Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Using Technology to Boost a Law Practice

Attorney Sergei Lemberg, who specializes in consumer lemon law and writes the LemonJustice Blog, is sitting in the guest blogger's chair today. Thanks Sergei!

After I graduated from law school, I went the typical route and spent five years working for a series of major law firms. Eventually, though, I reallzed that I wanted to run my own shop, be my own boss, and handle my own cases. After deciding that lemon law would be my niche, I went about the process of building my practice, a process that was helped tremendously by technology and online tools.

Although I started by subleasing an office from another lawyer, my practice is largely "virtual." I have clients from all over the country and rarely see them in person. I use VOIP for my office phone system for onsite and off-site staff, which gives the impression of everyone being under the same roof. I also take advantage of the Web-based Google Docs application for online collaboration, and share practice management software using Citrix.

But one of the most useful tools for building my practice is the Internet itself. I'm a Google AdWords advertiser, and run my AdWords ads in multiple jurisdictions to obtain a highly targeted but diverse clientele. I've also used that cornerstone of Web 2.0, blogging (and guest blogging!), to extend the reach of my practice. I've extensively optimized my website to make it more search engine friendly, and have expanded it to include genuinely useful content. As a result, I've seen my search engine rankings climb.

In today's increasingly connected world, it's easier than ever to succeed in a solo practice. By using online marketing methods and technology, office walls become much less relevant and the practice of law becomes virtually boundless.

6 comments:

Art said...

I'd prefer to have you say that VOIP gives the "feel of being under one roof" rather than "impression."

With "impression" you seem to be trying to deceive your customers (which I know you are not), as the impression is false - you are not under one roof. Since you are blogging about it, I assume you aren't trying to hide that fact.

I've always despised the "try and fool your customers into thinking you're bigger than you are" philosophy of entrepreneurism. Inc magazine is big on these sorts of lies and is why I bailed on them ages ago.

I think you should appear as much like a big company while being clear that you're as small as you are. Much more impressive, and there's no nasty surprise waiting for the customer that finds out the truth.

V-lawyer said...

Art - Thanks for your comments. I agree that being "authentic" is most important in business today. However, you may be interpreting the words "gives the impression" too literally. My reaction was that it simply creates an atmosphere of a bigger, more professional organization without any intent to mislead or deceive.

Kathleen Dillon Hunt said...

You say your practice is "virtually boundless" -- what about the unauthorized practice of law? Are you admitted in all 50 states?

V-lawyer said...

The concept of "virtually boundless" refers to the technical ability to practice law from anywhere at any time. As an attorney, I am currently admitted to practice in Massachusetts. However, if I am traveling or on vacation, I don't see any problem in my providing legal advice to clients from remote locations. And, with the advent of the Internet and new technologies, it is possible to build a national law firm, thereby recruiting attorneys admitted to practice in all 50 states, if not the world.

Roger R. Ochoa said...

Have you found success using AdWords advertiser? And why do you advertise outside of the Mass. Jurisdiction? I've started my own firm at illinoisvirtuallaw.com and have only advertised with AdWords in Illinois. Thanks.

V-lawyer said...

As a business/corporate lawyer, I tend to rely mainly on referrals from other professionals. The problem with online advertising in general is that it may attract clients outside your state. This is not an issue for lawyers associated with national firms.