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  • Martindale-Avvo


    Earlier this year, the Martindale Legal Marketing Network and Avvo joined forces to better serve the legal community. We’re excited to continue bringing together our strong history and innovative spirit under a new name: Martindale-Avvo. Our new family of brands includes Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell, Nolo and Ngage Live Chat—all market leaders that help you grow your practice through cutting-edge tools and access to proprietary information. Our commitment remains the same: making legal easier for everyone, consumers and attorneys alike. Martindale-Avvo brings you greater opportunities:

    • Access to more than 25 million consumers monthly.
    • Engagement with potential clients through forums that receive more than 70,000 questions monthly.
    • Tools designed for interaction including live chat, our leads manager app, and personalized websites.
    And that’s just the beginning. From enhanced legal forums to in-depth research, we are continually pushing forward and addressing the latest consumer needs and trends. We’ll keep you apprised of the many enhancements and new offerings we’ll have in the future, which are all designed to engage potential clients and connect them with you. Finally, while our name is new, we haven’t changed how our business operates on a day-to-day basis. You may still rely on the same people and processes you have in the past, and our teams look forward to continuing to serve you. From everyone here at Martindale-Avvo, we appreciate the opportunity to be your marketing partner and to help you achieve your firm’s growth objectives.

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  • What Prospects Look For When Searching For A Lawyer


    Just as no two attorneys are the same, neither are any two clients. Each person is going to have their own unique needs they will want to have satisfied when looking for legal counsel. To appeal to these prospects, it is essential for a lawyer to have a website that appeals to all sorts of different buyers. We have determined that there are four types of buyers that a good legal site needs to appeal to the: Competitive Buyer — These prospects are the type of people who make quick and logical decisions. Competitive buyers simply want “the best.” When visiting your website, a competitive buyer wants to know, "What separates you from your competitor?" They generally want an attorney to show what they've done to distinguish themselves as a top level attorney. For this type of client, a lawyer will want to show what they have done in the courtroom. High dollar cases can be advantageous in appealing to competitive buyers. Spontaneous Buyer — A spontaneous buyer is also quick and emotional with their decisions. They deliberately seek contact information and often look immediately for a live chat or a phone number to call. Spontaneous buyers want an immediate response, feedback, a way to contact an attorney right away. A spontaneous buyer might be in a more desperate situation than other types of buyers, so it is essential to make sure that these kinds of people have the necessary way to make that initial contact with you. In many cases, merely being there to talk to a spontaneous buyer will ultimately lead to them becoming a client. Methodical Buyer — The methodical buyer tends to be slow and logistical rather than being quick and emotional with their decisions. In other words, these buyers are going to be reviewing all the practice information and the attorneys' bios. In effect, they are seeking more of a long-term relationship with the attorney. A methodical buyer views a lawyer as more of a long-term, almost business partner rather than someone that will take care of their legal need immediately. Make sure that the information on your website contains information that conveys how often clients return to you for assistance with legal needs and make mention of the importance of relationships to your firm. Humanistic Buyer — A humanistic buyer is also slow, but they are more emotional with their decisions. Whereas the methodical buyer might pay more attention to professional qualifications, the primary focus of a humanistic buyer is going to be seeking to relate personally to the attorney. They want an attorney-client relationship on a more personal level. These buyers will respond, again, to the personal side of their life in the attorney's biography more than the decisions they have won for clients. To appeal to a humanistic buyer, you want to make sure that your website includes information about yourself that has nothing to do with the law. Talk about your pets, your hobbies, your favorite professional sports team. Humanistic buyers want to know that a lawyer is human, and too many websites fail to do that. I find that most firm websites do a great job whenever it comes to showing their success in the courtroom, whether it's dollar figures won or the number of cases they have won. They also succeed in establishing their qualifications such as the college they went to or just different recognitions that they have earned throughout the years. Where the majority of attorneys fall short is with the humanistic and spontaneous buyers. While a live chat does a good job offering the spontaneous buyer precisely what they want, firms often leave out things like their hobbies, information about their family, and things such as pictures of the attorney doing activities outside of the office such as fishing or spending time with their family. Creating a legal website that appeals to all four of these types of buyers is by no means an easy task, but it is also not impossible. When an attorney tries to approach their website from the perspective of each of these kinds of buyers, many answers seem to come rather quickly for implementing solutions or improvements. If you feel that you should be hearing more often from one of these types of buyers, you should not hesitate to take a more compelling look at your existing website and try to consider how each buyer would view it if visiting for the first time.    

