The Interview Questions for Legal Marketing Firms

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018

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If you are interviewing legal marketing firms, their answers to the following questions should help you make an informed decision:

  • How many attorneys do you typically have in my practice area/market?
    If a legal marketing company will not provide this basic information about the competition you can expect, proceed with caution. The best programs publish a list of attorneys so there is total transparency with no attempt to conceal competition. If the company does not have a published list, insist on this basic information. If the firm has no one in your market, it may mean that the company does not have prominent placement in search results. But if a company has a long list of attorneys, the competition may be so stiff that even a high volume of traffic to the website will not yield enough inquiries to make the program profitable.
  • How long have your attorneys in my practice area/market been with the program?
    This question may be one of the most telling you can ask. Attorney marketing programs that are not profitable for their clients typically have high turnover. An attorney may not renew a successful marketing program for many reasons, including a change in firm structure, tight economic times, or failure of the firm to track results, but a successful marketing program should be able to provide examples of attorneys who have renewed over a period of years. Law firms will certainly not renew year after year if the program is not profitable.
  • How many leads do you currently deliver to your attorneys in my practice areas/market?
    The answer to this question should be one of your primary considerations in working with an attorney marketing program, but representatives from many legal marketing programs do not like to answer. Accept nothing less than a number as the answer to this question: no answer like “well it is hard to say” or any other equivocation. Attorneys do not accept a fuzzy answer to a question in the courtroom, but many will accept such answers to a direct question about the number of leads similarly situated attorneys receive. Most representatives know the answer, but in the rare case the representative does not know, it may be that the number is so bad that the company does not share the information with its representatives.
  • What is the overall renewal rate?
    The overall renewal rate gives an indication of the company’s willingness to work with clients, especially when things do not go as expected. Some companies will go to great lengths to assure the success of their attorneys, including increasing geographic or practice area coverage or the prominence of an attorney placement, and adjusting price and terms. Legal marketing firms do not tell you up front about such accommodations, but a high renewal rate suggests a company pays attention to client concerns. A good legal marketing firm will have a renewal rate of 50% or more, and exceptional programs have even higher renewal rates.
  • How many hits does the firm’s website receive?
    The volume of traffic is important, but it can be misleading. Many legal marketing representatives will give the number of hits when you ask how many potential clients you should expect to contact your office as a result of the marketing program. But a hit is not the same as a potential client calling, emailing or visiting your office, plus the number of hits can be manipulated. The term “pro bono lawyer” will generate more results than any firm can handle, but almost none that the firm wants. Further, it may take as many as 50 hits to generate a single call or email. The question is useful, though, if only to find out if the firm will provide a straight answer. A better indication of expected volume is the number of actual contacts that are made.
  • How many years has the company been in business and online?
    Longevity is usually an indication of success. Just as with any business, companies that do not generate a profit for their clients or work to meet client needs tend to fail. Longevity is not a final answer, but can be a valuable part of an overall evaluation of a potential legal marketing partner.
  • Are you the member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or other program that evaluates companies?
    A firm that has a high rating by business evaluation programs like the BBB is certainly a better risk than one that does not. Any legal marketing or advertising decision entails some risk. Programs with BBB ratings provide information on complaints and their resolution, as well as overall customer satisfaction. This sort of information helps you to make an informed legal marketing investment decision.

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