If you’re a family lawyer, it’s a constant challenge to demonstrate what sets you apart from the competition. This is especially true where law firm marketing efforts are concerned.

Legal marketing for family law firms usually is more formulaic than creative. But strategic legal marketing is instrumental in helping you realize your full potential as a family law attorney: building your brand recognition, growing your business, and solidifying your reputation with new clients.

Coming up with an effective marketing strategy for family law practice areas can be a challenge for even the most experienced marketing professionals. However, a viable marketing plan is the foundation for successful outreach to new clients.

Whether your firm is well known or just starting out, it’s important to consider what marketing tools to include in your next legal marketing campaign. In this post, we’ll outline key family law marketing ideas that will help you breathe new life into your internet marketing strategies.

What are the differences between family law marketing and general law marketing?

Before assessing what marketing services will work best for your law firm, let’s consider how marketing for family law firms differs from marketing for law firms with more general legal services.

As a family law lawyer, you’ll often assist people through some of the most challenging moments of their lives. So, your marketing needs to be tailored to show that your firm is a go-to resource for individuals with family law legal issues or questions. And your marketing has to be human: clients in these delicate situations need more than just a lawyer at times. They need someone in their corner they can trust.

Marketing for other legal practices usually emphasizes a firm’s accomplishments or seeks to attract potential clients based on a lawyer’s recent successes. For example, with personal injury law firms, potential clients want to know about how many cases a lawyer has handled and how much money they’ve helped plaintiffs recover. While these cases can be emotional, they’re often not tied up in relationships; they often involve a company or person your client doesn’t know on the other side of the case.

But family law marketing differs from other legal marketing because it’s so personal. So, when hiring a lawyer, it’s important for clients to make an authentic, empathetic connection with their lawyer. Showcasing that your firm is willing to build trust with its clients communicates your intent to help your clients in their time of need.

To build a connection before you ever meet a client, focus on pinpointing your firm’s personality and culture. Your messaging should explain to prospective clients how they’ll feel when they walk into your office and meet you for the first time. What is your approach to family law disputes? Do you want to be known as an aggressive divorce lawyer? Or do you want to be seen as a more approachable lawyer focused on bringing families together after a dispute? As they say, different strokes will resonate with different folks, depending on their feelings about their case and spouse or partner.

Successful family law marketing also depends on how well you’ve structured the information on your website. When prospective clients are looking for a law firm, they’re likely to gravitate to a website that answers their most pressing questions about topics including divorce and child custody and support. The better and clearer your answers to those questions, the more likely you are to get hired.

That also means that your website needs to be primed for its spot on the web. Here are eight marketing tactics that can help.

Family law marketing tips that work

It’s critical to market your firm in an honest, transparent way given the level of emotional investment often present in family law cases. Following these six family law marketing strategies can pay dividends when advertising your practice.

1. Focus on your website’s design

When prospective clients come to your website, it’s important to grab their attention. But you have to attract clients in the right way.

That means you need to have a simple, clear website that’s not cluttered and that immediately makes it clear who you are and what you do. The most important content should appear “above the fold,” meaning that a visitor can see it without having to scroll. Use high-quality photographs, an appealing color scheme, a simple font, and enough white space to entice visitors to linger on your page.

It’s also important to include a call to action (CTA) at the bottom of the page. Your CTA should encourage visitors to take action, whether that’s reading more of your site or giving your firm a call for a free consultation. Prominently place your contact information, including your phone number, in several places on your website.

Above all else, make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Many clients will be scrolling through your website from their phones. Consider whether to minimize some elements or menus to make it easier for visitors to scan your site on a small screen.

2. Use sound search engine optimization strategies

With so many law firms in the market and so many potential clients starting their search for a lawyer online, a strong digital presence is more important now than ever before. Search engine optimization (SEO) is one way to help drive your target audience to your website. When SEO is done well, a family law website will appear toward the top of Google search rankings.

Table stakes for on-page SEO are using the right keywords in the right places, such as in your page title, meta description, headings, image alt tags, and more. And there’s an art to content-related SEO as well as a science. You want your content to sound like it was written by and for humans, not as if you stuffed a keyword in every other sentence. Save the stuffing for teddy bears and turduckens.

Another key for family law practices is to make the most of local SEO efforts. That means you’re optimizing search for potential clients in your area. Typically, clients will search for “family law lawyer” plus a city, such as Chicago or Dallas. Make sure you include local identifiers and other important keywords that clients will be searching for in the content you add to your site.

Google My Business is also an important part of your local marketing toolkit. When you update your Google My Business listing, you’ll show up in search results with a map to your practice along with details about your firm, including its website and online reviews. Make sure you choose the right category for your law firm (e.g., family law attorney), and then start seeking Google reviews (more on this below).

3. Master content marketing

Your content is what will attract new clients to your firm. The content on your website will influence clients’ first impression of your family law practice and give prospects the confidence that you are their ideal legal resource.

Today, law firms create and share high-quality content in a variety of ways. Whether your content takes the form of blogs, articles, ebooks, interviews, podcasts, videos, interviews, or another format, it’s critical to select content that will resonate with your audience. Think about the questions family law clients might have if they’re struggling with a divorce, separation, or child support. Use those questions to structure the content on your family law firm website.

Speaking of structure, organize your content in a way that’s intuitive for first-time visitors. In addition to pages that describe the family law services that you offer, include resource pages that explain complicated legal concepts, such as alimony and support calculations. Use your site navigation to pull people through your website.

And keep your clients at the center of your content: it should always be about how you can help them, not promoting you and your firm. That means you must remember that you’re writing for humans going through a personal struggle — and not to impress other lawyers. Include definitions for legal terminology and write in simple language that doesn’t scare off prospects.

4. Get included in law firm directories

When searching online for a family law lawyer, people often consider lawyers listed in law firm directories, such as Avvo, Martindale, Lawyers.com, and more. Many of these directories include free as well as paid listings.

As with every online presence for your firm, it’s essential to optimize your profile. Stronger profiles get more attention. So fill out your profile with your name, practice area, location, years of practice, contact information, and a brief overview that explains your experience and services.

In your profile, write about how you can help rather than about your experience on law review or your GPA. Because the first few lines of your profile are the ones that prospects will see and skim first, they have to be packed with meaningful information that grabs the reader’s attention. They should tell a prospective client enough to get them to click on your profile to read more.

To cement your first impression, always include a professional headshot. A casual crop of yourself on the beach or in another informal setting could make clients believe you won’t take their case seriously.

Many legal directories also include client reviews. Profiles with more reviews and higher ratings from former clients build trust in future clients. So be sure to ask clients to add a review to your profile.

5. Embrace social media

Because of the personal nature of family law, your firm absolutely must have a social presence. Social media channels can help prospective clients get to know and trust you and your firm.

You can use your account to share important law firm information, including updates about your firm and profiles of your staff. You might highlight important decisions or legal developments that will affect your future clients’ cases. You might also answer frequently asked questions. Whatever the approach, the focus with social, as with content generally, is on the needs of clients seeking legal advice, not on you and your accomplishments.