    Author: Thomas Paci, Director, Ngage Live Chat

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  • Ten Things Your Legal Website Must Have To Attract Prospects


    Many attorneys spend a lot of money on their websites, investing heavily to make sure the sites are mobile optimized and feature new headshots of the lawyers. A website does not need to include bells and whistles to be effective, as animations going across the screen can ultimately be distracting and lead to lengthy load times for pages. Some of the most memorable websites that I have seen are actually very simple but do a few things that help them stand out. Here are ten areas you should make sure your legal website focuses on. Blog Updates — Lawyers often go on about the great length they have gone to update their websites, but then you look at their legal blog and see it has not been updated for six to twelve months. When you have a blog, make sure to update it regularly. A lengthy delay in recent posts may lead a website visitor to question whether you are still practicing. Strong Design and Content — The best websites are not saturated with crazy color combinations and do not have AutoPlay videos or other sounds that play automatically. The sites also are not cluttered with long copy full of legal jargon that the average person does not understand. The content is simple and in layman's terms. I have found that the best websites stick to using only two to three colors. I prefer white for the text background because it makes it easier to read and is easier on the eyes. Appeals to Multiple Kinds of Buyers — There are four types of buyers that a good legal website needs to appeal to. The first type is a competitive buyer who makes quick and logical decisions and wants an attorney to show what they have done to distinguish themselves as a top level lawyer. The second type of buyer is spontaneous and wants an immediate response, feedback, or way to contact the attorney right away. The third type of buyer is methodical and is seeking a long-term relationship. The fourth type would be a humanistic buyer who is also slow but is trying to relate personally to the attorney. Distinguish Yourself — Be creative. Many attorneys think that they distinguish themselves by including badges that say things like Top 40 Under 40, member of XYZ legal group, or a badge for their state bar association or state legal association. Almost every legal website has these things. Try not find something about your firm that is truly unique. Live Chat — The live chat is very important to the spontaneous buyer, who wants to make contact right away. The chat function can also be useful for the other three types of buyers who may not take advantage of the feature right away but could utilize it later. Live chat provides instant answers to many questions people have. Biographical Information — You should undoubtedly cover your qualifications, including your education, to prove your qualifications. Do not, however, overlook the importance of sharing additional interesting details about your life. Record of Verdicts and Settlements — Show off your success in the courtroom. Whether it is dollar figures won or the number of cases you have won, help visitors know that you get results. Guarantee — A slogan such as “We're Going to Fight for You,” “You're Our Top Priority,” or “You Don't Pay Unless We Win” helps potential clients know what to expect. Such guarantees will not necessarily distinguish yourself from competitors, but it will help people get a better idea of what to expect. Videos — I have seen criminal defense attorneys do videos that discuss frequently asked legal questions about legal subjects. These videos often show up high in YouTube search results, get a lot of views, and ultimately help with the site's organic search engine optimization (SEO) ranking on Google. Human Side — Show that you are human, not just a lawyer in the courtroom all day, every day. Let people know about your outside life, your hobbies, the sports teams you root for, the places you like to visit. I knew a Colorado attorney who was obsessed with Ford trucks and had pictures of him driving his truck around the mountains with his dog. Another one was a huge Arkansas Razorbacks fan. Even his Engage Live popup had sports logos, and everything on his website was dedicated to the Razorbacks. Keep these factors in mind when looking at your own website, and you can likely see an improvement in the interest it generates.

    Author: Thomas Paci, Director, Ngage Live Chat

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  • Marketing Your Law Firm in 2018, Part Three: Quality Control


