Successful law firms share many common characteristics. There is no single, magic formula for success. Every firm is different and their service offerings and markets can vary widely. That said, there do seem to be overriding principles that, when put into place in a firm, yield results.
Let’s take a look at some of these.
Create a clear business strategy.
This is probably the most critical characteristic. Armed with both a clearly defined service proposition and the market you wish to serve, you are halfway there. Once these are decided, there is no room for distracting forays into areas that might dilute the main proposition.
On its own, this is not enough. You should make sure that the strategic message is understood by all staff and is broadcast externally to allow clients and potential clients to digest and understand.
Differentiate your practice.
With a clearly defined strategy established and communicated, your USPs (Unique Selling Propositions) should enable you to differentiate your practice in the marketplace. However, that is only half the differentiation story. As any good marketing professional will tell, you should back this up with brand values that appeal to your clients.
After developing your service offerings, your markets, and your USPs, it’s time to develop a “style” that will appeal to your clients. As a result, your brand values will become clear in their minds.
Put your clients front and centre.
The most successful firms go to great lengths to make sure the services they provide are consistent and timely. Paying lip service to client care rather than delivering it is not enough. Establish protocols that allow you to manage your clients’ expectations. These should cover, pricing, delivery timings, and information updates as well as warnings of any potential delays. When you have these protocols in place, audit them regularly.
Also, perform periodic client surveys. These will allow you to fine-tune your service delivery and keep abreast of changing client demands. If you really want to give your clients up-to-the-minute progress reports, consider a practice management system that allows them to get access to their matters via a secure portal. Great client service is a key differentiator. It will help you to retain clients – and that’s much easier and less costly than bringing in new ones. It also has the knock-on effect of delivering referrals.
Clients belong to the firm.
Some solicitors are very possessive about their clients. I have witnessed quite a number of internecine turf wars in the past and they only serve to damage the practice. In a multi-disciplinary firm, the client should belong to the firm, opening up opportunities for cross-selling.
All law firms claim this to be the case, but is yours really capitalizing upon it? At the end of every client transaction, your service should include a “how was it for you?” session. This can be used easily to find out what other legal needs they may have and lead to additional business as a result.
Allow the managing partner to manage.
This one really can be a potboiler for some practices. In some, the lead role is something to be avoided at all costs due to the impact it will have on fee earning ability. In others, many senior partners try to do both jobs and end up falling between two stools.
The most successful practices have a managing partner who devotes the overwhelming majority of his or her time to management and client development. More and more are considering a managing partner who is a business-qualified manager rather than just an LLB. It’s simple really – the most effective fee earner is not always the most effective leader. If you aspire to lead your practice, you must accept that your fee-earning days may well be over. You may like to consider getting a sound business qualification such as an MBA too.
Be the best place to work.
Organizations that develop their staff, invest in them, and create an enjoyable workplace culture outperform those which do not. It’s not rocket science. Engaged, committed staff perform better and the revolving door syndrome is avoided. Perpetually recruiting replacements for disgruntled leavers is an expensive hobby.
This applies equally to lawyers and support and management members of the team. If your team feels engaged, it will be more productive and inveterate. When you have a highly motivated, well-trained team, you have the opportunity for greater delegation and this only serves to empower them to achieve greater goals.
Become recognised in your community.
Some might say that participating in your local community, whether it’s pro bono work or other more direct involvement, is a cynical way of garnering publicity. However, there is plenty of evidence that service to and participation in the local community is a hallmark of highly successful legal practices.
You get involved in local charity work, health issues, the environment – the list is endless. The outcomes are beneficial not just to the local community but also to your team.
Use technology to improve the practice.
Firms that invest in new technology and modern practice management systems are the real winners. Good IT systems and software provide significant advantages.
Having delivered the ubiquitous plug for practice management software, I’ll refrain. Needless to say, this list of 8 characteristics is not exhaustive. However, it is as good a place as any to start and should provide you with plenty of food for thought.
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Whether you need #legalassistance for your business operations or some criminal matters that you want settled, approaching the best law firm is the most vital step. Yet, drilling down to the right one is sometimes a hard rock to get over since many legal firms are available in the city. So, are you looking for a Law Firm in West Africa?
Getting down with some steps will assist you in hiring the best legal consulting services. Here are ten insightful points to ensure that you choose a reputable law firm for your case.
10 Tips for Choosing a Law Firm in West Africa
1) Know your case
The first thing you have to make straight is the case you want to present in a court of law. Be it an injury case, domestic or corporate case, choose the best legal presentation accordingly. Then, in your research, try and seek recommendations from friends and family members or a colleague who has an experience with the incident you are facing. Finally, by a button on your tablet, conduct due diligence by perusing the online reviews of a particular legal firm’s website and ensure you pick a top expert Firm.
