Proper Use of Legal Marketing Tool: Case StudiesThere are many types of legal content that a lawyer can showcase online. (check out this handy list of 19 types of content)  Exactly which types of content to focus on can depend on a number of factors, such as target audience, online platforms used, general v. niche practice, etc.  However, case studies are a very effective tool that every lawyer should include in his or her online presence.  Why?   Think about it – many clients are searching for a lawyer based on a very specific legal issue – perhaps they were just sued or have been approached about an acquisition.  They want someone with that exact expertise.  You can say you do it, or you can show it.  The latter is far more effective, and a case study is a great vehicle to do so.  Here are four tips for using them effectively.  (note: be sure to get the requisite client permissions before you put a case study online).

1.  Limit the legalese.  Lawyers will be lawyers.  And lawyers want to write like lawyers.  For example – using the proper bluebook cite as the title.  Don’t.  Instead, use a title that conveys to the reader what the matter was about.  Give them a reason to read beyond the title.  As far as the actual text, write in plain English that is easy to understand.  A great tip is to show it to someone with little or no legal background and see if it makes sense.

2.  Put them front and center.  Case studies are often buried deep in a website.  A visitor may have to visit a practice area page, and then a case study page, and then visit each one individually.  Sometimes, it isn’t even clear that a link will take you a detailed description.  Instead, place your case studies front and center, make navigation clear and intuitive, and keep the pages simple and user-friendly.  The goal is to convey your expertise on a particular legal issue to a visitor quickly.  (check out the case study tab on a free RFPattorney presence – navigation is easy, page is clean and organized, and links and documents are clearly displayed).

3.  Don’t just say what, explain how.  This one is often overlooked.  It is easy to summarize what a matter was about and what result was achieved.  However, don’t stop there – also include a summary of how you achieved that result.  What makes the way you handled a matter unique, what unique expertise or industry knowledge did you bring to the table, what will the potential client get if you are hired.  Each case study is an opportunity to separate yourself from the online pack.

4.  Show value.  Similar to #3, convey your value proposition in each case study.  For example, show how you kept legal costs down, managed the matter more efficiently, and/or utilized new cost saving technology.  Showcasing your niche expertise right next to your unique value proposition can be a very effective one-two punch.

Ryan Bowers

Founder of and author of the RFPattorney Blog. Over 8 years of experience practicing law, including past experience at an international law firm, a national law firm, and a small firm. Currently GC and VP Operations for large mechanical construction company. Midwesterner, home renovator, golden retriever wrangler, new dad, Wolverine, & avid hockey fan.

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  • Lottie

    ‘Explaining how’ part is one of the things I usually look forward to reading in case studies. I like it when the ideas presented are very comprehensive.