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It’s time to start collecting nominations for our 10th Annual Best Law Firm Websites contest! There are thousands of law firm websites out there, and we need your help to find the cream of the crop. Tell us about the best law firm websites you’ve come across.

How to Nominate a Website

Just enter the URL into the form below. Please don’t repeat nominations. This is a nomination, not a vote. Multiple entries don’t give you a better chance of winning; they give you a better chance of being disqualified for spamming. (Asking everyone you know to nominate your website is a bad idea for this reason.)

Apart from that, the rules for nomination are pretty simple:

  1. No self-interested nominations. If you design a website, host a website, do SEO for a website, work for the firm the website belongs to, or have any other interest in the website, you cannot nominate that website. If you cannot get one uninterested person to nominate it for you, then it probably isn’t worth nominating.
  2. Law firm websites only.

Nominations will remain open through February 8th.

How We Pick the Top 10

While drinking coffee or cocktails, depending on the time of day, and with the help of some web designers we respect. We won’t pick a winner; instead, we will whittle down the nominations to a top 10.

We don’t have strict criteria for picking the top 10, but, at a minimum, websites that make the top 10 will look good on all screens (i.e., be responsive) and have security, accessibility, SEO, calls to action, load speed, and design pretty well sorted out. We also look for websites that are well-optimized for their target market.

We do try to keep an eye out for misleading information. You won’t make the top 10 if we catch you calling yourself “experienced” your first year out of law school. We don’t conduct an in-depth inquiry into every site (and we aren’t up on the specific ethics rules of every jurisdiction), but we are on the lookout for misleading information, and we know our readers will take us to task if we miss something.

Finally, we don’t do SEO assessments. Every year the comments on our top 10 post are full of SEO consultants criticizing our top 10 because we haven’t used their SEO tool of choice. That’s by design. It’s just too hard to compare websites objectively on their search-engine effectiveness.

Past Winners

The post Call for Nominations: 2019 Best Law Firm Websites Contest appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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I’m a nonprofit lawyer. That doesn’t mean I don’t seek a profit, of course. It means I focus my practice on serving the nonprofit sector. Most of my work involves helping small- to mid-sized nonprofits with a host of legal issues both large and small. Like most small businesses, my clients are “frugal.” Someone (not me) might even call them extremely, cripplingly, shockingly, unflinchingly cheap. And they are particularly cheap when it comes to spending cash on the sometimes-intangible things they should have but choose to live without. Most of the time, that means me. It means legal services.

Life as a Legal Firefighter

I’ll confess, it can be rough sailing at times. My clients often wait until a critical emergency develops before they pick up the phone. Worse, their crisis inevitably crowds out other less-emergent projects, which then get shunted to the backlog, which means work doesn’t always push out the door in the lovely cadence I’d prefer. Cash flow can be… erratic—up, down, and sideways.

My lawyer life involves putting out a lot of fires. I actually think it’s fun work; I love parachuting in, problem-solving, and saving the day, all the while wowing my clients with my availability and unflinching helpfulness. But it’s an exhausting model, too. Being a firefighter means late-night calls, unexpected cancelations, missed kids’ concerts, and family time getting consumed by surprises. And I don’t get paid extra for work that sucks all the oxygen out of my life.

This status quo isn’t great for my nonprofit clients, either. Waiting until something ignites into an unmitigated garbage fire is a really expensive way to use resources. Emergencies take more time, involve more risk and uncertainty, and create emotional disharmony that we’d all be wise to remove from our lives. And, after the stressful time-suck of it all, clients revert to their old habits, quickly pulled back into other non-legal things long before we develop a good plan to avoid this all the next time around.

It happens. All. The. Time.

One Client to Rule Them All

But I have this pro bono client, you see. This nonprofit asked me to serve on their board when I first left the comforts of my in-house gig for the charms of private practice. I declined their board service offer, but I offered to make them my first private practice client. For free.

We’ve now worked together for four years. They’re a magnificent client. They include me early in anything they’re considering. Like, before it’s even real. Thinking about creating a paid internship? “Let’s talk to Jess!” A new grant funding source? “We should definitely talk to Jess before we apply!” Sometimes it gets old, but that client hasn’t had an emergency in four years. Not one.

What are they doing so right? And why are my other clients waiting so much longer to get me involved? So I had taken to brainstorming how to encourage them all to simply pick up the phone a bit earlier.

My shiny new subscription model is the perfect solution.