2) How big is the legal Firm
Among the many factors to consider as you choose a law firm, the size carries a lot of weight because large legal firms mainly deal with corporate matters rather than individual cases. In contrast, small-sized legal Firms handle individual or business cases. Whichever legal assistant you choose, ensure you work with a Law Firm with all resources and lawyers to help you win your case.
3) Check the Experience of the Attorneys
Before choosing a legal firm, research to check the experience of their lawyers on the case you are presenting. You can also get more information about the lawyers by surfing through the Firm’s website and get a clear idea regarding their reputation. Doing such ensures that you hire only credible legal services increasing the chances of winning the case.
4) Consider the Budget
Be keen to hire legal assistance from a law firm within your pocket power. While doing individual research, get an idea of fees charged by different law firms or attorneys so that monetary disagreements don’t arise in the middle of a case. Additionally, it’s wise to work with a law firm that imposes a bill on their day-to-day calls or emails. Ensure to clarify the Firm’s billing method before hiring the services.
Make sure the law firm you are choosing falls within your budget. It would help if you had a clear idea about the fees charged by the lawyers so that you do not face any monetary issues later. Also, enquire about the billing method accepted by the law firm whether they charge payment per hour or a fixed amount before hiring the lawyer.
Different legal firms have different billing processes. Avoid the ones that are way cheap as they will possibly offer shoddy legal assistance. If you are looking for a law firm in West Africa, get the one that will give top results despite their charges.
5) Client Reviews
Understanding what former clients of a said legal firm have to say is a wise move. The reputation of a company hides in the minds of its former clients. The past customer testimonials will help you get a clear insight into the capacity and capability of the law you want to engage. Avoid firms that their clients complain about and work with those that their presentation is credited.
6) Check the customer service of the Firm
Amidst stress and anxiety, all you will need is a partner who offers an ear and assures you of a better day. The same applies when you are seeking an attorney to represent you in a court of law. Choose a legal firm that will effectively listen and communicate with you on the court proceedings. A right legal firm should inform you on the merits and demerits of the measures that may occur and assist you in making the best decision.
It is one of the most vital decisions that people forget to consider. The location is paramount when selecting a legal firm. A legal firm near your place would offer you better and comfortable legal services than a faraway Firm. If you live within the West Africa region, ensure that you source legal assistance from a law firm conversant with the region’s court laws. Also, consider the nature of the case before hiring a law firm.
For instance, if you need the legal assistance of a real estate matter, involving a local legal firm is ideal for you. On the other hand, for those seeking legal assistance on cases dealing with federal law, national attorneys would serve better.
Most important is the reachability of a law firm. How easy or difficult is the Firm to reach? Do they respond to phone calls or reply to emails in time? These and many more are the vital queries you should demand responses to. Also, investigate to know the current lawyer’s workload. If a law firm is engaged in many cases while utilizing a few of their attorneys, then their availability will not be what you expect.
Sometimes, during legal proceedings, there may arise unprecedented situations that would need particular attention. At such moment, the legal Firm you have contracted will be required to bear with you and have a rescheduled program for the same. Therefore, it is worth knowing whether the legal Firm is ready to offer its services flexibly.
10) Licenses and Registration
When looking for a law firm in West Africa, you must work with the one that is legally authorized to operate. Unfortunately, there are several quacks in the streets, and you may never want to fall in their hands. So, conduct due diligence about the Firm’s operationalization and their age in the industry. This way, you will comfortably trust them with your case and money without worrying about their legality.
Suppose you are looking for legal assistance in West Africa. In that case, you must check on the experience, cost, availability, and legality of the law firm before signing a contract with them. So take your time and ensure the above-listed key points feature in the Firm that is about to stand in the bar for you.
Ready to discuss your needs and thoughts? Contact us and our team will be ready to assist you in your journey.
The skills you need for your ideal career are something that you can work on and develop over time. As they say: practice makes perfect! Here are a few that you should consider working on if you aspire to be a successful lawyer:
1) Good communication skills
Lawyers must be orally articulate, have good written communication skills and also be good listeners. In order to argue convincingly in the courtroom before juries and judges, good public speaking skills are essential. Communication and speaking skills can be developed during your studies by taking part in activities such as mooting or general public speaking.
Lawyers must also be able to write clearly, persuasively and concisely, as they must produce a variety of legal documents.
But it’s not all about projection. To be able to analyse what clients tell them or follow a complex testimony, a lawyer must have good listening skills.
The ability to draw reasonable, logical conclusions or assumptions from limited information is essential as a lawyer.
You must also be able to consider these judgements critically, so that you can anticipate potential areas of weakness in your argument that must be fortified against.
Similarly, you must be able to spot points of weakness in an oppositions argument. Decisiveness is also a part of judgement. There will be a lot of important judgement calls to make and little time for sitting on the fence.
3) Analytical skills
Both the study and practice of law involve absorbing large quantities of information, then having to distil it into something manageable and logical.
