When our law firm started blogging its expertise six years ago, people said a lot of things.
- "No one's ever going to hire off the Internet"
- "Why would you give away legal information for free? That's how we get people on retainer, because we know more than they do and they need us.”
- "Business model of laws premised on the fact that you know the answer and they don't. You are providing the very information which allows the prospect to retain your services."
- "You can't put legal information on the Internet without creating liability. What if you provide bad information or the client interprets that information incorrectly?"
The industrial age attitudes were reflected in most of the responses I received to my business plan. What the lawyers failed to understand at the time, and what many lawyers still fail to understand, is there is no turning back the clock on the internet. If you don't provide free legal information and become a resource for prospective clients, another lawyer will. You can't compete as a law firm by pretending that the reality of today is the same as the reality of ten years ago.
We have built niche blogs within our areas of specialization, which provides more free information than just about any other similar websites on the Internet. Yes, many clients come to those websites and learn enough about their legal problem to avoid hiring a lawyer. But those people clearly didn't need a lawyer in the first place if providing the basics told them that their position was a loser, that they could really do it themselves or that they should consider alternatives.
What the naysayers fail to understand is that a website or blog which brings in 350 new people to your office door every single day can afford to give away an awful lot for free. If two of those people retain you each day, you will have more business than you know what to do with very quickly.
One of the other benefits of allowing a prospective client to educate themselves before coming to your door is that they are in a much better position to make solid business decisions and calculate return on investment. Those that do retain you are in a perfect position to realize a tremendous return on each legal dollar spent. Those clients end up being lifelong customers.