My Year-End Innovation: A Shiny New Subscription Model

I dove headlong into designing my subscription model. I designed the entire program to help clients run sustainably. Now they can create a projectable budget for their legal spend (which is, in my experience, super important for tiny nonprofit organizations), and their subscription legal services include as many calls as they need. Now they can call before they even smell smoke, not just when the beams are burning and the walls collapsing down around them. Plus, I can create a projectable budget on a steady revenue stream, which helps me grow my business and live my best life. Seems like a win-win, right?

I can’t tell you how it’s working yet. I launched it just a couple of weeks ago.

When you start something new, you never really know how it’s going to turn out. Sometimes you just have to go for it and trust that something good will come. Expect an update from me in the future about how it’s going.

The post My Year-End Innovation: A Shiny New Subscription Model appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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In this episode with Natalie Worsfold, we talk about her law firm’s approach to law practice, and why more firms aren’t following suit. We start by asking Natalie what problem Counter Tax was trying to solve, then explore how they solved it, what their solution does now, and the plans they have to evolve and grow their solution.

Natalie Worsfold

Natalie Worsfold is a part of Counter Tax Lawyers, where she leads Counter’s process innovation and helps to optimize all of Counter’s systems, processes, and tools so they can think deeper and work smarter. She is also the co-creator of CounterMeasure, a litigation analysis tool that helps lawyers win cases. Natalie’s goal is to build a better and smarter way to analyze and resolve disputes so clients can make better litigation decisions.

A motto or saying that has saved Natalie’s life is: “It could have been worse.”

“My dad used to race cars and he would have these horrific accidents. The first thing he would say afterward was ‘Well, it could have been worse!’ I think it is part of the reason I’m not afraid to give things a try and see what happens.”

You can follow Natalie on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks to Gusto, Podium, and Casetext for sponsoring this episode!

Show Notes

Natalie is the lead designer for Counter Tax’s litigation software, CounterMeasure. CounterMeasure combines legal judgment and expertise with analytics and automation to empower lawyers and clients to make better litigation decisions. Counter Tax launched the tax module with their litigation team in 2018 and they are currently building a new module for commercial launch in 2019.

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Transcript

If you are hard of hearing, please contact us for a transcript of this episode.

The post Podcast #207: Better Risk Assessment for Litigators, with Natalie Worsfold appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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“The MyCase Online Payment Capabilities allow you to create invoices, send payment links, and issue refunds while staying trust compliant.”

You can make it easy for clients to pay online with MyCase’s Online Payment Capabilities, helping reduce the time it takes for you to get paid.

Details

Efficient legal billing is critical for the health and success of any law firm. But a good invoicing system is pointless without a means to collect payments. Enter MyCase. MyCase’s Online Payment Capabilities helps you manage and collect payments with its client-centric payment options, making it easier on you and your clients.

With MyCase, after creating a client contact and file, you can generate an invoice to either print out or email to your clients. If you decide to email your clients, MyCase generates a unique payment link for clients to pay online via credit card or eCheck (ACH). Clients paying with a credit card don’t even need a special login or client portal access, making online payments a painless process. You’ll receive real-time notifications when clients have made payments. Plus, since each payment link is associated with a client file, MyCase will automatically reconcile and update client files when payments are made, so you don’t have to.

If you need to issue refunds for credit card payments, you can quickly and easily do so from the MyCase interface. Your clients will receive their refunds within three business days. If you need to issue ACH refunds, you can do that too! Just call MyCase and someone from their support team will help facilitate that refund.

MyCase is also trust account compliant. When collecting payment, you can designate whether the payment goes into the operating or trust account. MyCase only charges a single 3% transaction fee for credit card payments, which are approved at the time of payments so you don’t have to worry about monthly fees or insufficient funds for online payments. The transaction fee is always deducted from your operating account to ensure trust account balances remain consistent and accurate throughout the duration of a case. If you need to double check trust account balances, or run reports on any of your finances, eCheck and credit card payment details are available as Payments Reports, easily accessible through your dashboard.

How To Get It

To learn more about MyCase and its Online Payment Capabilities, visit MyCase for a free demo today.

The post MyCase’s Online Payment Capabilities Helps Attorneys Get Paid Faster appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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Maybe your law firm is paying an internal employee or an outside firm or consultant to maximize your online marketing strategy and tactics. Maybe you have a sophisticated strategy involving SEO, social media, Google AdWords, email marketing, and more. But how do you know your digital strategy is working? Without turning to key performance indicators (KPIs) to quantify your efforts, you have no way of knowing. These critical metrics let you rate your campaign’s performance, tweak it as needed, and improve your strategy as you go. Without them, you may “feel” like inquiry emails or calls for consultations have increased, but your observations are far less reliable than real data.