At times, there will be more than one reasonable conclusion, or more than one precedent applicable to resolving a situation.
A lawyer must therefore have the evaluative skills in order to choose which is the most suitable.
4) Research skills
Similarly, being able to research quickly and effectively is essential to understanding your clients, their needs, and to preparing legal strategies.
Preparing legal strategies requires absorbing and comprehending large amounts of information, then distilling them down into something manageable and useful.
5) People skills
Law is not an abstract practice. Irrelevant of how well someone does academically, at the end of the day lawyers work with people, on behalf of people, and the decisions that are made affect people’s lives.
They must be personable, persuasive and able to read others. This allows them to gauge juror’s reactions and the honesty of witnesses.
This allows them to decide upon the best approach to take in order to achieve the desired outcome: either client taking their advice or reaching a favorable negotiation with the opposition.
“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.” Even studying to become a lawyer takes a great deal of perseverance and commitment – and that’s before you even start work!
When working on a case, you must have the perseverance to complete the work necessary to drive it to a successful finish.
The very top lawyers are not only logical and analytical, but they display a great deal of creativity in their problem-solving.
The best solution is not always the most obvious and in order to outmaneuver your challenger it is often necessary to think outside the box.
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Profiles in lawyer and law firm directories are important (and often free!) pieces of a robust, well-rounded legal marketing strategy. Check out this post for a list of legal directories to help you reach more clients.
People consult online directories when searching for lawyers because they are packed with relevant information and frequently allow tailored searches on important fields, such as location and practice area, that make it easier to find and compare attorneys. Thus, lawyer directories receive significant qualified traffic, making them important platforms for effective legal marketing.
However, the benefits for your practice go well beyond the people searching directly within directories for a lawyer. Having a presence in high-quality legal directories often enhances the lawyer and law firm’s digital reputation and increases general perceptions of a lawyer as a well-qualified practitioner. Lawyer and law firm directory profiles, when fully completed, often rank well in Google and other search engine results.
Additionally, these directories may help you with your law firm website’s SEO. Legal directories that offer free links to the lawyer’s website or blog may help improve Google, Bing, and other search engine rankings.
In addition to the SEO benefits free links may provide, having the NAP (name, address, and phone number) on these directory profiles matched with your Google My Business (GMB) listing information can also help in your GMB and Google Maps rankings.
Below is a list of lawyer and law firm directories, as well as information on their traffic, SEO attributes, and website linking policy.
List of Directories for Lawyers and Law Firms
|Link to Site||Accepts|
|U.S. News – Best Lawyers|
|Legal Information Institute|
|Justia Lawyer Directory|
|Follow link||Clients & attorneys||3,893||88||65|
|Follow link (Paid only)||No||4,878||85||47|
|Nofollow link**||Clients & attorneys||5,936||90||53|
* While free profiles seem to be generally unavailable in the Nolo directory, some Avvo customers will find that their information transfers to the Nolo site.
** Free link is to a blog that has an RSS feed. No link is provided to a website for free.
Want to add a directory or make a correction? Contact us.
Lawyer directories, such as our Justia Lawyer Directory, Avvo, FindLaw, and SuperLawyers, often rank well in search engine results. The content on these sites is highly relevant to the website visitors and, in most cases, time spent on page is high, which in turn increases the odds that the visitor will ultimately convert (in this case, contact a lawyer from the directory). However, all of the above directories are worth signing up for a free profile.
Do Not Buy Links
Please note that you should not pay for “follow” links to influence Google’s search results. Paying for these “follow” links violates Google’s webmaster guidelines and can be detrimental to your search visibility.
Link attributes: Websites can make use of Google’s recommended link attributes to identify the nature of particular links. Links can have more than one attribute.
- nofollow: Use this attribute for cases where you want to link to a page but don’t want to imply any type of endorsement, including passing along ranking credit to another page.
- sponsored: Use the sponsored attribute to identify links on your site that were created as part of advertisements, sponsorships, or other compensation agreements.
- ugc: UGC stands for User Generated Content, and the ugc attribute value is recommended for links within user-generated content, such as comments and forum posts.
Links without attributes: Links without any of these attributes are often called “follow” links, and are considered by Google and Bing algorithms as indicating editorial support from the linking website to the linked website.
Any such “follow” link should not be the result of a compensation agreement, including the purchase of a directory profile or placement. You can purchase a profile or placement with a “nofollow” or “sponsored” attribute and not face any potential penalty.
Final Thoughts: Why Do You Care?
To succeed in reaching your law firm’s goals in the digital age, online directories need to be an integral part of your law firm’s digital marketing strategy. Appearing in a selection of the most authoritative legal directories can help your law firm build a more comprehensive presence online and in search results since many of these top directories already independently rank on the first page of Google and other search engines, like Bing.
