In the news, market consolidation continues with Litify’s purchase of LegalStratus. And the guys discuss Ohio’s recent short-sighted decision to roll back lawyer advertising by banning competitive brand bidding.
Gyi and Conrad have more schooling to do when it comes to lawyer ad regulation. But first, the two create a glossary of online ad payment types: CPC, CPM, CPL, and CPA. Listen carefully. There may be a quiz down the line.
In a new segment, “Dear State Bar Regulator,” Gyi appeals to bar regulators in Texas, Florida, and South Carolina to revisit rules that put lawyers at a competitive disadvantage in modern law practice.
Gyi and Conrad invite reviews of #LHLM, even from bar leaders who may never again invite them to speak at a conference.
Special thanks to our sponsors Alert Communications, LexisNexis® InterAction®, LawYaw and Clio.
Conrad Saam: Welcome to the Lunch Hour Legal Marketing podcast and Gyi, I’m going to start this with the exhortation to all of our listeners to not start a podcast. Do you want to know why?
Gyi Tsakalakis: No, I don’t. What are we doing right now?
Conrad Saam: Let me guess this. What percentage of podcasts fail within the first year?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I mean 99.999 repeating?
Conrad Saam: It’s 82%.
Gyi Tsakalakis: What’s fail by the way?
Conrad Saam: Oh, fair question, 82% of podcasts do not have an episode within the past three months.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Just they die.
Conrad Saam: They die. They just give up.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Now, here’s my question. What percentage of podcasts meet their initial objective?
Conrad Saam: Well, less than 82%, right? No, think about why would you even start a podcast? Why does anybody start a podcast? Why do we have a podcast?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, I think —
Conrad Saam: We have nothing else to do.
Gyi Tsakalakis: The concept of podcasts is great, right? And I think as we learn to consume media in different ways, there’s video and there’s written and there’s blogging and there’s podcasts and there’s TikTok and there’s all sorts of different ways that we consume media, it’s a good thing. The problem is, from my perspective, twofold. One, there’s lots of them and it’s not like people are growing more ears or commuting more or the podcast hour listenership while growing is not growing as fast as the number of podcasts and two, quite frankly, this is the same problem that blogs have. It’s legal. There are not that many people that want to listen to a podcast about the top 10 things to do when you get rear-ended on your motor scooter, right?
Conrad Saam: Yeah, that’s a particularly bad example but I hear your point.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I said podcast, if you want a podcast but if somebody told you you’re going to podcast your way to millions, that’s where to me the problem lies.
Conrad Saam: Wait, we keep coming back to this. Zero to seven figures in three easy steps in two months.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Podcast your way to the top of the Google rankings.
Conrad Saam: Well, so, I mean here’s the thing — oh, do you want to go there?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Nope. Hit the run down.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, you do. You’ve teased me again, Gyi. So by the way, podcasting is super successful, right? But it is a lot of work and I think many of you do not realize the work that goes behind the shiny thing so I did actually — I was instigated by a blog post that I read somewhere that talked about the links that you can put in a podcast, which I’m not quite the — all the SEO upside of putting links in your podcast. Just think that through for a little bit and if you can’t understand why that’s ridiculous, also don’t start a podcast.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Go read Mockingbird Marketing Blog on podcasts.
Conrad Saam: Well, no, what I really want to say is if you do want to do a podcast, our awesome audio producer, Adam Lockwood, who is sitting in with this recording session right now did me a huge favor and wrote a long post on how to do it right, how to get the audio right, and all the work that goes into making that happen. So if you’re serious about it, get serious, but you will not podcast your way to millions.
Gyi Tsakalakis: What else are we going to talk about today besides podcasts?
Conrad Saam: Today on the docket as always is news. We’re going to go over reviews, we’re going to do a small short class on my favorite TLA, three letter acronyms. Gyi is also going to offend all of our state bars and get us uninvited to all speaking engagements in the future with a new segment we call Dear State Bar Regulator, and with that, let’s hit some music.
