I have to confess. If I had my way I would like to go back to the Leave it to Beaver days. I liked it when the World Series was played the first week in October and I didn’t have a computer on my desk and a cell phone and PDA on my hip. Life was more simple then.
When I began practicing law clients were pretty much in the dark about lawyers and law firms. I suppose the sophisticated clients who had access to Martindale Hubbell books could do limited research and at least determine the peer ratings of lawyers and law firms they were considering. Even then, how would a client distinguish one A-V rated lawyer from another?
I always thought that when clients were left to guess which lawyer or firm would be best for them, business clients at least would tend to select larger firms, or firms from certain cities, assuming they must be better. In the 90s law firms began to create websites. At the beginning, lawyers merely copied the bio they had provided Martindale Hubbell and placed a photo on their website bio. At the beginning, clients were not any better informed than they had been before law firms created websites. Later, websites were upgraded and there came a time when lawyers could actually add links to articles they had written or presentations they had given. At that point law firms began sending email client alerts using the software that permits several hundred to go out at once. So, business clients were inundated with unwanted alerts from many law firms.
Recently, lawyers and law firms have seen the value of blogging, webinars, podcasts and using social media tools for client development. Here are some of the ways clients benefit from this advancement. Business clients can:
- More effectively and more efficiently do research on the lawyer or law firm they are considering.
- More effectively determine what the lawyer knows about the client’s industry and their business.
- More effectively determine the lawyer’s background and experience in the specific legal area of interest.
- Get a sense of the lawyer’s personality and better determine whether the client will have rapport with the lawyer.
- More readily and easily compare lawyers and law firms.
- Make determinations on whether a smaller firm or a younger lawyer can handle a matter as well as a larger firm or more senior lawyer.
- Choose what to read or review rather than receiving unwanted emails from law firms.
- Learn from the content provided by the lawyer how to avoid certain problems or what opportunities may be out there.
- Receive a legal slant on a business topic of interest.
- Engage in a discussion by providing a comment on a blog or social media page.
- Determine what others are saying about the lawyer or law firm.
- Most importantly, make a more informed decision when hiring a lawyer or law firm.
P.S. Last week I asked you whether you prefer me to post five days a week or two to three days a week. Believe it or not, the vote is equally split. Those who like me posting five days appreciate a daily reminder and idea to implement. Those who prefer two to three posts a week want fewer reminders or ideas because of the time to read them. I did not post yesterday and will not post tomorrow.