When approaching your directory profile strategy, quality is key. You may not need a profile in every single directory, but you do want to create a robust presence in multiple directories. You can start by getting listed in our Justia Lawyer Directory, the most visited legal website in the United States. Then, continue to expand your presence from there by claiming your free listings in other reputable online directories and considering paid profiles where appropriate for your firm.
Ever wondered why we recommend utilizing lawyer and law firm directory profiles as a key part of your comprehensive legal marketing strategy? Check this post out for answers, plus some tips for getting the most benefit from these profiles.
Justia recommends that lawyers leverage various digital directories to improve online visibility, better manage their reputation, and brand their practice. Recently, we published a list of (mostly) free lawyer and law firm directories to offer lawyers and legal marketing professionals a comprehensive resource for locating directories to improve their legal marketing efforts. You should implement a systematic approach to claiming these profiles.
However, you may have wondered why Justia gives lawyers this advice. Further, you may wonder how to ensure you are getting the maximum benefits from the time you invest in claiming your profiles. If you have ever considered either (or both) of these things, then this post is for you.
Types of Digital Directories & Online Profiles
First and foremost, it is important to understand that there are various types of online directories that lawyers and law firms should have on their radar to maximize their digital footprint. Each of these directory types may have its own profile features and benefits, but all of them have the potential to help legal professionals increase exposure, reach more leads, and boost their reputations.
In general, the most common directory types are:
- Legal Directories (Lawyers/Law Firms): These are the directories specifically designed with legal professionals in mind. These are essentially catalogs of lawyers and firms that allow users to search for the right lawyer for their legal matters. Some directories you may be familiar with in this category are our own Justia Lawyer Directory, Avvo, FindLaw, Lawyers.com, and Martindale. When you begin incorporating directories into your marketing strategy, this is where you should start.
- Bar Association & Lawyer Association Member Directories: These directories are essentially membership lists maintained by state bar associations and other legal organizations. Some examples of this type of directory include the State Bar of California Attorney Search, Florida Bar Member Directory, and Louisiana State Bar Association Membership Directory.
- Popular Consumer Directories: Apple Maps, Bing Places (Microsoft), Facebook Business Pages, and Google My Business are directories commonly used by potential clients that all lawyers need to be on. Of these, Google My Business is the most important online directory for consumer law firms looking for contacts by way of search.
- Business Directories: Business directories are not specific to the legal industry. Instead, they accept all types of businesses, including law firms. Some, but not all of these directories have law firms categorized by their practice areas. Directories commonly considered general business directories include YP, Yelp, Citysearch, eLocal, and DexKnows.
- Social Profiles: Profiles created on social media networks are also a form of directory. For example, sites like Facebook and Instagram also function as a local business directory and can help law firms leverage social proof and interactions with clients for marketing purposes.
- Other Directories: Not every directory fits into one of these categories. For example, there are directories for expert witnesses, legal forms, referral services, and even specific practice areas, such as employment law. Lawyers and law firms should also create profiles in these directories as applicable.
In the future, you will see more from Justia Onward discussing and listing directories in these various categories to help you build a comprehensive strategy.
Why Should Lawyers and Law Firms Get Online Profiles?
Many directories and directory profiles rank well in search results. When someone searches for the name of a particular lawyer or law firm, directory profiles from legal, business, and other directories will likely be in the top results. This increases the lawyer’s footprint in Google search results, where visibility is a competitive process.
Utilizing directory profiles also allows lawyers and law firms to engage in a process commonly known as Barnacle SEO. This strategy is designed to increase exposure by allowing the lawyer/law firm to attach themselves to another site that ranks well for the lawyer’s desired keywords or related topics, ultimately increasing that lawyer’s exposure and potentially increasing leads.
Profiles can often rank for the lawyer or law firm name in search engines. Fully completing these profiles can help the profiles themselves rank higher and improve your online visibility, thus helping you better command your namespace and effectively manage your reputation. Likewise, because you have control of your messaging and visuals (to an extent) on these various directory listings, you can use them to reinforce your brand with potential clients and the general public.
In addition, directories can often help lawyers be discovered by new clients. For example, if you are a Michigan medical malpractice lawyer, having a profile in directories that rank well for those keywords (and related keywords) increases the odds that a potential client will find you as a result of their Google search. This increased visibility may result in more leads from clients that may not have found you but for your profile in this well-ranking directory.
Directory profiles often also offer the option to include links to other websites related to the lawyer, such as a law firm website or legal blog. Non-paid, editorial backlinks can be a critical part of a strong SEO (search engine optimization) strategy for those properties. Thus, the benefits of online directory profiles reach beyond a lawyer’s visibility in a particular directory and even beyond the search visibility of the directory profile itself.
Remember: you should never pay for editorial or follow links. This goes against Google’s webmaster guidelines.
Directory profiles will also allow you to add your firm name, address, and phone number (NAP) to your listing. This allows you to increase your NAP consistency on the Internet, which can help with Google My Business performance.
