Several colleagues were surprised to hear that I attended Avvo’s recent Lawyernomics Conference in Las Vegas, with the intimated wonder that I would give it this much credence. Avvo is a consumer-focused website that allows users to search for lawyers who receive a numerical rating based on experience, accomplishments and reviews by clients, colleagues and even judges. Visitors can also search for free legal advice based on contributing lawyers’ answers to questions.
Increasingly, Avvo comes up as a discussion point with clients: What is it? How in the heck did they get rated? Should they pay attention? I wanted to get a first-hand look at what this was all about.
I joined 400 other attendees, mostly attorneys, from all over the country who have incorporated Avvo into their marketing. In the legal marketplace, Avvo is viewed as a tactic for sole practitioners or very small firms. However, there were attendees who came from larger firms, some of which had surprisingly substantial marketing budgets. In addition, Avvo is consumer-focused, so not high on the list of marketing tactics of firms focusing on the corporate world; in fact, disdained would be a better word.
At the risk of being seen as an Avvo evangelist, there’s very little doubt that Avvo is here to stay and will only grow, especially since it just got a large cash infusion from a private equity firm. I’d also say that while the overall attendee sentiment was positive, this was not a meeting of believers. It was a meeting of very practical attorneys who wanted to know more about how Avvo worked, what’s in the works, and how can they make it work for them.
No matter what your practice area or size of firm, you want to “claim” your profile, which every lawyer in the country has. You claim your profile by making it as complete as possible and by pursuing reviews so you can get your rating as high as possible. This is because when a prospective client or referral source is checking you out, there’s a strong likelihood that your profile will come up, and searchers like to look at diversity of sources, not just your website biography. Also keep in mind that if don’t have a strong online “footprint,” e.g., not a lot of content related to you, Avvo tends to come up higher in the search engine results, so you want it to showcase your experience and expertise.
Depending on your practice area, you may want to look at other means of participating on the Avvo site, such as contributing to their legal advice forum, as well as some of their sponsored, i.e., advertising, opportunities. I have heard some Avvo success stories, and not just at this conference.
The conference was definitely worthwhile. I would be inclined to attend again, which is the strongest endorsement I can give.
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Tune into our webinar, “All About Avvo: Making it Work for You”.