Law Firms: “Be Bloody Bold and Resolute” in 2014

Posted by Paul Hajek on Thu, Jan 09, 2014 @ 09:19 AM

Be Bloody Bold and resoluteLists: I love them.

I had fun compiling New Years Resolutions for Law Firms last year and am thrilled to do so again for 2014.

Personal recommendation for lawyers and word of mouth reputation are still the cornerstone for successful law firms. But, increasingly clients and potential clients are inexorably moving towards the internet where they can get a flavour and judge for themselves the “cut of our legal jibs”

I kid you not: algorithms are already determining the percentage chances of successful litigation, yet the flat-earth branch of the profession still denies the internet is having an effect or will have an effect on their law firms. So good luck with that one.

There has been a splurge of new lawyers and law firms with an internet and social media presence. Inbound marketing continues to grow rapidly but inbound marketing for law firms is still nascent.

Social Media for lawyers is no longer a minority past time, as more and more lawyers dip their toes in – although to be fair some less subtle law firms are stomping around with hobnail boots on.

As I exalt in the freedom of by-gone worries of splitting my infinitives, let me be one of the first lawyers, to boldly go on a trek through the internet marketing and social media universe, and give you my list of self proclaimed aphorisms, pointers and tips sprinkled a few bon mots and links to people I enjoyed connecting with in 2013.

The following legal musings are in a handy bite-sized chunk format.

Law Firm Management

  • Get closer to your clients. It’s not new but unless you care immensely more for your clients your competitor law firms and ABSs will do it for you.
  • Audit the whole experience of working with your law firm through the eyes of your clients. Yes, we can all improve
  • Banish the “C” word – Commoditisation. It’s a sackable offence in my law firm.
  • Avoid the race to the bottom on legal fees especially Conveyancing.
  • Learn more about the art and science of Pricing your Law Firm services
  • Sign up and follow the advice of Richard Burcher at Validatum or Kim Tasso on pricing for professionals 
  • Write a “Thank You “ note to each week to a client or contact who won’t be expecting it
  • Promise yourself you will cure your law firm myopia by working  more “on” your business rather than just in “it”
  • Demote the excuse “I am too busy” to market my firm: work smarter and/or put your fees up
  • Give all your staff company encrusted road haulage trucks like Eddie Stobart does.
  • Exceed expectation – get on board for destination Wow
  • Sign up for Joe Reevy’s newsletter. Gems and Golden Nuggets of common sense advice guaranteed
  • Read my blog: Circle the Wagons and Come Out All Guns Blazing
  • Hit the Road, Jack – speak and visit other law firms, talk learn, and share: protect our solicitor brand. I’ve travelled to meet some great solicitors this year to “chew the legal cud”
  • Reduce reliance on third party paid referrals
  • Read my blog: Match Point: What More Could Your Law Firm Achieve?
  • Remember client retention is much cheaper than client acquisition

 Internet and Inbound Marketing for Law Firms

  • No one really cares about your law firm website – get over it
  • Mens sana in corpore sano - a fit mind in a fit body..and that includes working out personally and with and on your law firm website
  • Invest in marketing technology such as Hubspot to help run your firm effortlessly 24/7/365
  • Talk to me about Hubspot – I’m evangelical
  • Repeat the mantra “My law firm will get found online and we will convert leads into clients”
  • I said repeat it
  • Start an E-Newsletter or improve on an existing newsletter.
  • Evaluate your own law firm website with fresh eyes: overhaul the home page at the very least if it doesn’t cut the mustard
  • Consumers complete 60% of their buying decisions before talking to a sales rep – work out how that will impact your online law firm strategy
  • Read my blog: Get the Love –Inbound Marketing is the Future
  • Sign up with Boyd Butler at Great Legal Marketing and learn to think differently.
  • Read my blog: Are You Investing in Chinese Fishing Nets?
  • Get proof of how good you are – get testimonials from satisfied clients and keep asking those clients to refer new work to your firm
  • Marketing your law firm is an endless tour – don’t let yourselves be bowled out in 31.4 overs like the England Cricket team in the last Test Match in Australia:concentrate and be bold.

 Blogging for Lawyers

  • Look to build a blog not launch one
  • Work out an antidote for any “Lexblogophobia” in your firm.
  • Find a blogging champion within your firm but never force anyone –it will show.
  • Make it easier for potential clients to discover what you’re bloody at –create great content 
  • Increase your blogging and content output by 50% over the next twelve months
  • Write 2 blogs a week for your website –that will increase your law firm website by 100 over a year. Powerful
  • Start your blog editorial now and round of the year with your first eBook
  • Make sure you write that eBook (If you have a 100 new blogs next year that should more than cover it!)
  • Sign up and follow the blog of Irish Solicitor Flor McCarthy from Clonakilty County Cork – and be enchanted.
  • Find your niche Create great legal content and become “the go-to lawyer or firm” like I have done with Chancel Repair Liability
  • Never post a blog without a thumbnail image and an alt tag. Images add power.
  • Mix and Match your blog article lengths and be sure to do an in depth blog at least once a month. Google likes in depth content - it’s official
  • Sign up to the Solicitors Online Success blog below and never miss an article again
  • Your law firm is now a media publishing business embrace it and excel.
  • Educate your clients and help them learn about the legal process as it affects them
  • Ask your staff to name the 10 most common questions asked daily and create your first 10 blogs or another 10 blogs if you’re already up and running.
  • Learn to multi-task and think, write and construct blogs – Watch Monday Night Football and Blog; Watch Rugby and Blog; Watch Breaking Bad and on second thoughts..

