October 21, 2015

ILR Summit Blog Series: How are trial lawyers marketing themselves?

The plaintiffs’ bar is using the most sophisticated marketing strategies and tools to attract new clients and promote new lines of litigation “business.” That’s the conclusion of a new paper to be released at ILR’s 16th Annual Legal Reform Summit on Tuesday, October 27th.

The paper, Trial Lawyer Marketing: Broadcast, Search, and Social Strategies, was written and will be presented by Ken Goldstein, Director of the Wisconsin Advertising Project, and Dhavan Shah, Principal Consultant at Sherpa Metrix LLC and a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The report looks at the television, social media, and online advertising tactics of trial lawyers and identifies new trends, such as the large growth in television ad spending and increased sophistication in online and social marketing. It also examines how lawyers use social media to spread their messages and connect with activists, media and potential clients.

Through some Q&A, we are providing you with a sneak peak at the research.

What type of platforms do trial lawyers use to advertise to potential litigants?

Trial lawyers are using a full range of digital tools to bring in clients, including buying cable, network, and syndicated television spots, paying for search engine terms in certain states, tweeting about class actions, and tracking journalists and issue areas through social media. They are also taking advantage of digital platforms to covertly target new business.

Trail lawyers are creating non-branded accounts to penetrate social networks, like the online mesothelioma network, where advocates, victims, and health professionals discuss issues surrounding the illness. Some of the social media support groups that claim to help families make decisions concerning the illness are actually sponsored by law firms. These accounts further interact with advocates known as “super tweeters” who have thousands of followers. This is a way for firms to be part of the discussion and promote their own agenda.

How could trial lawyers be targeting me?

Targeting strategies are highly coordinated and localized. Legal advertisers are hitting specific markets across the country, like Florida, Texas and California, perhaps because they are litigation hot beds. You might see a prescription drug lawsuit advertisement appear on your TV, asking you to call X law firm NOW. Then when you search that drug on your computer, you will see a sponsored link for X lawsuit on the top of the page. Click on that link and it takes you to the law firm. This coordinated marketing increases their chances of bringing in clients.

What are some of the key words or issues that trial lawyers advertise and link to?

The most expensive internet search terms are those used by trial lawyers. Twenty-three of the top 25 priciest keywords in the first half of 2015 were for litigation. Most of the terms are purchased in combination with the state name or abbreviation, a tactic to further target clients in their area. Each time the keyword is searched a link to the law firm sponsoring that term or one of their fishing sites will appear and firms pay for each click.

So, what is the topline takeaway that readers will get from this paper?

The growth in spending on lawyer advertising continues at a relentless pace. And the increasing sophistication is practically unparalleled, as lawyers use all the latest tools to advance lawsuits and to identify potential clients.

What to learn more? Register here to attend the 16th Annual Legal Reform Summit.

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