Everyone wants to go with a winner, right? This sentiment is true when it comes to the legal industry. Attorneys and small law firms will do themselves a service by investing in law practice credentialing. Law firm credentials are not only accolades and awards that make you feel great about your work, but they also provide clients, peers, and businesses with insight into how well you operate.
Credentials Are Powerful
As of 2019, 84 percent of people trust online reviews and referrals as much as they would trust a referral from a close friend or family member. This number is staggering and did not change even through the COVID-19 pandemic. People are more risk-averse than ever, which means that you should give them every reason to hire you.
In law firm marketing, you can become more credible in a specific niche because of law firm credentials. However, it does take some attention and work to achieve these awards. Consistency and planning will help you obtain accolades and stand out amongst the competition with awards and credentials earned by you and your firm.
There are several ways that small law firms and attorneys can obtain credentials. From attorney ranking sites to speaking and presentations, lawyers should put themselves out there. Remember, if people do not know that you are interested in nominations, they will not know to ask you or give you credit.
Follow my tips below for credentialing resources:
Attorney Ranking Sites
Attorney ranking sites are just one of many opportunities available to attorneys who want more credentials. These sources may also help you gain greater local visibility to potential clients.
Credentialing sources that you will want to consider include:
- Avvo ratings
- Super Lawyers
- Best Lawyers in America
- Chambers USA
- Local, national, and specialty bars
- Civic leadership organizations
- Non-profit organizations
- Other niche credentialing sites
These accolades provide the social proof and legitimacy that they need to move forward with your services. Get recognized more often and stand out from the crowd by pursuing these types of credentials and awards.
It is also worth mentioning that attorney ranking and vetting sites tend to occupy the top 3 spots in search results. You should list yourself on these sites for this reason as well. Plus, it will help you obtain a large number of backlinks from highly ranked sites.
Aside from website badges and on-page listings, you can also obtain credentials through writing opportunities. After all, lawyers are excellent candidates for writing well-thought-out articles that provide value to readers regarding a specific law area. However, it is essential to remember that publication writing is different from legal writing.
Types of publications that you should consider include:
- Bar associations
- Legal groups
- Your website
- Independent interviews
In article writing, you must consider your target audience's needs and write in a way that makes sense for their knowledge, intent, publication medium, and other considerations. Consider having your work featured in a legal magazine or publication to add additional credentials to your CV or resume, and always incorporate your law firm's brand voice.
Speaking and Presentations
Speaking opportunities are another great way to get your name out there while building your list of credentials. Law firm marketing goes beyond digital efforts, making public speaking an excellent channel for your offline strategies. If you are capitalizing on writing credentials, you can easily score speaking engagements.
The speaking opportunities depend upon your specific practice area. However, you could use the following opportunities in general:
- Chamber of Commerce meetings
- Industry organizations
- College presentations
- Law school lectures
These credentialing opportunities are perfect for connecting more meaningfully with an engaged audience in real-time. They also help you become a thought leader in your practice areas. This thought leadership will enhance your efforts further.
Where many law firms fall short is the promotion of credentials after obtaining them. The award or vetting site will not do all of the work for you, which means that you need to put in some effort on your firm's part to maximize their benefits. It can be expensive and time-consuming to promote accolades and recognitions, so ensure that when promoting your credentials, you are investing efficiently. You can promote your credentials in the following ways:
- Placing badges on your website
- Updating your CV or resume
- Updating marketing materials and brochures
- Press releases
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- In-office placement
- Email marketing
There are several rules and guidelines that apply to the use of logos, slogans, and brand names that are owned by attorney credentialing, vetting, and award sites. When you win them, review independent guidelines from each publisher to ensure you are not misusing their copywritten and trademarked materials. Doing so can result in embarrassing communications or forfeiture of your award.
Final Thoughts and Considerations
Law practice credentials can provide a tremendous amount of value to lawyers and law firms. The opportunities are available. Now, you and your team just need to go out there and pursue them. Consider investigating opportunities on attorney credentialing websites, but do not forgo the opportunities available through writing and speaking gigs.
Continuously update your credentials and display them in your legal marketing materials as appropriate. Be careful not to violate the intellectual property rights of publishers when doing so. This strategy can avoid uncomfortable attorney-advertising violations.
As there are significant advantages to be gleaned from credentialing your law practice,
make sure you are not leaving any prospects on the table.