 Content Marketing for Law Firms

  • Cut the Crap (1) avoid bombastic, turgid and orotund blog posts and content
  • Cut the Crap (2) No more inane tweets informing the Twittersphere that you are available for a quote for conveyancing, a divorce or a Will. Yuk!
  • Download Crap: The Content Marketing Deluge by Velocity Partners and follow @dougkessler its creative director to see what fantastic content looks like –be inspired
  • Veni Vidi Video –especially the last one and don’t be so precious and eschew the library books at the back
  • Don’t fear your law firm’s content management system – learn a bit of code and feel more in control.
  • Ensure every page of your law firm website has a sufficient Call to Action – or stand on the naughty step
  • Make your content shareable and sociable, allow people to easily follow you and share your content

 Social Media for Solicitors and Lawyers

  • Treasure your invite to the world’s largest cocktail party that is Twitter
  • Understand that Twitter is primarily a listening medium
  • Read the “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk and learn how to tell your story in a noisy social world.
  • Consider other social media not just the usual suspects such as Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and Slideshare and Prezzi and Uberflip could help your practice but:
  • Don’t try and do every “social media” stick to what you think will work best
  • Perfect your blogging style over time – don’t rush ( please don’t hold any of my original blogs back in 2008 against me)
  • Exit a group on LinkedIn which no longer inspires you
  • Join a new group on LinkedIn which may inspire you and join in the discussions

 SEO for Law Firms

  • Don’t get fixated and hung up with SEO, but do concentrate on creating great content. You’re writing for humans not robots!
  • Think twice and then thrice again before instructing a so called SEO expert sign up to Moz to find out what SEO is really all about.

Law Firms and Google+

  • Google+ will grow in importance and influence search results. Google+ is here for the long haul
  • Inhabit Google+ and work out how it can benefit your clients and staff
  • Claim your content with Google Authorship markup and if you are lucky Google will post your photo next to your blog like here

Which, if any, Were Advertising Slogans Used by Alternative Business Structures in 2013?

  • Feeling Flat?: Let Our Legal Team Put the Wind Back In Your Tyres
  • It’s not just car breakdowns we cover but also marital breakdowns.
  • Free Marital Breakdown Cover When You Sign Up for Roadside Breakdown Cover
  • Free Roadside Breakdown Cover When You Sign Up To Marital Breakdown Cover
  • Your tyres may have let you down but our legal services team won’t
  • Wills While You Wait………. For Our Van To Arrive
  • Injured in a car accident in the last three years? ( That one may have been overplayed a bit now, admittedly)
  • We’d like you to turn all your legal problems into a Saga
  • We can’t run a Bank but boy oh boy do we know how to run a law firm
  • The highways jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive - but not our Truck Stop Lawyers, Eh Eddie?

Extract from my Unforthcoming  Book on Conveyancing

‘Two Tick’ Tulisa, an 18 year old, highly experienced one-to-one, customer-facing conveyancing coordinator with Inter Galactic Estate (and author of ‘How to Successfully Tick Your Way Through the Conveyancing Process and Wave Goodbye to Common Sense’) was delighted.

The enthusiastic Tulisa, acting upon a hot lead from her punter procurement department, had persuaded first time buyers Mr Poor and Miss Unfortunate (not their real names) to use the conveyancing services provided by their sister company and fledgling ABS

For you see, Tulisa had shown Mr Poor and Miss Unfortunate the light: their appointed lawyers were the future of conveyancing.

Apropos Nothing

  • So you’re in a lift/elevator- tell me what you do in 29.9 seconds or thereabouts
  • Only talk to passionate and enthusiastic people in said lifts/elevators
  • Avoid temptation to utter whilst in said lift/elevator “I’m ready to take this baby to the next level are you?”
  • Shun Mr. Mrs and Ms Negative and all their family and relatives and all their close personal friends
  • Look forward ( if rumours are to be believed) to joyous wincing at Saul Goodman the outrageously corrupt, ghastly and appalling attorney from Breaking Bad in his new eponymous series
  • Have an inflatable “scales of justice” proudly above your office – only joking –see above
  • Avoid TV adverts for your law firm  – and I’m not just talking about Call Saul
  • Create your own three word aphorism for ABS – never harms to amuse oneself 


Above all else avoid complacency in your law firms.

“Be bloody bold and resolute; laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth

After all it’s what did for poor old Macbeth in the end.

And finally..

A Happy, Content Enriched and Wonderfully Prosperous New Year to you.

