Can Ignorance Help Improve Your Law Practice?

man having  Alzheimer's disease on birthday

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to say, “I don’t know,” in my practice.

I hated owning up to my ignorance, especially to court personnel and other lawyers.

But once I did, I came away with some valuable insights.

Ignorance is sometimes a powerful tool to making you a better lawyer. Listen in on the audio to hear what I learned.

13 Years Ago Today

WTC Reflecting Pool
Everyone in New York City has a 9/11 story. This one’s mine.

I was back there last week, staying at a hotel across the street from the World Trade Center. I spent the better part of an evening standing on the corner of Church and Dey, remembering.

Lunch with my friend in the summer by Fritz Koenig’s “Sphere” sculpture.

Looking out the window of my dad’s office as a kid, marveling that I was in the tallest building in the world (at the time it was true) and believing that my father was important just because he got to go to work there.

Heading into the first day of my summer internship with the New York Stock Exchange Division of Enforcement (I did no actual work that summer).

Going with my dad to the Chemical Bank to cash in some bonds during his lunch break.

Browsing in Borders before going to my office.

Swiping an empty magnum of champagne from Windows On The World at the end of an evening. Two separate times (yes, I still have the empty magnums in my house).

Spending time in the concourse until it was time for me to go to my SCUBA lessons in Jersey City.

My story doesn’t involve lost loved ones. I don’t dare compare my experience with those who were trapped in the buildings, those who died, and those who suffered loss due to the events of the day.

But 9/11 changed my life – and my law practice – forever.

I know where I was at 8:46am on a brilliant Tuesday morning in September. And I always will.

Listen to the audio to hear how it went down for me, and the ways in which it impacted me.

Using Avvo Paid Ads To Market A Bankruptcy Practice

Legal Practice Pro Podcast GraphicAvvo offers a paid advertising platform, but use it at your own risk.

My fingers are tired and I’m not in the mood to type, so I broke out the microphone and recorded an audio episode for you.

Call it an audio blog post, a podcast or a radio show – whatever you choose, it’s the same thing.

Play the audio and learn what I’ve got to say about Avvo paid ads. I’ll tell you why they don’t work, what you should do if you want them to pay off for your practice, and some other things.

I sometimes forget how much I like podcasting – I hope you enjoy it as well.

If I end up doing more of it, we may need to sit down and have a conversation about a show title. Not yet, though. For now, just listen and enjoy.

Time To Start Building

build

Like it or not, business is a game of numbers. Yes, even the law business.

Facebook had 1.32 billion active users as of June 30, 2014. 63% of the those users log in each day, and the average American spends about 40 minutes per day on the site.

Twitter’s got 271 million users.

As for Instagram, it has 200 million active monthly users.

I’ll stop there, but add to that all the people on Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Vine … well, you get the point.

Those are a lot of people who could see your blog post, your video, or just your words of wisdom.

A lot of people who could, without costing them a dime or more than a few seconds of their day, share your message with their friends and colleagues.

The problem? Unless you’ve built a network of people to share the message with, it won’t go anywhere.

Time to start building.

Why You Shouldn’t Blog About Bankruptcy (And What To Do Instead)

bankruptcy blog ideas

I felt like I was wasting my time blogging about my knowledge of bankruptcy.

Each day I’d slog to the computer, cup of coffee in hand, and do my best to bang out 400-600 words on some bankruptcy-related topic. Confident that I was using my time effectively for my business-building efforts, I would use every trick in the book to create an article that would get a lot of traffic.

Pictures? Check.

Social sharing buttons? Yup.

Zippy headlines and crafty subheads? Got ‘em.

I built my social profiles, promoted my articles online in as many places as was possible, and was content that I was doing my best possible work.

My analytics package showed decent daily traffic. Still, the new clients didn’t beat a path to my door.

I was convinced that my time could be better spent looking a cat pictures on Facebook.

Rather than give up, I got curious.

I began to dig around into my web traffic and came to the conclusion that my visitors weren’t looking to file for bankruptcy. Either they had already filed a case, were preparing to do so on their own, or were lawyers looking for help in understanding the law.

After all, who else would sit down at their computer and do a search for, “timing of reaffirmation agreements in chapter 7 proceedings?” Most of my clients didn’t know the term unless they had been educated by my office or had done a significant amount of research on their own before stepping through my doors.

How could I be sure that this was the case? Simple: I had set up my analytics to show me the paths that people took to get to the place where they could contact me or set up an appointment. The people who got in touch didn’t come from organic (in other words, unpaid) web traffic to my bankruptcy articles.

The people who got in contact were those who were searching for information that interested them.

Articles about how to pay off high interest credit card debts did well. So did one article in particular that discussed how I cut my cable television bill to save money.

In fact, none of the bankruptcy-related articles drove people to contact me. They were useful for my existing clients as a reference and to guide the search engines in ranking my site. But beyond fulfilling those goals, my bankruptcy articles were useless.

Once I realized that the reason people were contacting me had everything to do with finding help for their problems, I started focusing on that rather than the technical aspects of bankruptcy.

Know what? My web traffic grew an astonishing 319%.

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Beyond that, my clients started telling me how useful my writing was to them. They were able to try to solve their real problems – lack of money and too much debt – before coming to the realization that I was the right lawyer to help them end their bill problems.

Mind you, success didn’t come overnight. Nor did it come solely as a result of writing a few pieces about money-saving tips. But when I began to intersperse my bankruptcy posts with information that spoke to the potential client’s problems, the tide turned on my website.

So when you’re wondering what to write about, stop before you churn out yet another article about the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Set yourself apart from the others by writing for your potential clients and their true needs.