This article considers ways that lawyers can look outside of their core practice areas to find topics that may be of interest to their clients and prospects. Using the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, I discuss how law firms can use current events to target their intended audiences and drive more relevant traffic to their websites.
How Thinking Outside the Box Can Drive Prospects to Your Firm’s Website
Let’s face it: Most lawyers’ blogs are pretty stale. Maybe not to you or me, but to your prospects? How about an article with a title article along the lines of, “Ninth Circuit Issues Landmark Ruling in Eminent Domain Litigation.” Sounds enthralling. Right? Right? Bueller?
The reality is that the stuff that matters to lawyers just doesn’t matter to the vast majority of their clients and prospects. Yes, landmark decisions are critically important, and yes, they affect your clients’ cases. But, do your prospects really care about the appellate history or the court’s reasoning? No, they don’t. All they care about is that you can help them get what they want as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
Using Legal Developments to Get Your Potential Clients’ Attention
With this in mind, what kind of content should law firms publish on their blogs? You want to be timely – which suggests writing about new developments – but you don’t want to write something that only other lawyers (at best) are going to want to read. At A Fortiori, we use these developments, but write about them in ways that make them relevant to firms’ potential clients.
A Recent Example: Obergefell v. Hodges
For a recent example, consider Obergefell v. Hodges. This was the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in June declaring the legality of same-sex marriage nationwide. While the case’s history is fascinating and the Justices’ opinions leave no shortage of fodder for scholarly discussion, these aren’t great subject matter for a blog targeting potential clients. You can – and should – write about the case, but to get through to your intended audience, you need to consider what makes the decision interesting from their point of view.
What if I’m Not a Divorce Lawyer?
The majority of law firm blog articles that we wrote regarding Obergefell v. Hodges were written for firms practicing in family law. On one level, this makes sense. It was a case about marriage, after all, which falls squarely in the family law arena. However, when matters make national headlines, it can be beneficial for law firms with tangentially-related practice areas to make use of them as well. For example:
- A personal injury law firm could have published blog articles about how Obergefell affects same-sex partners’ rights in wrongful death actions, or how marriage affects tax implications for successful same-sex personal injury claimants.
- A firm representing small businesses could have written about how the Court’s decision opens up new options for same-sex couples running family-owned businesses.
- Real estate law firms could have written about Obergefell’s implications for same-sex couples considering purchasing or disposing of real property.
These are just a few examples. With some creative thinking, it would be very easy for a law firm practicing in almost any area of law to link a case like Obergefell to their day-to-day client representation. With carefully-chosen keywords, law firms can often ride the coattails of national news to attract new potential clients to their blogs.
An Aside: Updating Your Firm’s Website Content
Finally, it’s also worth noting that law firms should be attuned to the effects that major developments can have on the relevance of their existing website content. For example, with Obergefell v. Hodges, pages discussing how state laws outlawed same-sex marriage suddenly became blatantly outdated. When the law changes, failing to update your website can cause it to have the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of feeling trust and confidence, prospects will likely choose to look elsewhere for a law firm that is up to date on the law.