General Practice, Solo & Small Firm DivisionSolo Newsletter
"Expert" Advice? Become One Yourself
By Nader AniseYou may already consider yourself a legal expert. But who else thinks so? Without public recognition of your expertise, you’ll appear less knowledgeable than the "expert" lawyer on the 6 o’clock news—even though you’re more qualified.In marketing, the label "expert" is invaluable. It bolsters credibility, enhances recognition, facilitates new referrals, and opens doors to unexpected opportunities.Become an "e"-xpertThe Internet presents excellent opportunities for lawyers to acquire the coveted label of "expert" while promoting themselves and their practices. One of the most targeted Internet websites is www.exp.com, which has a mega-database of "experts" in every field, including law. Visitors ask questions by e-mail or phone and pay for the advisors’ time. You can make a few extra dollars while establishing contacts for future cases and gaining the tangible title of "expert." As a bonus, the media often search such databases for experts to interview or quote. Other useful websites are www.suite101.com, www.guru.com, and www.about.com.The write stuffYou don’t have to be Shakespeare to get a byline. The site www.mediafinder.com offers a comprehensive source list of publications that use articles on a wide variety of topics. An article with a byline impresses readers, may result in referrals, and lends a cachet that transforms you from "lawyer" to "lawyer/author/expert."Even small publications are effective marketing vehicles. The key, however, is to publicize your articles. In addition, your peers may see these articles, creating higher visibility in the legal community with possible invitations to be a guest lecturer. Don’t worry if you’re not a top-flight writer (that’s what editors are for) so long as the substance of the article is good.Connect with the mediaThe fastest and easiest way to gain attention is through a press release. A successful strategy is to refer to yourself as an "expert" in the first sentence. It’s not unusual for a reporter or editor to condense and copy the contents verbatim. Even a small write-up employing this tactic gets your name out there. And it costs nothing. The benefits can expand if other reporters see your name and contact you for future articles or comments. Readers will think of you when they need a lawyer. And your colleagues may call with referrals.Enhance your business by focusing on what you already have—your legal expertise.
Nader Anise is president of Nader Anise Lawyer Marketing, Inc. in Boca Raton, Florida, and a professor at Nova Southeastern University. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.