7 Common Misconceptions About Law Firm Websites

by: Matthew Samp

Many website design firms have courted the legal market to create website for law firms. The problem is, most designers don’t understand the unique needs of a lawyer, how the firms operate and how to create a website that makes money for the lawyer.

Following are seven common misconceptions about law firm websites.

MISCONCEPTION #1: I can create my own website.

If you’re happy with a website that gives visitors basic information about you, then you’re right. You don’t need to have a website that works.

However, if you want a website that will consistently bring in cases, it has to be different from the websites of other lawyers in your area.

Further, it has to give the visitor a reason to contact you. Simply offering a free consultation or free report is not enough. You have to have a “sticky” website, one that has lots of information that people find useful, one that they come back to for reference and a website that develops a relationship with the visitor.

MISCONCEPTION #2: If I put my website on the Internet, people will automatically find me.

They old saying, “build it and they will come,” couldn’t be further from the truth. Just because you have a site on the web, doesn’t mean people can find it.

Today, SEOs (search engine optimizers) are getting big money (two to five thousand a month) to get websites listed in the top of the search engines.

Once you have a website, you have to have a systematic way to drive traffic to your site. There are many ways to drive traffic, but just putting the site up is the first step in having a website.

MISCONCEPTION #3: If I put my website on the Internet, people will automatically hire me.

Usually not. Most law firm websites are nothing more than a few “fluffy” paragraphs about the law firm. If your website says:

“At Smith Law Office, we believe putting the needs of the client comes first. With the use of technology and competent legal research, our attorneys are able to advise our clients, giving the client an advantage in each matter.”

Or something similar, no doubt your message is ignored by the visitor.

The fact is, consumers are smart today, than ever before. With the amount of information available to people and those lawyers willing to give it out in mass quantities, people expect more than lop service. They want solid information in a format that’s easily accessible.

The visitor has to be compelled to contact the firm, or they won’t turn into a client.

MISCONCEPTION #4: Law firm websites don’t make real money.

This is actually true of nearly all law firm sites. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The fact is, there are solutions available to lawyers today, that can replace part or all of a marketing program. In fact, several of my lawyers have massively reduced the amount of yellow pages advertising due to the results and income they get from their website.

Since websites are cheaper than yellow page ads, it makes sense to work to get clients from a lower cost solution.

MISCONCEPTION #5: Putting up my areas of practice, contact information and mission statement is a good website.

Not true. Often times, a lawyer’s website is so poorly done, that it actually causes people to look for another attorney.

And, those attorneys who pay big bucks for snazzy flash presentations, and lots of bells and whistles end up looking too polished. People want a lawyer that’s a person, not a lawyer that hides behind his law firm name.

A site with all sorts of clever plugins is usually a waste of money. It makes the lawyer feel good about his or her website, but it doesn’t actually make money.

Should an attorney spend five or six thousand dollars on a website that looks great but doesn’t make money? That’s not an asset. It’s a waste.

MISCONCEPTION #6: Websites created by web designers are usually “good” websites.

Just because someone knows how to code a website, doesn’t mean they know what will make a person pick up the phone and call you.

Look at it like this: A paralegal can draft a demur, but what kind of success would they have going into court to argue that demur?

MISCONCEPTION #7: Buying a website from I lawyer directory is a safe and easy way to get my firm a website.

Not true. A website that has lawdomain.com/SmithLaw is a website that will rarely be looked at. Sure, there are some big companies around selling these sites to lawyers who know they have to have a website to look “official” yet, all the sites are bases off of a brochure type idea.

Again, putting up your “mission statement,” a few areas of practice and your bio doesn’t mean you have a website that will make you money.

The most likely scenario is that very few people will actually find your site if it’s created by one of these companies.

About the author:
Matthew Samp is a law firm marketing consultant. Information about his turnkey websites can be found at www.lawfirmmarketingwebsites.comor by calling 402-292-3400.

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7 Tips to Hiring a Great Personal Injury Lawyer

by: Arthur Gueli

If you suffer an injury resulting in significant damages you will need to hire a personal injury lawyer. But in any given city, there are probably over 20 pages of personal injury attorney listings in the phone book. How do you pick the right one? What do you look for? What questions should you ask?

Here are 7 things you should know before hiring your injury lawyer…

1) The sooner you hire your lawyer the better. Begin looking for your personal injury lawyer within a week or two after your accident. If you’re not physically capable you should have a friend or loved-one start looking. The sooner you start building your case the better.

2) Hire a personal injury lawyer that specializes in your specific type of injuries. Do your homework before signing the retainer agreement. Visit the firm’s website and read up on it’s history and each lawyer’s biographical information. Ask the lawyer for some references and ask how much experience they have in handling cases with similar injuries. What settlement awards did they get in those cases?

3) Have a face-to-face meeting with your prospective lawyer. Your personal injury lawyer is going to be your closest advisor during this difficult time. You must feel comfortable and trust your lawyer. The only way you’ll get a feel for the lawyer is by having a sit-down to discuss your case. Any good personal injury lawyer will give you an initial consultation free of charge.

4) Hire a lawyer that will take your case on a contingency fee basis. This means that your lawyer won’t get paid unless you get paid. He will take his fee out of the money you receive for your injuries. You can expect your lawyer to take about 33% of your final settlement – that’s after expenses are taken off the top. Make sure you clearly understand the payment structure before you sign the retainer agreement.

