JDB 077: How Can a Solo Lawyer Compete with the Big Law Firms?

Untitled design (1)The numbers just don’t add up.  How can a solo attorney or a small firm really believe that they can compete with the big law firms and their big advertising budgets and in-house marketing departments?

Along time ago I was meeting with a yellow pages saleswoman (this alone should tell you how old this story is) and we were discussing this very topic – competing as a solo bankruptcy attorney against the large local law firm that filed by far the most bankruptcy cases.

The salesperson told me that the big firm’s marketing budget was over $12 million per year – spending on average more than $1 million per month on billboards, yellow pages, bus advertising, Phoenix Suns basketball sponsorship, and the list went on and on.

And there I was choking as I was told it would cost $4,000 per month for a one page ad in the yellow pages.

The question bears repeating, can the small firms even hope to compete with the larger law firms when it comes to attracting clients.

The answer is yes, you can compete, but it will take some work and altering the way you view what you have to offer as compared to your larger well-financed competition.

Here’s how…

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JDB 076: Why Your Law Firm Needs an Email Subscriber List

JDBlogger Email Marketing

For most lawyers email is the bane of their existence – I would be willing to bet good money that you have hundreds (if not thousands) of emails piled up in your inbox right now! But email can be a lawyers friend, particularly when it comes to marketing a law practice and establishing yourself as the “go-to” authority in your practice area.

In this episode of the podcast we are going to discuss why you need to create an email subscription list for your law practice, what you can do with it, and how you set it up.

What is an Email Subscription List?

An email subscription list is created when you obtain the permission from from subscribers (potential clients or current clients) that will allow you to send them periodic emails with links to your blog articles, videos, or any other content you feel would be helpful to them in their legal situation.

Why in the World Would I Need One of Those?

There are numerous reasons that having a list of email subscribers to your site would be beneficial and profitable:

  • Potential Clients – an email can be a great way to attract new business.
    • Keeps you top of mind to people who have already visited your website and trusted you enough to give you their email address.
    • Provides a less intimidating way to make contact with a lawyer and set up a consultation.
    • Allows them to regularly get updates about your legal niche that may be helpful to the in addressing their legal issue.
    • Emails are very easy for potential clients to share with family and friends thus expanding your overall reach.
  • Current Clients
    • Often receiving an email from their attorney will spur additional questions from clients that may result in additional work that was not known or overlooked by the client when the representation began.
    • Easy way for them to share what “their” attorney is doing and how it can help a friend or family member.
    • Continues to help establish you as an expert in your field.
  • Create Value in Your Law Practice and Law Firm Website
    • Valuable asset that will increase value of firm
    • Valuable asset if you ever elect to sell your website to another attorney

How Do I Set This Whole Thing Up?

The tech part of this can be a bit intimidating but truthfully it is not that difficult.  While in this episode I don’t go into all of the “nuts-and-bolts” of setting up an email collection form I am currently working on a project that will walk you through the process step-by-step.

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JDB 075: Do You Really Need an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog?

Editorial Calendar JDBlogger Lawyer

Recently as I have been reviewing my past content creation in preparation of writing my new ebook “How I Grew My Law Firm Website from Zero to 20,000+ Visitors Per Month” I realized that while I was always consistent in creating and putting out content (mostly articles on my blog) I was not organized in the way I was approaching it and there was no real strategy.  Basically I knew I needed to create content if I wanted to get any traction with Google so I wrote.  I wrote on what happened in court that day, I would write on a question a client brought up, or even about something I saw on the news that I thought my clients and potential clients might be interested in.

And while all of those areas are great for choosing topics there was no real direction.  With some hesitancy I decided that I needed to start using an editorial calendar to provide some structure to my content creation.  An editorial calendar is a great way to map out what you are really trying to do with your blog or other content creation channels and has really forced me to sit down and come up with both topics I want to write on and a self imposed deadline of when I want them to be released.

One thing that has been somewhat surprising to me is after I had mapped out the first month it really gave me some additional motivation to keep it going.  There on the calendar was progress – I was actually accomplishing something and was being intentional about it.  Not only that but it has helped me make sure I am not writing on the same topic over an over but providing content to potential clients that they will find helpful.

Resources for Creating a Content Editorial Calendar 

I looked around a bit and found that editorial calendars can be as simple or as complex as you like.  Some people use a basic Excel spreadsheet or a Google Sheet.  There are also digital online options (some of them free, some paid) that have a few more bells and whistles on them.

Some of the online versions that I read about people using were Trello, Divvy HQ, Ku Post, Central Desktop, and Work Front.