You’ll also want to consider which channels to invest in. You’ll need to maintain a presence on LinkedIn to encourage referrals from other lawyers and professional groups. To reach prospective clients, however, you should spend time where they are, and that’s on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

Remember that you’ll need to have patience when engaging prospects on social media. Their decision-making tends to be more painstaking than other clients, and they’re likely to test the waters with several law firms before they choose a lawyer.

6. Remain relevant with email marketing

Email marketing can help keep your family law firm top of mind with your target audience. Not only does email marketing help you create personalized messaging for your clients, but it’s also instrumental in solidifying the relationships you may already have in place.

The advantage of email marketing lies in its capacity to help a family law practice maintain its professional legal network. By sending out mass emails, your firm can stay engaged with a vast number of clients and prospects. You can also segment your list into smaller groups, such as prospective clients and potential referral sources.

When conducting email marketing campaigns, communicate in an articulate, direct way. Having a clear message before writing the email helps focus your marketing. For example, your email could answer a common question or share a video. Or you might explain a recent decision of interest to your clients. You can also repurpose content from your website, including blogs. And you can make your content even more personal if you include video. Regardless of which vehicle you choose, the key is to deliver value to your recipients.

7. Invest in paid search

If organic traffic to your firm’s website isn’t generating the results your marketing team had hoped for, it may be time to consider paid search advertisements, including Google ads or other pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, to jump-start your firm’s web presence.

When people find themselves requiring family law services, they most likely turn to the internet to search for a lawyer who will address their concerns. PPC can bring your law firm right to the top of the search engine results. (Of course, some people skip over ads, so your best long-term bet for online visibility is to up your content game and invest in SEO).

Running a paid ad campaign will require you to think about the keywords that your clients are searching for and the zip codes where your clients are located. You’ll also need to set up a landing page where clients who click on your ad can get more information about your firm. If you spend time thinking through these elements of your advertising, you’re likely to pull in more qualified leads.

8. Use testimonials for greater effect

Word of mouth is a powerful marketing technique for family law firms. Firsthand accounts from clients who have worked with you in the past can have a remarkable impact. The voice of past clients has a level of authenticity that you often can’t capture in other forms of advertising. People trust the word of other people like them. Testimonials offer a firsthand perspective into what your firm does and how it operates.

You can also share client testimonials on your firm’s website and social media. Clients sitting on the fence about whether to work with your firm will consider these reviews, and they can be a powerful tipping point in your favor if your reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

It’s important to get reviews on lawyer directories like Avvo. But you should also ask clients to post reviews on Google, Facebook, and even Yelp. Given their prominence in search engine rankings, these sites are the first places that prospective clients will see reviews and look for referrals. So be sure to solicit positive reviews from your clients; ask your top clients to give you five stars and say a few words about how you helped them.

Begin your family law marketing journey today

If you implement any (or all!) of the digital marketing tools highlighted above, your family law firm will start building a stronger presence. Online marketing strategies, including a well-designed website using SEO techniques, content marketing, social media, paid search, email marketing, reviews, and directories, are the tactics your law firm needs to implement to meet — and exceed — your marketing goals.

Readability is fundamental. That means even the font of your law firm’s website and legal documents matters.

Whether you’re working for a small law firm or BigLaw, using the right font can better engage your target audience and build your firm’s credibility and reputation for professionalism. It’s an important tool for creating your brand and getting your law firm’s name out there. (Just know that the right answer for a law firm font is never Comic Sans.)

As a lawyer, you’re regularly drafting. The font you choose, like the case law you research, is another tool to use to your advantage in persuading your audience. The font your firm uses on formal legal briefs and memoranda should differ from the one you use for casual communications. Which font to use for your law firm’s logo is an important question that deserves forethought, as is which to use for letterhead, business cards, and your firm’s web design. There is an art to it, we promise.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the basics of fonts for legal documents, including which to use and why, and then will get into details on different typographies and typefaces. Let’s get started.

What message can certain fonts portray?

Your choice of font impacts a potential client’s first impression of your firm. Is your firm classic and traditional, with a rich history? Or is your firm more modern and cutting-edge? A smart choice of font can convey seriousness or help build casual rapport. As you know, a solid law firm marketing strategy is key to staying at the top of the legal game, and font selection and consistency are important pieces of the marketing plan puzzle that can showcase your firm’s legal services.

There are a couple of overarching important things to keep in mind when choosing a font.

Readability and legibility are the two top priorities when selecting a font. Illegible and “artistic” fonts make your text difficult to read. You don’t want clients or prospects laboring to understand your message or read your law firm name. The best way to capture someone scrolling through social media is not by making your content harder to access. So, as more people choose to get work done from their mobile devices, it’s important to consider how a selected font reads on all screen sizes. Selecting the right legal font or typeface indicates good judgment, which we know your law firm has in abundance.

Consistency is also important. Your law firm should choose the legal font that can be used consistently across mediums, including on all lawyer websites, practice area pages, letterhead, business cards, and even T-shirts and office supplies. Thinking about your firm’s web design is especially important here. A unique and surprising law firm font can help set your firm apart and make it immediately recognizable to clients, a pivotal step in building brand identity.

What’s the moral of this story? The best law firm font is a consistent one.

Are there better fonts for certain aspects of your legal work?

The short answer is, of course! The font that you use for formal legal documents (say, in a U.S. Supreme Court brief or an IRS filing) can and should differ from the font used for your law firm logo or in your firm’s web design. Let’s take a look at which fonts you should use for which purpose.

Legal documents

Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, and Century family fonts are standard for legal documents. When it comes to drafting formal legal documents, your firm cannot go wrong with these typefaces. Many litigators already know that certain courts require them (and often other very specific formatting criteria, like italics over underlining). Check with your local jurisdiction for specific rules on typeface and font size before filing. Here, your firm’s style should take a back seat to your judge’s preferences.

The following legal document fonts should get you started on brainstorming and help you determine your law firm’s distinct style:

Marketing materials

When it comes to your firm’s marketing materials, you have much more leeway in font selection. We recommend fonts that are clean and professional but still have a bit of edge. As noted above, you’ll want the font to be both readable and consistent.

Which family of fonts should your firm go with: serif or sans serif?

There are two main classes of font styles: serif and sans serif. Which family of fonts should your firm choose? The answer to this question is a lawyer’s favorite: it depends.

Generally, serif fonts (think Times New Roman and Garamond) are about lineage and legacy. They’re classic and traditional, and we associate them with trustworthiness and reliability. They can also be seen as a little old school and are infrequently used by tech companies and startups.

Sans serif fonts (think Helvetica and Open Sans) convey newness, a modern outlook, and an emphasis on being cutting-edge. These fonts are minimal and simplistic, and we associate them with youth and freshness. Sans serif fonts lack the gravity and history of serif fonts.

Speaking more technically, serif fonts have a decorative flourish at both the beginning and end of the character. Sans serif (which means “without the serif”) fonts don’t have that flourish.