Intro: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. Teaching you how to promote, market and make fat stacks for your legal practice here on Legal Talk Network.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. Before we get started, we wanted to thank our sponsors LawYaw, Alert Communications, LexisNexis InterAction, and Clio.
Conrad Saam: All right. On to the news.
Conrad Saam: In NNA activity, Litify bought LegalStratus. This was an interesting thing. Litify, which is an intake management software has now purchased what to me has been an unknown. Gyi, have you ever heard of LegalStratus?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I had not until I saw on LinkedIn that Litify bought them.
Conrad Saam: Likewise. At which point I looked them up and I was like, oh it’s a matter management software. My point here is there’s integration between intake management and matter management and that is sorely missed and needed even if the Litify acquisition is from and I’m probably going to — here we go, offending people again, we’re probably going to offend people but never heard of LegalStratus but integration, Clio bought what was called Lexicata, which now became Clio Grow like you will see more and more integration here. It just makes sense from a software perspective.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, you know why it makes sense? It makes sense from a client journey perspective, right?
Conrad Saam: A hundred percent.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You start out, you get into the pipeline and then you get moved to a client and then you get moved and even beyond that.
Conrad Saam: Are you carrying the client flag again?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I’m trying, poor clients.
Conrad Saam: You do a good job with that. In other news, just south of Michigan, state bar regulators have banned competitive brand bidding in the PPC markets. Gyi, good or bad?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, if you actually read it, Eric Goldman, a professor at SCU Law who has a great blog, by the way if you search Eric Goldman’s blog, writes about the intersection of technology advertising amongst other things but the analysis is like it just is another — when we get into Dear State Bar Regulator, it’s just a demonstration of like they’re catching up. So, the short version is in Ohio, you cannot bid on your competitor’s name.
Here’s the problem. You might not even bid on your competitor’s name and you might still show up for a search on your competitor’s name because Google does things like close variance and there’s all sorts of matching things and so, my view of the competitive bidding, let’s just take the ethics out of it for a second and think about it. I mean, I’d love to hear your feedback on this. I think it’s pretty rare that you actually get a great return out of a competitive bidding situation. I think so. I’d like to see your numbers on that. I know you’re making a face at me, but the other thing too is there is reputation and relationship damage that is done in your local community bidding on competitors’ names especially if you’re in a small community. That’s the thing that people don’t think about it’s like if you become the lawyer who’s dealing on the competition’s name, are you actually jeopardizing relationships with people that might otherwise refer you business? That’s my question.
Conrad Saam: Okay, first thing I want to unpack a little bit is you said close variance.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah.
Conrad Saam: And I’m going to unpack what that means because I think it’s important. Google has started to realize that some brand names mean personal injury lawyer for example, and so, they confuse effectively a search for personal injury lawyer or Morgan & Morgan with the other thing, which means depending on how you have your campaign set up, you can unintentionally be bidding on these brand names, which we have seen a lot. I think that is a —
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s the most common example of it.
Conrad Saam: It’s a very common example.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And the lawyers all think, “Oh my gosh, they’re bidding on my name.”
Conrad Saam: And then they get mad. And so, from a pure pragmatic perspective, what are you going to do? Walk over to the state bar regulator and demand access to someone else’s Google Ads account to see whether or not this close variance concept is being implemented which is why they’re –?” like no.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, you could subpoena them if you want to get serious about it. The other example that was brought up to me was like, “Oh well, do you know how you solve that? You just add all of those brand keywords as negatives.” So just take your whole lawyers, the state bar directory for your state and put all the lawyers names as negatives in your campaign.
Conrad Saam: And all the brands of their law firms.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. Don’t forget about the trade names.
