How to Place a Bid on Legal Bistro

Bid-for-Placement: what does it mean? Why do we need it?

A bid is a sum of money that a lawyer offers for the opportunity of talking to a client, to receive his contact information and discuss his case (the minimum amount you can bid on is 6 law dollars).

It’s important to remember that a lawyer’s bid on a case determines where in the list of competing, “bidding” lawyers their profile will be displayed to the clients, who posted the case. The profile with the highest bid will be displayed first and the lowest, respectively, the last.

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Writing an Effective Biography on Legal Bistro Helps Attorneys Get New Clients!

Why should a lawyer bother to write an outstanding biography and why is it the most important part of the lawyer profile? It’s so simple!

A bio is a snapshot of a lawyer’s professional experience:

  • who they are,

  • what they do,

  • specialist expertise and

  • examples of client work.

A good biography “sells” their expertise to potential new clients.

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Legal Bistro Elevator Pitch for Lawyers

What is an Elevator Pitch?

An “Elevator Pitch”, also known as an elevator speech or statement, is a short summary used to quickly define a person, product, profession or organization and its Value Proposition.  The name “elevator pitch” conveys that the person who is delivering the message has about the same time that it takes the typical elevator to go from the ground floor the top floor to convince their audience about their proposal.  A well designed elevator pitch should be between 30 and 60 seconds.

How to Write a Good Elevator Pitch

The “Elevator Pitch” on Legal Bistro is five lines (500 words maximum) of text that are displayed to potential clients in what we call the “Short Profile Preview”.  This is the very first thing that a potential client will see about you and your law firm so you should give a lot of thought to what you would like to say.

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Why Consumers Love Legal Bistro

 Do you need a lawyer but are intimidated by the legal process?  Are you concerned that professional legal services may be financially out of reach?  Perhaps English is not your native language and you are having trouble finding a qualified attorney with whom you can effectively communicate.  Don’t worry, if you answered yes to any of these questions you are not alone.

We built Legal Bistro because we were inspired by the contribution that Lending Tree made to the process for finding a mortgage lender.  Lending Tree used the power of the Internet to bring online competition in the mortgage application process. Equally important is that Lending Tree’s website has helped consumers to better understand the process of applying for a home loan. We hope that Legal Bistro can achieve similar results in the legal services market.

When Lawyers Compete, You Win!

The single biggest reason why consumers love our service is because Legal Bistro facilitates lawyers competing online to serve the client.  Our Company motto is that When Lawyers Compete, the Client Wins! Frankly, we believe that both lawyers and consumers win when the competitive playing field has been leveled.

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Why Lawyers Love Legal Bistro

    

Are you happy with the current Return on Investment (“ROI”) for your online legal services marketing dollars?  Are you spending too much of your time qualifying leads? wasting time imagesDo you know anything about the visitors to your law firm’s website besides their IP Address and the date and time of their visit?  More specifically, are you being provided with case specific  facts that will help you evaluate their legal needs?

If you have answered yes to some or all of these questions then perhaps you will appreciate why lawyers love Legal Bistro.

YOU ARE IN CONTROL

You decide what cases you see based on the Practice Groups, Case Types and Tag or Key Words used when defining your Areas of Practice.

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Law Firm Marketing & The Digital Revolution

The above McKinsey Infographic entitled: Are You Ready for the Digital Age? provides some very interesting and important statistics for marketing professionals:

  • 90% of customers trust recommendations
  • 37% of prospective buyers are influenced by word of mouth
  • 70%of customers consult user reviews for informed purchase decisions
  • 10% to 25% of social media users use their social networks to make purchasing decisions
  • 20% of online electronics purchased are from auction sites
  • 60% of consumers who follow a brand on Facebook are looking for deals and coupons

As a Marketing Professional at a medium to large law firm or an attorney at a smaller law firm responsible for acquiring new clients, what conclusions should you draw from these statistics?

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Interesting Attorneys – Jonathan Plaut – Chardon Law Offices

In the first of what we expect will be a long term successful series of Blog Postings of Interesting Attorneys, Legal Bistro is pleased to present Jonathan Plaut of Chardon Law Offices.  Our goal for this series is to highlight lawyers who are doing interesting things in their personal lives.

Besides being a highly skilled litigator and criminal defense attorney, Jon is also an accomplished musician.  He is the lead singer and base player in a band called The Learned Hands.  His musical influences include Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Dan Bern, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Michelle Shocked, Rush, Van Halen and AC/DC.