Which typography and font family to pick is entirely up to your law firm. Is your firm carrying on a family legacy? If so, a serif font might be most fitting. But if your firm is turning its legacy on its head and becoming more modern, a sans serif font might be the right choice.

When choosing a font, consider what image your firm is trying to convey and who you are. We understand that it’s a big question (and promise we’re not trying to derail your day with existentialism). Hopefully, it’s a fun question to consider! Your law firm is unique, and thinking about your clients and business is good for long-term growth and longevity.

This can be a tough decision, especially if you don’t have a background in branding and design. We recommend working with branding experts to get your firm started on everything from logo design to local SEO.

Choosing the best font for your law firm

Your brand is important, and the fonts your law firm chooses for each aspect of its professional services create the brand. Remember to prioritize readability, legibility, and consistency.

Finding the right font is a critical step in refining your law firm’s brand and voice and executing on its vision. It’s time to get creative!

Lawyers are spread thin, and a lot of time is spent on laboring tasks and not on as many billable tasks. In fact, on average, lawyers only bill for 2.3 hours of their time. After factoring in realization and collection rates, the average lawyer only collects about 1.6 hours of billable time per day. And to go a step further, about 33% of an average lawyer’s time is spent on business development.

If you recall, in Standing Out in Today’s World: How Communication and Branding Can Make or Break Your Firm, we talked about the fact that 2 out of 3 potential clients say their decision to hire is most influenced by a lawyer’s responsiveness to their first call or email. 

The problem here is, these interruptions, emails, calls, not only take time away from you, but there is a recovery time that results in a 2 hours time loss per day. If you’re getting these intake calls, they may not always result in good clients, so at that point, you would have just wasted your time. And without an effective process, you’re losing money. It’s as simple as that. 

Before we jump in, it’s important to be able to pinpoint some of the prominent dilemma’s firms face when trying to correct the effects of productivity delays or an overall loss in billable hours. 

The Dilemmas 

Dilemma 1 

Interruptions kill your productivity - You want to minimize interruptions.


Potential clients demand quick response times - You want to maximize responsiveness.

Dilemma 2

Invoicing and chasing down late payments drain your time - You want to minimize time-consuming billing tasks.


You need to get paid. And not after a collections agency takes a 30-50% cut - You want to maximize revenue.

Dilemma 3

Technology (software and services) makes you more efficient - You want to automate and sync tasks, processes, and data.


If you’re with a smaller practice, you may not have or are limited with your IT/admin support. You can’t spend all day learning and configuring technology. You want simple, intelligent tools. 

Solutions to the Dilemmas

They say there's a solution for everything. And we agree. They may take some time to implement, but if you can adopt cost-effective and efficient software for the following things, your firm will be solving a lot of the aforementioned dilemmas.

To improve efficiency, decrease interruptions, and increase the reliability of solid PNCs, your firm should have a system that includes:

And on a holistic level, your firm should be considering these factors when researching systems to implement:

Now you may be thinking, this is all great, but if I cannot get clients through the door, none of those efficiencies will matter. Well, the first step you should be taking is to understand your target audience and their entire journey leading up to signing on that dotted line. You cannot expect to prospect successfully if you don’t understand how people are trying to connect with you. So your next logical question should be... 

How Do PNCs Reach You?

If you can understand how potential clients can reach you, you will not only be able to respond to them more often but maximize your time while doing so. The most common forms of communication between a PNC and a firm are typically through:

With this information in mind, let’s talk about how each of these communication platforms work in the context of a law practice. 

Phone Systems: Landline, Cloud/VOIP, and SIP (softphone)


Pros - Landlines can be bundled with internet service, they’re independent of power grids, and typically result in fewer dropped calls.

Cons - You really have minimal mobility, the carriers are limited, hardware is required for set-up, and you need contracts. The most detrimental factor of relying on a landline is simply the lack of availability outside of the office. And unless you know how to reroute your calls, they won’t magically appear on your mobile device. 

Cloud/VOIP (internet-based phone service)

Pros - You will have mobile and texting access and because there is more competition from a wide variety of providers, your costs will be reduced, you don’t have to bundle, it is scalable, and you’re not tied down to contracts.

Cons - Your calls will depend largely on the internet quality. If your wifi goes down, you could be in for some trouble.

SIP (softphone protocol that turns an internet-connected device like a computer into a phone)

Pros - Your computer and tablet can now function like a phone.

Cons - The cost associated is in addition to cloud phone service.

When you’re thinking about phone service, there are different ways to route and track calls with priority so that you can be more efficient in handling them. And when you think about these services, you need to think about them from both the automation side and the outsourcing side. In other words, what services can be done through workflow triggers and minimal human intervention, versus paying outside vendors to handle the relationship. 

Forms of Call Routing and Handling


Call routing/interactive voice response (IVR) allows you to set up certain prompts and greetings that are automated. This handsfree process is incredibly streamlined and you know exactly what you’re going to get upfront because you are the one to program it. 

This service can not only make your business sound more professional, but it can help save time by assisting with delegation and routing of calls to the appropriate staff or team member. 

The obvious drawback is that these scripted services are only able to handle point-blank calls. They cannot handle discretionary conversations.  


To start, are you using a service that is abroad or domestic? If you’re using call centers that are not based in the US, be sure that their business norms and practices align exactly with that of your firms. 

If you’re a smaller firm and someone from overseas answers a PNCs call, will they know right away that you do not have someone in-house doing client intake? Will there be a language or cultural barrier? These are all things to consider. 

Is the staff working the phone lines dedicated or distributed?

With a dedicated team, you have a few staff members who are assigned to your matters and are trained on your accounts. So while they know how to specifically handle clients' needs, they become a bottleneck if they’re ever sick or out of the office. 

Additionally, if you have a marketing campaign that’s ramping up, you will need to make sure you’re prepared for the influx in call volume. If your dedicated team doesn’t have the bandwidth to manage those inbound inquiries, don’t waste money on a large marketing campaign. 

A distributed service is composed of the entire team where everyone is trained to answer calls. Because of this, the volume of calls per staff lessens because you have more people available to answer the phone. 

Phone Systems: Potential Issues

Watch for these common complaints and problems that impact leads and clients:

Ring Delays (latency) 

You may hear the phone ring once, but what the person is hearing on the other line is multiple rings before they hear you pick up. People are impatient, so this leaves the door open for these PNCs to hang up before you even hear your phone go off. With some systems, a client will experience up to 8 rings before it actually rings on your end. The best thing to do in this situation is audit your phone system. Have someone else from the firm call and check to make sure that one ring on your end is one ring on the caller’s end. 

No Tracking or Analytics (how will you track marketing ROI). 

If you run marketing campaigns, you have to be able to track who is calling and who is converting from those calls. 

Did they convert? And if so, off which source? Were all your marketing channels working for you or did you have some that were underperforming? Were the leads high quality? Did they end up hiring you? You cannot sustain successful campaigns if you don’t track this information from the beginning. You have to be able to pinpoint what works and what doesn’t so you can make adjustments as you move forward. 


