Ben Goodman (@gardencove) and Josh Harder (@joshua_harder), a partner and investor, respectively, in Bessemer Venture Partners (@bvp) penned over a year ago that there were four areas of legal ripe for smart startups.
One that remains true, now more than ever, is making lawyers more accessible.
There is a major opportunity to improve the legal consumer experience, either by making legal services simpler and more affordable for consumers to use or by making lawyers more accessible and responsive. By improving efficiency in the workload of the lawyer, or possibly eliminating many mundane tasks that one must perform, lawyers can focus more hours on their clients’ cases or leverage new findings that may never have been discovered using traditional research tactics. There is also the potential to improve client interactions by utilizing new communications tools geared toward interacting between lawyers and those they represent
Consumers and small business people don’t benefit from efficiencies in the practice until they’re working with a lawyer. And a lawyer they can afford.
The problem is that most consumers don’t hire a lawyer. Some are scared to death of lawyers. Others believe they cost too much. Some wouldn’t know if they had a legal need. And others wouldn’t know what lawyer to call.
That’s where blogs published by decent, caring and passionate lawyers looking to make a difference and looking to make a name for themselves can make a heck of a difference.
People go to the Internet for everything today. Google remains the leading place when searching for information and services though social networks are running a close second.
If a lawyer is penning a blog on family law, startups, niche injury, class action/mass tort matter, probate or whatever they’re going to get seen. And seen by exactly the people who need their service.
Google and social networks see to it. Google knows the good stuff and pushes it to the top on relevant searches. Google also knows by what you write about where you are located and where the consumer looking for information is located.
As the consumer reads a post the more they get to know you. You care. You explain things in a way that they can understand it. You’ve talked about people calling you without the obligation to hire you.
Lawyers taking their blogs to social networks ala Facebook, much the way a New York Times reporter takes their stories to Facebook, make themselves and the law that much more accessible. Further visibility. Further engagement. Further trust.
Lawyers blogging and taking themselves to the Internet don’t have near the marketing and ad spend they’d otherwise have. Expensive websites, SEO, buying content and what not is the stuff that yellow pages and television advertising were made of. Tens of thousands of dollars a month in many cases.
Blogging lawyers don’t need to be in the heart of metropolitan areas subjecting them and their families to a high cost of living. They can live in cities and towns ten to one hundred thousand in size where making $75,000 may be more than enough in a two wage earner family. Such lawyers may be able to offer services at eighty to ninety bucks an hour and at reasonable flat rates.
I get that I have a dog in this hunt as far as blogs providing access to the law and lawyers – in mores than one. In addition to LexBlog providing the leading blog publishing platform for lawyers, I want more than ever for consumers and small business people to have access to the law and the best lawyers in their neck of the woods or niche.
Internet services matching consumers and lawyers, directories, question and answer sites, and more will all play a role in providing access to the law. But why not just good lawyers being good lawyers. Getting out mingling with people, sharing what they know and being there when the need arises.
Lawyers more accessible via blogs.
Image courtesy of Flickr by Frank DiBona