Lead Generation for Lawyers: How to Generate More Leads

lead generation for lawyersDiscussions about lead generation for lawyers often go something like this:

“So, how do you generate leads for your law firm?”

“What do you mean?”

“How do you find new clients?

“Usually word of mouth or referrals.”

This is slowly changing. More law firms are aware of the need for active lead generation activities using available technology, platforms, and marketing strategies — but it’s surprising how many firms still rely on referrals.

The 2021 ABA Legal Technology Survey reported that only 35 percent of respondents from firms of 2-9 lawyers and 7 percent of solo attorneys have a marketing budget, pointing to the lack of a strategic approach to lead generation and a reliance on referrals.

This article discusses why it’s essential for lawyers to initiate a lead generation strategy and how to go about it. You’ll learn what lead generation is, why it’s important for law firms, and lead generation strategies you can employ today.



What is lead generation?

A lead is a potential new client or “prospect” — someone who could potentially end up paying for your services.

There are two central myths about attorney lead generation.

Lead Generation for Lawyers Myths

Neither is true, though these perceptions continue. They are partly why law firms continue to lag in adopting the proven lead generation strategies now available.

It’s true that the larger law firms generally take marketing and lead generation more seriously.

The 2021 ABA Legal Technology Survey reported that 84 percent of respondents from firms of 100+ lawyers and 55 percent of respondents from firms of 10-49 lawyers had a marketing budget.

However, any law firm — even solo attorneys — can generate a steady flow of quality leads with a strategic marketing approach.

Lead generation is not about “pushy” salespeople. It’s about developing interest in your firm.

This means convincing potential clients not only to visit your website but also to pick up the phone or do whatever action you’d like.

Lead generation is the primary goal of marketing and generally happens before the “sales” process really kicks in.


Why is lead generation so important for law firms?

Without an active and fine-tuned lead generation strategy, your firm will continue to rely on referrals and word-of-mouth. That’s not a reliable business plan.

What happens when the referrals dry up?

Lead generation helps protect the financial health of your business, ensuring that the sales funnel is constantly topped up with new enquiries so you can plan for growth.


Attorney lead generation and the sales funnel

Sometimes, people are simply searching for information to answer the questions they have. Others are looking to compare law firms or hire a lawyer.

Your law firm needs to be ready to meet the needs of the following three types of interest:

  1. Awareness
  2. Evaluation
  3. Purchase

It’s important to understand your sales funnel before going much further with lead generation strategies. This graphic explains it well.

Law Firm Content Marketing Sales Funnel

Top-of-funnel leads

These leads are interested in learning more as they start the buyer journey.

Most leads will never have heard of you, so marketing strategies should educate, inform, and make potential leads aware of your firm. Think SEO, website, social media, blogs, etc.

Middle-of-funnel leads

These leads are looking to solve particular legal problems and require direct interaction with you so that they can evaluate how your solution can help.

Lead generation strategies should combine educational and promotional content as you start to nurture leads. Think FAQs, email marketing, reviews/testimonials, etc.

Bottom-of-funnel leads

These leads are looking to hire a lawyer based on expertise, previous results, price, availability, etc.

Marketing strategies must help leads decide and prepare them to book a consultation and hire your services. Think reviews, case studies, PPC, landing pages with calls to action, etc.


What does an ideal lead look like?

Before we get into best-practice lead generation strategies for lawyers, a word about targeting. You need to know exactly what type of leads you want to attract.

Ask yourself:

  • Who’s your ideal client?
  • Do you have different target clients for different practice areas?
  • What are their demographics (age, gender, location), background (family, work), goals, and challenges/pain points?
  • What are their communication preferences?

Create client personas for each practice area, like this one for an estate planning law firm that specializes in writing wills and creating trusts.

Lead Generation Lawyers Client Persona

To get started with your client personas, think about your most successful cases and past clients. What were they like, and what were they looking for when they first came to you?


Lead generation strategies for lawyers

With so many law firms competing for leads, the quality of your lead marketing campaigns will determine how successful you are.

  • How can you attract more clients to your website/content?
  • How can you provide the information they need to make a decision?
  • How can you convert interest into consultations?

The answer to these questions lies in your law firm marketing strategy. These will form the foundation of your lead generation activities. There are several places to start.


Upgrade your law firm’s website

If you’ve never invested in lead generation strategies, your website likely needs a significant upgrade.

Has it been sitting there for 5-10 years without new content?

A professional law firm website should be the hub of your lead generation activities. It needs to look and act the part.

Focus on providing a great user experience with engaging and informative content that answers the central questions in your target persona’s minds — with calls to action that reflect the three different types of leads entering your sales funnel (education, evaluation, and purchase).