Receptionist services can have a limited impact and a higher cost if you’re only using them for answering, transferring, or taking messages. 

Look at services that can do the lead qualification, that can do the basic intake automation, and lead capture so that you are more informed and not faced with a bunch of decisions at the end of the day as you face each recorded message. Set your criteria and know when to refer bad leads out, and when to begin setting appointments with clients you can and do want to represent. 

Email Systems   

We are all pretty familiar with email systems, however, the best piece of advice we can give you is to make sure your email is connected to and integrated with your practice management software so they are securely logged and easily pulled for reference. 

The perk of this integration is that some practice management software has time tracking apps that allow you to directly bill for the time you spend emailing and corresponding with clients. 

Additionally, you can build templates and workflows through third-party vendors that automatically trigger your emails to send out to whomever you want. With this type of automation, it is important that it is standardized and made uniform across the firm. You should not have one group of attorneys sending and tracking emails in one way and another group doing something completely different. 

Someone going through a divorce is probably shopping for the right firm that fits their needs. In this case, when multiple firms are in the picture, you want to be able to build trust. To provide expertise without being overbearing and what you can do after a call or consultation is to follow up with them on an automated basis, without your individual input. 

Text Messaging Systems

Being able to communicate with your clients whenever, and wherever you are is crucial. In fact, if you’re not already texting your clients, you are falling behind the curve because that is where the rest of the industry is going. “Why you may ask?” Because that is what clients are growing to expect. Don’t believe us, check out, Everything You Need to Know About Communicating With Your Clients Via Text: The Good and the Bad.

Your clients are texting other businesses. Whether they’re messaging their accountant or plumber, it’s becoming the norm, so don’t resist this inevitable movement. Think of it this way… you work hard to meet your client's needs financially and even emotionally. Why not do the same when it comes to communication?

The largest push back we hear regarding text messages is the lack of privacy. How do you communicate with clients the way they expect without sacrificing your personal number? Well, let us tell you…

There are some practice management solutions that will provide you with your own designated cell phone number. This number not only masks your personal line but works via phone, computer or tablet. And the best part? There are timekeeping features within this solution that will track the length of your conversation and automatically create a billable event for you. So, not only are you speeding up communication, you are increasing your earnings too. If that isn’t a win-win, then I don’t know what is.  

Web Chat Systems

Put simply, a webchat is an internet online chat system that allows people to communicate in real-time using easily accessible web interfaces. Web chats are commonly used because of their simplicity and accessibility to users who do not wish to take the time to install and learn to use specialized chat software.

These web chat systems can come in many forms. Whether this communication option is on your firm's website, or your Facebook page, anywhere you have an opportunity to connect with a PNC should be capitalized on. Here are three potential options for you to consider. 


AI-powered robots are low-cost alternatives with lightning-fast responses. You can program frequently asked questions with defined answers and you can stem some of those recurring, inbound phone calls and emails (the ones that seem to suck the most time out of your day) with pre-programmed responses. By doing this, you can hopefully reduce the number of interruptions you experience from having to answer them. 

Additionally, you can allow PNCs to schedule appointments, interact with links to more information, and form fills, and you can forward direct messages or inquiries to specific members of the team. The goal is to eliminate the extra step it would take for someone to manually sift and sort through messages.

You can also route escalated issues to the appropriate party or offer extensions for the PNC to leave a message. 

With chat robots, you’re paying for the access and ability to program the chat. You can have the chatbox appear on specific pages to reduce the cost associated with having one on every page or you can have a box populate on any page a user visits. Chatbots can be very valuable if used correctly and offer a great, friction-free point of connection between your target audience and your firm.


Costs associated with human labor varies depending on whether your internal team monitors the chat or if you outsource the labor. When you add in the element of human interaction, you can capture much more data, and more directly determine if the PNC is worth your time or not. You have much more control over the conversation and can offer more descriptive responses.

However, watch out for the “self-staffed but unattended” trap. This is a very common problem and what happens is a PNC will message what they think is a monitored channel and they will be left unanswered and unhappy. Your chat box should not become just another “contact” form. 

Website Chat Tips


Add a disclaimer before the chat starts stating that the communication held via the web chat does not constitute a client-attorney relationship, legal advice, and is simply there to help direct a PNC to where they need to be. 

Be Proactive

Staff with live agents, and choose “patient” active engagement.


Serve as a “gatekeeper” to an online calendar for consultations to reduce no-shows and cancellations.

Lead Qualification & Referrals 

Identify leads with your custom criteria and schedule callbacks and appointments with new qualified leads. Also, refer out bad leads as quickly as you can to save time and improve efficiencies. 

The Takeaway

Attorneys spend a lot of time managing the communication and business development efforts of PNCs. There are so many communication tools out there to improve this process, but if you do not know how to use them you will not only be creating inefficiencies for yourself, but you will be losing billable hours too. 

Let’s go back 16 years to 2005. The youngest millennials were what? Around 8 years old? And if you were to take a look at websites and law firm’s online presence 16 years ago, what you would see was an unaesthetic, barebones framework with an ‘About Us’ section, a stock photo (if you were lucky), and a phone number. Having an online presence back then meant really one thing: you had a website.

Fast forward to 3 years ago, and what do we have? An internet that looks wildly different. Being online doesn’t mean you just have a website, it means you are immersed and engaged in the multitude of layers that make up this new age online presence. We know that sounds vague, so don’t stop reading because we’re about to dig in.

Let’s talk about some facts first.

In a 2019 survey, a hypothetical question was posed to the participants stating: “If you were faced with a legal issue, where would you search for help? 64% of those people indicated that they would go to Google before any other platform, resource, or person to get help.

But when the question was posed about where one would go if they actually needed an attorney, as opposed to merely researching, 62% of those people said they would get an attorney or law firm referral from a friend or family member, not google.

Now with this in mind, that same group of people also stated that they would visit a law firm’s website prior to meeting or calling the firm. And this can be true for many service-based industries. 

Today, millennials and the younger generations are seeking information on their own, prior to picking up the phone. It is also important to note that while they are making decisions and researching, comparing, and analyzing which of the many firms would fit their needs, they are also reading client reviews. And with the advent of the internet, and everything that has come with it, these online reviews are not only prevalent but incredibly important.

A Generation Raised on the Internet

91% of people between the ages of 18-36 (cough millennials), trust strangers reviews online as much as personal recommendations, and 93% of those consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions.


According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are born between 1981-1996, they’re in their 20s and 30s now, and if they are not your current clients, they will be. 

We know what you may be thinking, millennials have gotten a bad rap and you would prefer to carry on how you have been and let them involve themselves elsewhere, but we are telling you now, don’t do that! Don’t believe us? Keep reading.

This demographic grew up with the internet and mobile phones, they are digital natives. To put bluntly, this age group knew more about Amazon the company than they did about Amazon the river when they grew up. And not only are millennials the largest generation, but they are also the largest population when it comes to the workforce.   