    Making Sure Lead Generation, Follow-up, and Sign-ups Are Done Right

    *This article is the third in a three-part series in which we will examine lead tracking systems, best practices for following up with leads, and how to make sure that your intake team is handling leads correctly and professionally.   Few interactions are as critical to the client sign-up process as the initial conversations with a potential client. In an increasingly crowded legal marketplace, successful lawyers understand the importance of not only immediately making a good first impression but following up with potential clients—especially when they have yet to sign a retainer. Many larger firms are able to outsource assistance with legal intake, but solo practitioners and small firms are sometimes unable to afford such luxuries. As a result, these attorneys and firms must make certain extra efforts to ensure their legal intake processes are as productive as possible. Don't Overlook Pre-Screening Experienced lawyers know which types of cases they would like to handle, and which type(s) of clients they would ideally like to work with. For this reason, it is important to make sure numerous pre-screening measures are taken before the first in-person meeting. For example, has the prospective client ever worked with an attorney before? What was the outcome of the case? Have they spoken with other lawyers about this claim and have been turned away? If so, why was that? Beyond the specifics of their case, what is this person expecting for their case outcome? What will they be like to work with? While it isn’t possible to get all of this information from the live chats, contact forms, or initial phone calls, the intake team should try to get as full of a picture as possible as early in the process as possible. You should avoid making the pre-screening process too cumbersome, however, as lengthy questionnaires can be frustrating and could be a deterrent for potential clients to sign with you. Assign Lead Follow-Up Responsibilities While larger firms with dedicated intake departments usually have multiple staff members to follow up on leads, it is much more difficult for sole practitioners and small firms to manage lead follow-up. Wherever possible, smaller firms should still create a workflow for following up on leads. Establishing a system for tracking leads, when potential clients have been contacted, and making sure to follow up is critical. Boutique firms should have people assigned as backups if the person primarily responsible for lead-follow up is out of the office for any reason. Take Advantage of Drip Marketing   Drip marketing refers to a series of messages that a firm sends to a potential client.  Perhaps the most common form of drip marketing is a series of email campaigns introducing your firm and clearly expressing the reasons a candidate might want to hire you. With little more than a potential client's email address—and permission to contact them with marketing messages—an attorney or law firm can easily send the potential client an automated series of emails, using even the most basic email marketing platforms. Incorporate E-Signatures to Speed Up Conversion Another effective way to streamline the sign-up process for prospective clients is to use electronic signatures, or e-signatures. An e-signature provides the same legal standing as a handwritten signature so long as it adheres to the requirements of the Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA), the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) designed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). A simple e-signature is far easier for a person to complete within a matter of seconds rather than the several minutes or possibly even hours that can be involved in physically signing and scanning or faxing such documents. By making every aspect of the intake process easier for a potential client, you can increase the likelihood of them signing up with you and can start the working relationship off on the right foot. It is crucial to have the right tracking systems in place, to train your team to follow-up on leads, and to ensure quality of the process overall.

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  • Martindale-Hubbell Congratulates Our New AV Preeminent Peer Rated Attorneys 9/24/18


    Martindale-Hubbell is proud to announce that the following attorneys have achieved a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating, awarded to only those lawyers with the highest ethical standards and professional ability.

    Congratulations to:

    Only approximately 10% of attorneys have achieved this prestigious honor. For more information on Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings, visit our Ratings and Reviews page. Attorneys who are interested in starting their own peer review process can submit the form below.

    Martindale-Hubbell conducts secure online Peer Review Ratings surveys of lawyers across multiple jurisdictions and geographic locations, in similar areas of practice as the lawyer being rated. Reviewers are instructed to assess their colleagues' general ethical standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice.   The ratings help buyers of legal services identify, evaluate and select the most appropriate lawyer for a specific task at hand. The confidentiality, objectivity and complete independence of the ratings process are what has made the program a unique and credible evaluation tool for members of the legal profession.  The legal community values the accuracy of lawyer peer review ratings because they are determined by their peers – the people who are best suited to assess the legal ability and professional ethics of their colleagues. Peer Review Rating award status can go up or down based on subsequent reviews. Please click on an attorney’s profile link to determine current award status.

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  • Marketing Your Law Firm in 2018, Part Two: Best Practices for Following Up on Leads


    *This article is the second in a three-part series in which we will examine lead tracking systems, best practices for following up with leads, and how to make sure that your intake team is handling leads correctly and professionally.   Whether you are a small law firm or a solo practitioner, following up on leads that you receive is the most important task you can do to gain clients and attract new business. When you have an effective lead management and response process in place, you will be able to process leads, follow up with them efficiently, and check back in on them frequently. Without an established system in place, your law firm is banking on good luck and fortune to generate more business. Your firm must have a strategy following up on leads to maximize the efficiency of the interaction and generate new business. For this reason, it is important to consider best practices when you are interacting with potential clients. The Importance of Time When you are following up on leads, time is of the essence. A prospective client is actively engaged when they reach out to you. The sooner the response, the more likely you will be to earn their business. If you wait too long to follow up on a lead, your prospective customer may decide to hire someone else.    Dedicated Staff and Services To ensure that leads are responded to in a timely manner, you need a dedicated staff in place to handle leads and for effective lead follow up.

