It seems to be a bad year for well-known legal marketing company FindLaw. In 2018, FindLaw has been named as a defendant in two unrelated cases, both of which allege that FindLaw has provided far less than what was promised.
FindLaw Finds That It Is In Legal Hot Water
In one case, a Dallas attorney said that FindLaw promised a custom, unique website that would coincide with the opening of his new law firm. However, according to the Dallas attorney, FindLaw provided an unimaginative and “cookie-cutter” website that was clearly not appropriate for the type of law he practiced, and the type of client he sought after. Even though the attorney eventually used another web developer and had to push back his firm opening date, FindLaw still wanted the agreed-to $45,000 fee. You can learn more about the case by clicking here.
In another case, a Pittsburgh personal injury law firm paid almost $300,000 to FindLaw over the course of seven years, expecting an optimized website and Facebook page. The firm alleged, however, that the website and Facebook page provided were severely lacking, and that it provided blogs for the firm’s website that were copies of blogs on hundreds of other FindLaw websites throughout the country. The Pittsburgh firm is alleging claims including fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract, and negligence. Click here for more information on this case.
In looking at the two cases above, you need to ask yourself – are you locked into a long-term contract with a legal marketing company that is not meeting your needs? Do the losses outweigh the gains with the web development and marketing services you currently have.
If you are questioning whether your current marketing approach is effective, then read on. This article will discuss whether certain marketing companies, like FindLaw are the way to go.
As a Threshold Matter, Why Use a Legal Marketing Agency?
The goal of effectively marketing your law firm can be a tricky one. And hiring the right legal marketing company can require a little extra care, to make sure that you are “getting what you pay for.”
We at Oamii, one of premier legal marketing agencies in West Palm Beach, South Florida, know how important good marketing can be to your bottom line. More importantly, our policy is not to tie the hands of law firms with long contracts that might not suit your firm’s needs. So, let us take a little time to talk about what is the best approach to marketing your firm.
There is one very good reason for having your small law firm employ the services of a legal marketing agency – there are only so many hours in the day.
You went to law school to practice law. You did not go to law school so you could spend countless hours trying to figure out how to create a website, or ensure that you understand search engine optimization (SEO). Just like your clients hire you for your legal expertise, you should hire a legal marketing company in West Palm Beach for their marketing expertise.
If you are small law firm, in particular, then marketing is key to keeping your client flow moving forward so you can make a living. Yet, most small law firms have a limited marketing budget. In many cases, however, hiring an outside legal marketing agency will save you money in the long run.
When compared to the hours you spend trying to learn website marketing, you could be spending that valuable time billing clients. So, from that perspective, getting an outside legal marketing provider can be a cost-effective move.
The next question becomes, what legal marketing agency to you use?
Are the Big Legal Marketing Agencies Adding Value?
There are a handful of big players in the legal marketing game, including FindLaw, Martindale Hubbell, and Avvo. They have quite a large market share of the small law firms seeking marketing assistance.
Yet, as the cases above demonstrate, sometimes the biggest players cannot meet their customers’ needs. Those companies, nevertheless, charge expensive fees for their services and lock clients into long contracts of two years or more. In one article, a former FindLaw sales representative discussed in detail the problems he perceived at the legal marketing giant. Click here for the article.
What you need to determine if you are in one of those long contracts is whether you are getting a good ROI. Does the platform provided by FindLaw or Avvo satisfy your needs today, even though you made the contract a year or two ago? Those are important considerations for small firms that need to keep a close eye on cash flow.
If you notice that your marketing agency is not giving you value for the amount of money you are paying, then you may want to consider getting yourself out of the contract. But is that possible?
Ending the Relationship with a Legal Marketing Agency, with Reputation Intact
If you find that you are paying a lot to be on a directory (like FindLaw’s directory) but you are not seeing those directory fees turn into paying clients, then you may need to consider moving on. If you find that your monthly payment keeps going up without a commensurate increase in traffic to your firm, then you may also want to consider an escape route.
Finally, if you find that you are not getting any real value from your marketing company beyond the initial development of a website, then it may be time to move on as well. Notably, the Pittburgh law firm lawsuit against FindLaw, in which FindLaw was using the same blog material for multiple law firm websites really should make you take notice as to whether your marketing agency is breaching its contract and/or fiduciary duty to you.
So, if you conclude that you want to get out of a long term contract with a legal marketing agency, it is helpful to know that you own certain elements of the site created by that agency.
First, you own the domain name. Even if you purchased the domain name at the time you started working with a company like FindLaw, you own the domain name and can transfer that domain name to an account in your name at any time.
Second, any custom written content is yours. If the content on your site was directed by you, or if the content was written about your firm, then that content is yours to keep. Other types of content, like FAQs and practice pages, however, may not be yours to keep.
Third, the design of the website is not yours, but it can be purchased. Typically, a marketing agency will own a website’s design, but will allow it to be purchased for a small fee.
Is it possible to migrate your website to a different platform? Absolutely. Will it take some cost to get there? Sure. In that vein, the specialists at Oamii are here to assist you. As noted, we do not lock you into long-term contracts. Also, we customize everything for our customers, so there is no fear that copies of blog content will go on multiple law firm sites.
Consider legal marketing in West Palm Beach and going with the premier legal marketing agency in South Florida, Oamii. We care about each of our customers, and can give the kind of one-on-one service that the big providers cannot. Call today for more information – 561-228-4111.