Conrad Saam: Yes and there are 800 numbers that they’re advertising on television. So I would be more than happy to take your money on an hourly rate–
Gyi Tsakalakis: Let me give you the counterpoint that I think this might actually might resonate with you is that I’ve always looked at this like if you’re not misleading the consumer, let’s assume that I’m not bidding on Morgan & Morgan and then saying in my ad copy, I’m actually Morgan & Morgan and then they’re calling me. That’s obviously false and misleading and the FTC probably wants to get involved in that, be no different than if Nike was like bidding on adidas and being like “this is an adidas ad.”
Conrad Saam: It is different because everyone knows Nike and everyone knows adidas.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Not everybody knows Morgan & Morgan?
Conrad Saam: Well no, but like not everyone knows Smith & Jones who might be bidding on Morgan & Morgan. I don’t think you’re necessarily dealing with an industry that has kind of that widespread brand recognition. There’s lots of little players and I’ve said this for a long time, very few people outside of the legal industry have much brand awareness outside of heavily advertised PR markets of lawyer brands. And so, therefore, I think there is an argument to be made that there is brand confusion on this, right? I think there is brand confusion on this.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Let me give you this one. I’m bidding on Morgan & Morgan and my ad says not Morgan & Morgan.
Conrad Saam: Well, your ad can’t say that because you can’t say Morgan & Morgan but you could say–
Gyi Tsakalakis: Consider the alternative. Don’t go with them, go with us.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, great. Game on, right? Or like so let me take Morgan & Morgan for example. Let me ask you this question. Morgan & Morgan has the — I am not loving this, Allan McDonald’s as we’re talking about brands, size matters, right? I’m not sure I would have leaned into that as my catchphrase but it’s certainly memorable. Could you have an ad playing off the size matter, bigger isn’t always better right? I can see a very clever ad playing off bigger not being better. That’s not misleading, do you think firms should still be able to do that?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah. I actually do from in a purely philosophical sense. I mean, I think that it actually is better for the consumer to give them options to be able to say, let’s forget about the reputational aspect, let’s forget about the relationships, let’s forget about the misleading part, let’s just say is it good for the potential clients, for the legal services consumer for lawyers to be able to compete on brand? And I think the answer is yes because more options to be able to say like this lawyer’s $300 an hour, I can do the same thing in theory and this is another —
I think one of the major issues that lawyers don’t like about this and state bar regulators don’t like about and we’ll talk about this more when we get to my letter to state bar regulators is lawyers are special. They’re not widgets. It’s a profession and so like in a perfect world, the regulators want potential clients to be making this hiring decision based on purely objective criteria that’s very difficult to quantify because lawyer services aren’t fungible and so, that’s where I think the problem, really that’s the root of the issue and so they’re saying, it’s not fair because there was actually a case and Goldman’s article talks a lot about this because there’s a bunch of different bases you might bring a complaint against somebody for doing this whether it’s — I’m blanking on what all the different words are. We would have gone a lot deeper on this and I thought —
Conrad Saam: I actually like when the news turns into banter between you and I about philosophical and Gyi has painted me as a bit of the villain in terms of teasing and poking other agencies. Gyi, I figured your motif out, it is the consumer advocate. It’s a very Google-specific perspective.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, this is the thing. The whole point of all this regulation is supposed to be to protect the consumers. It’s supposed to be able to protect the consumer who gets misled or it’s not supposed to protect the guild, it’s not supposed to protect the lawyers guild. The point of these legal ethics rules are not to make things, protect the lawyers.
Conrad Saam: Okay, I’m sorry. It’s my diatribe. That was our longest news segment tangent.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That was long.
Conrad Saam: Now we don’t have time to talk about anything else.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Next time.
Conrad Saam: We’re going to talk right back about this in Dear State Bar Regulator. However, right now, we’re going to talk about some reviews.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Leave us a review. Pull over right now. Are you listening to this while you’re driving? Pull your car over and leave us a review. If you can’t stand me being a consumer advocate and beating up on state bars or Conrad shilling for Google, go leave us a review.
