Paying for Respect: Your Firm Should Be More Than Awards on Your Wall

There are a lot of magazines and online databases that will be happy to include your law firm on a list and send you a decorative plaque—most often, for a fee. Whether it’s Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, or another database, you must realize that these companies are not promoting attorneys for free; they have a business to run, the same as you do.

The problems with using these kinds of awards to promote your law firm is that they are:

  • Common. It’s rare to find an attorney who isn’t listed in one of these publications. True, you will look more knowledgeable than those who do not have a listing, but you’re not going to stand out from the large pool of attorneys who have similar accolades.
     
  • Misleading. Did you have to pay to get your name mentioned? If yes, then you’re merely directing your customer to another form of your own advertising (something you could have done on your website for free).
     
  • Uninformative. While the Super Lawyers logo on your site may confer some legitimacy or knowledge on your part, customers rarely know what the organization means or what it does.Do attorney awards matter?
     
  • Homogeneous. Remember, the whole point of your marketing is to stand out. Everyone in the pages of the magazine is exceptional, yes—but they are all equal after that. Why would your customer choose you instead of the attorney of the other page?

Whenever you have the opportunity to be listed or advertise in a lawyer publication, ask yourself: are you getting business from them, or are they getting it from you? If it’s a quid pro quo arrangement, that’s not all bad; you’re still getting something out of the deal. Just make sure you’re not giving more than you get.

The key to getting the best marketing for lawyers is to leverage the fame that these awards place on your firm.

Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.