Jon recently played rhythm guitar at the BB King Blues Club in Manhattan backing up Carmine and Vinnie Appice (of Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck fame), and played viola for the great troubadour rocker Michelle Shocked during seven of her shows in New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maine and Massachusetts.  He has played at various rock venues throughout the Northeast.

Jon speaks and writes Japanese, and he has represented numerous Japanese citizens and businesses in a variety of matters including corporation formation, civil lawsuits, criminal defense and governmental investigations.  He served as a foreign legal associate at the firm of Anderson Mori in Tokyo, Japan where he represented numerous multinational corporations.

Jon has taught courses in criminal law and environmental law at Tufts University and Boston College.  Jonathan has also taught spoken and written Japanese at several secondary schools including Choate Rosemary Hall and the Kent School.

For additional information about Jonathan Plaut, please visit Jon’s complete Legal Bistro Profile.

TechnoratiMedia 2013 Digital Influence Report – Blogs Outrank Social Networks for Consumer Influence

If you are either currently spending or considering allocating a significant portion of your marketing budget to advertising on the social networks, you might want to stop for a moment and look at the affect that blogging has on consumer influence.  The following chart was presented in a article written by Patricia Redsicker entitled: Blogs Outrank Social Networks for Consumer Influence: New Research:

online services high in influence

Equally interesting is the fact that consumers say that smaller communities have a greater influence on a topic than larger ones.  Despite this revelation, most brands marketers only pursue the larger/massive communities through A-list bloggers believing that their message will be virally distributed across the larger community.  Recent evidence shows that trust is what drives action.  Quality triumphs over quantity so if you’re thinking about trying to build consumer trust through blogging, you should evaluate the quality of the community rather than its size.

Although brands typically only devote approximately ten percent (10%) of their total digital marketing budgets to social media, Facebook remains the preferred platform capturing fifty-seven percent (57%) of the ad spending.  Brand managers are seeking to have their Facebook page content generate interaction through likes and comments believing that such interaction will result in viral results.

According to the survey, 86% of Social Media Influencers blog and of these, 88% blog for themselves.  The survey reports that trust is the currency of influence and that consumers are looking for trusted digital friends to give them advice on what to buy and where to go.  It is for this reason that bloggers offering advice are so influential on consumer behavior. Essentially, consumers trust their guidance.

At Legal Bistro, we believe in and support the power of the Community.  Consequently, lawyers who register on the site are able to build their online credibility by obtaining recommendations from colleagues, clients, business associates, family members and friends.  Perhaps even more important is for a registered lawyer to establish themselves as a subject matter expert.

All lawyers who register on the site are assigned author credentials on the Legal Bistro Blog.  Lawyers who write articles receive the following benefits within the Legal Bistro Community:

  • Attorney profiles with published articles are displayed higher in the search results given to consumers searching for qualified lawyers to handle their legal need;
  • Legal Bistro Profile receives a publishers badge indicating the number of articles written by the attorney and quick access to read these articles;
  • All blog postings are also distributed to Legal Bistro’s social network pages including Facebook and Twitter;
  • Legal Bistro provides published attorneys with a small icon (and the associated code) that can be added to the lawyer’s own website. The icon provides a visitor to the lawyer’s website with a link to the attorney’s article published on Legal Bistro’s Blog;
  • Legal Bistro provides real time reports to published lawyers of all registered consumers who have viewed their blog posting and quick access to the consumer’s case posted on Legal Bistro.

So if you want to stand out in the crowd, take the time to write a blog posting and establish yourself as a subject matter expert.  There is no cost (other than your time) to write a blog posting and the benefits from doing so could be enormous.

ABOUT TechnoratiMedia

Founded over a decade ago, Technorati Media has grown into one of the largest social media ad networks bringing top brands and valuable influencers together at scale.  With an advertising reach of approximately 130 million US unique visitors each month, the Company is well positioned to provide a very unique perspective on the social media market.

ABOUT TechnoratiMedia 2013 Digital Influence Report

The insights provided in TechnoratiMedia’s 2013 Digital Influence Report were taken from survey results which included:

  • 6,000 Influencers
  • 1,200 Consumers
  • 150 Top Brand Marketers

 

 

Common Mistakes Attorneys Make When Writing Their Detailed Biography

 

If you or your law firm has a website, you are sure to have a biography or profile page on the site.  When is the last time that you updated your website or more specifically, your detailed biography?  For most attorneys, it’s probably been a few years.  Let’s face it.  You’ve been busy!  Moreover, even if you take the time to update your biography you are not able to make the changes to the web pages all by yourself.  You need to get your webmaster to make the changes and that takes both time and money.