Conrad Saam: This goes back into why it’s hard to start a podcast because these algorithms, the things that make more people likely to listen to you, you guys think it’s hard to get reviews for your law firm? Now you have to get reviews for the law firm and your podcast, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: And your podcast about car accidents.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, exactly. So, this is hard but go, leave us a review and also, we should thank Louisiana State Bar for sharing our episodes here right before Gyi sends his state bar regulator letter on this episode but yeah, it’ll help us find more people just like you. Let’s take a break.
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Gyi Tsakalakis: Okay, class. Welcome to LHLM 101. Today’s topic, advertising alphabet soup, please have a seat. Let’s get started. Conrad, don’t eat that. Today, we are talking about advertising alphabet soup. I’m Professor Gyi along with Professor Conrad. Conrad, when we say advertising alphabet soup, what in the heck are we talking about?
Conrad Saam: So, today’s class, we’re going to cover what are typically known as TLAs or three-letter acronyms. This specific subject matter we’re going to be talking about is different ways of buying advertising, okay? And so, there are different models of these, they all fall into a three-letter acronym. So we’re going to talk about CPC, CPM, CPL, CPA, what all these different things mean. So, Gyi, have you ever — CPC is also frequently called PPC, different paying models, pay-per-click or cost per click, the reason I like PPC over CPC is because every now and then, have you ever had someone ask you about paperclip advertising?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Paperclip advertising.
Conrad Saam: It hasn’t happened for a long time but —
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s a great idea for a brand name for a search company. Paperclip marketing.
Conrad Saam: Yes. So, can we walk through these different models, Gyi? Cost per click.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Cost per click.
Conrad Saam: CPM, CPL and CPA.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You know what’s interesting about all these? The first C is the same for all of them.
Conrad Saam: They could just be two-letter acronyms, in which case, my three-letter acronym TLA would still work except it wouldn’t be as ironic.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Let’s start with CPC. What’s CPC, Conrad? Professor Conrad?
Conrad Saam: So CPC stands for cost per click or pay-per-click, not paperclip and this is a situation in which you basically pay every time someone clicks on that advertisement. There are other ways that the clicks can actually be counted. You may click something to view a phone number but ultimately, you’re only paying when someone actually clicks on that advertisement.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Made famous by our good friends at Google with the Google Ads platform.
Conrad Saam: Correct. CPM gets a little bit more confusing and there’s a little bit more math involved. Gyi, what is a cost per thousand?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, cost for thousand, which I was actually going to ask you. Is the M is Latin for?
Conrad Saam: Yeah, it’s the roman numeral for a thousand.
Gyi Tsakalakis: The roman numeral for a thousand, thank you. CPM, you pay per thousand impressions. So you get a thousand impressions, you pay a cost.
Conrad Saam: Typically done with display or video advertising and one of the keys here that I think is important to note is with CPM advertising, those impressions can and not all impressions, this is the animal farm or 1984 version of online advertising, not all impressions are created equal and there has been lots of ways that publishers have hidden impressions or over-counted impressions and I will give you a couple of them. One is how much of the ad actually loads, right? And so, is it all of the ad, is it part of the ad? If you’re looking at a video, do you have to see the whole thing? What does that look like? So actually the percentage of the ad that actually shows as a question.
Where the ad shows on that page is also a question. So one of the ways that publishers stuff ads into content without ruining the user experience is to stuff all those ads at the very bottom of a page that no one ever looks at.
The final thing, Gyi, I don’t know if you’ve ever run into this but I have recently, this is called ad stacking where you can load a thousand ads literally on top of each other.
Gyi Tsakalakis: That’s nasty.
Conrad Saam: It is nasty. It’s super nasty. I don’t want to scare people away from this type of advertising. I do however want to reinforce the need to make sure that you have good reporting in place to determine whether or not it is worth your time. So the stacking problem is basically I’m going to sell this one piece of inventory on a web page to a thousand different advertisers and I’m going to report to all of them that we loaded their content but they’re just one on top of the other like a deck of cards.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, I mean, you talk about reporting but like you got to understand campaign objectives because if you’re running CPM and you run up impressions, how do you do attribution there, Conrad?