What You Need to Know About Marketing KPI

Before you decide which metrics to track, decide what goals your marketing campaign should meet. How does each performance indicator relate to that goal? How long will you track the metric? A week? A month? An entire quarter? Each campaign and situation is unique. For example, it’s impossible to track year-over-year sales if your law firm just opened. Still, law firms might draw from a common set of metrics regardless of the campaign type or their practice area.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic refers to users that find and visit your website through a search engine. As you undoubtedly know, Google is the dominant player in organic search. Search engine optimization strategies let you target potential clients who are already looking for your services on Google and elsewhere. Careful tactics help you acquire leads efficiently and cost-effectively, and your law firm can use free online tools like Google Analytics to measure your organic traffic volume.

Google Analytics lets you see how people find your website. Do they come from search engines? Where do they land? How long do they stay? If you choose to monitor these metrics and realize that clients rarely find your site through organic search, consider how you can improve your site’s inbound content marketing. Google—and the rest of the search engines—value useful, relevant, readable, and unique content. Improve your content and you’ll improve your standing on the search engine results pages.

Leads

The whole purpose of driving people to your website is to encourage them to contact your law firm for a service consultation. Generally speaking, the more leads your website generates, the more conversions you enjoy. If you’re doing it right, the more conversations you get, the more clients you’ll engage. Track the leads your marketing efforts generate by capturing names, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Ideally, you would also take time to define what a quality lead looks like at your law firm. Who is your ideal client? What do they want when they find your website? Do they just want contact information to call you immediately? Or do they want to spend some time on the site looking around, getting to “know” you, and exploring your experience before deciding whether they’ll reach out? If your display ads generate plenty of traffic (but an abundance of irrelevant leads), your campaign is underperforming (and probably dramatically). You might reevaluate that campaign to improve the quality of leads it generates, which would, in turn, increase the likelihood that you’ll turn those quality leads into profitable clients.

Conversion Rates

Eventually, you’ll probably realize that tracking where all those leads come from (organic search, referrals, social media, email marketing, etc.) is a somewhat empty metric without more context. That is, how did they ultimately reached you and how often did they convert into profitable clients?  That’s why it’s important to calculate your “conversion rate.” If your website generates gaggles of visitors but only sees a few convert into real leads, your website may be failing you in the conversion department. So how can you tweak your website design and content to turn more fly-by visitors into potential clients? It may require fresh website content that’s more engaging and relevant, a reimagined site navigation to help potential customers to find what they’re looking for, and work to ensure your marketing campaigns target the right demographics. You may also toy around with improving (then testing) your calls to action. And you might consider lead-to-client ratios and conversion rates for the landing pages you use.

Sales

Sales are one of the most critical performance metrics. Every business should track sales revenue. Analyze your sales and incoming revenue thoroughly and decide which marketing efforts increase your sales. That will prepare you to invest more resources into effective campaigns, tweak the marginal ones in an effort to improve them, and eliminate the duds altogether.

Acquisition Costs

So, your new marketing campaigns have increased leads, conversions, and sales? Hurray! Celebrate, then get back to work. You still have one crucial KPI to measure: how much did it cost your law firm to acquire those new clients? Calculate your marketing campaign’s return on investment (ROI) by dividing all campaign expenses by the number of clients you acquired during the designated time frame. Because “average profit per client” ranges from firm to firm, the range of acquisition costs per client varies wildly. Ideally, the overall cost you pay to acquire a customer remains on the low side while the value you generate from each client continues to grow over time. For starters, shoot for a 3:1 value-to-cost ratio. That is, make sure your cost of customer acquisition is—at most—about 33% of the total lifetime value you expect to generate from your new client.

If your customer acquisition cost is prohibitively high, or if you notice it creeping up over time, reevaluate your marketing and sales efforts. Are your costs increasing? Or is your overall client acquisition rate declining? It may be a good time to check your online client reviews and request feedback from clients.

