Nobody ever really wants to hire a lawyer, but the reality is that at some point you'll need to hire one. The problem is that if you've never hired an attorney, and you have no frame of reference, where do you look for one? The answer is almost always going to be to hire locally. We've written before on how to choose the best attorney for your case, but why does it matter if you hire a local San Bernardino or Riverside lawyer versus an attorney from Los Angeles or Orange County?
Here are the top 5 reasons to hire a local lawyer
There's a recent trend that's been taking place in the last few years. Law firms from LA and Orange County have been setting up "Satellite" offices in the Inland Empire so they can have a local telephone number and office address to give the impression that they're a local firm and appear in the local business section of Google, but there's usually no one there to staff it. Often times their "local" office is little more than a desk, printer and a telephone. So when you need to see your lawyer, they would have to drive in from Downtown Los Angeles or Irvine to meet you. How often do you really think that happens? Local lawyers are typically more accessible because you can drop something off at their office and leave it with their staff, stop by if you have a question or concern, or make an appointment that isn't limited to one afternoon on the only day the attorney is in town.
2) Local attorneys usually know the local judges, courtroom cadence and opposing lawyer
When you hire an attorney outside of the Inland Empire, that individual may have never met the judge they'll be appearing before, they may not know their personality, behavior, likes & dislikes or the way they run their courtroom. Local attorneys attend local mixers, conferences and social events and get the opportunity to develop a rapport with judges and other local attorneys. This should not be misconstrued as a judge favoring a local lawyer, but it's easier for an attorney to prepare and position your case if they know the personalities of the judge and the opposing attorney. Hiring an attorney who's never met the judge assigned to your case or the opposing counsel, and who doesn't know the local courtroom flow may be considered to be at a slight disadvantage.
3) Local attorneys invest, spend and hire locally
An article from Entrepreneur says "Local business owners often have incentive to support other local businesses, patronizing local establishments for both business and personal reasons." Local attorneys are your neighbors and they tend to hire local support staff, pay local taxes, shop at local stores, eat at local restaurants and hire local service providers. When you hire a lawyer from Orange County or Los Angeles, the dollars you spend supports their local community.
4) Many local attorneys are just as qualified for "big cases"
Among some people, there's a perception that you'll get a better result for your case if you hire a "Los Angeles" attorney. While it's true that Los Angeles has some of the best legal talent in the country, chances are good that your case can be equally represented by a well qualified local attorney. Furthermore, there's a chance that the hourly or fixed rate for a local attorney will be far less than a lawyer paying premium rent & overhead for a Los Angeles or Newport Beach office.
5) Reduced Out-of-Pocket Costs
When you hire an attorney the travel costs affiliated with your case are incurred and charged to you. That can include:
If you need to hire a lawyer, the best way to validate that your actually hiring locally is by verifying with the California State Bar of the address on file for an attorney. InlandEmpireLawyers.com has already done this for you by allowing only verified local attorneys to be listed within our directory. This way, you can be assured that the attorney you contact is genuinely local to San Bernardino & Riverside County.
The process of vetting an attorney is already stressful for the person who's never hired one, add fake lawyer reviews into the mix and all hell breaks loose. If you've come across this article, you've probably searched something like "how to tell if a lawyer review is fake" or similar. Chances are good you're already suspicious that some attorneys are beefing up their profiles with garbage reviews. The stakes are high for an attorney, one client gained, (or lost), from an Internet search can be worth thousands of dollars or much more. So it makes sense that if they want to be perceived in the best possible light an attorney might try to "influence" their ratings on Yelp, Google, Yahoo and the numerous other rating & review websites.
So here's how to spot the fakers:
That being said here's the lesson learned: Don't rely on one source of information when choosing an attorney. Do numerous searches, check the state Bar website for reports of unscrupulous behavior, interview more than one attorney, get a referral from a trusted friend or family member if possible and make an informed decision.
If you're looking for a lawyer in the Southern California area, here's a good resource on how to start your search, and if you'd like to research a local San Bernardino or Riverside lawyer and click to all their reviews from one spot, try our directory now.
Please comment below if there are any methods I've missed, and if you're an attorney chime in and tell us your perspective on lawyer review websites.
Chances are good that if you’re an attorney you’ve had one of the big 3 yellow page companies calling and showing up in your office trying to sell you some combination of a website, online advertising and phonebook advertising. Dex Media, Hibu and AT&T are in the hurt locker and their phonebook business is all but dead. (In fact, Dex Media recently emerged from their 3rd bankruptcy in the last 7 years in August, 2016 (*Updated May, 2017). IYP, (Internet Yellow Pages), is an industry with little growth - besides the dollars they migrate from clients ready to cancel their print ads… But that’s just robbing Peter to pay Paul. They need a growth mechanism and their only hope is online.
