- E-Marketing and Communications for Lawyers


E-marketing made easy: Strategies for lawyers
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Your quick guide to what's new in e-marketing and practical tips on effective implementation 


Collaborating with Middlesex University and Middlesex Law Society, Gerald Newman of LawComms presents a breakfast seminar on e-marketing and networking - 8am-9.30am on Thursday 20th May 2010. 

Search engine optimisation demystified - how to stop your website becoming a cobwebsite - the secrets of 12 E-marketing techniques - and much more. By the end of the seminar, delegates will have a practical action plan.

Seminar programme and how to book...



How do clients use the internet to find a lawyer?  One national survey says only 5% of clients identify a solicitor by searching the internet.  Another survey says 21% of clients go online to choose a solicitor.  Why the contrast?  What do practitioners say?

The 5% figure is from a survey by the Ministry of Justice, and the 21% from a survey by YouGov .   Through the Law Society Gazette's online LinkedIn Group, I launched a debate, with surprising results, practitioners responding with comments on how their clients use the web, statistics about sources of clients, but a consensus about the importance of an up-to-date website.  Go to, join the Law Society Gazette Group, and read the debate in full.



Clients were delighted with media coverage for their Forced Marriage Act conference in Bradford in November.

Louise McCallum, family law barrister from Zenith Chambers and Razia Jogi, family lawyer at Switalskis LLP Solicitors, Bradford, co-hosted the conference which marked the first anniversary of the Act's implementation. 250 delegates heard leading campaigners and lawyers and the event was widely reported in the media, following a successful media campaign run for the organisers by LawComms.

Media coverage resulting from work by LawComms included: morning drive-time interview on BBC Radio Leeds; a BBC film crew on site to cover the event; articles for "The Times" Law Page, "Solicitors Journal" and the online "Family Law Week"; items in "The Yorkshire Post" and other regional news outlets; 10-minute evening drive-time interview on Sunrise Radio; extensive reporting on the BBC website.



The Bar takes pride in barristers’ commitment to Pro Bono, so why do so few chambers’ websites publish news about what they have achieved?

Examples of two sets advised by LawComms illustrate the missed opportunities:

·      One set in Manchester has a page about “the first dedicated charitable fund to be associated with a set of barristers’ chambers”.  But the page has no news about the sums raised, or causes supported.

·      A set in Leeds had for years supported a popular law school moot competition – but had never thought to publicise their involvement or the achievements of the participants. 

Why is publicity for Pro Bono so important?  The Radio 4 programme “You and Yours” on the 3rd November featured Pinsent Mason's Corporate Social Responsibility programme and the firm has obtained hundreds of positive stories in a wide diversity of publications – the legal weeklies, Personnel Today, the Birmingham Post, the FT, for example – as well as an award from Business in the Community.  This kind of media coverage is invaluable. 

“Responsible business is smart business”, Jonathan Fortnam of Pinsent Mason told R4 listeners, even in a recession.  He said that clients require “innovative advisers, good with people, with good communication skills, used to ethnic and cultural differences”, skills all fostered by pro bono.   

Just as importantly, law firm staff gain a “real buzz” from the positive results that they bring.  And the firm benefits because  motivated staff will stay.

Finally, as the ABA’s Law Practice Today notes, nobody really enjoys paying lawyers’ fees, but at least clients “will be happier handing over money to a nice person”.

Could you get more out of your Pro Bono without doing more Pro Bono?  Consider how media and e-marketing could help. E-mail me if you would like some tips:



Throughout the lifetime of the legal web, Delia Venables’ website has been the definitive source. 

Now she has created a new page IT Support and Marketing Services for Barristers.  LawComms is the only listed marketing agency specialising in services to the Bar.  Inclusion is dependent not on payment of a fee or a request for an entry but instead on Delia’s unbiased research, which ensures that her online directory remains comprehensive.  So this is a significant recommendation for LawComms.   



Gerald Newman of LawComms has contributed “Practical Ways of Raising Your Profile on the Web” to a new E-book from Infolaw, which offers 5 hours CPD to barristers and solicitors.

You can download the E-book at "Legal Web 2009/2010".



With Members of Chambers coming back from holiday with renewed energy, it's a good time to review your website and your overall e-marketing strategy to ensure they can provide full support to Members' practice development ambitions.

You can get all the help you need from our free guides: "Website Health Check:  Your Self Assessment Guide", and "E-marketing made easy:  Strategies for Lawyers".



"You might think a 20-page strategy a bit over the top for a tool like Twitter", says by Neil Williams, at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. 

But useful guidelines are packed into his template Twitter policy.

Neil Williams says he "was surprised by just how much there is to say - and quite how worth saying it is, especially now the platform is more mature and less forgiving of mistakes."

Benefits of the guidance include:

  • Explaining Twitter's importance to the uninitiated
  • Setting clear objectives and metrics to make sure there is a return on the investment of staff time
  • Making sure the channel is used consistently and carefully, to protect corporate reputation from silly mistakes or inappropriate use
  • To plan varied and interesting content, and enthuse those who will provide it into actively wanting to do so.