The universe of KPIs you can track is nearly limitless. But don’t get lost in data and spreadsheets without connecting metrics to your actual business. If the Average Visit Duration on your website increases dramatically but fails to improve lead generation or sales, you can conclude that the metric isn’t very useful. It’s just noise. Stop paying attention. Law firms misstep when they invest time, money, and energy into defining, tracking, and improving metrics that don’t convert (yeah, I’m looking at you, Facebook Likes). The most important KPIs lead to profits or other returns that you hold dear, like customer satisfaction. That’s why we recommend tracking organic traffic, leads, conversion rates, sales, acquisition costs, and customer satisfaction.

The post What You Need to Know About Marketing KPIs appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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It’s 2019. It’s a new year for new beginnings, and a new(ish) series by Lawyerist: Legal Tech Tips and Tricks. We’ll go over a few basic and advanced tips on how to use legal software and legal tech in general, and provide some context for developments in legal technology and what they mean for you (which almost always is something cool to talk about at dinner parties). Next week, we’ll take a closer look at de-NISTing. As in, what the heck is it and what does it have to do with eDiscovery?

In order for this series to be successful, we need your help. What gives you consternation when it comes to legal tech? Is there something you want to learn how to do within your CRM or law practice management software? Let us know in the comments or in our Facebook group what you’d like to learn about in future posts.

See you next week!

The post New Featured Column: Lawyerist’s Legal Technology Tips & Tricks appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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Google Hangouts Meet, part of G Suite, is super convenient for video calls because there is nothing to install and it does not require your guests to have an account. They just click a link and chat in their browser. It’s about as easy as video calling gets.

But Hangouts Meet does not allow you to create permanent links. This can be frustrating if you use a meeting scheduler and want to include a video call link with every meeting. There are two possible solutions: (1) adding video calls to all events created on your calendar, or (2) creating a permanent meeting link you can use to add links to meetings created with your scheduler.

Option 1: Add Video Calls to All Events

One option is to change the default setting for Google Calendar so that it adds a video call to every event. Here’s how:

  1. Go to your G Suite admin console.
  2. Navigate to Apps / G Suite / Settings for Calendar.
  3. Under Sharing settings, check the box next to Automatically add video calls to events created by a user.
  4. Click Save.

Now every time an event with a guest is added to your calendar, the event will automatically get a Google Hangouts Meet link.

This works great unless you don’t actually want to use video calls for every event. You probably don’t need to confuse someone you are meeting in person, for example.

Should Jordan meet me at the coffee shop or join by phone?

It creates another problem for me because I use Skype for recording podcast interviews, and for Stephanie because she uses Zoom to host Lawyerist Lab masterminds. But when we had this setting turned on by default our guests kept going to the Google Hangouts Meet link instead of meeting us in Skype or Zoom.

Unfortunately there is no way to apply this default setting only to certain types of events or certain G Suite users. Fortunately, there’s a pretty easy workaround.

Option 2: Permanent Google Hangouts Meet Links

Let’s say you use a meeting scheduler and you want to automatically add a Hangouts Meet link for all client intake meetings, but not for all the other events on your calendar. The ideal solution would be check a box in your scheduler so that a unique link is created for each appointment. But if your scheduler doesn’t do that, another solution is to create a permanent link you can include in your scheduler so it is added to every appointment. Here’s how to do that.

  1. In Google Calendar, create a new, all-day event.
  2. Set the event to repeat daily.
  3. Click the Add conferencing drop-down menu, then select Hangouts Meet.
  4. Make sure the event is Free and Private.
  5. Remove any notifications.
  6. Click the Save button.

Here is an example:

To get the meeting link, click on Manage details before saving or click the event on your calendar, then copy the meet.google.com URL for the meeting.

Once you have the link, you can paste it into your scheduler (or give it to the person who schedules your meetings). In my scheduler, HubSpot Meetings, I use the Location field.

Then when the event is created on my calendar, it has a clickable link to the video call.

Since you have set the event to repeat daily forever, the meeting link will stay alive for as long as the event repeats. So don’t delete the event! If you delete the event, the Hangouts Meet link will expire.

If you don’t want to clutter up your main calendar with meeting links, you can create a separate calendar for them.

This way you can keep all your video call links in one place. And because it is a separate calendar, you can turn it off in your calendar list. That way your Hangouts Meet links won’t clutter up your main calendar view.

This solution to creating permanent video call links in Google Hangouts Meet isn’t perfect, to be sure. It would be a lot easier if Hangouts Meet just supported permanent meeting links. But this is a reliable and fairly painless workaround to that limitation. I hope it helps you streamline your scheduling workflow!

