Does Your Reputation Meet The "New Normal" Standards?
From the Vault -- Zebra Lawyer Ed Hochuli
Gone are the days when an attorney's sole source of business relied upon word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family. More and more consumers of all kinds rely on opinions and experiences of people whom they've never met to provide trusted insights. Couple that with heightened competition from other firms and do-it-yourself legal options, and the challenges to stay relevant mount.
This is the new normal for many firms out there. So how do you go about differentiating yourself in a crowded marketplace? According to the 2016 Thomson Reuters State of the U.S. Small Law Firm survey, 46 percent of firms considered enhancing their reputation in the local community a key goal.
Maintaining a good reputation is an important part of any attorney's ongoing activities. A positive reputation is often what causes a potential client to seek the services of a specific law firm or attorney. In fact, 88 percent of consumers stated that a lawyer's "reputation" was one of the top two most important pieces of information they rely when choosing an attorney.
You may already know the importance of reputation management because you've participated in the Super Lawyers selection process, attended one of our events or promoted your selection on social media. But what happens when someone you've advised finds you online and leaves a negative review? Your website, ads and social media profiles might be well-written, but the reviews and ratings you receive have the power to impact your reputation beyond anything you write yourself.
The thought of altering your marketing strategy to adapt to the new normal can be intimidating at first. Thankfully our friends at FindLaw put together a "New Normal Quiz" that will take you through a few quick questions about running a modern law firm. Once you've gone through the quiz, you'll be emailed your full results, along with strategies to improve.
Super Lawyers Answers the Call
The NFL season may still be months away, but it's never too early to study the rulebook-or the refs who enforce it. In the 2007 issue of Southwest Super Lawyers Magazine, we took a look at the career of Phoenix-based personal injury defense attorney Edward G. Hochuli, better known to football fans as well-spoken and physically fit NFL referee Ed Hochuli. An excerpt:
With two full-time, high-stress careers, you might expect Hochuli to be an intense, on-the-edge-of-your-seat and-well-intimidating sort of guy. So it's a bit of a surprise to meet the easygoing 56-year-old Midwest native who wears a sports shirt and casual pants and slumps a little in his swivel chair. He smiles easily, speaks gently, jokes, laughs at himself and is not sure why anyone would be that interested in him. Still, he makes a visitor feel right at home, and loves to chat about his action-packed life.
"A game is a tremendous adrenaline rush. You have to make decisions like that"-he snaps his fingers-"and you are right or wrong," Hochuli says. There are similarities between the courtroom and the law-both are governed by rules, and both demand intense preparation and an ability to articulate what you mean. But the bottom line is this: "There's far more pressure on the football field. ... Just think about this: 300 million people can be watching a game; in the courtroom, maybe there's a dozen people. Football has been very beneficial to my law practice, it has taught me a lot. I'm never the slightest bit nervous in a courtroom."
Read the rest of Hochuli's story in the full feature article on SuperLawyers.com, or risk an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. And be sure to check out the latest version of Southwest Super Lawyers Magazine here.
The process of hiring an attorney can be a daunting one. No built-in referral network, little idea of what things should cost and perhaps uncertainty as to whether you even have a case. And what happens when emotions and catastrophic injuries enter into the equation?
In 2013, Jake and his wife were driving to west Texas to pick up their daughter from college for the summer. A flatbed truck hauling an unsecured 1,200 pound cast iron block made a u-turn causing the unsecured block to slide off the truck and land in the road. With no time to stop, the truck hit the mold and the couple went airborne, leaving Jake with life-altering injuries. He is now permanently disabled and lives in severe pain every day.
Jake quickly realized that he needed to hire an attorney, because the insurance company was just too big for him to fight on his own. After calling several personal injury firms, he became frustrated because none of them seemed truly interested in taking the case. He was scared and confused about what to do. Jake eventually decided to call an old friend who is an attorney, but that didn't work out, either.
So Jake's search for representation began again. Then one day searching the internet Jake came across SuperLawyers.com. He found Ron McCallum's attorney profile and decided to give him a call.
An associate attorney with Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC, Ron provides representation to his clients in Dallas, throughout the state and nationwide. After speaking with Jake, Ron worked tirelessly over the course of several years to fix all the errors and subpar work from the previous legal counsel.
Ultimately, Ron developed strong evidence that the defendants violated Texas state law, among other safety rules and regulations that are intended to protect the public from harm. With the defendants facing almost certain submission to the jury on both ordinary and gross negligence claims, a compromise was reached on the eve of trial. The $6.4 million agreement is believed to be the second largest settlement ever reported in Lubbock County.
"Ron and his team truly saved me and my family from the brink of disaster," said Jake. "I unfortunately learned the hard way how very important it is to hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who has the tools and resources to properly fight for you and what you deserve."
Ron considered it a personal honor to help a client in need facing long odds.
"What we were able to accomplish for my client was justice, reimbursement for his harms and losses and forced change within a grossly negligent company," says Ron. "It was great to see my partnership with Super Lawyers as a stepping stone for making that happen."
Staking your claim in the SuperLawyers.com directory is the quickest avenue for your selection to a Super Lawyers list to be recognized. Learn more about bolstering your presence in the Super Lawyers Directory today.