Several years ago, when I was much younger, had more hair, less of a belly and two fewer children, I drafted an article about The Jacksonville Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service.
That article, written while trout fishing in Barataria Bay, focused on the most economical and efficient way to develop more business in challenging economic times. Not bragging, but it was an award-winning article.
This focus is just as relevant today. How do I let people know what I do, how I perform and that I can help them solve their problems? Strategies for developing new business are as diverse as our membership.
Some marketing staples include the principle that providing great client service will result in referrals to new clients and increased work from existing clients. So, too, will leadership and participation with community and charitable organizations.
These first two principles of marketing are ingrained in all Rogers Towers associates. This is a primary basis for my service to The Jacksonville Bar Association, so you have Charlie Towers to blame.
Other Marketing 101 ideas include preparing and presenting seminars to attract new clients, creating a strategic marketing plan and sticking to it, developing a referral network composed of other attorneys, joining The Jacksonville Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service and advertising.
Advertising has expanded incredibly in the past 10 years. Firm advertising has transformed from print to radio and on to television advertisements in my brief time practicing law.
I remember the time when Rogers Towers had the opportunity to place our firm name on the old Gulf Life building prior to the Super Bowl XXXIX. We elected to pass on the opportunity because everyone thought the public would just think the building was Roger’s Tower.
After watching that Super Bowl telecast, an event viewed by more than 100 million people, constantly pan across the river from the stadium and focus on the unnamed Riverplace Tower, I mentally noted that as a swing and a miss.
Then along came the Internet and related advertising. Social media exploded and sites like Avvo, Lawyers.com, LawGuru.com, Findlaw.com and even Legalbrains.com were formed. The list goes on.
We are told over and over you must have a LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter account or you will die like the dinosaurs. I admit I broke down and joined Linked-In but I don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account. I have not become extinct yet, but my president-elect should be aware that with the fifth baby due in March, I may be extinct very soon.
So while you may be able to get by without opening social media accounts or advertising on television – “For the People” – it is a necessity in today’s market to have a website for your firm or at minimum, some form of online presence.
A little food for thought on Internet usage: According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 78 percent of adults use the Internet, 94 percent of college-educated adults use the Internet and 97 percent of adults with a household income of $75,000 or more use the Internet. Try to think of a successful business today that does not have a website.
This is exactly where Lawyer Finder will come into play. Created by The Jacksonville Bar Association, JacksonvilleFindaLawyer.org will be the foremost online consumer resource for local lawyer and legal information.
The site features two main areas: “Find an Attorney,” featuring attorney profiles by area of law, and “Legal Tool Kit,” where consumers can research legal problems.
Our site doesn’t distract visitors with Google advertising or visually crowded pages full of confusing information.
Attorneys set up their profile page. The page is made up of five areas: types of cases, qualifications, history, “get to know me” and fees.
Along with your contact information, you may include your firm’s website address at no additional charge. However, if you are a practitioner without a website this is your platform.
You may also include up to three photos and five pages of content. Each subscription on Jacksonville Find a Lawyer allows you to be profiled in several different areas of law.
While on Lawyer Finder, consumers can narrow and compare their attorney search by area of the law, location and experience.
Attorney listings are shown in random order and change every time a consumer logs on to the site. No subscriber gets preferential placement. Each subscriber gets the same high level of exposure to new clients for the same rate.
Consumers can choose up to three attorneys to compare side-by-side by checking the white box beside each name and clicking “Compare Results Now.”
How do I sign up for Lawyer Finder and how much does it cost, you might ask. You simply visit The Jacksonville Bar Association’s website (jaxbar.org) and go to the Attorney Resource Tab at the top of the page and click on “Jacksonville Find a Lawyer.”
Alternatively, for those of you who are technically challenged, you can contact The Jacksonville Bar Association offices at (904) 399-4486 to discuss application and enrollment. This service is a member benefit. You cannot join if you are not a member of The Jacksonville Bar Association.
The monthly dues for joining Lawyer Finder are a mere $150. You may also choose to prepay $1,620 for one year, representing a 10 percent discount. There are no referral fees or extra fees to include your law firm’s website or to be featured at the top of the attorney list.
We have 12 members signed up and must reach 20 before we can launch the website.
Therefore, “Eight (more) Is Enough” to get this program started. (To be clear to my wife, by writing the prior sentence I am not insinuating that I want eight children. I am all good.)
In conclusion, The Jacksonville Bar Association’s Lawyer Finder Service is an Internet-based program that optimizes your digital platform for review by potential clients.
Similar sites offered by other voluntary bar associations have led to millions in resulting fees for services rendered. Joining The Jacksonville Bar Association’s Lawyer Finder Service is an excellent way to increase your digital platform and client intake.