Giving Your Small Law Practice a Big Presence

Every area has that one law firm that seems to eat up all of the clients in a certain area. You know the one- they have commercials that seem to run constantly during afternoon TV shows, the lead partner smiles from local billboards, and they have a slick legal website that seems to snap up clients long before you can even reach them.

Marketing your law practice in the face of this kind of competition can be a frustrating proposition, but thanks to the internet, there are ways to reach out to customers long before the giant firm even knows that they exist.

If your firm is facing this kind of competition, the following are a few tips that may just help you take on the big guy- and win.

The first thing you need to do is become an expert in whatever field you work in. Your website, specifically, your blog, will provide the tool for doing this. Focus on creating relevant, keyword rich legal content that focuses specifically and narrowly on your field of law and your geographic area.

Before they ever pick up the phone, your clients are searching online for information about their case, and providing that information is the best way to build your reputation as an expert in their field. Spend lots of blog space focusing on the common problems that your clients face, and give them realistic advice on how to solve those problems.

You may even want to hint at the fact that big firms simply want to sell them on an expensive one-size-fits-all solution that won’t help them get what they really need. Show them that you are not only an expert, but also someone who is willing to help people who are in a tricky situation.

The next step is to go to where your customers are. There are many forums that focus on legal issues, and there are many active members on these sites that post legal questions and conundrums that they need help solving. Your goal should be to spend time in these forums reaching out to people who have the problem that you want to help them solve.

For example, try searching for a specific legal area and the word forum (divorce forum, bankruptcy forum, estate law forum, etc). Sign up to become a member of the site, but be careful about how you post. Don’t promote yourself (although you can and should mention that you are an attorney), don’t talk badly about other firms, and keep posts professional.

Before your first post, be sure to fill out your profile on the site fully- including a link to your website and/or your email, to make it easy for potential clients to find you.

Then, post advice in areas where you will be useful, and use the questions asked by users as a way to come up with blog posts.

Finally, don’t underestimate the value of creating reading material for your potential clients, but be smart in where you place information. While writing for legal journals is great for your reputation, customers aren’t reading legal journals. Write articles for local magazines, offer helpful advice that can be placed in newsletters or on sites that aren’t necessarily legal in nature but which will be read by your clients.

The bottom line is that when you are a smaller firm, you need to be creative to bring in clients, but it is possible to take on the giant firms and win if you are willing to find your customers before they know they need you.

Law Firm Logos – Making the Right Impression

For a long time, law firms generally went completely without a logo. Most firms simply created some nice looking letterhead featuring the names of partners, or even created some sort of simple design using office software.

While that may have worked before the invention of the internet, today’s firms are spending more and more time and resources in an effort to brand themselves. If you have a law firm logo- or even if you don’t- what does your logo say about your firm? If you haven’t designed a logo or you haven’t revised the design of your logo in a long time, now is the time to ask yourself what your logo says about you.

When you think about popular logos, they all say something about the company they represent. Think of the Starbucks logo, with the stylized bohemian woman who represents the company. Or the Nike “swoosh” that embodies the sleek, fast performance that the company promotes. Or even the Wendy’s girl, with the big smile and burger that brings to mind an old-fashioned burger joint.

Your logo shouldn’t be the most important representation of your company- that honor belongs to the reputation you build- but your logo should create a visual representation of who you are and what you do that you customers will instantly associate with your firm.

Law Firm Logos

A logo, whether for a law firm or any other business, is a visual representation of your brand and where you belong in the larger marketplace. It should give anyone who sees it an idea about who you are and what your firm is about. Some symbols of the legal profession are perennial, and can be incorporated into any design to help convey the idea that you are a legal firm- the scales of justice, lady justice, or a gavel are all simple parts that can be included in your logo. But you shouldn’t rely on these old standbys, because they won’t distinguish you from your competition.

To start designing a vision for your law firm logo, try this:

Grab a piece of paper, and write down things that represent what your practice does. If you represent people in traffic and driving cases, anything from cars and keys to road signs and streets could be appropriate. If you are an environmental firm, consider symbols such as leaves, trees, or anything else that represents a cleaner world. The options are endless, just grab at the obvious and less obvious concepts that represent your firm.

Next, you will want to leave the true design work to a professional. There are a number of ways to do this, including sites that allow you to hire a graphic designer to create samples for you and sites that make designing law firm logos into a contest of sorts to provide you with multiple options. You can also hire a local graphic designer or firm to complete the work for you. In either case, the results will likely vary based on how clearly you are able to communicate your vision for the finished product. No matter who you choose to do the work, remember that your logo will become associated with your practice, so perfection is a must. You should find a balance between professionalism and simplicity that your customers can identify with.

Once your logo is created, you will want to begin looking at it as an advertising tool. Include it on business cards, add it to your lawyer website, and even include it on the letterhead of your law firm stationary. If the old saying about a picture being worth a thousand words is true, a logo says more about your company than virtually any other advertising tool ever will.

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