Tips for Getting the Most From Your Profiles
While simply having a claimed profile in many of these directories is a good start, lawyers and law firms need to optimize their profiles to get the maximum benefit. Here are a few tips to help you get ahead of the game:
- Focus on Completeness: You want to take advantage of all of the available sections on these profiles. If a section applies to you or your firm, then you should complete it. More complete profiles are more likely to see increased visibility, more leads, and a better conversion rate. Thus, complete profiles are more beneficial for your marketing goals.
- Consistent and Accurate NAP: In the SEO world, NAP refers to your name, address, and phone number. You need consistent NAP across the Internet for multiple reasons. First and foremost, you do not want a potential client finding a disconnected phone number or old office address. However, consistency is also important for visibility and ranking purposes of your Google My Business listing (if your office location is eligible and you have a listing set up). Make sure you use the same NAP on these profiles as you do on Google My Business.
- Avoid Tracking Numbers: For local citation directories, you generally should avoid using call tracking numbers because they can interfere with your NAP consistency. As discussed above, NAP consistency is important for SEO. Additionally, it is best to use your primary office number in light of the effort it takes to set up different tracking numbers for local citations directories and the hurdles you may face if you need to stop tracking in the future, especially when compared to the limited benefits you may receive.
The biggest exception to this rule is Google My Business. You can use a call tracking number as the primary phone on your Google My Business listing, as long as you use your law firm’s primary number as an additional number. Also, it is safe to use a tracking number in connection with an ad or sponsored listing if the site you are working with accounts for it. For instance, it is safe to utilize a tracking number in connection with your Justia Premium Placement ads, but not in your standard Justia Lawyer Directory profile.
- Original, High-Quality Content: On each of your profiles that allow a freeform description or other substantive content, make sure you are creating high-quality and original text for each profile. Profiles with original, well-written content are more likely to have a positive impact on your overall digital reputation and are more likely to rank well on searches for your name or law firm name. Moreover, duplicative content across multiple sites can also negatively impact rankings, so you do not want to simply copy-paste text.
- Describe Key Practice Areas: If there are certain practice areas or services you want to target in your marketing efforts, then you should make sure you emphasize those as much as possible on your profiles and, when possible, describe them in more detail.
- Prioritize Reviews: Reviews matter. Statistics repeatedly show that consumers online care about reviews and they have a big impact on your overall digital reputation. As such, you want to take advantage of directory listings that accept client reviews and focus mainly on those that rank best in search results when searching for the attorney’s or law firm’s name.
- Request Reviews: When permitted by a directory’s policies (more on that later), you should take care to request reviews from your clients. As mentioned above, reviews are very important to today’s Internet users, and having positive reviews can make a big difference in your law firm’s long-term growth trajectory.
Some law firms worry about the potential impact of a negative review. However, the positive impacts of good reviews mitigate this risk. Additionally, you can monitor your reviews, report fraudulent or improper reviews, and develop a plan for responding to negative reviews. Check out this article to learn more about managing your reviews.
- Promote Your Web Properties: You want to make sure you are promoting your other web properties, like your website or blog, by linking to them from these directory profiles when possible. You can use website URL fields to do this.
- Leverage Enhanced Visibility Offerings: Many high-quality directories, particularly legal directories, offer enhanced visibility opportunities that can allow you to place the spotlight on your listing. For example, at Justia we offer Justia Premium Placements in the Justia Lawyer Directory that offer attorneys the opportunity to increase their visibility on our site, as well as receive an enhanced profile and access to traffic statistics.
Final Thoughts: Why Do You Care?
We cannot reiterate enough that online directories can play a strong role in helping you reach your law firm’s growth goals in the digital age. Lawyer and Law Firm directories (as well as the other types of directories) help expand your digital reach. You can boost your visibility in search results and on individual websites while also better controlling your law firm’s namespace and managing your reputation.
Develop a system for claiming these profiles, starting with your free profiles in the leading lawyer and legal directories. Once you have claimed and optimized these profiles, move on to other types of directories. Before you know it, you will have taken your legal marketing strategy up a notch solely through your directory efforts.
According to a poll conducted by the Thomson Reuters U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey, almost a third of respondents who needed legal services turned to lawyer directories, and 24% began conducting online research for law firms within a day.
In this high-speed era of smartphones and internet users, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. And luckily for your law firm, attracting new clients by establishing a strong online presence is very achievable thanks to legal directories. By getting listed, you can leverage these powerful digital marketing tools to work in your favor.
Let’s take a closer look at what lawyer directories can offer you and the best legal directories to get listed in.
Benefits of Listing Your Law Firm in Lawyer Directories
Establishing an online presence is critical to building a successful business in the twenty-first century. Legal directories offer your law firm a way to connect with not only clients but also other law firms.
