The Legal Chamber Newsletter • March 2011

3 Free Websites Customers Click to Scout You Out

I shudder to think anyone is getting this newsletter in print form. Yes, in 2011 we all have smartphones for staying connected and streamlining our business.

So, why would you think people don't look online to scout you out?

The most popular search engine (and the benevolent mafia Don of the internet) Google is the starting place for most folks. In fact, they're the first place you should make sure your information is correct and you're visible on Google Maps. Those business listings also have customer reviews!

Yelp retains a dedicated user population, of which some live and die by the reviews, and it's free to list your business. They also offer some advertising packages and whatnot, but it's a good place to check and see what, if anything, clients are saying about you.

LinkedIn is, for many, the "business Facebook." While there are some opportunities for networking and the job hunt, LinkedIn makes it possible for you to show your degrees, specialties, list your blog/website, and get "recommended" by past employers and consumers.

In addition to these sites, people can also access a lot of personal information by searching your name, phone number, or email on sites like Spokeo. The internet has made the world a lot smaller and holds companies and firms more accountable than ever with rapid feedback. You may be losing clients if you're not listed or have been bad mouthed on the sites above, so check them out.

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Top Blackberry Applications for Lawyers

If you're not jumping on the iPhone bandwagon, then you're probably using an Android phone or Blackberry. Most firms bought hard into the Blackberry market early-they're still an ideal choice for business and fortune 500 executives. Even President Obama struggled with the prospect of giving his trusty BB up.

So what Blackberry apps are the best for us lawyers on the go?

  • Call Notes Live allows you to remember everything (prices, issues, etc.) from each call, so you're always ready. The notes are even shown on the screen when they call you.
  • HandyLogs Money-Expense Time and Mileage Tracker is a must for any traveling lawyer. The app gives you and your firm the ability to stay up to date on expenses and minimizes the time for reimbursements.
  • Dropbox was something I started using when I was just a wee undergrad. With this Blackberry app, you can access and share any links, emails, or files you keep on the go. It's perfect for any last minute follow-ups.
  • Panaton Conferencing makes punctuality easy for all of those phone conferences. Why? Because it automatically dials all of those pesky numbers and codes and is integrated with!
  • Garmap is a modestly priced application that does everything you could ever want or need from a navigation app. 3D maps, automatic updates for traffic and event booking, speed and traffic camera alerts, social media integration, and a detailed service (food etc.) guide with buy options make this our favorite.

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Lawyer Tip #13: Win Them Over With Organization

We know it's fairly obvious that organization goes hand-in-hand with running an efficient practice, but many attorneys just keep putting it off. So are you one of them? Do you know all the clients you currently have open cases for? And can you list which stage each client's case is in?

You should always have access to each case (and all the information regarding that case) at your fingertips. Whether you keep the info tabbed in a database program, or simply review it often enough to remember it, your recall should be near-instantaneous. That way the next time a client calls in for an update on their case, you won't be rifling through a clutter of papers and stammering out the oh-so-unprofessional, "Uhhhh…"

We aren't saying that you have to know every tiny facet for every client case (although that would be nice). But we are saying that you should have easy access to their file, and be able to find those minor details-within about 30 seconds. Your clients will appreciate your responsiveness and apparent level of engagement, and your word of mouth referrals will swell because of it.

Still feel like you don't have the resources to get your practice organized? Then it's probably time to hire some additional help.

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Saving Face Online: Inviting Criticism

Constructive criticism in the correct setting can save your profile online. Everyone wants to be appreciated and acknowledged for their hard work, but while praise can be encouraging, it's not nearly as constructive as addressing (and reconditioning) your Achilles' heel. Remember that Twitter, Yelp, Facebook, and the like provide platforms for excellent consumer feedback, so it's best to get it and take it into account, before you're burned online.

Develop a client survey that each client can fill out at the end of their case, and ask them to complete it. You may want to shy away from negative feedback, but being the best means eating the sweet with the bitter.

Start with an easy survey like the one below, and tweak it over time to reflect changing needs. For example: On a scale of 1-10, please indicate your level of satisfaction with the following: (1 = Very Satisfied, 10 = Very Dissatisfied)

  • The frequency with which you received updates from your lawyer regarding your case.
  • Your lawyer's ability to achieve desired results for your case.
  • The accessibility of your lawyer.
  • Your lawyer's knowledge of the law relating to your legal case.
  • Your lawyer's level of professionalism.
  • Your lawyer's personality and behavior.
  • Your overall experience at this firm/practice.
  • Would you hire this lawyer again? Y/N
  • Would you recommend this lawyer to a friend or colleague? Y/N

If you are interested in more specific client feedback, consider the inclusion of a text field at the bottom or on the back of your survey. This will allow clients to explain their choices and address issues that may not have been covered by your questions. As a bonus, you can show your good reviews to other potentials, feature them on your website, or work them into your practice's other promotional vehicles.

And your bad reviews? Learn from them, and your practice will be stronger than ever.

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