In the end I chose CoSchedule.  CoSchedule is a paid service that provides a lot more than just a calendar.  Not only does it have a slick-looking calendar that allows to drag and drop events, if you use a WordPress site it can connect with the site and you can draft content for your blog directly from the CoSchedule platform.  Further, it allows you to connect your social media profiles in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ and post to those platforms right from the calendar.

One of my favorite features is the ability to schedule social media posting into the future directly from the calendar.  This makes it easy to get an article that you wrote a while back fresh views by periodically releasing it on the various social media platforms.

Finally, it has a nice analytics feature that allows you to see how your content is being received on the various social media platforms.  Right from the calendar you can see if your article is being shared, if people are commenting on it, or if it is being retweeted on Twitter.  This can help in future decisions related to content creation and what your audience will engage with.

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JDB 074: Content Marketing – How Much, How Often?

Content Marketing JDBlogger Lawyer

A few weeks ago I sent out an email to all of the subscribers to the JDBlogger Podcast asking one question – “what is your number one question and/or problem when it comes to marketing a solo practice.”  The response was excellent and it turns out that many of us solo/small firm lawyers are struggling with the same types of issues when it comes to marketing a law practice.

In this episode I wanted to answer a question raised by Kay Van Wey, an attorney in Texas, as it relates to content marketing.  Here is question is this:

“Does writing good quality content still matter?  If so, how much, how often, etc.”.

Does Quality Content Still Matter?

Let’s break this down into three parts. First, does writing good quality content still matter?  The short answer to this is yes, and frankly I believe it matters more now than ever before.  The reason is that more and more companies and law firms are getting on board with content marketing.  Many are producing new content on a regular, if not daily, basis.

I am guessing that because you are wondering if content creation still matters this means that you have been able to secure enough work through means other than content marketing – which is not a bad thing.  If you are able to keep your office busy and pay the bills with paid advertising or a strong referral network more power to you.  However, as I discuss in this episode there are drawbacks to basing all of your law firm marketing on a paid model – namely that if you stop paying for the advertising the stream of clients will stop.

The benefit of creating quality content is that it is can be evergreen – it is always there right on your website.  Not only that it is a great way of building the vital relationships of trust.  Through your content potential clients will get to know you.  They will feel as though they know you.  And then, when they make the decision to come in and visit you in your office the selling will already have been done.  It is then just a matter of finding out how you can help and getting them to sign on the dotted line.

How Often Should I Be Creating Content?

The general belief by most is that the more content you create the better.  And there is some truth that you need to be producing quality content on a regular basis. I recently just finished an ebook entitled “How I Grew My Law Firm Website from Zero to 20,000+ Visitors per Month.”  As part of my research for this book I went back and looked at my analytics during the beginning months of my website.  As I had no visitors to the site and no clients it was imperative that I built an audience and did so pretty quickly. In conjunction with a Pay Per Click campaign I began writing articles for my blog at the pace of about five (5) per week.  Over a three month period I wrote sixty-two (62) articles!

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JDB 073: How Two Lawyers Started a Non-Profit Law Firm Right out of Law School

composite_plaza2-cropped-960x360In this episode of the JDBlogger Podcast I interview Shantelle Argyle and Daniel Spencer, co-founders of Utah’s first non-profit law firm – Open Legal Services.  Their firm is dedicated to helping clients who earn too much to qualify for free legal services but earn too little to be able to afford a traditional private firm.  The mission of Open Legal Services is to “bridge the justice gap by providing affordable legal services to low and moderate income people.”

Shantelle and Daniel share their experience on the benefits and challenges of starting and operating a non-profit law firm.  While a non-profit firm bears many of the same traits of a solo law practice there are definitely some differences, particularly as it relates to –

  • Qualifying their clients for the “low bono” law services
  • Determining hourly billing rates
  • How they keep overhead low and marketing expenses to a minimum
  • How to gain competency in new areas of the law as a young lawyer
  • How they have grown from a start up to a six lawyer firm in two years with no debt
  • How other lawyers in their community have reacted to their non-profit model
  • Their recommendations and resources if you are interested in starting a non-profit law firm in your state

Thinking of Starting Your Own Firm?

Whether you are an experienced attorney or still in law school if you are wanting to start your own law practice you will find this episode extremely helpful.  Shantelle and Daniel walk you through their process of starting a law firm right out of law school and how they have prospered by providing legal services to a segment of the community that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford legal help.  Not only is their mission noble, but you will be inspired by their approach and management of their unique law practice. This is a must listen episode for anyone even thinking of making the jump to their own practice.

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