As I wade through the different technology available to lawyers, I often find myself writing about the importance of an old school face to face meeting. Most of what we do as attorneys is geared towards making the best impression when we are actually in the room with someone important; the client, opposing counsel, the judge. First impressions count but the evaluation process for hiring a lawyer begins before we are even aware that there is a new potential client. The client is googling, asking friends, reading blogs and making decisions without you ever getting a chance to speak to them. You are being unknowingly interviewed, via your website and blog. It may be disconcerting to some, but this online interview process is an enormous opportunity to showcase your knowledge, compassion and personality.
So how do we make an excellent first impression online? This is where videos come in. Videos inject personality, relatability and a whole host of other visual cues into the online evaluation of a lawyer. There are certain things most clients want, or need, to know about a lawyer they may hire. Here, the three videos that must be accessible online to your potential clients:
1. The Introduction
Who are you? What type of lawyer are you? How do you prepare your cases? What makes you different? And, what do you do in your free time? Clients want to know about you, what drives you, how you give back to your community, what you do for fun. So open up! Introduce yourself to the world and to your future clients with an introductory video.
2. The “Vlawg”
Vlawg: a combination video/law/blog. This video should be about a legal topic on which you consider yourself an expert. Maybe there is a trap for the unwary, or a consumer tip that would be important to your website’s visitors. Share it! Show your knowledge and expertise. Remember to stay high level and not be drawn into the weeds of various conflicting legal precedents. But try to give a broad overview of a topic that is important in your area of the law and describe how you navigate this area for your clients.
3. The Why
Showcasing to potential clients why you practice law shows where your heart lies. When people are hiring lawyers, it usually means they are at an important juncture in their lives. There is a lot of money or a lot of emotion on the line. Clients want to believe in their lawyers. Frankly, they should be able to believe in their lawyers. It’s ok to wear your heart on your sleeve. Talk about your most important win, the client interaction that left you speechless, or the mentoring opportunity that changed the way you practice.
These three basic videos will provide a terrific foundation upon which a client can truly get to know you. Remember to keep them short and sweet, preferably around 2 minutes, but certainly not more than 5 minutes, as you will lose the attention of your audience. If these videos are available to your potential clients, you will have presented an honest, accurate and intelligent portrait of yourself before the initial meeting even occurs. Don’t limit yourself to the categories above, either! If you enjoy making videos about legal topics, I would urge you to continue creating interesting, informative video content. First impressions happen online these days, and it’s crucial to make sure it’s a good one.