Saw another story in the July, 2009 American Bar Association Journal worth noting. Solo and small firm lawyers are getting creative in how they seek business. Many are now turning to craigslist as a practice-building tool.
Craigslist is an enormous classified advertising website, featuring ads from throughout the United States, as well as some outposts in Europe. And it includes a legal services section that is getting increasing traffic from lawyers looking to snare web-savvy clients. According to the article, written by Ed Finkel, the Chicago site had over 100 attorney ads posted on a single day in April, 2009.
Jonathan Stein, an Elk Grove, California solo, has been posting on the site for three years. Stein claims that he gets 5-10 calls a week from his ad, and claims 80% of those calls actually translate into work. Stein admits however that there is a learning curve. “It does take a little while to figure out how to use it effectively. I probably spent my first six months getting a lot of garbage phone calls.” Stein is a believer though – claiming that he only spends 10 minutes per week on his ad and that the return on his investment is “immeasurable”.
The article also mentioned Susan L. Beecher, a solo practicing in Kent, Washington. Ms. Beecher’s practice includes family law and she began posting ads on craigslist about a year ago. Since that time her ads have brought in 25-30 clients.
If you are looking to advertise on craigslist, you need to mindful of their rules. The site does not allow more than three ads within 48 hours, and lawyers can’t place ads in multiple cities. Stein warns not to trifle with craigslist devotees. “The hard-core craigslist users will flag your post if they don’t like it and then your posts start disappearing. They get offended if they think you are spamming the list.”