Conrad Saam: We’ve got our basic 101 course and you want to go into multi-channel attribution modeling? No, you can’t — see, you keep teasing the audience and then you push me into these things. So I’ll answer your question. So let me restate the question and then I will answer it with my philosophy on how this works. Multi-touch attribution modeling basically says there are multiple marketing channels that are going to impact whether or not someone eventually connects and becomes a client of my law firm.
For example, you do an SEO query, you land on a page, you get retargeting display advertisements, maybe later on you see an ad about a video ad on YouTube, you run another click, you click on a Google Ad and eventually, you call and turn into a client. Maybe you get a newsletter reminder, et cetera, blah blah blah. So our simplistic attribution modeling used to look like either first or last touch. The first time someone came to your site or the first time we could start tracking that person got all of the credit or you have last touch, which is the last time, the last channel.
Clearly, it’s philosophical and doesn’t really work. There are lots of different attribution modeling. One of the most common is 40-20-40 where you get 40% of the value to the first touch, 40% of the value to the last touch and then anything in the middle you split among 20%. All of these are theoretical machinations that don’t really make sense because they don’t really have a deep understanding.
My honest answer to your question — very long-winded answer to your very simple question, Gyi, is at the end of the day, when you’re dealing with a multi-touch attribution modeling situation, you add everything up, you divide and that’s your cost per client right? Because it’s so hard to use these theoretical models to accurately allocate what that looks like.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. Especially when you’re talking about brand because — right? “Oh, how did you find us?” Which I know you hate that but let’s just say that you’re asking that question, how did you find us. “Oh, I don’t know, I heard your name somewhere.” Was that because you got shown 5,000 impressions of a display ad or was it because something else?
Conrad Saam: Yeah, anyway.
Gyi Tsakalakis: All right, moving on.
Conrad Saam: Moving back — so that was a teaser for next year’s class, marketing 201.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, that was like 401.
Conrad Saam: That was — yeah. It would be —
Gyi Tsakalakis: The graduate experience.
Conrad Saam: Okay. So let’s go back. So CPL, cost per lead has recently come on the scene in the digital marketing space with what, Gyi?
Gyi Tsakalakis: LSAs. Another —
Conrad Saam: Another TLA.
Gyi Tsakalakis: LSA is the new TLA.
Conrad Saam: Okay, what is CPL, cost per lead, how does this work with the TLA framework?
Gyi Tsakalakis: You just pay, you don’t pay for a click, you don’t pay for an impression, you pay when someone actually contacts you and ideally, if you even want to throw a Q in there, CPQL, cost per qualified lead —
Conrad Saam: Oh, you want to go there? Okay, good. What do you mean by cost per qualified lead?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, you know, you’re running an LSA and you’re a personal injury lawyer and someone contacts you for bankruptcy help, you might go to Google and say, that’s not a qualified lead and so, I want a refund or dispute it.
Conrad Saam: And will Google give you that refund?
Gyi Tsakalakis: You know, they’ve actually been pretty good from my experience so far. It’s still early and we’ll see how that all scales but the tricky ones become like if you only check like catastrophic injury and that’s like, well, if they’re technically hurt, you can’t really dispute those but if it’s literally like cross-practice areas, you check just the car accident box and people start coming, asking you for divorce help, they’ll give you a refund for those.
Conrad Saam: Okay. So cost per lead, cost per qualified lead. As a precursor, we’re going to come back to cost per qualified lead a little bit further. Let me ask another question, socratically, because I know the answer, what if I never talk to that person and they just leave a voicemail in Google local service ads? Am I still paying for that?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Oh yeah.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, baby.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Oh yeah.
Conrad Saam: So, word to the wise, thou hath better have a very good intake experience while you’re running those ads and if you’re not going to —
Okay. The last one, CPA. Is this a certified public accountant, Gyi?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yes. No, it is cost per acquisition.
