Themed ‘Leveraging Strengths,’ this year’s ABA Annual meeting in Toronto emphasized recent developments within the legal profession, specifically advancements in legal technology.
A diverse roster of programs afforded many opportunities for education on the practice of law in a web 2.0 world, including Rocket Lawyer’s ‘Solo Day 2011: Law Firm Marketing and Management’ program.
Charley Moore, founder of Rocket Lawyer, San Francisco, CA hosted and spent 90 minutes chatting with Jay Fleischman, Esq., (a Bankruptcy and Consumer Protection Lawyer and Online Legal Marketing Consultant), and Carolyn Elefant, Esq., (a Solo Practitioner and blogger, Washington D.C., Virginia).
We edited the conversation down to a lean 40 minutes and have included a link below. If you missed out in Toronto, well, it’s here on Sociable Lawyer. Take a listen:
Here’s a summary of their conversation:
Leveraging knowledge from their respective professional niches, the panelists shared numerous insights into solo and small firm advertising and marketing. Charley opened the panel by first defining what exactly a virtual law firm is: a core group of attorneys in an established and collaborative relationship who are held together with appropriate computer telecommunications technology. This led the panelists into a discussion on how small practices can effectively employ legal technology to reduce their overhead costs and provide a higher level of convenience to their clients.
To prove the ease of transitioning to a virtual law practice, Jay polled audience members to find out who in attendance possessed both a smart phone and laptop; unsurprisingly, many hands were raised. Jay noted that with those two devices alone, attorneys have everything they need to provide legal services to both their existing and future clients: a means of communication and a means of disseminating and storing information.
“You can go fully technology capable with such a small amount of cost and so little technological knowledge on your own that to do it any other way, I got to tell you folks, it’s malpractice,” he said.
The panelists then moved on to cover effective marketing and promotion techniques, urging attorneys to engage their clients on a human level, as opposed to highly aggressive sales tactics.
“You want to make the offer in a way that would not offend you if you were the recipient of it,'”Jay said.
Carolyn followed up by suggesting that virtual practices maintain a social media presence in addition to their website and blog, while also cautioning against ethical pitfalls.
“I see a lot of lawyers who are almost eliciting, actively eliciting, confidential information from clients in public forms, asking people questions and engaging them like that. I don’t think that’s appropriate at all,” she said.
Perhaps the panel is best encapsulated by Charley’s statement regarding online engagement: “One thing that good internet marketing does is really set you up for having a client for a lifetime, and so as the various events happen to that client, they’re going to come back to you.”
Enjoy the audio and the photos below. We’ll be back next week.