Topics: content marketing for law firms, content marketing for lawyers, online marketing for law firms, inbound marketing for law firms, blogging for lawyers, blogging for solicitors, blogging for law firms, solicitors online success, social media for law firms, ABS, internet marketing for law firms, law firm marketing, Alternative Business structures, marketing for solicitors, twitter for law firms, Internet marketing

Fixed Fees and Clarity in Tomorrow’s Legal Services:

Posted by Paul Hajek on Mon, Oct 07, 2013 @ 02:00 PM

the law wizard tom hiskeyFixed fees and clarity in tomorrow’s legal services is a guest post by Tom Hiskey, former probate solicitor and co founder of fast-growing legal technology company The Law Wizard. The Law Wizard supplies the clever technology behind Clutton Cox's fixed price probate service.

I often run guest posts over on my Clutton Cox website ( extraordinarily it would appear whenever I am on holiday) and I am grateful to Tom for contributing this post.

Tom has a couple of predictions about the future of legal services –over to you Tom.

Prediction 1: in the next few years, all but the most complex non-contentious matters will be charged by fixed fee

No solicitor costs files by weight any more (or do they?). The way in which matters are charged is changing fast. In probate the move towards fixed fees is inexorable. It must be this way, if for no other reason that consumers prefer fixed fees above all other charging methods by some distance.

According to one recent survey, fixed fee is now the most common charging method for probate.

It should come as no surprise then that the vast majority of law firms we have spoken to already offer one fixed fee probate package, and sometimes more than one. Typically, this is a fixed fee grant extraction service, usually around £350 – £700 + VAT, with £500 + VAT perhaps most common.

At least one firm we know of is already moving towards offering all non-contentious probate work on a fixed fee.

These law firms tell us that the demand for fixed fees started around 10 years ago and, today, requests for fixed fees are commonplace. This is reflected in client satisfaction rates, with 87% of consumers satisfied with fixed fee services, compared to 73% for services charged by hourly rate (down from 79% in 2012).

This 10-year shift mirrors the rise in internet users. 6 years ago (let alone 10), there were just half the internet users in the UK there are today. In 2013, 33 million of us use the internet daily. The Web has empowered consumers, who are now, as a whole, informed, educated and expect more for less.

There are growing pains. With the above fixed fee grant extraction services, the law firm typically hands some form of questionnaire to the client, or the client simply hands a completed spreadsheet or IHT205 to the solicitor. It can be a clunky, inefficient process.

The challenge of attaching fixed fees to estate administration (as opposed to grant extraction) should not be underestimated, and the same goes for many other areas of law. It requires experience, technology, processes and analysis of metrics – things that are not yet in place for the vast majority of law firms.

Progress is also hindered by misunderstandings about fixed fees: one firm we spoke to considered a fixed percentage rate to be a fixed fee.

Prediction 2: prices and service levels will be clear, transparent and capable of comparison

Law firms may be some years away from a fixed fee panacea, but try telling that to probate providers such as Co-op Legal Services, Kings Court Trust, ITC and others. They are pushing hard towards fixed fees. These specialist probate providers also tend the lead the way (some more successfully than others) on the other side of the fixed fee coin: pricing, service levels and branding which are clear, transparent and capable of comparison.

For law firms, as with these volume providers, it is a bumpy road. One firm left me scratching my head recently when they declined to tell me what they charge for their fixed fee grant extraction service, explaining that they do not tell clients their fixed fee prices over the telephone or online. These are only revealed once a client has made an appointment and is at the office. Even Co-op is notoriously coy about its fixed fee pricing structure, with no hint of costs on its website.

This may or may not be adequate for the time being, but the market is changing. Co-op intercept clients at the funeral stage, referring probate work to their legal services team. Volume provider Kings Court Trust recently received £4m VC investment. They are not alone in targeting a greater share of the probate market.

The rise of volume providers is of greater concern for law firms than mere fixed fees, and that is true not only for probate. Nevertheless, the reality is that if law firms wish to compete, they will have to do more.

Quality Solicitors hope to do just that. Though unable at present to guarantee fixed fees, their promises, including no hidden costs and Saturday openings, point towards transparent service levels. With increasingly clear and consistent messaging and branding, plus TV ads, they recognise that consumers are increasingly shopping around (even if they still do so for legal services somewhat less than they would for other services).

This trend will continue, supported by the fact that 18-34 year-olds are now more likely to find their legal service provider online than by any other means. In terms of probate, this may not be the demographic of the typical client, but it is indicative of a permanent shift. Tomorrow’s consumers of probate services will increasingly find their providers online, comparing costs and service levels as they would for car insurance and credit cards.

Unclear pricing is at odds with this future. It is even at odds with the present. All our clients publish their fixed fee probate prices on their websites. Many other law firms publish one or more fixed fee prices.

The research, stats and results all point to one thing – consumers increasingly demand clear, fixed, up-front pricing, along with consistent, clear branding and service levels. However fantastic your law firm’s service and expertise, this will be of little comfort when the internet generation skips over your website in favour of something clearer, more transparent and more appealing.

For details of how The Law Wizard helps law firms to capture more of the DIY probate market, please visit our website,

Topics: high street law firms, law firm marketing, Alternative Business structures, law firm websites, Fixed Legal Fees

Law Firm Marketing: Circle the Wagons or Come Out All Guns Blazing

Posted by Paul Hajek on Wed, Sep 18, 2013 @ 11:58 AM

Circle the WagonsThis is a version of my first article for the Solicitors Journal which was published last week.

