Whether you know it or not, the legal marketing landscape is shifting below your feet if you are a B2C attorney. The evidence for this can be found in these recent developments:
On August 8, the ABA announced that it is launching a pilot program in partnership with online legal services provider Rocket Lawyer in an attempt to reach what the ABA calls a “horribly underserved market” -- i.e., consumers and small business owners who otherwise would not be using an attorney. For this pilot program, ABA members in select states will provide legal services through Rocket Lawyer and report back their experiences.
Also in early August, Martindale-Hubbell relaunched as MartindaleNolo.com, a new website that offers lead generation, directory listings and web hosting solutions for attorneys. The site’s goal is to “help law firms expand their practices through online channels.”
In addition, a recent ABA Journal blog highlighted the fact that LegalZoom’s recent victories in several state courts on UPL charges is clearing the way for future growth for that online legal services provider.
The ABA pilot program demonstrates what consumers have been trying to tell the legal profession for years: they want choices and they are going online to find them.
Two years ago, a LexisNexis research report found that 76% of consumers use the Internet to search for an attorney. It also identified a four-stage process consumers use in their search for an attorney: gather informationabout a legal issue/case, find a lawyer, validate a lawyer and select a lawyer.
In order to be relevant (and found) today, B2C attorneys need:
A website that uses responsive design, so your content is displayed appropriately no matter what device a consumer is using (desktop, laptop, tablet, phone).
Content that is unique and highly relevant for your area of practice.
A blog that allows consumers to hear your authentic voice and establishes you as an authority in your field of practice.
Complete profiles on directory sites like Avvo, along with peer and client reviews so clients know what it’s like to work with you.
Social media participation, particularly on Facebook.
Technology and consumer preference are the powerful forces that are at the heart of the changes in the legal marketing landscape today. Ignore either at your own peril.