As Far As the General Public is Concerned, One Lawyer is As Good As the Next
As far as most potential clients are concerned, one lawyer is just as good as the next.
Sure, you know that you’ve been cited for excellence by your state bar association, and that your winning percentage in your specialty is slightly higher than the competing law firm down the street. Unfortunately, these kinds of distinctions tend not to register with the general public when you include them in your law firm marketing campaign—and the average person might even assume that you’re making these honors up!
How Do People Differentiate Between Good and Bad Lawyers?
To a certain extent, lawyers have only themselves to blame for the public’s inability to distinguish between good and bad attorneys. Here are some pertinent reasons:
- Unless a given lawyer is actually disbarred for unethical or illegal behavior, he can go on practicing law, and his clients will be none the wiser. This is analogous to doctors who have been repeatedly (and successfully) sued for malpractice, yet continue to practice in their communities and attract new patients.
- The proliferation of “Best Lawyers in America” and “Top 100 Lawyers in Your City” magazine inserts has lowered the bar for what it means to be a “good” lawyer. Typically, these packages are put together with an eye to revenue, not correspondence with reality. A “top” lawyer may only be one who bought a pricey ad in the magazine!
- There’s no correlation between being a “good” lawyer and being a successful lawyer. Unfortunately, some of the sleaziest lawyers in America are also the most successful—while many deeply ethical and honest practitioners starve on the fringes. It’s possible to be both good and successful, of course, but there’s no way for the public to make this distinction.
What does this mean for your law firm advertising or attorney marketing campaign? Well, you have to keep in mind that every lawyer in America will label himself as “good” (or, more probably, “excellent,” “aggressive,” and so on) in his marketing materials. Unless a potential client is really willing to do his research and determine whether a lawyer is genuinely as accomplished as he says he is, this is all so much wasted hot air.
Differentiate Yourself from Other Lawyers with Great Legal Marketing
Just as it has become harder and harder for the public to distinguish between good and bad lawyers, so it has become harder and harder for lawyers to distinguish themselves against the competition.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.