What makes a millennial unique? 

Millennials communicate very differently than other generations. They do not prefer to talk on the phone, rather they prefer communicating via text or with images. This is important to note because many people (millennials included), will look for alternatives if the organizations they originally searched for do not communicate the way they do. That isn’t a threat, it is simply just the way it is. Think of it as a relationship. If your partner only communicated with you one way, but you preferred another and there was no compromise or change of action, the likelihood of them becoming your spouse is very low. It’s the same with communicating with your clients. 

Additionally, millennials are “addicted” to social media and the happiness and overall validation it provides. Now, if you don’t think social media is important or relevant to your business, let’s take a look at why you may be wrong. Visual Capitalist’s conducted “A Minute on the Internet in 2020” where they estimated the amount of data created on the internet in one minute. Here is some of what they found:

And this is all in 60 seconds, that is crazy! It took longer than 60 seconds to even type that information out…


We’re in a numbers kind of mood today, so without further ado: 91% of people between the ages of 18-36 (cough millennials), trust strangers reviews online as much as personal recommendations, and 93% of those consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions. 

And for the bad news bear, a 3.3-star rating is the minimum for what business consumers would feel okay engaging with, where only 13% of people will consider buying from a business that has only a 1 or 2-star rating. 94% say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business, and you risk losing as many as 22% of customers when just one negative article is found by users considering buying their product.

Now for Millennials specifically, a study showed that 8 out of 10 millennials will never buy anything without reading a review first and 77% trust reviews they read on brand websites. So what is the takeaway here? Reviews are crucial.

And from an SEO standpoint, Google places a high priority on them. Reviews provide value, Google knows this, so these reviews will take up real estate on the first page before even paid ad content. The better your reviews are, the higher you will rank on this search engine.

Now if you’re wondering how to get reviews the answer is simple! Ask your current clients. If they’re using Gmail, leaving a review will be quick and painless. You can create surveys and provide your clients with all the information they would need to take 3 minutes of their time to write about how their experience was. Firms obviously handle a lot of sensitive information, you may have clients who are reluctant to publicly disclose their stories, but fortunately, millennials are very open, honest, and very straightforward. A study showed that 25- 34 year olds are the most vocal when it comes to reviews. Roughly 23% of reviews are left by people are in that age category. Let’s dig deeper. 

Building a culture of reviews within your firm

The first thing you need to do is establish that your firm takes reviews seriously. And how do you do this? You communicate it with your staff. If your team doesn’t know that it is important for them to ask their clients for reviews, they probably won’t do it. Once everyone is aligned on expectations, you need to have a very clear system on how to get a successful review from your client. 

Here are some things you should be asking yourself in order to build a system of reviews and ensuring you’re getting the best possible reviews from your clients:

  1. Standardize your post-case procedure across the firm. 
  2. What is your timeline for follow-up and or asking your client for a review?
  3. Will you send follow-up emails or calls?
  4. Will you offer a referral program?
  5. Will you offer an incentive to your team?
  6. Will you send your clients a survey or have them write whatever comes to mind?
  7. Will you have an internal paper review or an online platform set up on your website to collect the information?
  8. Will this be available via mobile?
  9. Will you provide guidance on what to or what not to say?
  10. Will you follow up with your review requests?
  11. Will you follow up with your clients whether they leave a good or bad review?

A good rule of thumb for asking for reviews is to ask as soon as possible. If you leave too much time between when you ask and the close of the case, the likelihood of getting a ‘yes’ will be lower.

Practice management software will allow you to automate the follow-up process so that you can create workflows that will trigger a specified email template to be sent to your client following the conclusion of their case (or whenever you set it in the system to be sent). Survey’s are beneficial because you can control the questions being asked and they are relatively fast for your clients to respond to. Keep in mind that you can control some of this conversation. Make it as easy as possible for your clients by giving them guidelines of what they should stay away from (specific case details), and what it is okay to talk about (their experience with your firm, attorney responsiveness, customer service, etc.)

Make referrals easier. 62% of all legal clients are asking their friends and family for firm recommendations. In your intake process, you should be tracking where referrals are coming from and at the close of a matter, you can have referral forms automatically generated and emailed out for your clients to fill out.

Uh oh. You got a bad review. Now what?

First of all, it is important to remember that bad reviews happen! I you get one, it may not be an accurate indication of the actual services your team provided, your client could just be having a bad day. So don’t sweat it. Also, we all know there is “that person,” the person who is never happy or just prides themselves on leaving tough critiques. So take it in stride and don’t take it personally!

If you do get a bad review, the first things you should do are:

It is important that you follow up with your clients after the review has been written, especially if it is not favorable. Doing this will provide you with the opportunity to speak with that client and ask if there is anything you can do to improve their experience. Always lead with asking “What can I do better?” or “How can I fix this?” Instead of, “I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but do you think you could write a better review?” Also, a bad review can simply be taken as a learning experience.

Review Ethics - Confidentiality

The rule here is simple...

Do not respond to a review in which you disclose confidential information. End of story. 

And we are just going to throw this one out there too - don’t pay for reviews. 

The Takeaway

If you walk away with one thing from reading this, it should be that reviews are important. And as the adage goes: “Closed mouths don’t get fed,” so ask your clients! You’ll be surprised at how willing they will be to help you. 

Over the past 10 years, the legal industry has finally started to embrace innovative, customer-centric marketing tactics and strategies. For a long time, however, firms have relied on the strength of their partners and personal relationships to grow and drive business. But times are changing. There are more firms in the US than ever before and the competitive landscape is continuing to grow. However, with the advent of review sites, alternative fee structures, automation, and alternative legal service providers, firms are faced with a tremendous challenge. 

Today, we’re seeing firms struggle to stand out as dominant forces where neither prestige nor competitive rates can ensure continued business. Corporations and individuals are looking for more from firms. Whereat one point, simply good counsel was enough, now they are looking for firms who align with their goals, missions, and strategy to make them look heroic. 

This is where your brand comes into play. And before the naysayers jump in, yes your firm is a business and a star partner cannot carry the ship alone. At least not in 2020. At a time where differentiation is critical, what we’re still seeing is generic, copy-cat websites, and jargon-filled taglines that fall flat at the feet of new clients. With all this in mind, we’re going to take a look at the state of law firm marketing, the importance of communication and data collection, metrics to gauge your ROI, and automation tools that will make your marketing process a little smoother. 

State of Law Firm Marketing

Branding is essential for all business in today's worldIn 2013, the legal services industry generated 256.66 billion dollars in revenue. In 2018, this revenue increased to approximately 288 billion. That is a lot of money. Although there is a huge opportunity in the legal market, law firms are not setting themselves up in a successful way to gain those clients. 