Your educational/informational content might take the form of a blog or resources page like this example from Jennings Family Law in Calgary.

law firm resources page
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The following type of content from the same website helps leads educate themselves about a relevant topic and evaluate the firm’s expertise and solutions.

family law service page
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The evaluation process for leads is also assisted by reviews/testimonials featuring prominently on the website.

family law firm reviews
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The following type of landing page content from the same website includes strong calls to action that can persuade leads to act.

family law firm landing page
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It doesn’t matter whether you use WordPress, Wix, or another web development platform to create your website.

It will be the hub of your lead generation strategies and should be:

  • Professional and polished in appearance
  • Easy to navigate and user-friendly
  • Informative and relevant for the target audience
  • Persuasive with prominent value propositions and calls to action
  • Fast-loading and compatible with mobile/desktops

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Your website needs to be optimized for search engines to make your content more visible.

This will generate organic search leads — those looking for answers to a question and also those ready to hire and actively searching for a lawyer in your location.

Appearing prominently in local search results like the following estate planning attorneys in Houston will automatically generate traffic and leads.

lawyer serp google

If you can appear in the featured snippets (the questions that appear above the organic search results), like this example from Colorado Legal Group, you can boost traffic and leads.

Optimizing your blog posts for featured snippets can help you bypass the top spots on the SERP that would otherwise take months or years to top organically.

google search featured snippet law firms

SEO is a huge topic. To find out more, check out our in-depth guide to SEO for lawyers.


Content marketing

Developing professional content that resonates with your target audience is fundamental to the success of all lead generation efforts.

Content improves the quality of your website and your search performance by answering the questions of your target audience. It also gets more people talking about you and sharing your information.

When done right, content can generate a steady and sustainable flow of leads for the long-term health of your sales funnel.

Consider writing informative blog posts, like this one from The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian in California.

law firm blog post
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Writing quality blog posts can help you rank for relevant keywords you want to target. Plus, you can build trust and authority in your practice area, positioning yourself as a thought leader.

But you shouldn’t stop at blog posts. You can publish guides, like this 10-step guide to the divorce process in California from Cristin Lowe Law.

law firm guide
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A dedicated FAQ page can help you answer common questions while claiming your spot on the SERP.

faq law firm website
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Or you could create eBooks and whitepapers to serve as gated content. Website visitors can access gated content when they give you their email.

law firm gated content
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Video is another untapped but valuable form of content marketing.

Create videos where you’re answering common questions or sharing practical advice related to your practice area.

law firm video marketing
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And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For a more detailed overview of content marketing, check out our post on content marketing for law firms.


Lead nurturing with email marketing

Email marketing for lawyers is a great way to turn interest into revenue.

Convincing potential clients to provide you with their email addresses is harder than it sounds. Using gated content/lead magnets is an effective way to do this — you offer a valuable downloadable resource in return for email addresses.

New Mexico Legal Group offers a downloadable eBook on 8 Secrets to Hiring a Divorce Lawyer.

law firm gated content
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Once you generate leads this way, you’ll need to nurture them to turn their interest into revenue. Leads may require many “touchpoints” before hiring you. Email marketing is an excellent way to keep in touch over the short and long term.

The “low-hanging fruit” may hire your services relatively quickly if they have a need and you demonstrate your expertise, while other potential clients will turn to your services if and when they need you. You can segment your campaigns to target different groups with different content.

You might reach out to subscribers of your monthly newsletter, like Southern Maryland Law, whose newsletter can also be accessed on their website.

law firm newsletter
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Alternatively, you can run email drip campaigns that educate subscribers about a particular topic of interest.


Social media marketing

If you’re serious about lead generation, you can’t avoid social media marketing for long.

In 2020, 29 percent of respondents to the ABA websites and marketing survey said they acquired a client from personal use of social media (30 percent of solo attorneys and 33 percent of lawyers in firms of 2-9 lawyers).

Used well, social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram have great potential to drive traffic to your website.

Strategic use of social media can generate leads for your law firm through the following strategies:

  • Relationship-building by communicating directly with current or potential clients
  • Demonstrating thought leadership with the content you post
  • Being visual and engaging with images, infographics, videos, etc.
  • Running Q&A sessions — like online “town hall meetings”
  • Running paid ad campaigns (e.g., Facebook ads)

Here’s a good example of a Facebook ad from The Law Office of Ramos & Del Cueto PLLC in Texas.

Facebook-ad-criminal-defense

When executed poorly, social media marketing can be a huge waste of time for lawyers. Be sure to follow best practices.


Conduct webinars

Law firm webinars can be a powerful tool to reach many potential clients at once. However, they’re currently poorly understood and under-utilized by law firms as a lead generation tool.

Webinars are not simply informational videos or a set of slides. They are “live” events with an interactive element — more like online presentations featuring Q&A sessions with the audience.

The confusion may come from the fact that webinars can be recorded and viewed later by visitors to the website. Some law firms have a webinar archive like this one from Cunningham Legal, an estate planning firm in California.

cunningham legal
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Despite concerns about privacy issues, it’s perfectly acceptable for law firms to run webinars as long as individual cases are not discussed.


