Developing an Internet Presence - Articles

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Posted by: Barry Kolar on May 12, 2014

It is highly recommended that a newly formed solo or small firm have a presence on the internet.  A 2012 LexisNexis® Attorney Selection Research Study showed that 76% of adult internet users in the United States seeking an attorney turned to online resources at some point in the process. 

There are various avenues for an internet presence, including a personalized firm website, participation in online attorney review sites such as AVVO and Martindale, using specialized services for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and utilizing social media, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Many factors will help dictate how you utilize the web to reach clients.  For example, it may not be cost effective to spend thousands of dollars on a custom website design if you maintain a small rural practice in a town of 5,000 people.  On the other hand, if you are in a larger metropolitan area and catering to criminal defense clients with funds to retain private counsel, it may be extremely beneficial to invest in impressive website development using a reputable designer. 

Regardless of your particular situation, you should ensure that if someone searches for your name using a major search engine, they can easily find your phone number. 

Some general internet presence recommendations from TBA member attorneys include:

• Find a professional to design your website.  It does not need to be complex, just clean. Do not be corny.

• Check with your malpractice insurance carrier and ensure that all required disclaimers appear on your website

• Do not “friend” clients on Facebook – save them for LinkedIn.

• Be EXTREMELY careful what you post online.  In addition to the potential ethical violations related to maintaining client confidentiality, whatever you say in social media can be brought up if you are sued for malpractice.