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3 Ways Attorneys Lose Valuable Leads (and Money)
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If you’re reading this and you’re an attorney, I’d say there’s a good chance you’re wasting money every day.  That is easy to do when you are going through the daily shuffle of practicing law, instead of closely keeping track of the numbers that actually make you money.  But that excuse will only take you so far. You have the Internet, you have libraries of resources available to you, and you have other successful attorneys who are willing to share with you how they run their practices. In this day and age it’s easy for attorneys to implement efficiencies in their processes, but some people don’t. There are a lot of extremely common mistakes that are being made, but three stand out as being particularly bad because they are so easy to fix.

1. Designing Your Website for You, Not Your Clients

Unless you are living in 1993, you have a website.  Yes, I know that your #1 source of clients is from referrals.  It should be, same as everyone else.  If it is not referrals then you are doing something wrong in that arena.  That being said, you should know that you cannot ignore the web.  If you have made it that far, you’ve probably spent thousands of dollars, if not tens of thousands of dollars, on your website. And you have probably shuffled through three or four different website providers and spent lots of money with each of them. But unless you design your site the right way, you will be wasting anywhere from 25% to 100% of your money.

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To put it simply: you are not your client. Your spouse is not your client. The informal focus group of friends, relatives, and employees that you showed your site to are not your client either. Your clients are people who are looking for attorneys. So all those things that you find annoying, cheesy, and overdone — those things work, and they work because potential clients are actually looking for help. As such, they appreciate those things that you, your family, and your friends might find obnoxious.

There is a lot of research out there about web design and how to make your website convert better. There’s also talk about how personality types of potential buyers can influence conversion rate, and the consensus seems to be that there are four major buying types. As such, it’s not enough just to say, “Okay, I’m going to design my site for my clients, not for me.” You have to make sure your site caters to your different types of clients and not just one group. You can read more about these buying habits here.

2. Not Following Up Quickly or Consistently Enough

How quickly do you respond to potential clients when they contact you? If your answer isn’t “literally immediately,” you are doing it wrong. You are four times as likely to get in contact with someone if you call them within five minutes versus within five hours, not to mention waiting a day, or overnight. Even if you think you are pretty good about returning calls during business hours, that’s not enough.  40% of contacts now come in after hours, so if your phone goes to voicemail after 5PM, you can wave goodbye to 40% of your business.

And it’s not just about returning the calls of people who reach out to you. It’s about having enough coverage to answer the phone whenever someone calls in, every single time, without fail, no exceptions. If you let a single call go to voicemail, you have failed at this. Letting just one call a day go to voicemail will cost you somewhere around 25 cases every year. But you don’t need to have a staff of 20 to make this happen.
live chat for lawyers

Answering services are a great option, they aren’t that expensive, they get the job done, and they aren’t anywhere as bad as people make them out to be. Stop saying, “I don’t want to be that type of law firm,” unless you believe that the only thing your firm has to offer potential clients is the fact that you have a secretary who answers the phone rather than an operator.

You are probably thinking, “Not my firm…we are on top of things.”  That alone is one of the biggest flaws that I see.  Everyone thinks they have their intake nailed down without really keeping close track of the numbers.  Your intake is made up of humans.  Humans are naturally lazy, and they make mistakes.  Unless you are actively tracking their numbers closely and comparing them, you are without a doubt losing cases.  This always reveals itself when the intake team suddenly finds out its being monitored — for some strange reason the intake numbers get better.

Here’s what it comes down to. You are spending lots of money and lots of time to get people to call your firm.  Every time you miss a call or don’t follow up in time, you have just wasted that money. I have seen firms literally double the number of files they open in a month without spending a single extra dime on advertising, without hiring a single extra person, simply by making their processes better. They have not all of a sudden become better lawyers. Paying attention to the details will account for a major change, simply because you will be doing what the other firms are not willing to do.

3. Letting your Website Stagnate

I see way too many lawyers who treat their websites like it’s still 2005. Unless marketing is your passion (and there’s nothing wrong with that), stop trying to do SEO yourself. Google is changing too fast to keep up with it on your own. Stop avoiding PPC. Google wouldn’t be a billion dollar company if their advertisements didn’t work.

Also stop thinking that a contact form and phone number are enough.  If you don’t have live chat on your site you are throwing away money.  You are spending money to get people to your site.  The problem is, the majority of those people leave without ever contacting you.  That is a fact.  Live chat can help snag some of those people.  I can throw numbers at you all day long that show how much live chat increases the number of contacts you receive, but you hear that same pitch all day long from every marketing guy out there.
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Just look at other attorneys in your area. I’d be willing to bet you that at least five out of your top ten competitors are using live chat. Ngage Live alone has over 5000 lawyer websites using live chat. There are countless other live chat companies and I can’t even guess how many clients they have between them all.

live chat for law firms
If you don’t have live chat, there is probably some element of design or control that has kept you from pulling the trigger.  Again, stop making decisions based on your preference.  Make them based off your potential client’s preference, and therefore, the numbers.  A contact form and a phone number are just not enough anymore. If you want to see the numbers, we would be glad to show you.

If you need help implementing any of the fixes that I’ve suggested, give us a call.  You may be thinking, “I’m fine where I am right now.”  Are you?  Do you truly not want to bring on more cases?  Or, do you not want the ability to pick and choose from the cases that you actually want and make you money?   We want to help you succeed.  If we can’t help you we will point you in the direction of someone who can.

Alex Hambrick

alex hambrick

Alex is the president of D|H Legal Consulting, where he helps attorneys run their practice the way they actually want to do it, rather than the way they feel like they have to. Previously, Alex has a diverse background that has covered many industries. At various points in his career, Alex has been a pharmacy technician, a carpenter, and even a secretary. Outside of the office, Alex is an avid barbecuer and will tell anyone that listens that his brisket is now officially “award winning” (at least according to the International Barbecue Cookers Association).

Contact the author via email at [email protected]

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