In 17 years of practicing law, I found the least desirable clients came via the Yellow Pages.
As a plaintiff’s trial lawyer representing injury victims and their family members, my partners and I spent a ton of money on full page yellow page ads. But never really attracted folks who I was proud to sit next to in court or cases that there were a lot fun. The good clients and cases came by word of mouth – either generated offline or over the Internet.
So I read with interest Holden Oliver’s post at What about Clients entitled ‘Get out of the Yellow Pages Now.’
It may sound counter-intuitive, but we continue to believe that the ‘Yellow Pages’ and anything like it–i.e., people look up ‘lawyers’ who do ‘[specialty]’ and call your firm–brings on the worst possible headaches (and clients) for anyone who is doing or wants to do work for good companies. Even inexpensive name-specialty-phone number ads yield more trouble than they are worth. If you want sophisticated clients–and not ‘price-shoppers’ who see lawyers as providing fungible services or commodities–unlist yourselves. But stay in the White Pages so clients who already know or have heard of you can find you.
I’ll add that the White Pages is no longer the phone book. Google is your phone book as a lawyer, whether you represent consumers or corporate clients. People need to be able Google your name, and perhaps your location and the word ‘lawyer,’ and find your name listed at the top of Google search results.
You’ll get that listing via a well indexed and optimized website or blog. It’s not coming via a listing in legal directories in Martindale-Hubbell, lawyers.com, or FindLaw.
And if you’re looking to generate clients via word of mouth online, you’ll need to blog effectively as opposed to using a website alone.