St Louis Attorney Uses Technology to Increase Availability to Clients
At a recent local bar association meeting, a partner at goBRANDgo!, Brandon Dempsey, urged our gathering of solo and small firm lawyers to brand themselves using principles he developed for his own business. He shared some of those principles with us, and showed us how they helped make his venture and those of his clients a huge success. One principle he shared with us is the elevator pitch approach to crafting a brand. Succinctly stated, the elevator pitch is what would you tell someone about your business, even as a lawyer, that would make you to stand out in their minds–something that would make you and your business both memorable and distinctive. But I was skeptical about applying entrepreneurial solutions to professional services like law and medicine. I argued with Brandon that when you are a lawyer, particularly one with a specific practice focus, like immigration law, that’s all you need to convey to effectively market yourself. Brandon scoffed at that notion and suggested it is possible for every lawyer to stand out the same way successful entrepreneurs do.
Ever since that encounter I have been thinking hard about my own practice and how I currently stand out, not just among other lawyers, but among others working in my specialty. I’ve also been thinking about the larger marketplace of legal services and the trends I’m seeing, such as the growth of web-based, do-it-yourself legal services like LegalZoom. How can I compete against all of these using my brand? What am I doing differently that could form the basis of my branding efforts?
I consider myself an early adopter. My office is paperless. I’m internet savvy. I answer my own phone, which I always have with me. I’m ahead of the curve, particularly among lawyers, when it comes to technology. But what does that really translate to for my clients? While I was responding to a client’s text at nine o’clock in the evening one night, it hit me–I’m always connected to my clients. And they don’t have to go through a gatekeeper to reach me. The number one complaint against attorneys is failure to communicate. Attorneys are notorious for not returning phone calls or even outright avoiding their clients, particularly when they don’t have good news, or have been working on other matters and have nothing new to report. Quite often, keeping the client at bay becomes the job of the lawyer’s assistant, or an answering service. This is where I could make my brand, because I am already doing things differently. I am active on every major social media platform and that helps me stay in touch in ways other lawyers can’t. Just last night a client emailed me and I called her right back to discuss. She told me she wished more attorneys could be like me. I knew then that I had my brand.
Armed with a new motto–Always Connected–I contacted my webmaster to update my website with the new brand. The branding message also includes a reference to social media and the Web 2.0, telling everyone that I’m not just connected, I’m techno savvy too.
So the next time I’m in an elevator and someone asks me what I do, I tell them: “I’m the attorney that’s always connected” and hand them one of my cards printed with my new branding slogan: “Practicing Law 2.0–Always Connected.”
Now if you’ll excuse me, one of my clients just tweeted me and I have to respond.