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  • Martindale-Hubbell Congratulates Our New AV Preeminent Peer Rated Attorneys 8/20/18


    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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  • OUTSOURCING INTAKE PART 2: OTHER OUTSOURCING SERVICES AVAILABLE


    VIRTUAL RECEPTIONIST OR PHONE ANSWERING SERVICE As you get more client leads, answering the phone takes up a good amount of your time.  You don’t want calls going to voicemail because that will equal lost business. A virtual receptionist or a professional phone service will answer calls, take messages, live transfer calls for you on a 24/7 basis. Giant call centers are often structured to handle only simple, high volume traffic. For customized call screening and legal intake, you may be better served by a midsized boutique service tailored to the specific requirements of the lawyers and your firm. If you are a smaller firm, you can hire an assistant for answering phones and taking messages when you are out of the office for an extended period, so you never miss a client call.    Some benefits of a phone service:

    • Your calls can be answered by a live operator.
    • Your clients can be greeted according to your specifications
    • Your message can be delivered according to whatever method you choose
    HIRING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT A virtual assistant (VA) is an administrative resource that can assist you with specific office duties (either part-time or full-time) that are completed over the internet.   Some of the tasks a virtual assistant could assist your firm with include the following: Email Virtual assistants can help you with inbox management, such as sorting and organizing your inbox.   They will be able to prioritize your emails so you can answer the most important ones first. They can also email current and prospective clients to set up appointments and answer requests for information. Manage Your Calendar Your virtual assistant can book appointments, set up client meetings and re-arrange your schedule for you, which saves time from e-mailing a client back and forth to set up appointments.   Bookkeeping An assistant could save you time and money by handling your bookkeeping responsibilities, such as paying bills, invoicing clients, keeping track of accounts payable and receivables, bank reconciliation, as well as setting up accounts and payment reminders for bills. Transcription If you take handwritten notes, you can scan them and send them to your virtual assistant for transcription.  Your assistant can send them back to you or save into a client’s folder on your computer. Social Media Marketing VAs can assist your firm with setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts, or if you already have social media pages, they can manage your accounts for you. Booking Travel Instead of spending hours researching the best rates for hotels and flights, you can leave those details for a virtual assistant to handle. FREELANCE CONTRACTORS Freelance contractors are often used for non-legal services, such as website design and development, SEO, writing legal content for blogs and the websites.  There are also online platforms, like Upwork, that will help you get in contact with freelance writers, web designers, or SEO experts that you can hire on a short-term basis for project work. LIVE CHAT When a visitor comes to the site, a live chat window appears and the operator greets the visitor, interacts with the potential client to gain information about their legal situation.    In turn, the operator summarizes the conversation with a transcript and connects the visitor with your legal team.

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  • Martindale-Hubbell Congratulates Our New AV Preeminent Peer Rated Attorneys 8/13/18


    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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  • OUTSOURCING INTAKE PART 1: WHY OUTSOURCE INTAKE?


    As an attorney, you need to spend your valuable time helping clients and on billable activities.  Most law practices have more legal cases to process than they can handle.  Most firms are not able to meet the deadlines and as a result, the cases get delayed. To compensate for the lack of resources, it is in the best interest of your law firm to outsource work. By hiring an outside resource, you will be able to better organize your responsibilities by focusing more on selected cases and catering to the needs of your clients faster. By outsourcing, you can also dedicate the administrative staff in your firm to other tasks such as office assistance or training. Some law firms do a little of each by utilizing internal staff during the day and handling any overflow and after-hour intakes by outsourcing them to others. Another good reason to hire outsourcing services is the cost savings that it will add to your firm.  Outsourcing legal processes can allow a law firm to achieve as much as 30% to 80% in cost reduction savings. If you are hesitant upon hiring an outside resource, here are some questions to consider:

    • How much do your attorneys charge per hour?
    • How many billable hours are you losing by handling administrative tasks on your own?
    • How much would it cost to hire an outsourcing service to do these tasks?
    • What is the difference between potential earnings by attorneys and the cost of outsourcing?
    Being able to outsource work gives you the chance for your law firm to grow its business.  This allows you to focus most of your time bringing in clients and working on cases, and considerably less time on the administrative functions. Since working with clients is what really drives your business forward, it’s cost beneficial to spend most of your energy on getting billable hours instead of wasting time on tasks that could be handled by someone else.

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  • Martindale-Hubbell Congratulates Our New AV Preeminent Peer Rated Attorneys 8/6/18


    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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  • A Visitor’s Experience When They Visit a Site With (and Without) Live Chat


    Savvy marketers understand that user behavior on websites often dictates the number and quality of leads they receive. They also understand that it is essential that they present the most welcoming and easy-to-use experience for every person who visits their website. If conversions are important to you, incorporating live chat can significantly enhance your visitor’s experience, and hopefully increase the number of leads you receive. When a visitor lands on a website without live chat, they are left with a few interaction options. They can read content on the pages, examine practice areas, and may be offered a phone number to call and likely a contact form to fill out. While these options are helpful, they may not be ideal for clients who want to remain anonymous until they are comfortable with disclosing details about themselves. These options also may not be feasible for people who are at work and are not able to make a phone call or people who need immediate assistance. In these cases, the visitor to your site may land on a page and may choose to leave without contacting your firm because they couldn’t get the assistance or answers they were looking for. However, when a visitor lands on a site with live chat the experience differs significantly. If they are merely there to review the site and learn more about the firm and its practice areas, they can ignore the chat feature. If they are looking for real-time interaction and an option to discuss the specifics of their case without divulging information about themselves, they can utilize the live-chat feature to explain their situation and only give personal information when they are comfortable doing so. It allows the visitor to interact in real-time, ask questions, and tell the chat operator about their issue, building trust and letting them connect with your firm before ever speaking with an attorney. Ultimately the goal of your site should be to establish your firm’s brand on the web, provide helpful information to visitors, and most importantly convert visitors with valid claims into viable leads that ultimately turn into paying clients. By incorporating live chat on your site, you are able to connect with your visitors in a way that a phone call and contact form cannot.