    • Phone Lines: You must determine who will answer initial and overflow calls to keep them from going to voicemail. A receptionist that can answer phones is essential, but you will need a backup person for when the receptionist is at lunch or on another call.
    • After Hours Answering Service: While your firm likely keeps business hours, a potential client may need assistance after business hours. By hiring an answering service, you can establish first contact with a client right away.
    • Form Submissions: Any online form submissions need to have a member of your staff responding to these leads. You may need a backup and follow-up system is in place so that you don’t lose prospective clients.
    • Determine a Follow-Up Schedule: You may not reach a lead after the first contact, but with repeated attempts you may find success. It’s a good idea to have a designated follow up schedule to contact leads.
    Pre-Qualify Your Leads Scheduling a consultation for every potential client right away may be a misuse of your valuable time. Depending on your law firm’s area of practice, not every lead is the right client or a good case for you.  To ensure that you are engaging the right clientele, it may be useful to have them fill out an intake form, either online or by email, to make sure it is a good fit. Simply inform prospective clients that the intake form is the first step of the process that will help them assess their legal needs and options. This intake process will also assist you with screening out inappropriate clients. Once you have a scheduled consultation with a potential client, you will already have a better idea of what issues need to be addressed, so you can help them in a more productive manner. The Importance of Nurturing Once you have established contact, it is important to nurture your leads. You need to establish what prospective clients want or need when they call you or send a request.  The best thing to do after a call is to email them immediately with critical information that pertains to their legal matter. For example, if you are bankruptcy or divorce attorney, the client’s need may not be urgent, but you need to let the lead know that you received their inquiry and you are qualified to handle to their case.   Use an Automated Process Following up on leads is ongoing and a time-consuming process. If your law firm already has a CRM software system, such as LeadDocket or SalesForce, you already have access to email and tracking capabilities. However, if you don’t have this type of system, you’ll want to make sure that you remain in contact with prospects so that they don’t decide to look at another attorney. Automating the lead follow-up process is an important tool to keep continuous contact with leads.  Investing in software such as MailChimp or ConstantContact will help you capture information about your leads, generate email templates and assist you with scheduling these emails ahead of time. This type of software will facilitate the creation of emails and help automate the distribution and tracking of your leads. It will also provide a way to maintain and grow different lists of prospective clients. You can set up a professional introduction email and send it out to hundreds of people within 30 minutes.  This software is a great way of marketing your business without losing potential clientele. Consider an Outside Resource Sometimes it’s more efficient to let someone else do the marketing and lead generation for you.  There are outside resources available that combine marketing efforts with lead nurturing. You may need the expertise of an outside resource to accomplish lead follow up tasks that you do not have time for or feel you can’t handle due to staff constraints. The size of your law firm and what you hope to accomplish will determine the amount of marketing support that is necessary to handle leads. Managing leads is a full-time job, and it may be a job that you don’t have the time or expertise to manage on your own.

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  • Martindale-Hubbell Congratulates Our New AV Preeminent Peer Rated Attorneys 9/17/18


    Martindale-Hubbell is proud to announce that the following attorneys have achieved a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating, awarded to only those lawyers with the highest ethical standards and professional ability.

    Congratulations to:

    Only approximately 10% of attorneys have achieved this prestigious honor. For more information on Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings, visit our Ratings and Reviews page. Attorneys who are interested in starting their own peer review process can submit the form below.

    Martindale-Hubbell conducts secure online Peer Review Ratings surveys of lawyers across multiple jurisdictions and geographic locations, in similar areas of practice as the lawyer being rated. Reviewers are instructed to assess their colleagues' general ethical standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice.   The ratings help buyers of legal services identify, evaluate and select the most appropriate lawyer for a specific task at hand. The confidentiality, objectivity and complete independence of the ratings process are what has made the program a unique and credible evaluation tool for members of the legal profession.  The legal community values the accuracy of lawyer peer review ratings because they are determined by their peers – the people who are best suited to assess the legal ability and professional ethics of their colleagues. Peer Review Rating award status can go up or down based on subsequent reviews. Please click on an attorney’s profile link to determine current award status.

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  • Ways to Initiate Client Conversations


