When I established Woolley & Co in 1996, I wanted to create a family law specialist that was a bit different. I wanted to break away from the traditional mould to build a firm around the needs of the customer, doing away with town centre offices and using the latest technology to interact with them and each other.
That meant emailing documents and using the internet as a shop window for our services, with transparent pricing in plain English.
Nearly 14 years later and few in the industry have followed us, despite how essential the internet now is to most people in their daily lives.
An interesting report out this week compounded this by showing law firms are still failing to capitalise on the web and so missing out on potential leads and customers. Despite the legal sector being “notoriously competitive”, many firms do not have a strong web presence and are ignoring the importance of keywords and jargon free language on their sites. The result is that when potential clients Google “divorce” or “solicitor”, for instance, many firms do not feature in the results.
The study by consultants Greenlight showed that 1.2m searches were performed in February for legal-related keywords, with 450,000 searches for ‘solicitor’.
We continue to invest heavily in our web presence and the technology we use. We have our main site, where you are probably reading this blog, which showcases our services, solicitors and useful articles. It is also where you can find back copies of our newsletter and sign up to receive it. We do our best to use Twitter effectively, often to let people know about new content on the website or to comment or draw attention to industry issues. We’ve just launched a second blog in the form of a Diary of a Divorce from one of our clients and we are always looking for new ways to maximise our online presence and provide valuable information to those going through divorce.
We consider ourselves to be pretty ahead of the game – and still we are investing more in the special arts to try to ensure we come higher up search engines.
If law firms continue to ignore their web presence, or at best play with the concept rather than diving in, they are not only going to be missing out on business but face going out of business altogether in the face of increased competition.
Consumers use the internet as a matter of course each day and are more likely to try and find a solicitor there than by walking up their high street.
Of course, we are happy the competition are way behind where we are, but we’d love for the profession to wake up to the 21st century, for the Courts to start accepting email, for all other solicitors firms to accept email rather than relying on snail-mail and for all solicitors to cut out the jargon and provide practical advice to their clients, in plain English.
Come on fellow lawyers – WE CAN DO THIS!
Divorce Solicitor and Optimist!