Conrad Saam: All right. So when we talk about cost per acquisition, what do we mean here?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, I’ll tell you what I mean. You might mean something different. I mean cost per client.
Conrad Saam: Okay.
Gyi Tsakalakis: What do you mean?
Conrad Saam: I think one of the ways that CPA is often used poorly especially for legal is on the cost per action where you’re trying to get someone to do something.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. Cost per download?
Conrad Saam: Cost per download. You can even do like a cost per — like you could be running all sorts of things but like only pay for it when people call you, right? And so, you’re trying to get people to do something, whatever that action might be. The problem as Gyi highlighted is that thing really is especially in an online reporting system, it rarely is someone signed up for my service, right? Someone signed it for my legal service.
If I’m trying to sell them calculators or to sign up for a legal marketing conference where that final acquisition can be tracked online, CPA can actually be really helpful yet most of you do not have the infrastructure to report back to that actual acquisition into your reporting infrastructure, right? And so, by and large I find while much of the advertising industry embraces cost per action because it takes all of the risk away. In our case, with cost per acquisition, there are very few publishers who work on a CPA model because it is so hard, A, to track and B, to actually quantify how valuable that end client is.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah and my thing is like no matter how you’re paying for your ads, you should always be doing a CPA analysis on the back end because I don’t care if you’re doing a Google Ads campaign, hitting a target cost per click is meaningless, oh yeah, when you hear this with agencies, oh he brought your cost per click down.
Conrad Saam: Oh that would be crazy!
Gyi Tsakalakis: That drives me nuts.
Conrad Saam: Oh man. Okay sorry.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You should see Conrad, he’s literally just exploded.
Conrad Saam: Can you talk about why that’s so stupid and then I’ll anecdote this for you?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, I can’t even think of why that’s even a thing. I mean, I guess in theory, you’re like you got more — if clicks were lumber, you got more clicks for a lower cost, I guess that’s a good thing.
Conrad Saam: The rising price of lumber.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You can pay half as much for a click and have half the acquisition and double the acquisition cost and it’s like what was the point of that?
Conrad Saam: True and very recent anecdote. We have a client for whom we’ve been working for for a while and I will be blunt, we have struggled with success for this client and Gyi, I’ve brought you in to look at this client. We’ve brought in a bunch of different people to look at their work and it’s in a very competitive market and I will be blunt, we have struggled. We brought in another agency to look at some of their stuff and they wanted to look at the CPC work. So we handed the reins over to the other agency to run CPC for a while and see what happened and their entire focus was on dropping cost per click. What the hell are you guys doing? If you’re trying to get personal injury cases with a cost per click under 10 bucks, like just what are you doing? Why do you? It’s just insane.
This is why many of you, especially the agencies who don’t work in legal are focused on the exact wrong thing. Sorry, that just hit a nerve because I literally, we had this conversation two weeks ago.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It’s a fresh wound.
Conrad Saam: Fresh wound. Cost per click. Terrible metric to determine whether or not this is working, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Anyway, the reason we talk about this stuff is this is what’s out there for bad buying, got to understand what it is before you start spending money but at the end of the day, what we should have talked about was another acronym called ROAS but you got to think about what the meaningful metrics are for the way —
Conrad Saam: That’s 201.
Gyi Tsakalakis: 201, next time.
Conrad Saam: So I’ll tell you this. Even before you get into return on ad spend and above those metrics that we just talked about, Gyi mentioned cost per qualified lead, which is really important and it is coming into play in the local service ad game. However, I think all of you should be angling towards evaluating your advertising spend, cost per initial consultation, right? What happens after that initial consultation, what happens before that initial consultation, there’s a lot of variability within there, but if you’re looking at cost per initial consultation by marketing channel and you have the infrastructure to comprehensively look at all of your inbounds and track all of your inbounds down to that initial consultation, that’s where — like if you can just focus your brain on that as opposed to like CPC rates or bounce rates or any other garbage like that, that’s where you start making good decisions.
And next, the legal trends report brought to you by Clio.