Lawyer directories — also known as legal directories — are databases of attorneys that enable clients and law firms to search for lawyers by location, practice area, or firm. Today, digital versions of these directories also let attorneys and law firms like yours improve your Google ranking and market your services in new ways.
Some directories require you to pay to be listed, while others offer free listings you can claim. Some law directories also cater to specific types of law practices, such as personal injury or bankruptcy, while others cover the entire legal industry.
By maintaining your listings in the best law firm directories, your firm will be able to:
- Build trust with your clients: Being listed in certain lawyer directories raises your credibility with potential clients. For instance, some directories require their lawyers to have verdicts over a certain amount, spotlighting your credentials. You may also be able to display your ranking with a prestigious legal directory with a digital badge on your website, improving your reputation.
- Establish your expertise: Many legal directories allow law firms and attorneys to publish legal articles on their website. As many people visit these websites for free legal resources, publishing articles is a great way to establish your expertise and market your services.
- Help clients find you: Legal directories inevitably show up on the first search engine results page (SERP) of a potential client, making it more likely that they’ll find your law firm if you’re listed. If you make sure to be listed in multiple top directories, your chances of being found and chosen by clients increases.
- Enable other law firms to find you: Potential clients aren’t the only people who search legal directories. Law firms that need to refer cases to other law firms also use lawyer directories to find reputable lawyers like you. By marketing yourself in this way, you can gain more business from your fellow legal teams.
- Make your business website easier to find: Most lawyer directories include links to a law firm’s website called a backlink. If you can get backlinks to your site from multiple credible legal directories, your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) rises, which makes your business website easier to find in a potential client’s online search.
Contact us for more information.
Being in a car accident can be a very stressful experience, made even more stressful when there is a legal process intertwined. If you’re not at fault, you should be sure to lawyer up in order to receive the best settlement possible.
When deciding on which lawyer to pick, you will likely have many options. Separating the good from the bad is very likely to change the results of any proceedings you may have. Here are a few tips on how to find the best car accident lawyer for you.
1. ASK FOR REFERRALS
As with any service, speaking to friends and family about their experiences is a great idea. There is a good chance you know someone that has needed to hire a car accident lawyer. Understanding their experience and how successful the lawyers were for them can be helpful.
2. EXPERIENCE MATTERS
If you have an especially unique car accident case, you will want to find lawyers who have experience, and success, dealing with situations similar to yours.
If you’re involved in a serious case, such as those involving personal injury or death, you will want to hire lawyers that have specific experience in these areas.
Look for an attorney who has a strong record of getting high payout results for their clients.
3. UNDERSTAND THE FEES
Be sure to develop a full understanding of legal fees, including when you must pay and under what circumstances, before hiring a lawyer. Most lawyers will work on a pay scale that charges a percentage of a successful settlement package.
Once you understand the different fees, you can compare lawyers across the board to see who will save you the most money and get you the most bang for your buck.
4. FIND A REPUTABLE, WELL RESPECTED FIRM
All good lawyers will work under a reputable firm, which will hold them accountable and will provide them with a more successful network. This helps you know that you are more likely to succeed in your legal proceedings.
Finding a respectable firm may be tough, but it is important. Look to firms with a history of success, long-time serving the community, and good client relationships as signs of respectability in the legal sphere.
A good method for determining if an attorney is reputable is to examine reviews from their previous clients. The more positive reviews the better!
FIND THE BEST CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER NEAR YOU
In especially serious cases, finding a great car accident lawyer may be the difference between getting a fair result in court or feeling like you were cheated. A good lawyer can help ensure the result that you want.
Finding a good lawyer may seem difficult, but following the tips above will guide you to the right place. If you’re looking for someone that will represent you successfully, be sure to contact us.
So you want to become an international lawyer. No doubt, you’ve thought it through carefully, and you’re sure it’s what you want to become. But let me ask you – what does it mean to you exactly? After all, if you think about it carefully, the term can mean different things to different people.
What is the appeal of becoming an international lawyer?
We’ll talk about the different incarnations of an international lawyer a little later, but first ask yourself, what do you hope to accomplish as an international lawyer? What motivates your aspirations? Is it a benchmark of achievement, or a means to achieve other goals? In what way(s) will you be different, better, smarter, more successful? What challenges do you anticipate facing and overcoming in order to achieve your goals? How will you overcome those hurdles?
That’s a lot of questions to think about, and there are no simple answers. But before we can think about addressing them, we need to start to define our goals and map out the pathway to success.
What we mean when we say, international lawyer
The truth is, lawyers work in and are admitted to practise in jurisdictions, which by their nature are local. In other words, being an international lawyer is not just another type of lawyer, like an employment lawyer or a criminal defence lawyer. So what exactly is an international lawyer?
Of course, there is the body of law known as international law, defined by the International Law Students Association as:
“The rules and principles of general application dealing with the conduct of States and of international organisations in their international relations with one another and with private individuals, minority groups and transnational companies.”