Whether Twitter and other social networking services are helpful to lawyers is still subject to debate:

But perhaps there are possibilities:

  • Counsel working on leading edge law could "tweet" bits of information from latest research, developments, and cases.
  • Juniors (with light diaries!) could "tweet" updates from major trials (whether or not the set was involved) as they unfold.

A Glasgow law firm uses Twitter to tell "followers" about house property coming onto the market: Inksters

If you're not familiar with Twitter, track down some famous twitterers such as Stephen Fry, Lily Allen or John Prescott.  

Could Twitter help your practice?  E-mail me your reactions.



Scrappy updates, empty pages, and disorganised navigation have ruined the attractively redesigned website of a leading civil and commercial Chambers - and will nullify any e-marketing strategy they have.

A sound website remains the cornerstone for effective e-marketing activity, but this set of 3 dozen barristers makes so many errors that would-be clients must wonder about the quality of their legal services:

  • There is a separate page for each of the set's 24 specialisms. But only one of these pages actually provides any information. The rest have just half a dozen words.
  • The elegantly clean design of the Home Page is broken up by badly written news headlines in the wrong font, including an item in red capitals about the deadline for pupilage applications - which had already passed.
  • Text on some pages goes off the edge of the screen and cannot be read.
  • The "Contact Us" page does not provide the set's e-mail address.
  • Navigation around the site is awkward; it's even difficult to find your way back to the home page.

If you are concerned to avoid similar problems with your own website, there are several solutions:

  • Look up your own website regularly, and check that everything looks right and works properly
  • If you are having a re-design, have your own project manager who can provide the time and attention to detail needed to ensure proper implementation; don't rely exclusively on the developer
  • Ensure you have a designated member of staff or external support with the time and skill to take responsibility for maintaining the website and keeping it up to date.

Get in touch now with your comments and questions.


Research for the Solicitors Regulatory Authority found that 26% of citizens would be most likely to find a solicitor by searching the internet.  That is as many who would use their existing lawyer and slightly more than would ask a friend or colleague for a recommendation.

The public's attitudes to provision of legal services by banks and supermarkets is also studied by the research report, according to the news item in the Law Society's Gazette.

"The report should be required reading for law firm marketeers. We have occasionally been accused of overstating the importance of the internet in this regard, but here it is in black and white and from an unimpeachable source", the Gazette's "Opinion" column says.

The Gazette asks: "How recently have you reviewed your firm’s web communication strategy?".

Contact us now if you would like help with this: 


All you wanted to know about e-marketing, effective websites, and news publishing, now all in 3 free guides.

Download our detailed practical PDF guides: ”E-marketing made Easy: Strategies for Lawyers”; or ”Website Health Check: Your Self Assessment Guide”; or ”The Guide to News Publishing”.

Get in touch now with your comments and questions:


“One of our members has been made a District Judge.  Is it a good idea to place an advertisement to announce this?”

Many sets pay for advertising announcements about members’ judicial appointments etc., but it would be hard to justify the cost in the name of marketing.

Chambers ads about members’ judicial appointments often appear self-congratulatory and inward-looking, intended to please the set and the individual concerned.  They say little for the benefit of external audiences.

One-off advertisements are generally ineffective.  Repetition is essential if you want to make an impression on potential clients.  A single ad is forgotten almost as soon as it has been seen.

Spend the money instead on a reception for your newly promoted member’s former clients, and ensure that colleagues who might be instructed in their place attend as well.

If you’ve got a question, e-mail me for free advice:



A new IT exhibition in Paris provides the opportunity to see how the city’s Mayor is using IT to make life easier, putting the city way in front of London on the information superhighway.

Wi-Fi is offered free at 400 parks, squares, and centres, around Paris, through a City initiative: Paris Wi-Fi.

You can use your mobile on the Metro, while the “Blue Eyes” system, powered by BlueTooth, guides visually-impaired travellers around: BlueEyes..

Velib’s instant bike-hire system allows you to pick up a cycle almost anywhere in Paris, and drop it off almost anywhere else, just with your credit card, with no pre-booking or contract needed.  Launched in 2007, it’s proved extraordinarily popular: Velib.

IT lovers’ Paris offers other attractions.

The summit of the Grande Arche at La Defense – as well as providing spectacular views across Paris – houses the Musée de l’Information, featuring enormous IBM computers, punch-card systems, Sinclair and Amstrad computers, and a complete geek teenager’s bedroom from the 1980s:  Musee-de l'Informatique.

See all Apple Mac models produced over its 25 year-history in a special exhibition at the Grande Arche opened on 14.4.09:  Apple Mac's 25 years.

Is Boris doing anything to make London as IT-friendly as Paris? See Boris Watch.