Life was so much simpler in Westerns: good guys wore white hats and the baddies black hats or used bows, arrows and tomahawks. The good guys usually won out.

In our new legal landscape post Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) we have new “black hat” marauders to contend with who are looking at taking our real estate in a legal services land grab.

The first shots have already been fired.

Law Firm Strategy in the New Wild West

In this new Wild West, I can characterise the available strategies for small (and not so small) law firms as follows:

"CIRCLE THE WAGONS"; carry on as before, drive down costs and drive out inefficiencies and keep fingers crossed that the Cavalry or the Lone Ranger in some form of regulatory or combined marketing venture or other will come to your rescue;

SURRENDER: wave the white flag, simply give up conveyancing, PI or legal aid and concentrate on other more contemporary or bespoke areas of the law;

FIGHT BACK; come out all guns blazing and truly set your law firm apart with great service, innovation and embrace the challenge of ABSs.

From my experience at my law firm lawyers can take up the fight using the Internet as the weapon of choice.

Why Now for the Internet and Law Firms?

The internet has been around for a while now, but many law firms in particular have been slow to recognise its benefits. The web is changing pretty much everything it touches.

Patterns of shopping are changing and so are buying habits including how clients look for and evaluate legal services. The Internet is increasingly the tool of choice for people preselecting solicitors and law firms.

Potential clients are able to judge the expertise of a law firm for themselves simply by the look and feel quality of the website content.

The power of pre selection without the need to have any interaction other than viewing a website cannot be underestimated.

Differentiating Your Law Firm

Differentiating yourselves from your competitors on the internet will allow you to grow your market share significantly.

At our law firm we’ve made our website the hub of all our marketing efforts, both on and offline. It’s a dynamic tool for attracting existing and potentially new clients alike by:

  • CREATING remarkable content

 Type “Chancel Repair Liability” into Google to see. As a result of that one post (often revised) we contacted by the BBC, Radio 5 Live and the One Show

  • OPTIMISING that content for search engines (SEO)
  • PROMOTING that content in social media, e-mail marketing and other channels

We’ve developed own law firm brand by blogging and writing articles and showing personality through social media channels such as Twitter.

Let your potential clients know who you are (and indeed your existing clients who may not be aware), where you are; what you do and hey presto, they will get to understand that you may indeed be bloody good at what you do.

Go Get Them

We received few Conveyancing instructions from a nearby town such was the blanket coverage of corporate Estate Agents.

Now as more people undertake their own research on the internet, Google obliges by pointing their enquiries to our blog posts. We as a result have regained large numbers of clients.

Will the Cavalry Save Your Law Firm?

Whatever strategy your law firm adopts, without an internet presence it will be increasingly more difficulty to compete, survive and thrive.

And for the winning law firms the internet and their internet marketing strategy may well be the cavalry coming round the mountain in the final reel

Would You Like Me To Help?

 Paul Hajek

Topics: inbound marketing for law firms, blog marketing, small law firm survival, law firm marketing, Alternative Business structures

Law Firms: Don't Go GAGA Over SAGA?

Posted by Paul Hajek on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 @ 07:00 AM
Another day another ABS entrant: this time up, SAGA.

Every report seems to indicate that clients and consumers have been denied access to fixed legal fees since time immemorial (1189, but you knew that) and have been subjected to and festooned with incomprehensible legal jargon as if a form of water boarding punishment

Clients in Fixed Legal Fees Shock

Case in point the Times ( which should know better) published last Thursday (as if it were ground- breaking news) that SAGA’s research had indicated that consumers/clients want fixed fees for legal services such as conveyancing wills and probate.

Have SAGA even bothered to ask anyone within their ranks about the last time they bought or sold a house and did they receive a fixed fee for their Conveyancing?

This is not revolutionary.

The Non Saga Revolution

SAGA says it is concentrating its efforts on fixed fees, eschewing legal jargon (although SAGA may indeed itself be adding to the Conveyancing lexicon with possible new terms such as “Replacement Joint - Tenants”) and communication with clients

Too Much Legal Jargon?

Most solicitors and law firms draft legal documents in plain English and have been doing so for many years.

Solicitors will know and verify this as they will have been on the other side of drafting the documents for approval.

There may be a nostalgic glint for the occasional “hereinbefore” or the “hereinafter” but these are but dying embers.

Room for Improvement

I know that the ABSs and SAGA is no exception will use their soft skills at informing clients and making the experience of legal life more informed.

Let’s face it every law firm can improve how it treats its clients, but legal satisfaction surveys are generally favourable

Legal Fees Ambush

What my 30 years experience as a solicitor has taught me is the number 1 gripe from clients is the so called fee ambush. In my mind it should be a capital offence.

Why are some law firms still seemingly so worried about laying out their fees and method of charging at the start of the transaction?

No Room for Law Firm Complacency

We as law firms are not great at communicating.

Law firms tell your clients about your Fixed Fees and then tell them again

We need to get the message out, by blogging, face to face, email, direct mail newsletters or bulletins. Whatever it takes and do it now to counter these fixed fee urban myths

No Press Coverage for Solicitors

It is unlikely we as Law Firms will garner such unchallenged press coverage as Frances Gibbs in the Times did for Saga last Thursday.