Well, what’s the opportunity cost of not keeping your website and profile current?  Did you know that attorney bios are the most viewed pages on a law firm’s website?  That profile or biography pages generate more than 50% of the page views on your site?

Stop and think for a moment.  Why would a visitor to your website be so interested in reading your biography?  Well, what you do and who you are can make for very interesting reading.  When a consumer is in need of legal services, it’s often a very traumatic time in their life.  Perhaps they had a serious car accident or are getting divorced.  They know that they need help but do not necessarily know where to go.

Legal services has historically been a referral based business. In fact, that’s probably how you or your law firm get most of your business.  Did you know that a study commissioned by the American Bar Association concluded that the market for legal services should be 50% bigger but that many people elect not to retain a lawyer because the process is too confusing or intimidating?  The study is entitled LEGAL NEEDS AND CIVIL JUSTICE – A Survey of Americans – Major Findings From the Comprehensive Legal Needs Study and is well worth reading.

So it certainly seems that your addressable market could be significantly larger if the process of hiring a lawyer were less confusing and intimidating.  Addressing this problem begins with improving your biography.  So what are the things that you can do to acquire new clients?

 #1 – MAKE IT FRESH

If you’ve recently settled a big case, written an article or changed something in your career, take the time to update your biography.  Everyone likes to read fresh and relevant content.  More often than not, an attorney biography has not been updated in quite some time.  Even worse, some biographies read like a legal version of War & Peace.  They simply go on and on and on and on and on.  If you’ve been out of law school for 10 years, is it really important to list some of your accomplishments while in school such as you were the Editor of the School’s Law Journal? Keep your biography fresh and it will be much more interesting for your readers.

#2 – DON’T TRY TO BE “ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE”

Even if you are a General Practitioner, keep in mind that old adage: Jack of all trades, MASTER OF NONE”.  Be honest with yourself.  While you may be capable of doing many different things, identify the things where you feel that you really excel.  How you market yourself does not necessarily have to match how you practice law.  While you may find yourself handling a broad range of legal services, it is always a best marketing practice to concentrate or focus your pitch.  As you are writing your detailed biography, keep in mind the concept of the Elevator Pitch.  Imagine yourself as being in an elevator with a potential client and having only the time that it takes for the elevator to go from the ground floor to the 10th floor to tell this client about who you are; what you do; and why you are the right attorney to handle their case.

#3 – PRESENT YOURSELF AS BOTH A PERSON AND A PROFESSIONAL

One of the most common mistakes that lawyers make is that they try and oversell themselves as a legal professional yet fail to present themselves as an interesting human being. The potential client who has a case that is expected to go on for many months or many years is going to want to retain an attorney with whom they can build a relationship.  While it’s certainly important for you to have all of the necessary legal skills to handle their case, it can be more important for the client to feel comfortable when engaging with you.

According to a study done by LinkedIn who has 187 million members worldwide, “People with photos are seven times more likely to have their profiles viewed”. Getting the potential client to view your page and read your profile is the first step towards acquiring a new client.  Without a photo, it’s very likely that you won’t even be in the game.

You want to find a balance between looking professional and relaxed.  If you are able to present several photos, then you should select at least one photo that shows you in action on your job and one that shows how you are in your personal life.

Highlight those things that make you interesting as a person.  If you speak another language and/or have experience living or working in another country, include these things in your biography.  Perhaps you are an avid skier or tennis player.  Or maybe, you spend some of your spare time in the garden or in the kitchen.  Give your reader something that will help them to get to know you outside of the office.

We are not trying to suggest that a client is going to retain you simply because you are a gourmet chef.  The point is that many potential clients are intimidated by attorneys. They believe that lawyers can be unapproachable.  If you are able to find some common ground with your potential client that will help to break the ice, you have a much better chance of closing the deal.

LEGAL BISTRO OVERVIEW

Legal Bistro is a new online community for legal services where we bring together lawyers seeking new clients with customers who have legal needs.  The client remains anonymous throughout the entire process of reviewing and selecting an attorney.  Lawyers, on the other hand, are provided with many online tools to sell themselves and build online credibility with their potential Clients.