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  • Martindale-Hubbell Congratulates Our New AV Preeminent Peer Rated Attorneys 7/30/18


    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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  • Not All Backlinks are Created Equal: How and Why to Avoid Bad Backlinks


    As we discussed in our previous post, high quality backlinks to your website drive visibility, referral traffic and authority.  Poor quality backlinks can have the opposite effect. Evaluate the websites where your URL appears. Do they look sketchy or not authoritative?  Are they providing a value or service to the web or does it just appear to be a collection of links. Make sure to only put your link on websites that seem trustworthy and will provide real, valuable traffic to your firm’s site. Backlinks also should be added naturally to your site. By this we mean that adding links too quickly may set off a warning for Google. Did your website go from having five backlinks to over 500 in a few days? This isn’t natural behavior online and could signal suspicious activity.  Services may offer to sell you links, but don’t be tempted. These links are often poor quality and the volume looks unnatural to Google. You are better off hand-curating your backlink profile to make sure you only have relevant, authoritative links from quality sites. Google offers a tool through its search console to help firms monitor their site’s backlinks. You can view all of the backlinks to your site and determine whether or not they are the type of links you want. If you find links that are poor quality, Google allows you to “disavow” them by using this Disavow Tool. It will ask you to submit a .csv of the backlinks you no longer want and will remove them from your backlink profile. Retain this handy checklist for creating quality backlinks:

    • Seek Natural, Permanent Links:  It's important to acquire permanent links that will not only help your SEO, but will also drive potential clients to your site.
    • Put Your Firm on the Best Directories – Make sure you sign your law firm up for the best legal directories and that your firm information is accurate.
    • Get Social Media Links – Your firm’s social profiles should link to your site. It is also handy if the attorneys and support staff in your firm add your business to their profiles.
    • Be Consistent with Your NAP –  Your Name, Address and Phone (NAP) should be the same on all online firm profiles. You should also make sure your firm is the proper category in each directory. Your NAP information, verified citations, and reviews affect how you appear in searches.
    • Check for Backlink Quality – Do not purchase links, rent links, or obtain low-quality links. Sites that link to your firm should always be high quality, and they should have a reason to link back to your website.
    • Disavow Bad Links –  It is crucial to send disavow requests for bad backlinks. The disavow tool lets you ask Google to discount low-quality backlinks that direct back to your site.

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  • Martindale-Hubbell Congratulates Our New AV Preeminent Peer Rated Attorneys 7/23/18


    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.

    Read More
  • How Proper Phone Etiquette Adds Value to Your Firm


    Potential clients have one thing in common;  they are not aware of the quality of your legal work.  They do not have the background to judge the strengths of your oral arguments or the written briefs or the way your attorneys present themselves in court.    All they know about your law firm and your legal team is how you treat them. It is your responsibility to make them feel respected and make them feel that their legal issues are a high priority for you and your staff.  When their phone calls are handled promptly and efficiently, it adds value to your firm. As a law firm, what do you get in return?  A free way to market your firm and gain more business. It is estimated that 72 percent of potential clients only consider one law firm during their search process.  This translates to the fact that an initial phone call is probably your only opportunity convert the lead to a client. If you aren't caring for your callers correctly, they will contact another firm. Most clients are also motivated by emotion and not logic. So, it is essential that your staff is responsive to their needs.  Show them that your law firm is interested in helping them with their case. Potential for Referrals Even if the person doesn't end up hiring you, if you have treated them with respect and kindness, it will go a long way.  The caller can end up referring you to another person. Some firms gained a valuable referral by word of mouth from another client.   Leaving all callers with the best impression possible is important. Cooperative Clients The criminal or civil legal processes are completely unknown to potential clients.  They have no idea what to expect regarding resolving their case. If you have handled their questions adequately and efficiently during the intake process, they will feel more comfortable with your attorneys and staff handling their case.   They may be quick to respond to requests from your staff, such as documentation or medical records, which will make your job a whole lot easier. Set Yourself Apart from the Competition Due to market saturation, it is difficult for attorneys to differentiate themselves from one another.  Outstanding customer service and the desire to do right by the client sets your firm apart from the competition.  When you show professionalism and dedication from the intake process to resolution of the case, it will draw in more business to the firm. The Benefits of Hiring Good Phone Staff There is always an upfront cost of hiring a dedicated phone staff regarding training, benefits, and salary.   Some law firms might view these expenses as an unnecessary cost but seeing it that way ignores the potential revenue-generating income of the legal team. The phone intake staff should also focus on getting leads and closing sales.  By using their attentive listening skills and powers of persuasion, your staff is selling your law firm's services and strengths over the phone. A single person trained in phone etiquette and intake could end up generating more revenue for the firm.  Even the cases you don't take on may become referral sources because of how the staff treated them. Proper phone etiquette is a necessity for marketing your law practice.  It is essential that your intake staff is up to the challenge. If you have excellent phone intake staff working for you, it could pay off in more dollars for your law firm and marketing opportunities for your business.

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