Marketing to people who don’t like lawyers


They’re out there. People who will tell anyone who will listen how much they don’t like lawyers. They go to great lengths to describe their bad experiences, how they were cheated or lied to or how their lawyer was incompetent or in the pocket of the other side.

True or not, they are angry and passionate about their dislike and distrust for members of our species.

There are others who aren’t necessarily angry but who have been conditioned to be anti-lawyer by a friend’s experience or by what they see on TV or movies. They think lawyers are arrogant or mean or uncaring.

And then there are those who simply think lawyers charge too much. They may be jealous of our income or lifestyle, real or imagined, or jealous of the fact that we don’t seem to work hard compared to whatever they do.

I’m sure you can think of other reasons why people hate lawyers or don’t trust lawyers or are quick to tell the latest lawyer joke making the rounds.

The question is, how do you market to these folks.

A few thoughts.

First, prepare for it, especially if you target consumers and small businesses. “I don’t like lawyers” is an objection, and like any objection, it is best handled before you ever talk to the client. Put something on your website that deals with the issue up front.

Talk about how some lawyers give others a bad name but that most are honest and hard working and want the best for their clients. Talk about why lawyers charge what might seem to be exorbitant fees, and say something about the costs of running a practice.

Talk about some of the issues clients sometimes have with their lawyer, such as the failure to keep them informed. Explain what a lawyer should do and what the client can do if their lawyer doesn’t do it. Explain the recourse that is available, i.e., how to file a complaint with your bar association.

Use this as an opportunity to explain your policies, procedures, and safeguards on those issues. Tell them what you do to keep your clients informed, for example. Explain when and how you seek permission before you do certain things. Tell them how you handle delays and contingencies.

In other words, don’t run from the issue, turn it into a selling point.

Second, make sure clients and prospects know that your door is open. If they have questions or something bothers them, encourage them to contact you and tell you about it. You want to know because it helps you do a better job for your clients. Make it easy for them to fill out a form to communicate with you.

Third, if allowed, make sure your website provides testimonials from clients who talk about the great job you did for them, how you were patient with their questions, how you always got back to them, and other “trust factors”.

If testimonials aren’t allowed, provide “success stories” wherein you describe cases and matters you have handled that a good outcome. Talk about how you copied the clients on everything, and other things you did to keep them informed and happy. If possible, include stories about clients who came to you after they had a bad experience with another lawyer and what you did to fix things.

Fourth, make sure your website has lots of substantive content. Explain the law and procedure and process for handling cases, negotiating and drafting documents, and the like. Illustrate your points with cases and matters you’ve had as examples. Let prospective clients thus see you “in action,” helping clients, solving problems, saving the world.

Of course much of the above applies to prospective clients who don’t have any trust issues with lawyers but might have unanswered questions about what you do and how you do it.

Most people who say they don’t like lawyers still hire lawyers. When they have a problem or need something a lawyer can provide, they will hit up a search engine or ask someone for a referral. When they do, the above steps will make it more likely that you’ll be the one they choose.

More about how to build trust: The Attorney Marketing Formula