users are highly likely to be looking for a service provider.
Unbundled Attorney started in 2015. The system works with attorneys that offer legal representation on a flat-fee basis that has a limited scope and is defined by discrete tasks. This style of legal services differs significantly from the traditional way attorneys charge per hour of their professional time.
Many clients prefer this approach because unbundled legal expenses are more manageable and predictable. There is a significant trend towards more self-help law, do-it-yourself legal forms or flings, and using attorneys less for common legal needs.
Unbundled Attorney addresses these trends with a new way to market the legal services of attorney on an as-needed basis. Unbundled Attorney also conveniently integrates the popular CRM software system called Lexicatathat helps attorneys with case management.
Clients who cannot afford to pay a large retainer to engage the help of an attorney are attracted to unbundled legal services because they are more affordable. Attorneys generate predictable business using this marketing methodology and may also offer payment plans, which make it easier for clients to pay for legal services.
Here are some examples of the typical amounts received by attorneys that offer unbundled legal services:
- Write a letter or make a professional phone call: $150 to $300
- Case research, advice, and coaching: $250 to $500
- Document review: $250 to $500
- Document preparation: $500 to $750
- Limited scope representation with court appearances: $1,000 to $1,500
Unbundled Attorney does an excellent job of pre-qualifying leads through client education and informing them of the legal costs that they can expect for unbundled legal services. Leads generated from this system are exclusive. They are only sold to a single qualified attorney in the proper practice area of law and in a nearby location for which the client needs help.
The pre-qualification and exclusivity of the leads results in conversion rates that are very high. Attorneys can feel confident in responding to the leads that they receive through this system because they will very likely become paying clients.
There are no long-term contract commitments for Unbundled Attorney. The lead cost varies depending on the practice area and location of the law firm. It ranges from $50 to $100 per lead.
For attorneys that can organize their work for clients in ways that can be clearly limited in scope and easily defined for a flat-fee pricing structure, Unbundled Attorney is an excellent system to use for lead generation.
All attorneys benefit from using lead generation systems that are cost effective. Many law firms use more than one system effectively. Exercise caution when asked to make a long-term contractual commitment. In general, the systems that do not try to lock up law firms in long-term contracts have higher quality leads that are better priced.
With any advertising and marketing methods used, it is important to track conversion results and determine the acquisition costs to compare this with the value to the law firm for new clients. Not all lead generation systems work well for all types of legal practices. It is important to test each system that seems appropriate by allowing a sufficient budget and enough time to have a reasonable test. After sufficient testing, it is easier to concentrate funds on the systems that work the best for a specific law firm.
Digital Logic is a Law Firm Web Design and Internet Marketing company based in Shreveport, LA.