The post How to Create a Permanent Google Hangouts Meet Link/URL for Video Calls appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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In this episode with Jennifer Longtin, we talk about her criminal defense practice, including her business model and client portfolio, why implementing low-cost options for clients doesn’t mean you will be less profitable, and how to have reasonable conversations about money with clients.

Jennifer Longtin

Jennifer Longtin is a criminal defense attorney who focuses her practice on mental health-related criminal defense—meaning that she helps both families of defendants, and defendants themselves, to explore issues related to mental health in their criminal case, and to help them through what is often a very difficult process.

Her firm, JLongtin Law, is entirely criminal defense-oriented, but also strives to address the access to justice gap through its reduced rate CARe program.

One piece of wisdom Jennifer would like to share is this: Awareness changes everything. When you strive to bring awareness to an area of your business or life, it fundamentally changes how you do that thing and can be the starting point for great and wonderful change.

You can follow Jennifer on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks to Gusto, Podium, Casetext, and Back Office Betties for sponsoring this episode!

Show Notes

Jennifer Longtin is currently is Lawyerist Lab, and is working to implement a variety of new things in her practice (which turns five on May 1st, 2019!).

One of her projects is developing a few flat fee and limited scope programs around representing people in mental health-related cases, as well as DUI’s and a legal coaching option similar to Erin Gerstenzang’s.

A couple of books Jennifer thinks everyone should read are:

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Transcript

If you are hard of hearing, please contact us for a transcript of this episode.

The post Podcast #206: Helping Clients Afford to Hire You, with Jennifer Longtin appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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Doug Koenig, then a recent graduate of law school, had just finished helping a 94-year old client sort out some family legal issues. As they were winding down with a polite chat, his client began to describe the first time she had ridden a horse with her dad at the age of eight. With perfect clarity, she recalled the heady rush of the wind in her hair and the thrill of that first ride more than eighty-five years ago. “I heard that story and thought: I’m done,” says Doug. “I’m done with everything else I’m doing. I want to be an Elder Law attorney and hear more of these stories.”

What’s your why?

What’s your cause? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? These are the questions Simon Sinek asks in his iconic TED Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action. “The inspired leaders and the inspired organizations—regardless of their size, regardless of their industry—all think, act and communicate from the inside out.” In other words, what’s your Why?

Doug’s affinity for the elderly and love of a good story were two small factors in his decision to become an Elder Law attorney. He discovered just how crucial Elder Law attorneys are in a time when the Baby Boomer generation are entering their twilight years with few resources available to them. His Why was to help the huge percentage of the population facing life-altering decisions such as power of attorney, long-term care, and financial assistance.

“I sit with them. When they’re done, they understand what’s happening and what their options are. When they walk out and say, ‘Thank you, I feel better.’ That’s fulfilling.”

You didn’t become a lawyer to file paperwork. You didn’t become a lawyer to juggle meetings in your appointment book. You became a lawyer to make a difference. To have a hand in creating a just world or to simply help people during their most challenging times.

Be their voice. We’ll be yours.

At LexReception, our Why is to provide your legal practice with the highest caliber personnel so you can keep fighting the good fight. With our “work anywhere” model, we’re able to find the best people based on talent, not proximity. And our virtual receptionists spend less time commuting, less time contributing to the alarming levels of tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions, and more time on their reasons for getting out of bed each day. You end up being represented by not only the most talented receptionists, but the happiest.

The best part? You can work Anywhere. We’ll take on the phone calls, the appointment-booking, the CRM updates. You can attend your client meetings, argue in court, and make those calls knowing we have you covered. Represent people and be their voice. We’ll be yours.

The post Life isn’t what you do. It’s why you do it. (Sponsored) appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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Lawyerist.com by Aretha Soderstrom - 1w ago

It’s 2019. It’s a new year for new beginnings, and a new(ish) series by Lawyerist: Legal Tech Tips and Tricks. We’ll go over a few basic and advanced tips on how to use legal software and legal tech in general, and provide some context for developments in legal technology and what they mean for you (which almost always is something cool to talk about at dinner parties). Next week, we’ll take a closer look at de-NISTing. As in, what the heck is it and what does it have to do with eDiscovery?

In order for this series to be successful, we need your help. What gives you consternation when it comes to legal tech? Is there something you want to learn how to do within your CRM or law practice management software? Let us know in the comments or in our Facebook group what you’d like to learn about in future posts.

See you next week!

The post Legal Technology Tips and Tricks appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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