How Lawyers Capture & Convert Clients

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This post is the fourth in the “Fight for Leads,” a series focused on lead-generation tactics in four key industry verticals: healthcare, automotive, legal and marketing agencies. Sponsored by CallRail.

Large billboards and 30-second TV spots just aren’t cutting it for law practices anymore. Successful firms are now deploying more sophisticated strategies to attract and engage leads, and they’re utilizing advanced technology for advertising, marketing automation, client relationship management (CRM), and analytics.

“Marketing for law firms generally is something that not even 20 years ago was considered somewhat taboo,” says Mike Mellor, head of marketing at the New York-based law firm Pryor Cashman LLP, in an interview with Street Fight earlier this year. “The folks in law firms have had some catching up to do in regards to driving cultural change and getting attorneys comfortable with the concept of marketing and new business development.”  

Part of that change has to do with the way consumers are researching law practices, and how quickly they’re deciding which firms to work with. According to a survey by FindLaw, 74% of prospects who begin their searches online end up contacting their choice firms via phone. Eighty-six percent of consumers start their online research with search engines, and a small-but-growing 3% relies on social media. It’s no surprise that Law Insider recommends all lawyers invest heavily in content marketing to ensure their brand gets in front of these searchers.

Law firms need a constant stream of new business in order to stay afloat, making lead generation an especially popular topic among marketing professionals serving this industry. Here are four of the most successful lead generation tactics being used at law firms right now.


Search engine optimization is one of the foundational blocks for law firms that are interested in online marketing. When comparing the popularity of various online research methods, search engines ranked No. 1, well above legal directories and social media pages. Search engine optimization is especially important considering the time and cost that law firms have generally spent creating their business websites.

When it comes to SEO for law firms, location is everything. The competition is too high for most firms to rank on the first page of Google results for terms like “personal injury” or “tax attorney.” Instead, savvy legal practices are focusing on using keywords involving their immediate areas, so that their websites come up first when people search “Tacoma personal injury” or “tax attorney in Sarasota,” for example.

CRM Systems
Customer relationship management systems and other pipeline tools are very popular within the legal industry, with nearly half (48%) having systems that are more than five years old and 23% having systems between three and five years old. CRM platforms are used to track the entire marketing lifecycle and to ensure that potential leads are contacted in a timely manner. CRM systems also provide larger firms with a way to centrally manage and share each lawyer’s contacts.

Some of the latest CRM platforms designed with law firms in mind can generate online intake forms, so potential leads can contact the office without sending an email, and tracking the source of incoming leads. This is especially valuable, as it helps firms evaluate their marketing return on investment (ROI). Automated reminders also ensure that firms follow up with potential leads in a timely manner.

Call Tracking
Call tracking services allow law firms to track who has called their offices after visiting their websites or viewing their online ads. Providers like CallRail can also help law firms understand which marketing channels are generating calls, how long those calls are lasting, the location where calls are being placed from, how much money is being spent to acquire each caller, and whether callers have been converted into clients.

The data that call tracking services generate allows law firms to make smarter business decisions based on which marketing services or platforms are really providing the greatest results. When used in conjunction with a CRM platform like Salesforce, call tracking integrations can even help measure the return on investment (ROI) from clients, filtered by marketing platform or location.

Online Directories
Fourteen percent of consumers look at online directories, such as and Yelp, when researching legal professionals online. Even more (39%) look at legal-specific directories during the research process. Popular directories for businesses in this industry include Avvo, FindLaw, and Justia.

Having updated and accurate listings across the most popular directory websites will boost a law firm’s ranking on search engines like Google and Bing. Law firms can attract even more attention through these sites by utilizing paid listing options, in which their directory listings are enlarged or highlighted in exchange for a monthly fee. Utilizing a call tracking service for local search, law firms can then measure the number of incoming leads generated by online directories and ultimately allocate their marketing budgets based on which websites are providing the greatest return on investment.

As the legal industry has gotten more crowded, top firms have had to get strategic in how they attract new leads. Lead generation tactics that quantify, and in some cases even qualify, potential clients have become a necessary part of managing a successful legal practice. By coupling the most successful of these tactics and utilizing marketing platforms that work in conjunction with one another—for example, using a call tracking solution to measure the ROI from paid directory listings—firms can get the most from their lead generation strategies.


CallRail provides call analytics to more than forty thousand companies and marketing agencies. CallRail’s easy-to-use platform helps data-driven marketers optimize the performance of their advertising campaigns with
powerful call tracking and call recording software.