There seems to be a directory for just about everything these days. Some have a very narrow scope (like SuperLawyers) and some have a much broader range or listings (like Yelp). In this post we will review a number of directories and social media, to outline which are worth focusing on; how much effort you should contribute; and which you can ignore (at least for now). For the sake of example, we will use the profiles of the law firm of McCusker Anselmi in New Jersey. And while we can write a book about them, we won’t get into all the directories that try to sell fake awards to lawyers.
Before jumping into the various directories, it bears mentioning that many directories have their own databases, while others rely on 3rd party sources for information. The more popular ones, like Google Maps, tend to do a bit of both. They collect some of their own information (if you do not own the profile of your business, you should claim it right away) but they also rely on massive data sources like Axiom for their information. If you’ve ever wondered why your information isn’t correct in google, despite correcting it, it is usually because one or more of the sources have this incorrect information. Individually, these records are called local citations, and it would be tedious to hunt down and correct them all, but there are a number of “local citation building” services that you can retain to build more correct citations, which should outweigh the incorrect ones.
By far the most important directory for Business Lawyers, LinkedIn has grown to include virtually all Corporate Counsel Attorneys and CEOs in the US (based on recent surveys) and far beyond. For law firms like McCusker Anselmi, it is critical to engage business contacts with timely updates, keep updated contact information for attorneys, and show engagement on the platform. The depth to which you can engage on LinkedIn is far beyond the scope of this article, but there are numerous resources out there to help law firms learn to participate and show thought leadership. Having been purchased by Microsoft, you can bet this platform will grow to become even more ubiquitous in the enterprise, so we recommend dedicating a full day to setting up your firm’s profile, and an hour a day thereafter to engage in it.
While focused on an entirely different audience (consumer focused – at least at the time of this writing) Avvo can be a friend or an enemy. You’ll see many Personal Injury, Divorce and Estate Planning attorneys advertise perfect 10 Avvo ratings, and many of them may even generate leads from Avvo’s directory listings, or responses to legal questions attorneys have given on their message boards. However, Avvo doesn’t consider law firms – only lawyers. So while many of their active participating attorneys are solo practitioners, the rest are silos within the system (they are still listed, but without any company tying them together). This can be very tedious for a Law Firm Administrator to manage. Most law firms ignore Avvo altogether, so attorney profiles have limited information and no reviews. But given the size of the organization (and a recent acquisition as well), I would keep an eye on the platform and not discount it completely. However, we recommend spending no more than one hour a week on Avvo business attorneys.
Certainly more useful for food advice than lawyer selection, Yelp profiles for law firms tend to have little information and very few reviews. But just like Avvo, this is a big platform with a lot of influence in search rankings, so it’s important to keep tabs on the platform and make sure your contact information is correct. We recommend that lawyers take a “set-it-and-forget-it” approach, but check in once monthly on the profile. While you are at it, check out your Google Maps profile at the same time.
In many ways like Avvo, this directory is legal focused and has a significant user base. However, SuperLawyers does actually recognize law firms and classifies attorneys by them. It is also a bit easier to claim a law firm’s listing and relatively cheap. The cost is merely a bombardment of offers to advertise on the platform with featured listings. In a similar vein, be sure to claim your firm’s profiles on Lawyers.com, FindLaw, Best, LawCrossing and HG. A once-quarterly check in here is sufficient.
While more focused on recruiting than legal services, it’s still important for law firms to keep up with their Glassdoor profiles, specifically any bad employee reviews. A law firm like McCusker Anselmi may not just be concerned about prospective hires viewing the profile, but also prospective clients. These days, where many purchasers of legal services are concerned about corporate citizenship, it’s important to show that your legal and administrative staff is happy. Encourage them to post positive reviews (especially around bonus time). In a similar vein, check out your profiles on paysa and diversityjobs.
Twitter & Facebook
There is an ongoing debate over whether law firms should participate in popular social media platforms, and we hold a definitive stance: it depends. If your practice is such that your audience is on those social platforms in a working capacity (say you represent PR firms or news programs, and are considering creating a firm profile on twitter) then the answer is absolutely YES. If you represent realtors or home decorators, or even furniture manufacturers and are considering having a firm Instagram account – go for it! But the reality is that most firms don’t have a great use case for social media beyond LinkedIn, and rarely have the appropriate resources. So we suggest you think long and hard about this one.