But we can help ourselves and each other at the same time.

Law Firms We Are In This Together

If every law firm blogged on their law firm websites specifically about fixed fees as an example then our clients and potential clients would be better educated about legal fees than the ABSs believe is the case

And as a start here is my latest blog on my Clutton Cox website.

Make sure your law firm has its own tale to tell and put SAGA in its place

After all a saga is but an overextended fairy tale

Topics: Alternative Business structures, Fixed Legal Fees, blog, SAGA

Care Immensely or Die: A Lesson for Law Firms

Posted by Paul Hajek on Thu, Sep 06, 2012 @ 04:15 AM
I popped across "the pond" last week to Boston to attend Inbound12.inbound12

Inbound12 was the self styled biggest Inbound Marketing Conference in the world organised by Hubspot – 2800 attendees there or thereabouts.

The reason for my attending was to see what small and medium sized law firms could learn from cutting edge marketers in the US.

As law firms, in England and Wales, we face huge disruption to our legal services market with the advent of Alternative Business Structures ( ABSs). Non lawyers can now own law firms and it’s probably fair to say “we ain’t see nothing yet”.

I was intrigued to learn what tools and strategies law firms may adopt not only to ensure survival but to thrive in the face of “big business” intervention into our traditional legal markets.

Law Firms: we are not alone!

And guess what? Every business is at risk of disruption by technology and companies using innovative ways of delivering old services and products.

Yet, reassuringly, the cornerstones of what our businesses stood for and made them successful are probably more crucial in the digital age than ever before.

Keynote Talk

The closing keynote talk was given by noted entrepreneur and author Gary Vaynerchuk.Gary Vee and Me

Gary is a larger than life character who is totally incapable of speaking without passion. It’s in his DNA and pervades everything he does.

And when he speaks, as we were warned, he is partial to the odd (frequent) “F-Bomb” but in a rather acceptable Billy Connolly type way.

For Gary, authenticity is crucial and that includes the way he speaks. You just can’t fail be roused and enthused. He is simply the best conference speaker I have ever witnessed and I gave him (along with pretty much everyone else) a standing ovation.

I have condensed some of Gary’s key points below.

Care Immensely or Die

This was the banner title of his keynote address: You need to care about your clients; Build your brand around “out caring “every one else.

If you do not care about your client immensely your brand will ultimately die out sooner or later.

Innovation will be critical to survival.

Client Retention

Client retention is key. Firms can pay too much heed to client acquisition.

We as law firms have been pretty useless in keeping in touch with our clients. Yet, if we keep them happy and loyal we can ring fence against the likes of the Co op and other ABSs.

Social Media

Social Media is about humans and communication. And it takes time.

Social Media has turned the world in to a village again where people can communicate and interact one to one.

Social Media allows us to get closer to our clients as our grandfathers and great grandfathers did with their businesses: first name terms; knowing their likes and dislikes and demonstrably showing we care.

Yet Social media is ridiculously hard and massively frustrating as a consequence.

To paraphrase there is no “Silver Bullet”.

There are great tools to give us data on every aspect of client interaction but it is undoubtedly hard graft.

As we are going through the biggest ever cultural shift, are we willing to do it and do we have the requisite emotional IQ to succeed?

Client Experience Audit

Gary’s closing advice was to audit every step of our business processes and discover how to make the customer/client experience better.

Gary is convinced we could shed 20% of inefficiencies.

And the Good News

Gary left us with this: If you give a “damn” (or words to that effect) about your clients and customers, you may not be surprised to know that actually caring makes you feel good!

describe the imageAs an aside, Cyndi Lauper, may have unwittingly prefaced Gary earlier in the week by singing at the Conference:

" don't be afraid to see your true colours come shining through"

So for small and medium sized law firms in the new legal landscape in England and Wales, ask yourselves this question:

Will your law firm be able to out care the Coop?

I really wish you could have been there, but if you would like a link to Gary’s hour long talk, email me paul [at] It could be the best hour you have spent “on your business” in a long while.

Topics: high street law firms, internet marketing for law firms, Alternative Business structures, blog, Inbound12

Will High Noon Hit High Street Law Firms?

Posted by Paul Hajek on Wed, Aug 01, 2012 @ 07:49 AM
High Noon for High Street Law FirmsA year or so today, The Sunday Times in it's business section, published an article, entitled “High Noon on the High Street”.

The article formed the core of one of our early posts. If anything, the position has worsened and now we are in the realms of double-dip recession.

The Sunday Times predicted that thousands of shops would close their doors that summer.

“Retailers big and small are under assault from a rapid shift to internet shopping, a slump in consumer confidence – and from some chains having too much debt and over expanded during the boom”

The pattern of shopping is changing and so are our buying habits.

The internet has become the default way to shop for millions. More and more people research and order on line from the comfort of their own home.

 The “Tesco and Chanel” model

Retail analysts are describing the phenomenon as the “Tesco and Chanel” model

There will be, they argue, at one end, Tesco selling pretty much everything at the other end the luxury high value high margin specialist retailers.

The conclusion drawn was that everything in the middle [of the High Street] was being squeezed and fighting for survival.