In their heyday, lawyer advertising was around 20% of yellow page revenue. The only way you could find a lawyer pre-Internet was in the trusty phonebook. Then around 2005, businesses started getting up and walking away from phonebook advertising, but the yellow page industry was ill-equipped to replace the print revenue with online dollars.
Below are probably the 5 best reasons you should not get involved with a yellow page company when it comes to marketing your law firm online.
*May 2017 UPDATE: There should be a #6 on this list that was an oversight which was recently brought to my attention by a subscriber.
6. Boiler plate design & content. Yellow page companies don't just recycle their phonebooks, they recycle the same website content and designs over and over again. An article from New Zealand reveals that the local YP provider just copy and pasted the same website for 3 different customers, only changing the logo and contact information. While I haven't seen this egregious degree of fraud happening in the US, after visiting numerous YP produced websites you'll immediately notice that they all have the same general layout, stock photography, generalized content and look & feel.
Hopefully you’re finding this article before signing a contract with a yellow page company and not reading this and mentally checking off all the things that happened to you. If you are in need of a website proctology exam, your best bet is to find a local attorney marketing expert if you're not sold on the idea of hiring one of the large legal marketing mills.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/f-r-a-n-k/
If you’re a consumer-based plaintiff’s attorney you’re likely already aware of the pros and cons of Yelp, maybe you love it or maybe you hate it. However, it’s undeniable that it’s probably a part of your client’s life and they're likely to use Yelp to seek reviews on everything from doctors, dentists, and restaurants to yes... even lawyers. One study suggests that Yelp is the most trusted website for attorney reviews. You can no longer ignore the power Yelp wields to the small and medium sized law firm.
Getting the Best Visibility on Yelp
There’s a few things you should do to improve your visibility and ranking on Yelp. Most of it’s obvious, but I bet there’s a couple you haven’t thought about.
What if My Law Firm Has Bad Reviews?
There’s usually no “winner” in a divorce and there’s always a criminal defense client that will think their lawyer didn’t fight the District Attorney hard enough. However, if all of your reviews have a consistent complaint then you have a problem on your hands. If your policy has changed due to complaints, let people know. Like you probably tell your clients, the worst thing you can do is ignore the problem and hope it goes away on it’s own.
Most attorneys blog for one or two reasons:
1) To position themselves as an expert on a given practice area.
2) To attract new business.
But there's a fundamental problem with the method in which most attorneys execute their blogging efforts... nobody's listening. You're wasting your time yelling into a bullhorn in a stadium filled with empty seats. At least that's how it feels.
Let me ask you a question, do you follow your dentist's blog? Why not? Your dentist has paid good money to a marketing company to fill his/her website with valuable information about root canals and Gingivitis, isn't that something you'd like to regularly read about? Unfortunately, to a consumer what a lawyer does every day is like getting a root canal, (hopefully it's not like that for you).
Consumers looking for an attorney are similar, they'll often find your blog in a Google search that leads to your website. A HubSpot study of 7,000 B2B and B2C businesses found that:
Matthew Toren from Business.com says: "...your blog [and guest blog] is where you put your highest quality content, and you use social media, emails, and other means to share that content with your audience. In that manner, blogging is still one of the most effective tools out there for content marketing, and they should be a part of nearly every inbound marketing strategy."
InlandEmpireLawyers.com would like your brain... well... not literally. We want what's in your brain.
If you use our blogging platform to write intelligent and compelling legal content, we attribute your content by linking to your legal profile on InlandEmpireLawyers.com. We allow you to link to your website from your blogs which will help with your optimization effort, PLUS we'll add your picture and tagline to a practice results page (Family, Criminal, Personal Injury, Etc). How do I get a legal profile?
If you're already a subscribing customer of InlandEmpireLawyers.com, thank you! You can publish and link to any page of your website today (hooray!).
Shy about blogging? Kevin O'Keefe from LexBlog, (widely known as an excellent legal blogger), has published "5 Topics to Blog About", a great way to get started. If you want to learn what to avoid when blogging, Law360 published "5 Ways Law Firms Screw Up Their Blogs" Both are easy to read and to the point, I suggest you read both before publishing one more blog entry.
If you are interested in contributing blogs to InlandEmpireLawyers.com click here, we have some guidelines to follow. This service is available to LOCAL attorneys in San Bernardino & Riverside Counties only, (Cal Bar verified).
*Updated Feb 17, 2017
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