    While most attorneys understand that the first conversation with a potential client is one of the most critical steps to a successful sign-up, many approach these conversations with apprehension, nervousness, or even dread. The skills that you’ve developed in law school don’t always include sales and business development, and many lawyers would prefer to be working on their caseload than initiating conversations with clients or prospective clients. By changing your outlook and developing the skills necessary for these conversations, you can make sure that you are nurturing prospective leads through the sales process, and that communication with your existing clientele is constant. As an attorney, you always want to make clients and potential clients feel at ease and confident in your ability to represent them. These tactics will help you feel more comfortable speaking with them, whether it is your first meeting or a follow-up call. Discuss “Next Steps” with Clients and Potential Clients One easy technique is to discuss the next steps that will happen once someone retains your services. “If you want to move forward with us, our next steps will be…” allows clients to visualize their future with you without the pressure of making a decision. This approach also builds confidence in their decision, as you demonstrate that you have a plan of action that is tailored to their needs. This approach doesn’t demand an ultimatum, which is a good thing. Ultimatums put pressure on someone who’s likely already dealing with an emotional and stressful situation. Try this approach, and you will be pleased with how often clients respond when they can visualize working with you. Be Empathetic Most clients want to work with attorneys whom they connect with and who make them feel genuinely cared for. People tend to be on guard when they feel like they are being sold a service rather than listened to. When potential clients come to you, the best thing to do is have a natural conversation with them. Asking follow-up questions gives you insight into their situation and also shows that you care about what happened. Avoid talking too much about yourself and your experience. This information is essential, but there is a right time to discuss what sets you apart. First, get to know the person who called you or scheduled a consultation, and find out more about them. Ask About Their Needs Getting clients to talk about their needs shifts the focus onto them and away from yourself. When clients vocalize their needs out loud, they can begin to understand how you fit into that picture without you having to explain anything at all. However, this assumes that they have an understanding of your profession and your work—which is not always the case. If a client expresses a need for your specific services, take the opportunity to discuss how you fit into that picture. Know Your Target Audience If you’ve been practicing for a while, you likely have specific cases you prefer to handle and cases that interest you the most. By focusing on the types of cases you have had previous success with, you will feel more at ease reaching out to them and initiating the conversation. One way to zero in on these specific clients and cases is to collect data and analyze what works. Which pages on your site receive the most traffic? Which ones seem to drive the cases you like? Do people read your blog posts? Do they seem to react to certain ones more than others? Is this topic being discussed on social media, and could you join the conversation? By analyzing the data that your marketing efforts collect, and by looking to social platforms and the web to further the discussion, you could be able to spark more conversations and potentially generate more business for your firm.  

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  • Martindale-Hubbell Congratulates Our New AV Preeminent Peer Rated Attorneys 9/10/18


    Martindale-Hubbell is proud to announce that the following attorneys have achieved a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating, awarded to only those lawyers with the highest ethical standards and professional ability.

    Congratulations to:

    Only approximately 10% of attorneys have achieved this prestigious honor. For more information on Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings, visit our Ratings and Reviews page. Attorneys who are interested in starting their own peer review process can submit the form below.

    Martindale-Hubbell conducts secure online Peer Review Ratings surveys of lawyers across multiple jurisdictions and geographic locations, in similar areas of practice as the lawyer being rated. Reviewers are instructed to assess their colleagues' general ethical standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice.   The ratings help buyers of legal services identify, evaluate and select the most appropriate lawyer for a specific task at hand. The confidentiality, objectivity and complete independence of the ratings process are what has made the program a unique and credible evaluation tool for members of the legal profession.  The legal community values the accuracy of lawyer peer review ratings because they are determined by their peers – the people who are best suited to assess the legal ability and professional ethics of their colleagues. Peer Review Rating award status can go up or down based on subsequent reviews. Please click on an attorney’s profile link to determine current award status.

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  • Martindale Leads Manager Gives Attorneys a Competitive Edge


    When contacted by potential clients, a timely response is critical. In fact, 67% of legal consumers say responding to calls and emails “right away” is the most important factor when choosing a lawyer, according to 2017 research from Clio1. Martindale Leads Manager helps turn those prospects into clients by enabling you to respond quickly from anywhere. It delivers real-time leads directly to your mobile device, and it syncs directly with the Client Service Center. Try it now:     Martindale Leads Manager gives you a fully integrated view of your firm’s prospects, no matter where you are. The free mobile app for Martindale-Hubbell and Martindale-Nolo clients is available now. Features and benefits include:

    • See leads in real-time Receive real-time push notifications for new leads
    • Respond to prospects instantly Reply using text message, email, or phone call, anytime, anywhere
    • Create customized templates Create email and text message templates to expedite responses
    • Send auto-responses Respond to leads when members of your firm are unavailable
    • Keep track of every detail Full correspondence history for each prospect, viewable by all firm members
    With the complimentary app, you can see new leads, those not yet contacted, and monitor leads in progress. Responses may be sent via text message, email, or phone call, giving you and your partners an instant edge over competitors. The web-based version provides the same robust functionality. In the future, leads from Avvo and Ngage Live Chat will be added to Martindale Leads Manager, giving attorneys one central location to manage prospects generated within the Martindale Legal Marketing Network. You’ll never miss another lead!

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