So this leads to the question: how are firms handling their marketing? 

tech report done in 2019, noted that 47% of firms overall have a marketing budget. Additionally, those responsible for “handling” marketing still lies largely with the attorneys themselves. 59% of respondents, including 60% of solos, said attorneys perform these functions within the firm. A Bloomberg law study concluded that 62% of respondents say their firm is increasing its focus on marketing and business development and 63% of respondents say they expect their firm to increase its marketing and business development budget over the next two years.

This is a priority for many firms, and not only is it a priority to increase budgets in these sectors, but it has also become a priority in terms of where attorneys and firms are allocating their non-billable time. 

In a legal trends report, 33% of the firms surveyed reported that they’re spending their non-billable time on business development efforts, so this means that it isn’t just the money investment going in, it’s the time investment as well. Even though firms are putting a lot of time, money, and effort into these activities, many firms are not tracking the output of their efforts. In the same legal trends report, 91% of firms can’t calculate a return on their advertising investments and 94% don’t know how much it costs them to acquire a new client. 

Importance of Client Data Collection and Communication

Where are clients finding lawyers? What is the most beneficial way to promote your firm?

The top source for finding a lawyer is through referrals. So knowing this information, how can your firm improve referrals? Typically it’s by collecting feedback and understanding client experience. But then how do you collect that data? Do you formally ask in person? Do you make a dedicated phone call? Email survey?

If you’re thinking about the competition in the industry, simply asking and recording your clients' feedback can make a tremendous difference in either improving or maintaining your customer experience. 

Not only is it important for your firm to collect feedback, but it is also important when you collect feedback too. Feedback is often being sought too late in the process. It’s either at the close of the matter, or sometimes during, but there is a majority of feedback that isn’t being collected at the beginning of representation. Why is it important to collect data at this time you may ask? Because you want to know why someone hired you in the first place. That’s how you can determine how to improve your marketing in the future, or how you can determine what factors are influencing your client's decisions.

One of the easiest methods to use to gauge client satisfaction is the net promoter score. It is one simple question, where on a scale from 0-10, where ten means “extremely likely", five means “neutral,” and zero means “not likely at all,” would you recommend your law firm to others? This simple question provides powerful insight, and with this information, you can figure out who your “promoters” are (the people who will most likely bring more matters to your firm), and the detractors (those who will not). Giving your clients this easy, straightforward type of survey will allow your firm to maintain relationships when they’re going well, or pivot and adjust when a client is unhappy before it’s too late (and in some cases prevent malpractice). In general, firms that focus on better client service have higher revenue growth, higher profits per attorney, and higher client retention. 

Outside of cost, the factors that impact the likelihood of your firm being recommended are the ease of understanding case expectations, the personality or your attorneys, and responsiveness to email, phone, and text. Now that you just read that, what is the one trend that is consistent between these three things? Communication! Your firm's ability to understand who your client is, how they digest information and their expectations of you are all things that can be collected at the start and throughout the cycle of a matter. There are many things that are out of your control, but these factors are not.

Rate of Communication 

In a study by BTI consulting, of the participating clients, 80% of clients expected immediate response to texts and emails. But don’t worry, immediate in this case meant between 1-2 hours. Unfortunately, when firms were evaluated, attorneys considered immediate to be more between 4-8 hours. Within that big of a time discrepancy, we know a few things can happen; clients can get anxious, impatient, and lessen the likelihood of referrals post-matter. The simple solution to this is setting communication expectations early on. Let your clients know what the average time for you to get back to them is so that they are not left wondering if you’re ignoring them. Although you may be juggling many clients at once, the goal is to treat each client like they’re your only client. 

This responsiveness also can be translated into how successful your referral business is as well. When people are searching for representation, oftentimes, it is the firm that responds to their call or email first that wins the business. Not only are these firms setting the tone right off the bat, but they are also making the client feel prioritized which is a huge factor that leads to converting potential new clients into billable clients.

In an ABA Benchmark study on intake process, they found that 42% of the time law firms would take three or more days to reply to a voicemail or web-generated form from a prospective client. That is a long time! You spend time and money trying to collect new leads, yet when they come in, firms are still slow to capitalize by responding inefficiently. The same goes for responsiveness over the phone! 35% of callers to a law firm didn’t get to speak to a person and 50% of voice messages left were only returned within two days, while many weren’t returned at all. 

Ethical Model Rules

All of this information on collecting client data and communication rates are great. But, there are two things when it comes to marketing that you cannot do. In simple terms, you cannot lie about your firm or your services (which should go without saying), and you cannot pressure prospective clients to hire you. 

When it comes to advertising, you are by all means allowed to pay the reasonable costs of advertisements or communications, but you may not compensate, give or promise anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s service. 

Building Your Brand

To either create your brand or maintain an existing one, the first step starts with information. This information should be collected both internally and externally. For your potential new clients, you should be asking who your target audience is? What do you know about them? What trends can you identify? Internally speaking, you should be asking how your staff views the firm, where would they like the firm to be in the future? If what your staff says internally differs from what the outside world says, then you have identified a gap that must be bridged. This bridge will be created by your brand and if deployed effectively, will pave the way for expansion and growth.

Determinants of a firm brand

Courtesy of DeSantis Breindel


In addition to identifying your brand, you must also identify the differentiators or pillars on which to build that brand. The underlying challenge with this is you must be able to distinguish between required characteristics (things that everyone in the industry must have), and those features that are specifically unique to you. The purpose of your brand, will not only serve as a differentiator but also as an anchor through times of turbulence. To determine what differentiates you from the rest of the field, you must dig deep, these core values go beyond the surface level and require industry-wide analysis and research to fully understand what your value proposition is compared to your competitors.


Requirements are simply the elements that most legal brands have already. For example, “an experienced team,” or “unparalleled client service.” These things are the “obvious” essentials you need, but in 2020, they won’t set you apart. 


Neutral factors are attributes that are not necessarily good or bad, and they will most like differ from firm-to-firm. Have you been operating for over 50 years? Is your firm woman-led? These things are all great, but when you ask if they were the tipping point for clients when they made their final decision between your firm and another, the answer is most likely not.


These issues (whether it’s one or many) encompass the challenges your firm faces that a brand may not be able to address. At a point, your brand will act as a stabilizer, but if you’re experiencing turmoil, like attorney turnover, malpractice, or even if you have a handful of clients who are unhappy, your brand can only go so far to counteract that. Make sure before making a push to identify your value proposition, you mitigate as many of these issues as possible. 

Everything about your firm's brand is important. The way your attorneys present themselves, how your firm sounds as a whole in publicly distributed communications, how cohesive your strategy is, and your positioning across the rest of the industry. 

Marketing Automation Metrics and Tools

One of the first things we discussed was data. In today’s world, a firm's ability to collect, process, and then utilize information will be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful firm.


Marketing is important, there is no getting around that, but if you cannot create reports and analyze how your efforts are being translated in the real world, you’re wasting your time, not to mention your money. 

The ability to group important reports, set security measures, track client data along with monitoring revenue are 2020 musts. Reporting gives you the ability to make better business decisions. It allows you to hone in on where you should be spending more or less of your funds, and it provides a deeper insight into how your firm is viewed both publicly and internally. 

