From Chemistry to the Law: A Super Lawyers Q&A
Unleash the Power of the Super Lawyers Directory
Super Lawyers recently had the pleasure of sitting down with family law attorney and five-time selectee Jennifer Shaw from The Shaw Law Group. After spending four years working at Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, she entered private practice. In 2003, she opened her own firm in Edwardsville, Illinois. Jennifer is focused on all areas of domestic relations litigation with special emphasis on unmarried couples, particularly members of the LGBT community.
Q: What was the initial attraction to becoming a lawyer?
A: I initially got my undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry with hopes of becoming a doctor. However after volunteering or working in hospitals from the age of twelve to twenty years old, I realized it wasn't for me.
From there, a professor friend of mine convinced me I could still save the environment and the world by choosing another career path. Although I'm currently not doing either he really instilled in me that I was far too interested in helping mankind and I wouldn't be happy as a doctor. So he suggested I go to law school or get my PhD. I ended up choosing law school because I have an overwhelming need to give back and to help people and thought practicing law was a way to fill those ambitions.
Q: As I browse your attorney bio I see a number of pro-bono and volunteer type endeavors. Tell me a bit about why that's so important to you.
A: I have these really great parents that believe we all have a responsibility to give back. And they instilled this in both my brother and me that it's our responsibility to help others in need. One of the ideal ways to give back, if you're an attorney, is to participate in pro bono service. In the past I worked as a legal aid attorney, which led to serving on boards for various causes like animal abuse, domestic violence and homelessness.
Eventually I was named one of the directors for the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation as well as for the Illinois Bar Foundation. Ensuring that all people have access to justice is a priority in my day-to-day life because it gives me a level of joy I don't get from my regular practice. The greatest part of these endeavors is that I'm able to help a significant number of people with pro bono or free legal service with the backing of these foundations.
Q: What does it mean to you personally to have been selected to the Super Lawyers list the past couple years?
A: It's an absolutely huge deal for me. There are very few attorneys in our county who have received this unique distinction and it can definitely be used as a differentiator. I think I'm the only family law attorney in my area who has consistently been selected to the Super Lawyers list. It speaks volumes to be in the top five percent. We are in a state that has Chicago. To be included with the outstanding attorneys who make up the market in such a large metropolitan area is a true honor.
Q: Tell me about this trophy case full of awards you have in your office. What made you make that purchase to showcase you achievements?
A: We originally placed the first Super Lawyers marquee on the shelf clients use to write checks or to sign documents. By the time the fifth award came out, we were out of shelf space. I have earned some other awards as well and we wanted to display them. The trophy case seemed like a natural progression.
I do however think having the awards strategically placed in the office lends a sense of credence, validity and trust for potential clients.
To learn more about Jennifer and her practice at The Shaw Law Group visit her profile on SuperLawyers.com.
Putting Your Legal Accolades to Work: Your Questions Answered
So you've been selected to a Super Lawyers or Rising Stars list. Congratulations, that's no small feat. Remember, only 5 percent of attorneys are selected to the Super Lawyers list with another 2.5 percent selected to the Rising Stars list in each state. Maybe you found out about this exclusive honor recently but the list for your market doesn't publish for three months. Looking for the best way to maximize your visibility around this unique achievement in the meantime?
Staking your claim in the SuperLawyers.com directory is the quickest avenue for your hard work to be recognized. In addition to the high ranking of our directory in search results, there are several other good reasons to incorporate legal directories into your online marketing strategy. From direct referrals, to backlinks to your website, to managing your reputation online, directories are the place to see and be seen.
And the numbers prove it. Roughly a year ago we made enhancements to the SuperLawyers.com attorney directory result pages to provide a more relevant search for consumers and referring attorneys using our online directory. Since May 2015, SuperLawyers.com received over 14 million page views and directory traffic has increased 200 percent since that time. In addition, the average conversion rate of visitors from SuperLawyers.com to a firm's website rose to 27 percent.
All the recent improvements are exceptional but we're most thrilled to see it paying off for our customers. "Some of my best cases have come through inquiries from my Expanded Online Attorney Profile," says Whitney Warner, founding partner Moody and Warner, P.C. "I get more internet inquiries through Super Lawyers than my firm website or any other internet source. I no longer spend marketing money on anything else."
Need more proof? Join our friends at FindLaw for an upcoming webcast titled Getting More out of Legal Directories. The webcast will teach you how issues like accuracy, type, volume of information and even which directory you're using make a big difference. So don't delay, register for your spot today.
Last week, Super Lawyers brought you the webcast 6 Ways to Put Your Legal Accolades to Work. This session addressed how you can use legal accolades to support your broader marketing strategy. We received a ton of great questions but couldn't get to them all and wanted to highlight a few below.
Q: What reference to Super Lawyers can I put under my name on my email accounts?
A. When it comes to earning instant credibility with potential clients, adding the Super Lawyers badge to your website or email signature is tough to beat. Attorneys selected to a Super Lawyers or Rising Stars list from any year have the exclusive opportunity to display a personalized badge on any online property at no cost. There are also badges for special milestones, such as an anniversary with Super Lawyers. Learn more about how to download your badge on the Legal Hub page.
Q: How does Super Lawyers compare with other peer rating organizations, such as Best Lawyers, etc?
A: At Super Lawyers, we take pride in our patented selection process, which produces a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. For the most diligent approach to selection, we take into account everything from independent research to peer evaluations.
No other attorney rating service is as visible or has been around as long as us. Our goal is to make sure every lawyer selected to our list knows the value of this distinction and the unique ways to spread the word.
Q: When can we announce that we have been selected?
A: The list is not released in full until published in the print edition of the magazine, otherwise known as the embargo date. We ask that selected attorneys do not announce their selection until this date, when the list is published. The embargo date for your market can be found in all notification communications as well as in your account on My.SuperLawyers.com.
Q: How many total attorneys are selected to the Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in the U.S?
A: In a given year, we select up to 5% of all licensed attorneys to a Super Lawyers list and up to 2.5% of all attorneys to a Rising Stars list. In 2016 the American Bar Association stated there are 1,315,561 practicing lawyers in the United States. That's a 1.1 percent increase from 2015. So in actuality Super Lawyers lists approximately 99,000 attorneys with about two thirds Super Lawyers selectees and another one third Rising Stars selectees.
Thanks to all of those who joined us for last Wednesday's webcast from Super Lawyers. We hope it provided you with useful information on how to put legal accolades to work.
If you'd like to view the webcast, a recording is available for on-demand viewing here.