General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division
To Market, To Market Try "Prepackaged" Websites and Client Newsletters
By Barbara J. Leff
By now, most lawyers understand the importance of marketing-whether using traditional print material, such as brochures and client newsletters, or using the newer website technology. For the solo attorney, however, it is particularly difficult to find the time to create a newsletter that gets distributed on a regular basis, much less learn the software to create a website. And, of course, in these instances, time literally is money-time spent on those activities cannot be billed to any client.
Fortunately, help is available in the form of "prepackaged" websites and newsletters, which can be a terrific solution to this problem. These offerings save you both time and money because you do not need to start from scratch. In evaluating your options, however, be sure to investigate how much flexibility you have in tailoring the elements of the website or newsletter to your own personal preferences.
Legal Web Works ( www.legalwebworks.com) offers an all-inclusive website design package created specifically for the solo attorney and small law firm. For a flat fee, you select from among numerous designs, and you can "mix and match" among those designs by selecting the graphics of one design, the background from another, and the type style from a third. You choose your own color scheme, and the sections of your site and their content are customized to your firm and your practice. Legal Web Works does the actual work to create the site.
With Martindale-Hubbell's Lawyer HomePages ( www.lawyers.com/lawyers-com/content/faq/intro.htm), you go online and work with their proprietary software to create your site using their templates, photographs, etc. Attorney profile information on your site is automatically downloaded onto your site from your Martindale-Hubbell listing. This approach still necessitates some time investment on your part, as does the free website available from FindLaw ( http://firms.findlaw.com). Here, too, you go to FindLaw's site and follow their instructions to create your site. FindLaw's attorney websites are pretty "bare-boned," but having a FindLaw site can mean that your firm appears somewhat higher in their search results than if you do not have one of their sites. Attorneys often combine their FindLaw site with their "real" site, using the FindLaw site to link to their full-scale site.
The ABA offers two prepackaged newsletters for attorneys to send to their clients on a regular basis. Client Update consists of a single 81/2 x 11 sheet of paper, with both sides containing relevant, easy-to-read information. It is mailed to you quarterly in packets of 25, ready for immediate distribution. Space is provided on the front of the page for you to print your firm name and address.
YourLaw ( www.abanet.org/publiced/yourlaw/ home.html) also is available on a quarterly basis, and you can have copies sent to you with the masthead personalized for your firm. If you already have a firm newsletter, you can purchase YourLaw on disk and use specific articles in your own publication.
When it comes to creating a website and/or a client newsletter for your law practice, you do not need to reinvent the wheel. Prepackaged websites and newsletters enable you to do the marketing that you want to do, while putting your time and energy into practicing law and billable hours.
Barbara J. Leff, (firstname.lastname@example.org) holds a J.D. and is president of Denver-based Legal Web Works, a company that specializes in web sites for solo attorneys and small law firms. She can be reached at (800) 548-4498.