Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Legal Directories and a Virtual Law Office - What's Your Address?

This week I'm considering giving online legal directories another chance. As more and more attorneys are dropping out of Martindale Hubbell, I recently turned to Findlaw's online directory options.

I formerly had a listing with Lawyers.com and was unhappy with the unprofessional splash page that they insisted on setting up for me. Why they would not link directly to my vlo, I am not sure. Because my vlo is a secure web application and clients can come to me directly through the online office, I did not have a need for Lawyers.com's unsecure "email me" contact form that I was paying for each month. The one benefit was that the listing boosted my ranking in google which initially may have been worth the pricey fee. On to other options as I continue to grow my vlo and learn more law management practice tips along the way.

A basic Findlaw listing that links to my vlo would be great. Except they are not too familiar with a vlo and virtual law is not a separate category of law practice. Even though I work with clients online throughout the entire state, I would have to purchase a listing in each individual cities in the state. The expense here is mindboggling.

What is my address? Well....it's a website address. The online directories have trouble categorizing you outside of the traditional law office setup. As more solos and law firms go online with Virtual Law Office Technology (VLOTech) and use a vlo to practice law, the usual law directory companies will have to come up with a different pricing structure that provides services that fit with a vlo's marketing needs.

One option might be to leave out the physical address requirement and let the vlo link to their vlo for the same price and if they want to add both a physical and a vlo link, then charge for both. I'm not an expert on how online directories operate. The customer reps at Findlaw have been efficient at giving me the information I need as far as pricing and services. However, I think if these companies want to stay on the cutting edge of legal technology trends they should start considering how their services can be useful and affordable for a virtual law practice.

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