Parallels with High Street Law Firms

It is not difficult to draw parallels in the legal field with law firms big and small and not just on the High Street; even before we take into account the introduction of Alternative Business Structures.

In the legal sector, we will see the big brands selling transactional legal services (Co -op seem to be the front runners) and at the other or top end, the magic circle of law firms as well as niche firms advising in very narrow areas of law.

There will I feel undoubtedly also be a squeeze in the middle for transactional legal services.

Merger may well be a reasonable aspiration for firms in small towns to even out the competition.

Ensuring you have a plan to counteract the threats is a bare minimum, yet it seems that over two thirds of law  firms are seemingly content, unaware or not concerned with the looming threats.

The Role of the Internet in Law Firm Strategy:

The internet is becoming increasingly influential in all retailing, the legal services market will not be immune.

The internet can provide ease of access, growth and an alternative way to sell legal services. This will only increase in popularity.

What a law firm needs to put in place is an internet strategy and ways to offer legal services on line; at the very least make it easier to instruct your law firm on line.

The internet and internet marketing can facilitate your law firm competing on a level playing field.

Your law firm website needs to be the hub of your internet strategy.

And the good news you can start right away.

But, more importantly, there is simply no time to loose.

This was an imperative for law firms a year ago and it is even more pressing today.

If you would like to know how to kick start your law firm website and learn how your law firm website can be the starting point of your on line strategy, get Paul and Ed's report entitled “The 7 Best Kept Secrets of Law Firm Websites”


Topics: high street law firms, internet marketing for law firms, Alternative Business structures, high street solicitors, General, blog

Law Firms: How Strong Are Your Castles and How Deep Are Your Moats?

Posted by Paul Hajek on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 @ 04:29 AM
How srong is your law firm castleWarren Buffet likes businesses with "castles and moats".

In business, Buffet says, " I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable moats".

An "economic castle" is a great business, and the "unbreachable moat" is the strategy or market dynamic that heightens the barriers-to-entry and makes it difficult or ideally impossible to compete with, or gain access to, the economic castle. . ."

Now that got me thinking:

Law Firm Website - Castle; Internet Marketing and Social Media -Moat

"Online" the new battleground on the High Street:

I've posted before about how smaller law firms without a viable internet strategy will find it increasingly difficult to survive and thrive.

In the internet age, the challenge for law firms and their law firm websites will be how to fend off other law firms and new entrants into legal services from gaining traction in their local, regional or national markets.

If you visualise your law firm castle comprising, your people, your law firm brand, intellectual capital and your existing clients, then your law firm moat will comprise: search engine optimisation (key words and phrases strategy); social media and internet marketing techniques.

"Weapons Grade Content": The New Molten Oil

Great weapons grade content powers up a law firm's online presence and attracts more potential clients. Weapons grade content is the new molten oil pouring your law firm content all over your competitors output and the new upstarts

The search engines such as Google and Bing seek, devour and feed relevant content to eager search enquirers-potential clients in other words.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):

All law firms who have a website should at least of heard of, although, may have not done much about, SEO.

Any firm embarking or being serious about an internet marketing strategy will need to pay some heed to SEO. But, be careful and avoid slavish adherence to SEO. Once found on line ,if your content is bloated, uninteresting and focuses too much on keywords, it is likely to remain unread.

Google Wants To Index Your Content

The more great and relevant content that appears on your website the more readily Google will send its robots to your website to discover it.

Sure, it may be intermittent when you first start, but the more regularly you post or add content and articles, the greater the frequency of revisits will be.

My record at Clutton Cox was a blog, which was posted by me, indexed and available for search by Google within 43 minutes!

SEO Tip: Are You Solicitors of Quality?:

Yes, at the very least you should incorporate the fact that your law firm is a quality firm of solicitors in whichever suburb. village town or city you reside. Hopefully, no explanation needed on that one!

Keywords and phrases, and not just the obvious, but what are known as "long tail phrases"; clever less fought over phrases which you try and call your own - type into Google the phrase "guaranteed fixed fees with no hidden extras" and see what comes up?

Don't get hung up on the word Blog

A word of advice, don't get hung up on the word "blog".

Blog is but one part of putting content on your law firm website. It is actual content that is paramount, in whatever form that takes.

Blogging allows you to create a more relaxed style for potential clients to frame a personality for the firm. But, if you prefer to call your content articles or legal briefings, please do "knock your self out".

The golden rule is to create content which is of interest to your clients and potential clients, not to show how great your legal mind or research capabilities are.

When can I stop and admire my internet moat?

Not until ,it is the deepest and widest moat, filled with the iciest waters ,oversized sharks and piranha fish. Simple, don't stop.

If you stop you risk a breach and your preeminent position challenged.

My law firm does not have time to blog or create content

I hear it all the time. We, as a law firm, just don't have a enough time to blog or create content.

Even if you decide that lack of time and inclination prohibits you from creating your own blogs and content, there really are no excuses: Outsource your great content to some one who can do it for you.

Do you think you can really afford not to protect your law firm castle?

If you haven't already started to build your internet moat, start digging now!

Topics: internet marketing for solicitors, high street law firms, small law firm survival, Alternative Business structures, Content, paul hajek

Susskind: Is Your Law Firm an "Irrational Rejectionist?"

