Clients cannot hire you if they can’t find you.
The COVID-19 pandemic sped up the world’s digital transformation and made it even more necessary for lawyers to have a website to connect with new clients.
Yet only 75% of U.S. law firms have websites. For solo attorneys, that number dwindles to 55 to 59%.
“You need to be where your clients can find you. You need a website. Just having a LinkedIn profile is not enough,” said Jennifer McGlone, LawChamps on a recent CLE webinar, “The Post-Pandemic Law Office: What Does It Look Like?”. “Attorneys need an online presence and marketing strategy that creates awareness, traffic and trust.”
The ABA 2020 Websites & Marketing Report stated, “In 2020, not only does almost every American have a mobile device that they carry with them everywhere, but the pandemic has made them more reliant on these devices than ever for everything from getting groceries to seeing a doctor online. Without a website (that is responsive to mobile devices) many law firms will not only be at a competitive disadvantage, but they will be practically invisible.”
Per McGlone, there are 70 million individuals, families and small business owners who need legal assistance at least once per year. She said that consumers conduct Google keyword searches, use self-help forms or go it alone.
“They are not going to search by name. They are going to search by trademark attorney San Francisco or how do I get a trademark? You need to know that this is how they are looking for you,” said McGlone. “Try to create a strategy for you that is going to be in that space.”
Maxi Kozler (LawChamps) agreed that attorneys need to get their “great reputations out there” and “not be the best-kept secret in town.”
Will there be a dramatic shift in how lawyers get business post-pandemic? Most likely.
“Life is not going to go back to a very traditional face to face. What used to be a warm greeting, the referral from a friend, is now different,” said Kozler. “People’s friends are someone they now DM (direct message) with on Instagram. The relationship is now going to happen online.”
She recalled how “we have seen Amazon being a fluke selling books and CDs to a way of life for us to now a pivotal way of life that we couldn’t live without.”
Direct to consumer brands have either started or grown because of the pandemic, explained Kozler. Businesses that cannot rely on retail to sell their products have seen an increasing need to own the relationships with their customers.
LawChamps’ recent survey showed that the working world has changed and it is not going back. At least sixty-five% of respondents said they will give up or delay acquiring office space. The same number has increased the need to optimize productivity over time spent in the office. Meanwhile, seventy-three% of respondents say they are working in a hybrid or fully remote environment; a whopping eighty-eight% of respondents said they believe virtual and remote meetings are here to stay in some form.
“Virtual and remote work is here to stay,” said McGlone.
What you can do
So how do lawyers deal with that shift in client recruitment?
McGlone said that only 25% of attorneys get help with their search engine optimization, social media or pay-per-click campaigns. That number is mainly comprised of lawyers from large law firms.
She suggested that attorneys who blog or post fresh content on their practice areas are more likely to be seen and higher in Google Search results.
Googling your own name is wise to make sure that everything about you is consistent and check your reviews, advised McGlone. “Having a positive Google review from a client is likely worth more than the legal fees for the matter.”