To a large extent it represents the meeting point of law and politics; it is a highly specialised area of law, and doesn’t seem to be what we mean by international lawyer.
Could it be something much simpler? Where the work being carried out by a lawyer does not only relate to their home jurisdiction, perhaps it should be regarded as international legal work? For example, if a corporate lawyer in Germany is advising a Japanese car manufacturer on an acquisition of a stake in a German car manufacturer, should that lawyer be regarded as an international lawyer? While the work may be limited to German law, and possibly European Union law, the parties involved cross borders, and the work requires familiarity with multiple business cultures and languages.
Or perhaps in order to be practicing international law, we need to be involved in dispute resolution, such as international commercial arbitrations? That too involves parties from different jurisdictions, the forum for the dispute could be anywhere from Singapore to Paris, and the applicable law could be the domestic law of one party or another legal system entirely.
Ok, so far we’ve established that we’re not talking about international law in the strict sense of the term. We also haven’t quite settled on what we do mean, but let’s try to set out some minimum requirements for being an international lawyer:
- Working with clients with business interests in more than one jurisdiction
- Working on cases or transactions that involve parties, laws or assets in more than one jurisdiction, or outside your home jurisdiction
One other thing seems clear to those that aspire to be one: it means going beyond our current limitations and becoming a better lawyer, tuned in to the globalised nature of business and life in general. And in order to do that, we need to have a better understanding of the direction the legal profession is heading in, trends in the marketplace, and what our clients expect of us.
The discussion on how to become an international lawyer leads us to think further about what the purpose of our goal is.
Why become an international lawyer?
So far, we’ve identified some of the hallmarks of what we mean by international lawyer. We may also want to think about our purpose, and what we stand to gain, learn or contribute from reaching our goal.
A large part of this is the constantly evolving business world. Globalisation of business has changed the way law firms and lawyers operate and the business model they employ. The need for lawyers with international expertise, experienced in the type of work we identified above, is ever-growing. On the other hand, this has also led to huge growth in the number of young lawyers around the world. Ambitious lawyers looking to learn the trade need to find ways to differentiate themselves from the crowd. One of the best ways to do this is to develop their profile as an international lawyer.
Learn how to be future-proof
Having defined the goal of becoming an international lawyer, we turn now to the obstacles that must be reckoned with. One of the challenges to grapple with as a budding international lawyer is the ongoing reform of the profession as a whole all over the world. The nation with far and away from the most lawyers, the US, has recently seen the first liberalizing of the legal profession, with further discussion ongoing, while another important jurisdiction, the UK, has undergone (and is still undergoing) considerable reforms, such as alternative business structures (ABS) for ownership of law firms. And the US has also seen its share of innovative web-based legal services providers, such as LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, looking to take advantage of technology and market forces. A wider revolution is gradually taking place in the legal profession.
Several forces can be pointed to as driving forward the revolution. In his book Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future, noted legal scholar Professor Richard Susskind identifies three drivers of change that will radically alter the way lawyers practice law over the next 30 years:
- Costs pressures: Driven at first by the global recession, they are leading clients to expect more for less
- Liberalisation: New forms of competition to lawyers are emerging, at different rates and in different ways in different jurisdictions
- New technology: Now more than ever, technology is changing the possibilities of what lawyers can do, from where, and what their clients expect of them
So, how do lawyers prepare themselves for the new reality and make themselves future-proof? Professor Susskind identifies three areas in which lawyers need to adapt their behaviours if they want to thrive in the new era.
- Decomposing legal work: This means stripping out the tasks and processes that can be performed more cheaply and more efficiently by others, leaving the valuable work to be carried out by the lawyers themselves.
- Embracing liberalisation: Even though the legal profession is famously resistant to change, it seems inevitable that change will come, either from above, such as in the UK, or from below, in the form of pressure from major businesses. We mustn’t run from it, but embrace it, and use it as a platform for establishing our thought leadership.
- Legal education: Learning not just how to think and work like a lawyer, but also how the legal services market is changing, and developing new skills that are relevant for the market today and tomorrow.
Only once we have a solid understanding of the forces affecting the way we practise law today, and the direction it seems to be heading in, can we look to apply these ideas to our career development path to make ourselves future-proof, and to achieve our goals.
Part of being an international lawyer means looking at the ways lawyers practice law across the world and trying to apply ideas and innovations from other cultures. A simple way of taking part in that process is getting involved in international lawyer associations, which are a great platform for sharing ideas around law firm management and business strategy, development of new skills to better serve changing client needs, and how the legal profession should respond to liberalization pressures.
Another way we can look to make ourselves relevant in the new world, and incorporate Professor Susskind’s ideas, is to use modern forms of communication such as social media to communicate ideas and commentary to other lawyers, clients and business leaders. Establishing ourselves as thought leaders in the way law should be practised in the global business market, and how we can serve evolving client needs, through blogging and being active on appropriate LinkedIn groups, can help raise our profile immeasurably, and establish authority as a forward-looking international lawyer.