Posted by Paul Hajek on Thu, Jul 05, 2012 @ 04:45 AM
prof richard susskindProfessor Richard Susskind has been ruffling legal feathers again following a pretty hard hitting and vibrant talk at a future of law conference (yes another one!) last Friday.

Two of my virtual friends (although we have actually met in person) have provided their eye witness accounts and views on the conference,
Neil Rose here and Brian Inkster here.

“Irrational Rejectionists”

Caught in Susskind's crosshairs are law firms and lawyers whom he characterises, "irrational rejectionists" would dismiss how technology and the internet will alter the legal services landscape in the next few years.

As Susskind pronounced:-

"It just cannot be that the Internet is transforming all corners of society and the economy and yet it doesn't apply to lawyers"

Technology and the Internet

Professor Richard Susskind was speaking about the liberalisation of the legal services market by the Legal Services Act, the more for less challenges facing law firms and of course technology and the Internet, ahead of the publication of his new book "Tomorrow's Lawyers: an introduction to your future" in January 2013.

I explored a similar theme of changing attitudes to selecting lawyers on the internet in my post last week "Nearly 8 out of 10 Cats Prefer Lawyers on the Internet"

Wheat and Chaff

Susskind argues that the law will be reengineered and reprocessed by new entrants in to the Legal Services market.

He points out that by braking things down into their component parts, only then can we discover what part of the process actually needed lawyers.

Lawyers were, if one takes litigation as an example, only "uniquely qualified" to undertake just the two of 9 components: strategy and tactics; the rest could be outsourced -e.g. document review, research and e-discovery.

The March of Technology

Susskind is more optimistic than he may have been when he coined the phrase the "disintermediation of legal services" in his first book "The Future of Law" in 1996 which foresaw the impact of information technology on legal practice.

In the brave new legal landscape we as lawyers will need to get to grips with "Legal Knowledge Engineering", "Building On Line Content" and building online legal advisory systems.

Building Online Content

So much talk about the future, yet building online content is what a few law firms have been assiduously doing for a little while *doffs my Clutton Cox hat*.

I have been, yes frankly, banging on for a longish while that to compete against the invading hoards of ABSs building up a digital stronghold or castle is an essential , and for sole practitioners and small law firms, the paramount strategy to survive and thrive.

Back to The Future

Although, I will have to wait for publication of Professor Richard Susskind's book, as Shakespeare, so succinctly put it "time and tide waits for no man".

As solicitors and law firms, you will need to look the future but start shaping the future now - and get help if you don't think you can do it alone.

Photo: Legal Futures

Topics: high street law firms, small law firm survival, Alternative Business structures, blog, susskind, legal services act 2007

Solicitor's Blog Thoughts from Abroad: A True Testament

Posted by Paul Hajek on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 @ 04:45 AM

I enjoyed reading afresh Napoleon Hill's groundbreaking (sorry, I have been watching Great British Menu) book "Think and Grow Rich" on my recent sojourn in Southern Turkey.

Although, on holiday, my reticular blogging activity was still highly tuned.

I simply could not ignore the embedded gems within the pages of the book and not blog about them.

Rapid Change and ABSs

Hill commented that "of all the ages of civilisation, this is the most favourable for the development of the imagination, because it is an age of rapid change"

Speed, is a relative concept.

For those of you who have not come across "Think and Grow Rich" before, the book it was written in 1937.

It is fair to say that for firms of solicitors with the advent of ABSs, to quote a different source "we ain't seen nothing yet"

Theme of the Book

Napoleon Hill was able to interview over many years Dale Carnegie the great industrialist.

Hill was keen to unravel the secrets of millionaire businessmen and offer a blueprint for others to follow.

Hill, in turn, had doors opened for him and managed to speak with other superstars such as Henry Ford.

Social Media Parallels

Twitter allows one to follow people we respect or could learn from and in return if you are followed back, a dialogue is possible. Access to others which would not have been possible in the days before social media. I and Ed, like many others, have forged business links and partnerships through Twitter and LinkedIn.

Social Proof Lessons for Law Firms: The Power of the Testimonial

Napoleon Hill called upon a glittering array of testimonials for his book; Henry Ford. George Eastman, WM Wrigley, Woodrow Wilson and FW Woolworth.

Such social proof is crucial in persuading potential readers to buy the book, and is the norm for all book covers and introductions.

Testimonials help with differentiation as well.

Law firms more than ever need to be able to differentiate from their competitors. Yet, in my experience so few law firms bother to include testimonials on their websites or in their marketing literature.

Power of Preselection

The internet is increasingly the tool of choice for people preselecting solicitors and law firms.

For my law firm Clutton Cox, being able to differentiate from other firms my size and bigger showing social proof to potential clients has undoubtedly swung the balance.

How many of you have chosen to use a different hotel or restaurant after researching on line with Trip Advisor.

Google Loves Testimonials

Google loves testimonials, as it sees positive social proof that a particular company should given more prominence in search results. Google exists by ensuring the best and most apt search enquiry goes to one of the best candidates.