Paid law firm lead generation services

The lead generation strategies we’ve covered are essentially “free.” You don’t pay for the lead — only for the time and expertise needed to acquire it.

Many of these require patience and a little time to work. Websites, SEO, email marketing, and social media are all investments in the long-term future of your sales funnel.

For firms looking for more immediate leads, various services offer lead generation for a fee. Keep in mind that the quality of the leads generated will vary.


Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for lawyers

Paid advertising should go hand-in-hand with your inbound, content-based lead generation strategies.

The key to a successful PPC ad campaign (we recommend Google Ads) is to target the right keyword phrases. That way, you’re competing for the right clicks, can manage your budget carefully, and create high-converting landing pages to handle the clicks that come your way.

google ads for lawyers

Usually, it’s best to hire a professional PPC campaign manager for this area. Busy lawyers don’t have the time to do the necessary research or the marketing expertise to get landing pages designed properly.

For more detailed tips on how to generate quality leads from PPC, check out our previous post on Google Ads for Lawyers.


Avvo lead generation for lawyers

A free Avvo profile should be part of every lawyer’s lead generation strategy. They are easy to set up, and you can benefit from Avvo’s high traffic volume and strong rankings in search engines.

Here’s a good example from Adam D. Brown, a criminal defense lawyer in Georgia.

lawyers on avvo
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Beyond the free service, where you compete for leads with many other lawyers, you have other paid options for generating leads:

  • Avvo Premium ($135/month): Includes enhanced search discoverability, more prominent contact information, conversion rate tracking, and profile customization.
  • Avvo Elite ($225/month): Targeted display ads and sponsored listings, greater visibility, ad tracking, and more analytics.

Avvo-Elite-Advertising

The Avvo platform boasts over 650,000 contacts made between prospective clients and attorneys every month. You can generate leads by helping people get basic answers to their legal questions with the Avvo Q&A service.

Another good strategy is to actively accumulate reviews from clients to boost your visibility and credibility on the platform.


Nolo lead generation for lawyers

The Nolo platform is part of the Martindale Legal Marketing Network and is one of the largest sources of free online legal industry resources. Nolo posts thousands of articles covering a vast range of legal topics, which rank well because of Nolo’s expertise in SEO.

As such, the platform receives millions of visitors a month, many of which are looking to hire a lawyer.

Lawyer profiles alongside each article and a strong call to action at the end to “talk with an attorney” help to attract leads. These leads are then sold to attorneys in the local area who can help with the legal issue at hand.

Here’s the call to action at the end of an article on Penalties for DUI in New Mexico.

nolo lead generation
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The estimated cost per lead with Nolo is between $20 and $100, depending on the practice area and whether you pay for lead exclusivity.


FindLaw lead generation for lawyers

FindLaw is owned by Thomson Reuters and is another of the most established online legal platforms. It incorporates FindLaw.com, SuperLawyers.com, and LawInfo.com.

As well as providing legal Q&A forums, lawyer directories, and free legal guides and articles, FindLaw aims to be a “one-stop-shop” for lawyers, helping generate leads through organic search, paid advertising, PPC, and website development/hosting/content creation.

For pure lead generation, the following FindLaw services are worth looking into:

  • Claim a premium listing ($125/month) that makes you more visible in searches for your practice area/location
  • Pay-per-lead service using targeted online advertising to attract leads to landing pages and then selling the lead (exclusively) to attorneys
  • PPC – direct pay-per-click advertising via Google with campaign management provided
findlaw lead generation
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The cost per lead with FindLaw is estimated at between $20 and $100, depending on the practice area.


Lawyers.com lead generation for lawyers

Lawyers.com is another major lawyer directory with one million profiles and a wealth of information.

This, together with its strong SEO efforts, generates considerable traffic to the platform. Visitors are prompted with a search box where they can browse by legal issue, lawyer name, or location.

lawyers lead generation
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As well as matching searches with suitable candidates from its attorney database, lawyers.com provides a Q&A center for people to get answers to questions from real lawyers. You pay a monthly fee for a premium profile.


Other paid lead generation services for lawyers

We’ve covered the main paid lead generation services for lawyers.

If you want to go a step further, you may also like to check out the following:

  • Lawyer.com: A worldwide service rather than purely North-America-focused
  • Unbundled Attorney: A relatively new service for “flat-fee” attorneys
  • Legal Match: A subscription-based online marketplace that matches clients with attorneys
  • Thumbtack: An online marketplace for multiple professional services, including lawyers

Ready to ramp up your attorney lead generation?

The legal market is competitive. Multiple law firms are competing for the same leads online. To increase your share of the pie, you need to ramp up your lead generation efforts.

Try the strategies outlined above. Then, once you’ve found what works best for you, stay ahead of the pack by tracking performance and updating your lead generation strategy regularly.