Posted by: johnocunningham | March 31, 2014

Disruptive Technology: Two-Edged Sword for Small Law Firms

More and more consumer-focused Websites are sprouting up that promise to assist people with legal needs in search of a lawyer.

Avvo, Lawyers.com, and other sites that do this have already gained popularity among legal consumers, and now there is a new entry into the field: LawGives.com.

This site promises that only trusted, peer-vetted lawyers can respond to requests from legal consumers, and it offers to match potential legal clients and lawyers with specific qualifications for free.

For those lawyers who prefer to do their marketing over the Internet – instead of doing it at seminars, events, and breakfasts, lunches and dinners – this newer wave of technology offers a chance to meet clients without traveling from the safety of an office.

But like any other marketing tool, it takes work to learn how to use it well. Lawyers have to know how to speak to prospective clients over the Internet in a non-intimidating, succinct and friendly way. They also need to know how to give out just enough information to persuade the prospector that a lawyer is needed, but not so much that they are rendering legal advice without even getting compensated. Finally, they need to know how to frame their pitch for themselves as the right fit, and they must do so in a medium that favors brevity and simplicity – two attributes that many lawyers must cultivate.

No one marketing tool is likely to provide even a solo lawyer or small firm with “enough to eat” but disruptive technologies that allow the professional service providers to compete or even bid for the client’s business are likely to be favored by small clients, and it will be hard to ignore these technologies as they gain momentum. (For example, the LendingTree service that allows consumers to pit lenders against each other for business grew revenues by more than 50 percent in Q4 of 2013, continuing its geometric growth progression).

Lawyers who service bread and butter clients in fields such as family law, residential real estate and criminal matters can’t ignore this growing wave.

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