It is isn't easy, as clients are not comfortable with the concept, but asking clients to put a testimonial against your law firm directly into Google would be a great way for instant proof without navigating around your law firm website

Quality Solicitors

If you need any further proof of the power of testimonials, surely you will have seen the various "advertorials" by Quality Solicitors in the Gazette recently as a tool to enrol further law firms to the brand.

"How We've Helped Others"

If you think testimonials are a bit stodgy, call them something else. On my law firm Clutton Cox website, the section is enticingly named "How We've Helped Others".

The latest testimonials on my Clutton Cox website also form the subject of simple law firm blogs.

Law Firm Websites and Blogging

Law firms who have neither website nor a static brochure or (heaven forefend) no blog on their law firm website would to well to heed another of Napoleon Hill's golden nuggets:

Do not wait: the time will never be "just right" Start where you stand, and better tools will be found along the way

There, be told!

P.S. Speaking of tools and tools

Topics: blogging for law firms, high street law firms, internet marketing for law firms, Alternative Business structures, Content

Conveyancing: Whither or Wither for High Street Law Firms?

Posted by Paul Hajek on Wed, May 23, 2012 @ 03:00 AM
[caption id="attachment_1104" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Where Next for High Street Conveyancing Solicitors?"]High Street Conveyancing Firms[/caption]

If you were to explore deep into the conveyancing jungle, you may come across an occasional pygmy tribe of conveyancing solicitors known as the "wherethehellarewe" tribe.

This tribe (which includes some sole practitioners and small conveyancing firms) can be seen running at pace, intermittently jumping out of the long grass and exclaiming "where the hell are we?"

Other larger conveyancing firms live in the open, and in significant numbers, but nevertheless are fearful of what might come rushing headlong out of the bush.

Darwin said "It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change”.

The conveyancing landscape is set to change again.

What can conveyancing firms do to ensure that it is they who survive and plan for the future and not wither?

ABS and the Big Brands

There are undoubtedly fewer conveyancing firms and fewer conveyancing firms doing more conveyancing.

The market is beginning to stir and big players are shifting.

Australian firm Slater & Gordon have already pounced and devoured Russell Jones & Walker and vowed to enter the conveyancing market. Others are waiting eagerly in the ABS departure lounge.

Differentiate or Die:

I have lost count of how many future of law conferences I have attended over the last few years. The overriding thrust of the conferences has been unequivocal: there appear three main options for law firms:

"CIRCLE THE WAGONS"; carry on as before, drive down costs and drive out inefficiencies and keep fingers crossed;

ABDICATE; simply give up conveyancing and concentrate on other areas of the law or

FIGHT BACK; truly set your conveyancing firm apart with great service and innovation or embrace ABSs and set up your own joint ventures.

 A Solution for Small Conveyancing Firms:

The internet has been around for a while now, but conveyancing firms in particular have been slow to recognise its benefits.

The web changes pretty much everything it touches: conveyancing is no exception.

Patterns of shopping are changing and so are buying habits including how clients look for and evaluate legal services.

Potential clients can already judge for themselves the expertise of a law firm simply by the quality of the content available on its website.

Do not underestimate the ability of consumers to pre select a law firm without the need to have any interaction other than viewing a website.

The internet will be the battle ground where High Street conveyancing law firms can more easily differentiate and fight well above their weight: “online will become the new High Street”

Be renowned for what you are bloody good at!

My law firm Clutton Cox has been able to grow its market share significantly by differentiating itself on the internet.

My website is the hub of all our marketing efforts, both on and offline.

My website is a dynamic tool to attract existing and potentially new clients by

• CREATING remarkable content

• OPTIMISING that content for search engines (SEO)

• PROMOTING that content in social media, e-mail marketing and other channels

You can develop your own personal and law firm brand by blogging and writing articles and showing you personality through social media such as Twitter.

You can now more than ever before control your own message.

The Way Forward for Small Conveyancing Firms:

What small conveyancing firms need is a strategy to offer conveyancing services on line; at the very least making it easier to instruct on line.

My conveyancing practice has seen a huge increase in on line instructions for Conveyancing.

We now receive 42% of our Conveyancing leads directly from our website and clients can instruct us online with a minimum of fuss.

We are largely in control our own destiny are neither reliant upon the uncertainty of panels nor the pressure to pay referral fees.


There are clearly no guarantees nor merely one winning strategy for conveyancing firms

Conveyancing firms of whatever size should be wary of conveyancing instructions from limited sources; panels can be cannibalised by other larger panels.

If experience from other fragmented markets is anything to go by, we are in for further consolidation.

The conveyancing market is likely to have a few big players at the top and small, nimble, client-focused and innovative firms at the bottom. Inevitably, I fear there will be a squeezed middle.

Whatever strategy your conveyancing firm adopts, without an internet presence it will be increasingly more difficulty to compete, survive and thrive.

At Clutton Cox our conveyancing future is most definitely more about whither than harbouring any thoughts about wither!


If you would like to know more about how a blog can revolutionise your Conveyancing practice, learn more about our recently launched "Blog in the Box" here.

 A version of this blog first appeared on the ETSOS search provider website.




Topics: blogging for law firms, high street law firms, small law firm survival, Alternative Business structures, high street solicitors, blogging