Legal Bistro profile matches your Areas of Practice and any Tag or Key Words that you used to further define your specialized expertise with the specific case needs of the consumer.  We are not a lawyer referral service and do not do anything other than our matching process to encourage a consumer to retain one lawyer over another.  It is up to you to sell yourself.  The first part of your sales process occurs online.

LEGAL BISTRO – ATTORNEY SHORT PROFILE

Your Legal Bistro Short Profile is the first thing that a consumer will see when they search for attorneys matching their specific case needs. The Short Profile includes the following:

  • Your Photo – Without a photo, it’s very likely that your profile will not either be seen or read by your potential client.
  • Title – Partner, Associate, etc.
  • Law Firm Name
  • Area of Practice – Your profile will only be displayed if your Area of Practice matches the case needs of the potential client.
  • Elevator Pitch – This is the most important component of your short profile.  It’s what the client will read about you to decide whether or not they have any further interest.  You have only five (5) lines to convince your potential client why you are the right lawyer or law firm to handle their case so make every word count.  Your primary objective is to get the client to click on your profile and read more about you in your Detailed Biography.
  • Detailed Biography Link – Your potential client Will be able to quickly access and read your Detailed Biography if you have completed this part of your registration process on Legal Bistro.
  • Recommendations Badge – Establishing online trust begins with obtaining Professional Recommendations from other colleague lawyers; business professionals and clients. You may also obtain Personal Recommendations from family members and friends. Keep in mind that according to a 3rd Qtr study by NielsenGlobal Trust in Advertising“70% trust consumer opinions that are posted online”.
  • Publications Badge – Establishing online credibility (i.e. presenting yourself as a subject matter expert) can be achieved by posting articles that you have written to your profile; by also copying the article content and creating a posting on Legal Bistro’s Blog; and/or by writing a new Blog Posting.  Earn your Publications Badge so that potential clients may read further about your specialized areas of knowledge or expertise. Keep in mind that 65.5% of people making purchases online have their purchasing decisions influenced by Bloggers (Media Burst – 2012).

The following screen shot is an example of what your Short Profile would look like on Legal Bistro:

LEGAL BISTRO – ATTORNEY DETAILED BIOGRAPHY

Legal Bistro provides you with all of the tools that you may need to create a professional looking Detailed Biography.  You have the ability to change font sizes, text colors and even insert images and photos.  The editing tools which we provide will enable you to publish a very professional web page with your biographical information.

Keep in mind the importance of first impressions.  Without a well developed and professional looking Detailed Biography, it’s unlikely that you will get the chance to speak with the potential client who learned about you online.  With more than 50,000 law firms and 1.2 million practicing lawyers in the United States, it’s fair to say that you are facing a great deal of competition.

The good news is that the Internet can become the Great Equalizer for you and/or your law firm.  The larger and more established law firms have significant resources and a long standing reputation which they are able to leverage.  As a smaller law firm or a solo practitioner, it’s most important for you to invest the time into creating a professional looking biography.  By doing so, a potential client will want to learn even more about you and hear what you might have to say about their case.

CONCLUSION

Whether you are writing your biography for your own website or when registering on Legal Bistro, we suggest that you consider using some or all of the suggestions that have been presented in this posting.  Put yourself in the role of the person who will be reading your biography and think about what you would find interesting about yourself.  As a highly educated professional, you should have very little difficult convincing your prospective client that you have the legal skills required to handle their case.  The $64,000 question – Are you able to do as good of a job in getting that potential client to trust and confide in you?  If you are able to find some common ground with your potential client, you should be able to succeed at both objectives.

Good luck and try to have some fun when writing your own biography.  It will show in the finished product!

Blogging Can Significantly Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions

  • Women are more active social media users than men.
    Overall, one-half (49.0%) of female respondents—
    including 3-in-5 (58.6%) moms— visit social media sites
    at least a few times per day, versus one-third
    (34.0%) of men.
  • Audiences follow their favorite content sites on social
    media. A majority (62.0%) of independent web users “like”
    or follow their favorite content sites on social media.
  • Consumers get social with brands. Overall, one-half
    (49.1%) of respondents “like” or follow brands on social
    media. Two-fifths (41.8%) never do.
  • Bloggers cast an influential net with their audiences. Of
    respondents who visit or read blogs, 2-in-3 (65.5%) say
    a brand mention or promotion within context of the blog
    influences their purchasing decisions.
  • Consumers interact with socially enabled display
    advertising. One-quarter (25.4%) of all respondents—and
    31.7% of moms—say they are likely to follow a brand on
    social media if the brand is promoted in an online ad.