All right, Gyi, did you know 42% of solo law firms operate without commercial office space? In fact, 9% of solo firms gave up their commercial office space in the last year, surprisingly low number to me, Gyi.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, I hear that. We’re talking solos, I think that’s important but yeah, gosh, it’s going to be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Conrad Saam: And tying in, so one of the data points that we’ve talked about a lot is revenue, profitability, solo law firms making 50 grand more in revenue than other law firms on a per lawyer basis. As you embrace technology, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: You can cut your office overhead, you can dump your lease.
Conrad Saam: Dump your lease, make more money, right? It’s very simple math.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. Well and I think the interesting thing that we’re going to see because I always think maybe naively that the market drives so much of this but the question is going to be do clients care. Do clients care, do they want to see you in certain context or are they fine with being on Zoom? Because here’s the thing, we know that if you’re using technology especially technology that enables you to service clients remotely, you can grow the proximity of where you serve clients, right? So if you advertise like, “Hey, you don’t need to come in, you can grow the radius around wherever you are.”
In fact, you can be anywhere and serve clients. I know Lee Rosen talks about this. He’s all over the world serving clients. For his client base, it doesn’t matter. I’m going to be curious to see in certain context whether clients are like, “I want to meet you at your office,” and what do you do? “Well, I don’t have an office. See you on Zoom.”
Conrad Saam: So George Psiharis talked about this at our last –
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. Go listen to last episode.
Conrad Saam: Go listen to the last episode with George because it was really good and one of the things that he does a very good job of verbalizing was the different needs for different clients and at different points in your cycle and what I want to emphasize here is there are some times when technology can be super helpful and for some clients where it’s super helpful and there are other times where I think George said this really well, people just want to spill their guts in person, right? And so, part of this is reading clients. Yes, technology makes it easy for us to have Zoom meetings or for us to record podcasts in three different states like very easy.
Sometimes especially with that empathy, the need for legal empathy, there is an impersonal element to this.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And do they want to spill their guts at Starbucks because that’s the best option you’ve got if you don’t have an office, right?
Conrad Saam: Right. Let’s get a very quiet corner of Starbucks to talk about —
Gyi Tsakalakis: No one listen to us, we’re talking about confidential things.
Conrad Saam: We’re talking about your marriage falling apart in Starbucks. Okay. To learn more about these opportunities and much more for free, download Clio’s legal trends report for solo law firms at clio.com/solo. That’s Clio spelled C-L-I-O. Let’s go to break.
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Gyi Tsakalakis: And we’re back with a new segment that we’re calling Dear State Bar Regulator. Dear state bar regulator, I appreciate that it’s a difficult job to navigate all of these new technologies in the context of lawyering in general but more specifically advertising and marketing, but it’s time to catch up and I know that this is not going to make us friends and as Conrad mentioned in the outset, we will no longer be invited to speak at state bar conventions like for example, Dear Texas, do I really still need to print out every single one of my web pages and ads and social media posts to send to you for pre-approval? Like what am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to like save it as a draft first? Am I supposed to save my Twitter post as a draft and then send it to you if I’m making communication about legal services?
Dear Florida, am I really not supposed to appeal to the emotions of my audience because otherwise, that’s by definition misleading or manipulative?
Dear South Carolina, I can claim my Google My Business profile and I can even ask my happy clients to go say something nice about me there but if they say something nice and it violates other state bar rules, I’m responsible for the content of their review and I don’t have the ability to remove it?
Dear state bar regulators, please help our poor legal profession sort out these issues and many, many others by fixing some of these rules or revisiting them or something. Help us!
Conrad Saam: Help us. Help us help you to help us.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Help the lawyers.
Conrad Saam: So I mean, the help us thing is really interesting, Gyi, because we’re dealing with a handicapping of lawyers when the legal industry is — let me be careful when I say the legal industry.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Be careful.