Metrics and KPIs your firm can use

For prospective new clients:

For current clients:

Tools for Automating Marketing and Communications

The benefits of having all or even just one of these tools is priceless. Utilizing practice management software can allow you to automate the intake process. For example, if you have an intake form on your website, you can integrate that with your software so anytime a PNC fills it out, you are automatically notified on the back end. This streamlined communication process allows you to get to PNCs faster than your competitors. 

As discussed earlier, it is important to know where your PNCs are coming from. Some software allows for marketing attribution that accomplishes just that. To go one step further, some programs allow you to customize conflict check reports to include only information that’s important to your firm. The ability to drill down on specific data is becoming more and more crucial, and utilizing tools that allow you to do that will drive your client experience and your referral numbers.




One of the biggest takeaways from 2020 as a whole has been adjusting to the entirely remote atmosphere of day-to-day operations. Although 77 percent of attorneys regularly work from home according to an American Bar Association survey, there’s no doubt this rapid change of in-office vs. a remote environment has affected the ways things are done at law firms. Specifically, how communication happens. Now, moving forward, it’s time to take charge and find ways to use law firm communication tools that prioritize security and efficiency for everyone involved – including clients.

This operational efficiency will serve everyone better in fostering a client-centered firm that maintains clear, iterative communication, positioning your firm’s reputation better than the competition.

How Remote Work is Changing Internal and Client Communication

Both internal communication and client communication are forever changed. While the outskirts of remote work and the digital age have been creeping in the periphery for a while, it’s the coronavirus that’s ushered in the necessity for fully digital communication and remote work. This has changed mainly for in-office workers such as paralegals and legal assistants. Instead of a quick walk over to your coworker’s desk for a question, you're now forced to send a message or phone call. This extra effort leads to more barriers that can prevent alignment across the team.

For clients, without a central office phone number to call, it’s going to create extra worry about how to get updates on their case. Without clear communication and guidance, your firm’s reputation could suffer. After all, poor communication is among the top reason clients end relationships with law firms. When comparing one bad experience to more than one in terms of communication, the percentage of a client switching to a competitor jumps from 50 to 80 percent.

You really can’t afford to let clients leave on the basis of bad communication – especially since there are so many solutions that can help remedy this prevalent communication problem.

Important Law Firm Communication Tools for Optimizing Efficiency

Stay on task and on schedule with frequent communication tools that ease the burden of sifting through multiple windows and programs. One prominent example, which fans of kanban project management will rejoice at, is Centerbase’s TaskFrame™ inclusion. It’s a convenient visual board that lets you drag and drop important tasks and notify people in real-time.

There are plenty of other law firm communication tools that simplify and prioritize what needs to be done in a secure way. Let’s review them based on category:

Video Conferencing Tools


Instant Messaging Tools

Creating one spot to facilitate quick communication helps drive efficiency in the digital, remote world we’re now in. It’s easy to keep a tab open as your staff are checking their inboxes or reading a matter to reply back to a quick inquiry.

In terms of messaging, here are some convenient options that can boost your team’s communication:

Secure Client Portal

Whether you need to send matter deadlines or an update via text message, having a simple client portal where it’s all laid out gives considerable peace of mind to clients. This as a law firm communication tool has value when it comes to tracking and divvying direct communication that helps reassure them you’re on top of status updates and important dates to be mindful of.

24/7 Client Portals Improve Communication

A 24/7 portal fosters an open door policy and can help clients maintain trust with you during the entirety of their case. Plus, instead of calling, clients can send a message instead about any questions they have – alerting you, and empowering staff to get them answers quicker than playing phone tag.

Client Intake Management

Onboarding is always a pain point for firms – to get all the paperwork loaded into the system quickly and accurately is timely and takes away from other revenue-generating tasks. Rather than manually entering all a client’s information once they fill out a form, with Centerbase, their information is automatically populated the instant the form is completed. These intake features boost productivity and efficiency on matters.

Why Client Communication is Important for Your Practice

The better your communication, the more alignment your team will have to stay efficient and keep clients happy. As mentioned earlier, one bad interaction can be the difference between a client going to another firm – so it’s a matter of maintaining a good reputation in order to retain clients. You can have a stellar team of attorneys, but without proper client communication, it will create uncertainty and a lack of trust in the client-attorney relationship. With the advent of digitized and remote teams, your firm must adapt, or you may suffer from a lack of client retention.

How to Improve Adoption of New Communication Technology

So you know the importance of law firm communication tools; now is the implementation step that can feel daunting and overwhelming. Take time to research and plan which of the above services will best suit your firm’s needs, and work on a plan to put it into action if you haven’t already. This will require a virtual or in-person meeting with your team to emphasize the requirements, and why it’s needed. Such a transition can be the difference between your firm flourishing and simply skating by.

What Law Firm Communication Tools Will You Use?

Remote work efficiency is going to take a different form when it comes to office communication. Be sure to be mindful of roadblocks – as this transitionary period from a fully staffed office to a hybrid or even fully remote environment can take time to get used to long-term. These video and instant messaging tools can help bridge the gap and get answers and efficiency better than constant calls or text messages on personal devices. Division between work and home is going to be pivotal to helping your team not feel overwhelmed.

What tools jumped out at you? Be sure to let us know what’s best for your team in the comments. If you have any questions about how a mobile app can help your firm and sync with software securely, send us a message, and let’s chat about how Centerbase can simplify everyday tasks and put more time back in your billing and day-to-day operations.


Thanks for tuning in! If you have some time, check out our blog on Everything You Need to Know About Communicating With Your Clients Via Text: The Good and the Bad

Do you want to hear some scary facts? In 2014, 500 million Yahoo users were compromised. In 2016, 57 million Uber customer accounts and profiles were breached, and in 2017, 143 million social security numbers were stolen from Equifax. Breaches to this scale may not happen every day, but smaller ones do. And as the prevalence of cyber threats grow, smaller companies are now being targeted at a much higher rate.

Between January 2015 and December 2016, there was an approximate 2,370% increase in identified exposed losses. Email scans were reported in all 50 states and from 2013-2016, the Internet Crime Complaint Center reported exposed losses of more than $2 billion. As privacy concerns continue to grow, governments are now instituting laws that require companies to report every incident of hacking and data breach. 

Let’s take a look at the threats your firm faces, the obligations you have with your clients when you communicate through text, and how to protect yourself while you communicate in today’s day and age. 

Threats Firms Face

According to a Legal Technology Survey Report that the American Bar Association released in 2016, more than one-quarter of firms with more than 500 lawyers admitted they experienced some type of breach. Approximately 40% of those firms reported significant resulting business downtime and loss of billable hours. 25% recounted hefty fees to correct the problems and one in six reported loss of important files and information. 

Today, 25% of all law firms have been subjected to, or experienced, some form of a data breach involving hackers. Computer-oriented crimes span a wide variety of actions, intentions, and goals, and no company is too large or too small to be affected by a cyberattack.