What should Boris and other Council leaders to facilitate use of IT?  E-mail me your suggestions:



“Thanks so much Gerald - really pleased with what you are doing, such a relief to have someone else chomping at the bit for the benefit of promoting chambers to the wider world!”.

Contact me to see how I could add value to your marketing and online work:



The keywords on your website underpin your search-engine ranking.  Do yours match those your intended audience are using for their searches?

You can evaluate and select keywords by using a keyword research tool like, which will tell you which terms people use when they search for services like yours.

This tool gives invaluable data in the form of a “100-day count,” which reveals how many times a specific term (keyword) or combination of terms (keyword phrase) was used in all Internet searches in a period of 100 days. Importantly, it also provides a “competition” count, showing how many times the term appeared in competing Web sites.


TWITTER YE NOT?  24.3.09

Twitter, Facebook, and other online networking services:  Do they just create unmanageable legal risk for business?  Should staff access be blocked because they foster social NOT-working?  Or are they essential marketing and legal research tools for lawyers?

Read two opposing views:

The American Bar Association’s “Law Practice Management” magazine explains the benefits for lawyers. Online Social Networking: Is It a Productivity Bust or Boon for Law Firms?

Meanwhile, two new “Times Law Page” articles sound these warnings: “Don’t make a twit of yourself while tweeting”: and “Unwary companies using networking sites could be exposed to allegations of discrimination, race hatred or worse”

91% of respondents to a reader survey of legal IT experts by the authoritative Legal Technology Insider publication said they could think of no business use for a tweet. 

But perhaps there are possibilities:

* Counsel working on leading edge law could “tweet” bits of information from latest research, developments, and cases.

* Juniors (with light diaries!) could “tweet” updates from major trials (whether or not the set was involved) as they unfold.

Glasgow law firm Inksters uses Twitter to tell “followers” about house property coming onto the market: ShetlandHomes;

If you’re not familiar with Twitter, track down some famous twitterers such as Stephen Fry, Lily Allen, or Chris Moyles.

Could Twitter help your practice?  E-mail me your reactions.



A Hansard Society study found widespread adoption of electronic communication amongst MPs but that their communication was mostly one way – outwards.

“MPs are transmitting and not receiving.  They use the internet as a tool for campaigning and for organising their supporters, rather than opening up two-way communication”, the Hansard Society report says.

Look at your own website with this finding in mind.  Obviously you include your email address, but beyond that, is dialogue or interaction promoted? 

The internet is pre-eminently an interactive medium.  Contact me if you would like ideas on how you could take more advantage of the e-marketing opportunities to engage with clients.



Benchmark your website, develop e-marketing, discover how online news could work for you, and learn about writing news copy, in our 4-part toolkit:

- Website health check

- E-marketing: 12 essential tools to use

- Online news - pitfalls to avoid

- Write effective copy for publication.

Our 4-part E-marketing toolkit starts here:



The respected and authoritative “Internet Newsletter for Lawyers” this week publishes the first part of LawComms’ comprehensive guide to e-marketing.  Part 2 follows in March.



Last week’s seminar “E-marketing for Barristers’ Chambers” was a resounding success, attracting 21 delegates and everyone rating the event as “good” or “excellent”.

Senior clerks and chief executives from leading sets in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester gained the tools to benchmark their websites, make effective use of e-mail, develop online news and media relations, establish search engine optimisation programmes, and consider how “Web2” – social networking websites – could benefit their businesses.



All chambers taking part in our October survey rated their seminars as the best way to market themselves.

Carried out in advance of the LawComms “E-marketing for Barristers Chambers” in Manchester on 6.11.08, the survey also discovered that chambers’ only e-marketing activity was the use of e-mail to promote seminars.

One regional set runs 80 seminars a year.  The income is enough to support the cost of a marketing assistant to run the administration.  The programme has helped develop a strongly loyal client following.

Preparing a seminar is a significant burden for the presenter.  So gain the maximum value from the seminar material by utilising it in other ways:

*  At the very least, publish the material on your website, or make it available to selected clients who were unable to attend.  When publishing seminar notes online, ensure that you provide links from the relevant specialist section.  Don’t place the onus on visitors to trawl through lists of downloads to find material relevant to their specialism.

*   And consider adapting seminar notes for publication as an article in a specialist journal or website.

*   Finally, consider using one of the legal content aggregation websites as an outlet of an example.  Our E-marketing toolkit explains much more about this option.

Query about how you can get more from your seminar programme?  Contact me for suggestions:



A comprehensive survey of barristers' websites found that a large majority neglect the potential value of news about members' achievements.  Half of all chambers Home Pages lack news updates, where sites do feature news, the most recent item is often well out of date.

For Chambers, using the website to spread information about case results and other developments will provide significant competitive advantage, and is a cost-effective easy-to-use marketing tool. No news is bad news; sets lacking a good news page are missing a key marketing opportunity.

Read more about the survey results - and how you can make your news page more effective, and our step-by-step guide to writing news copy: "Guide to News Publishing"


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