Practical ideas to get you going
Above, we mentioned a couple of practical tips, such as taking part in international organisations and raising our profile through thought leadership blogging.
In particular, the International Bar Association (IBA) is especially influential in shaping practice around the world, and it is highly recommended to get involved. Your local bar association or law society will likely also have an International section, and this again is a simple way to take part in the global conversation.
You should also think about joining the International Division of the Law Society of England and Wales, and the International Section of the New York State Bar. As the regulatory bodies of the two major centers for international legal work, they are highly influential in the development and leadership of international practice. You do not need to be a solicitor or a New York attorney to become a member and participate in their events.
You may also think about joining the American Bar Association’s (ABA) International section, in addition to your state or city bar association. The ABA Section’s membership of about 22,000 spans over 90 countries, where 18% of its members are qualified lawyers practicing outside the US and another 18% as non-US qualified lawyers.
There are also many organizations devoted to particular areas of practice, which may be even more influential in your area of specialism, such as the European Company Lawyers Association for commercial in-house lawyers. This leads us to the next point: areas of practice. There are certain areas of practice that lend themselves to international work. The standout examples are:
- Banking and Finance
- International Trusts/High Net Worth Private Clients
By contrast, certain areas of law are highly specific to each jurisdiction and will only rarely include international elements. Examples of these include criminal defence, family law, employment law, personal injury, real estate, and wills and probate.
No less important that what you do, is where you do it. Opportunities for engaging in international work tend to be found most in large law firms with offices in other countries, or working in-house within certain international businesses.
On the other hand, many lawyers that succeed in creating a strong international profile do so within a small but successful law firm, or even working solo. This can be a good move once you have already established expertise in an area of practice and have built up a client following, but most junior lawyers will find large firms present more opportunities to get involved in significant cross-border work.
Understand business culture
Being an international lawyer means having to work with different business cultures, and finding a way to achieve client goals whilst being mindful of different working practices around the world. This cultural sensitivity is increasingly important in the modern world, and the best way to develop insight into the correct way of doing business with different nationalities is to read as much as possible about the business culture you will be dealing with. For example, the European Commission has funded a website called ‘Business Culture’ to help you learn the culture in 31 different European countries, but cultural differences can be even more important when dealing with major markets such as China and India. Issues such as negotiation practices, body language, the type of language to use, and other aspects of etiquette can all play a vital role in whether you succeed in your dealings.
Opportunities for dual-qualified lawyers
It could be said that the most direct route into becoming an international lawyer is by becoming qualified in a second (or third, etc.) jurisdiction as a lawyer, and thus being able to practice law and advise clients in more than one jurisdiction and from the perspective of more than one set of laws. The potential gain is clear: businesses are constantly looking for advisors that can take a more international perspective on their commercial goals, and dual-qualified lawyers are well-placed to provide this service. Law firms, too, benefit from offering their clients a multi-jurisdictional service, ensuring their clients do not need to look elsewhere for advice on other jurisdictions.
Indeed, a survey of 76 major commercial law firms found that they see real value in the contribution dual-qualified lawyers make to their businesses and expect their need for such lawyers to rise over time.
For the lawyer, it means the chance to work at home or abroad, to get involved in cross-border commercial transactions, and to advise clients from a range of countries.
When considering obtaining a second qualification, it makes sense to look to become qualified in the law that is most used in international business contracts and dispute resolution. Multiple research papers have found that English law is the preferred set of law for cross-border transactions, by a large margin, followed by the law of New York. The courts of England are also a popular venue for international dispute resolution, while English law and London tend to dominate as the preferred law and seat of international arbitration hearings.
With this in mind, it makes sense to consider obtaining a second qualification as an English Solicitor. This can be done by passing the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), administered by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the governing body of the Law Society of England & Wales.
Your language skills are critical
One final tip. Lawyers coming out of an English-speaking country may prefer to ignore this part, but for everyone else, it can hardly be ignored that English is the predominant language of international business. If your English is not at professional level, it needs to be. But even if you speak English as your mother tongue, learning a second or third language can bolster your career opportunities immeasurably, enabling you to work on legal matters in a variety of forums, and advise clients from outside your home jurisdiction.
So how to become an international lawyer – summing it all up
We started out asking ourselves a number of questions, to help define our goal, map out the path to reaching our goal, and think about how we would overcome the challenges that stand in our way. We defined an international lawyer (in simplest terms) as someone who works with clients, transactions and disputes that relate to more than one jurisdiction.
To reach that goal, we identified some of the trends affecting the legal services market across the world, the modern expectations of clients, and some of the practical things that can be done to help become an international lawyer, such as becoming dual-qualified, and getting involved with international associations.
Well done for getting right to the end of this article – we hope some of these ideas can help you reach your goal and become an international lawyer.
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