So why are firms being targeted? Lawyer’s handle very sensitive information for their clients, intellectual property, financial information, and legal strategies, all of which are incredibly valuable for malicious third parties. 

As this continues to become a problem, rules that govern the legal industry are changing. Let’s dig deeper.

Types of Threats

What are some of the challenges that law firms face? 

  1. Ransomware: It is exactly what it sounds like. An attacker will infect a computer or network with malicious software that encrypts data and hold it for ransom. The files held by the attacker cannot be destroyed without a mathematical key that only the attacker has. In these cases, it is a heft financial payment is made in exchange for the information. And this goes without saying, but if you do not have access to your work or matter files, you can’t function as a firm. The average cost of a ransomware attack on a business is $133,000. The cost of ransomware attacks surpassed $7.5 billion in 2019, according to Emsisoft.
  2. Phishing: The second threat is called phishing. This attack is classified by hackers contacting an attorney via phone or email and posing as specific individuals to trick them into sharing confidential or sensitive information. In some cases, attorney's will even be convinced to give out unauthorized access to networks. 
  3. Malware: Malicious 3rd party software that is installed to gain unauthorized access to or otherwise damage a network. This malware is installed via a hacked wifi connection, a hard drive, or a link in an email that is opened. This type of attack results in a heavy financial burden to restore or repair the network.

Unfortunately, even with the advancements in firewalls and encryptions that we see today, people are the largest weakness in a firm’s security network. Whether it’s due to failure to follow protocols or insufficient training, social engineering hacking is on a rise. 

Communicating With Your Clients


The rise of texting is undisputed. It is our primary means of communication. 81% of Americans are sending and receiving texts, with 27 trillion texts being sent every year. According to Nielsen, on average, Americans text twice as much as they call and for Americans under the age of 50, sending and receiving text messages is the most prevalent form of communication. The need and ability to send and receive communication instantly is a primary reason for the rise of this communication method. I'm sure you're familiar with this; people want what they want and they want it now, no questions asked. Today, if it takes longer than thirty minutes to respond to a text (and even that’s generous!), some eyebrows will inevitably be raised. As this trend has evolved, advanced, and continued its way throughout the 21st century, the legal field has slowly started to capitalize on the advantages of the fast and easy communication style too. 

There are three compelling reasons why lawyers turn to texting their clients as a dominant means of communication. 

  1. Ease: Most clients are already texting, so they don’t have to go to their email, sift through a list of ads, open the message, read it and then respond and they don’t have to listen to missed voicemails. Texting makes it easy for lawyers to communicate with their clients and for clients to provide their legal team with the information they need quickly. Today, technology is so advanced that there is software that will even allow you to bill for the time texting, whether it’s inbound or outbound. 
  2. Efficiency: It doesn’t matter where the client or attorney is, a text message can be sent instantly and from anywhere. This not only increases communication with your clients, but it also allows you to bill for more time. Not to mention a huge benefit to texting is the conversation trail it leaves behind. Unless purposefully deleted, a client-attorney conversation can be saved forever. 
  3. Effective: It is in real-time, you can scroll back up through past messages and you have a frame of reference for where you last left off. 

And if all of that isn’t enough to compel you, how about the fact that 78% of people wish they could have a text conversation with a business. You don’t have to be good at math to know that’s a lot of people.

Of course, with all this being said, there are downsides to communicating in this modern and rapid way; those being ethical obligations, confidentiality concerns, over accessibility, record preservation, and simplicity. As the legal field continues to evolve, and texting becomes more and more commonplace, there is a framework of rules that all lawyers should abide by as they continue to utilize this form of communication. Doing so, will not only enhance your customer experience but will also protect everyone from malicious third-party threats. 

Framework for Communicating Via Text

Duty of Competence

As a lawyer, you have a duty of competence that you must provide to your clients. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation. 

Duty of Confidentiality

Back in the 90s, when email came onto the scene, the ABA said that lawyers had a reasonable expectation of privacy in communications made by all forms of email, but they also included that the encryption of emails sent over the internet was unnecessary, despite some risk of interception and disclosure. So twenty-some years ago, you didn’t have to worry about protecting your communications. But in 2020, with the rise of breaches and personal information being exposed, the ABA adjusted its statement to include that a lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client. Today, it is a lawyer’s duty to keep abreast of the knowledge and changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology. Now, all lawyers are required to act competently to safeguard information relating to the representation of a client against unauthorized access by third parties and inadvertent disclosure of information.

Protecting Your Client’s Communications  

The first thing every law firm and lawyer must be able to do is to understand the nature of the threat. Being able to identify what kind of threat is being imposed will help you determine how you should communicate with your staff about combating it. 

Not only should you be able to understand the potential threats, but you should also have an understanding of how your confidential information is being stored and transmitted. How does your firm store information? Are you cloud-based or on a physical hard drive? 

Next, you must know how to use reasonable security measures to protect what you’re communicating with your clients. This means you also need to determine how your electronic communications and client matter is being protected. It goes further than your IT department making a unilateral decision, it’s your responsibility to make the decision to protect your clients. 

Lastly, firms must train their lawyers and staff in technology and information security and conduct due diligence on vendors providing communication technology. This includes how vendors process and handle your data, whether or not it complies with your ethical obligation, vendor conflict check, and understanding how they do business. Additionally, it is important to note whether or not these vendors are storing your information overseas, what jurisdiction they have over that data, and in the event of a breach, what are the steps to mitigate or resolve the hack?  

Reasonable Efforts Standards 

The factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of lawyers efforts include:

As you move forward and continue to grow your firm and expand your client list, it is best practice to speak with your clients and discuss their expectations for communication. What suits them best? Are they comfortable with communicating back and forth via text and are they aware of the security risks and threats in today’s day and age? 

Is Texting Ethical?

Simple answer, yes. You may send texts to and receive texts from clients. There are no statutes prohibiting this, however, there are regulations around data security and confidentiality as mentioned above. 

If you’re trying to solicit new clients via text there are some standards you must follow. For example, the first line of your text must say that what you’re sending is an advertisement. You must track who received the texts and what content they are specifically receiving. You must ensure that the prospective client is not responsible for the data costs by working with cell phone service providers and you must have a method for prospective clients to opt-out. 

If all that sounds like a hassle to you, consider this: the average open rate for text message campaigns is 98%, compared to a 20% open rate for email campaigns. SMS response rates are 295% higher than phone call response rates and 75% of people wouldn't mind receiving an SMS text message from a brand if they opt-in for the service. All this data leads to the undeniable fact that texting yields the highest rate of response. 

Law Firms at Risk

The information you handle every day is critical, because of this, firms all across the US are at risk. Any firm relying on existing non-secure messaging systems to communicate with clients is putting themselves and their clients’ confidential information at risk. 

Steps to Protect Yourself

In today’s world, protecting yourself, your firm, and your clients is critical. Here are some basic measures and steps you can take to protect yourself.

To learn more, check out our blog, Data Security for Law Firms: Everything You Need to Know