The legal world is highly competitive – and not just in the courtroom. I recently began marketing my criminal defense, mediation, family law, and bankruptcy services on thumbtack.com. (See listing). Since I also use Avvo.com, Facebook, Wordpress, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other forms of web-based referral marketing, I figured Thumbtack would be worth the effort. The goal, of course, is to keep my firm in the public eye, but I sometimes wonder at what point are there diminishing returns.
Advertising is a must in this day and age. There are so many lawyers competing for clients in Michigan and throughout the U.S. The economy, while allegedly on the mend, has seen big firms lay off senior and mid-level attorneys in droves; those same big firms have also stopped or delayed in hiring new attorneys. This means that there are more and more attorneys opening their own law practices and saturating the marketplace.
A competitive marketplace may seem at first glance to benefit the people in need of legal services; however, upon closer inspection, the opposite may be true. The average consumer usually doesn’t know how to measure the quality of legal representation, the price for that representation, and their own legal needs. For example, open the yellow pages to the “Attorney” section. The ads leaping off of the page were bought by those attorneys with the most advertising dollars. Those ads show descriptions like “30 years of experience”, “100 years of combined experience”, “Aggressive Representation”, “Focusing in Criminal Defense”, “A Full Service Firm”, etc. It all looks pretty good on paper, especially in large ads, but what does the average person looking for an attorney think it really means?
Some firms advertise on television trying to emphasize their reputations, snazzy 800 numbers and catch-phrases in order to set themselves apart from the masses. Some routinely advertise that they fight for the little guy or get results, but they don’t really explain what that means. Some use actors posing as clients who talk about the results obtained. Some use a name of a high-profile attorney with their firm in order to get people to call, then pass the cases on to other attorneys and/or paralegals; the high-profile attorney doesn’t even go to court unless it is a big money or high profile case. I wonder how legal consumers feel about those marketing techniques.
Other firms advertise low ball prices that are completely unrealistic just to get people to call them. But, those fees are unsustainable from a business perspective; they don’t even cover overhead, which means their own marketing is running them out of business or they get so many new clients, they can’t give every one the time and attention they deserve. I wonder how many clients would be eager to retain a firm if they knew that the firm was struggling to keep the doors open, and/or that the firm may not even have the time and resources to devote to each case that it takes in.
As I wrote previously, I recently began marketing my criminal defense, mediation, family law, and bankruptcy services on thumbtack.com. (See listing). I also use Avvo.com, Facebook, WordPress, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other forms of web-based referral marketing. If you have time, please visit my various referral sites to give me feedback. Or, respond here to let me know what kinds of things you would (or do) look for in an attorney in order to meet your legal needs.
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