Conrad Saam: Lawyers are increasingly competing with non-lawyers within the legal industry and yet they are being held to a higher standard than their competition.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Here’s an easy example for those who are getting all the gobbledygook and are bored with all the ethics stuff, here’s the example. You’re in South Carolina. You claim your Google My Business profile, your client says, “Conrad was the best lawyer, he’s the best lawyer I’ve ever seen.” Oh, actually I don’t even know if South Carolina if you can use best as a superlative. Let’s just say —
Conrad Saam: As a client, I can say that.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Not if the lawyer, in South Carolina, if the lawyer told you to go do that —
Conrad Saam: This is your point exactly, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: And then, now, let’s also say but guess who can be in South Carolina and say, “Best wills attorney,” as he found here in their title tags, LegalZoom, Avvo, lawyers.com, everybody over at Internet brands. They can all use the superlative.
Conrad Saam: They can use the superlative in their H1s and title tags to grab that juicy SEO query for best wills and estates attorney in South Carolina, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. And then I guess this segment’s turning more into a rant than anything else. I want it to be constructive. I get asked, what should I do? I’m in South Carolina, what should I do? Not claim my Google My Business listing? Does that seem realistic and fair? It’s a huge competitive disadvantage. Put a disclaimer up, “Hey, we don’t actually solicit people. If they see reviews here, we didn’t actually ask anybody to do that.” Or and you know what my advice is? Challenge the rule in the Supreme Court “I just can’t believe this is constitutional!” We get Josh King on here.
Conrad Saam: He’s now in Arizona.
Gyi Tsakalakis: They got some fun rules too.
Conrad Saam: Let me channel my inner Josh King. Josh King would say sue the state bars, which is what he did lots of for the right to talk about how great you are, which is going to further disenchant the state bar regulators with the Conrad and Gyi show; however, at some point, this competitive disadvantage is something that the lawyers are not going to be able to stand for.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right, well, how about this? What is the intersection of non-lawyer-owned law firms and these state bar–
Conrad Saam: Speaking of Arizona, right.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And again, look, we’re all very concerned for the legal services consumers. They’re going to be misled in their great time of need and duress by these very sophisticated savvy lawyer advertisers who are — and then, you go and you ask like how many complaints have been filed by a legal services consumer because they felt that they were unduly manipulated by an emotional ad?
Conrad Saam: That is a very good test, right? As you were talking, Gyi, I was thinking I was going to say dear state bar regulator, consumers aren’t as stupid as you think they are and then I was like, maybe that’s not actually accurate. But your point is actually really valid, poignant, important. The complaints that state bars receive from people regarding the marketing superlatives that are used by lawyers compared to the other complaints that the state bar regulators have received about lawyers, 99 to 1, 101, right? Like I just can’t imagine that the state bars are overwhelmed with complaints about the marketing of lawyers, not —
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, you know where the one complaint comes from?
Conrad Saam: Lawyers?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Right. The competition, right? I’m going to take their ads down, get their account suspended.
Conrad Saam: Yeah. It’s either lawyers or lawyers acting through consumers, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: If this doesn’t get us a negative review on Apple podcast, I don’t know what will.
Conrad Saam: Dear state bar regulator, please do not review Lunch Hour Legal Marketing on Apple podcast.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Please do.
Conrad Saam: Actually, you know what’s interesting? We’d have to find the right person, it would be very interesting to have a conversation around these issues with someone, say, from Florida.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yes, the author of the handbook on lawyer advertising for the state bar of Florida, please contact us. Not with a cease and desist.
Conrad Saam: I don’t think that’s going to —
Gyi Tsakalakis: Volunteering to be a guest.
Conrad Saam: And with that, we thank you listeners, as always, even you state bar regulators who are listening, please do go follow us, like us, subscribe to us, whatever you can do to —
Gyi Tsakalakis: Review us.
Conrad Saam: Review us, send us a message and hashtag us at LHLM on the various socials. Until next time, this is Professor Conrad and student Gyi with Lunch Hour Legal Marketing.
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Podcast transcription by Tech-Synergy.com