So you have graduated law school, passed the bar exam and decided to go into private practice. Starting a new law firm is difficult. You may wonder just how to procure clients. This predicament is one most businesses face. However, for attorney's, things seem to be made even more difficult by the traditional ban against self-promotion.
Well, today's new lawyers are better off than those of the past because of the availability of online marketing.
The Not So Distant Past
In the past, the legal profession really looked down upon advertising. This attitude arose out of fears that lawyers who advertised would drum up cases. Doing so would be a violation of many existing principles. Most prominent is the case and controversy Clause of the Constitution. All lawsuits must involve two adversaries, involved of their own free will. Legal authorities do not want lawyers drumming up cases to make money or win publicity.
Lawyers who advertised openly used to receive frowns from their colleagues. Known derisively as "ambulance chasers," both in real life and in the media, these types had bad reputations in some circles for supposedly handing out business cards at accident scenes. It was possible to face charges of barratry, which could lead to disbarment under the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct (rule 7.3).
These rules, created by elites lawyers in the early 20th century, did not serve all equally. The average new law firm did not have the advantage of the more well-known members of the bar, whose presence alone could drive in business.
The Internet Age Changes Things For the Better
The proliferation of the Internet has changed things for the better for both the little-known lawyer and their prospective clients. Today, these attorneys do not have to worry about seeming unprofessional when advertising. Their websites convey much information about their law practices. Clients can peruse the sites to learn lawyers' areas of specialty.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the other key ingredient. The fledgling attorney can now work with webmasters to ensure that their professional website has all the right qualities to receive preferential ranking in Internet user searches. The legal playing field is much more even today than in the past.
How Clients Find an Attorney Today
The Internet is a fine place to begin a search for a lawyer. Anyone seeking justice can now contact an attorney (such as one from McKone & Unruh) for help online. Fortunately for the new lawyer, lacking a lengthy track record in the community, there is now a means of making a large number of potential clients aware of your presence without seeming garish.