5) Beware of ambulance chasers. The goal of these lawyers is to get lots of minor personal injury cases and settle them quickly – they make their profit from high turnover. So naturally they won’t put as much time and effort into each case as they should. (If you’re looking for a quick settlement be prepared to accept less than what your case is really worth.)

6) Hire a lawyer with a good Martindale-Hubbell rating. This service evaluates lawyers in the U.S. and Canada based on peer review. Their website, Martindale.com has a helpful lawyer locator service and will explain the rating system.

7) Always be completely open and honest when discussing your case with a lawyer. Tell the lawyer as much as you can about what happened. Try to remember every detail. Any documentation and pictures you have of your injuries and treatment will be a big help when evaluating your case.

Bonus Tip:

8) NEVER give a recorded statement to a representative from any insurance company until you’ve consulted a lawyer. When the rep. asks for one simply say, “I’m not prepared to give a statement at this time.” A recorded statement can be used as evidence and if you’re not prepared you might overlook important details. Anything you miss (or misrepresent) can be used against you in settlement negotiations and in the trial.

About the author:
Learn more about how to hire a great personal injury lawyer at http://www.Injury-Settlement-Guide.com

Arthur Gueli works with his brother Charles (a licensed personal injury attorney) teaching injured plaintiffs how to obtain fair compensation for their damages.

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Accident Compensation Claims

by: John Eastwood

To get accident compensation claims accepted in the UK, you should contact your lawyer immediately after the accident. The kinds of accidents you might get involved in include road traffic accidents, hit and run accidents, accidents at work, accidents caused while performing leisure activities, and whilst on holiday abroad. Injuries might include lacerations, fractures, and whiplashes.

You can get accident compensation if you are involved in a road accident as a driver, passenger, cyclist, or pedestrian. The other party’s insurance company makes the payment, in hit and run cases and in others where there is no insurance cover.

Employers have a legal obligation to protect workers against accidents at the workplace. Employers also get insurance cover against accidents in the workplace. Your employer can be liable for claims in case a fellow employee causes an accident that leads to injuries. Employers also follow strict rules and regulations to avoid accidents at work.

If you are injured at work, enter a report immediately in the Accident Report Book. The report should be fair and accurate, and should bear your signature. You should report injuries to the Health and Safety Executive and contact a lawyer immediately to investigate the accident.

You could also get injured in accidents while performing leisure activities. If you can prove that the accident was caused due to negligence by someone else or due to the use of faulty equipment, then you can make a claim. However, you can make no claims if you injure yourself as a result of your own actions. You can even make a claim if you get injured while living abroad.

Lawyers involved in the accident compensation claims need to belong to the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) or the Law Society Personal Injury Panel. They should be experts in personal injury law and should be able to describe events in simple language.

You can make a claim if someone else has been at fault and can pay a sum in damages. You need to be 18 years and above to make such a claim. The accident should have occurred within the last three years. You can also make a claim if you have been injured and have had to suffer a loss of earnings temporarily. However, if you have suffered an injury due to your own actions, you may not receive compensation.

The amount of compensation available also depends upon the extent of injuries and a loss of income. In case your claim is accepted, you will receive the full amount of compensation

About the author:
Bio: John Eastwood is a well know writer in legal issues. His articles are popular in various online portals. He has a vast experience in writing professional articles based on legal issues, law and other related areas.

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How to Avoid Probate

by: Jeffrey Broobin

Below is a discussion of how to handle probate First of all, what is probate? We’ve heard various things about probate and we are pretty sure that it deals with court matters that involve our property. We generally know that probate is something that happens after we die and it’s a negative experience because it is expensive and it takes a lot of time. True, The Two Main Problems with probate are that it can take up to a year to accomplish its own goals (not ours) and it is an expensive purchase of attorney advice and court costs when it may not be necessary at all. In fact, it Serves No Real Purpose usually except that the attorneys who defend it claim that it controls fraud in dividing up property owned by a deceased person and that it handles the claims of creditors fairly. Consider though, that in the usual case, there will probably be no major creditor claims and the property will go to a small group of family members. This is What Happens in Probate. The attorney may make a couple of court appearances but most probably the case will be handled by mail. Your attorney will charge you a fee for taking care of this (as high as 5% of the estate), even though most probate cases do not require any Special Lawyerly Skills like drafting of documents, the ability to resolve conflicts or fight for you in court, or perform any extensive legal research, since usually there is no fight going on and thus no need for a court appearance. What is necessary is the filling out of forms and filing them at the right time, a job usually performed by the attorney’s secretary. The attorney may charge what the court approves as appropriate and reasonable, or his fee may be based on a percentage of the estate. Even though the assets may be the home of the deceased or other personal property, the Lawyer’s Fees and attendant court costs and appraiser’s fees may require you to make an out-of-pocket payment of 5%. So, if your estate is even only $500,000, you could owe your attorney as much as $25,000. Although you cannot legally hold an attorney to this arrangement, you could try to get an attorney to agree to help you at a lower than average fee. Note that the power to select the attorney normally resides with your executor. To help Reduce The Cost of Probate, it is possible to study the extensive volume of educational materials found in public law libraries regarding the probate system in order to do much of the work yourself or require the executor to attempt this. Your executor can complete and file most of the forms completed by the attorney’s secretary. The best idea, however, is to Avoid Probate Altogether.

About the author:
Jeffrey Broobin is a free-lance writer on family and finance issues; his main goal is to help people during their complicated period of life.
Website: http://www.legalhelpmate.com

Email: jeffreyb@legalhelpmate.com

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