Immigration Attorney Celebrates 10 Years of Hosting Lawyers.com Online Chats
We spoke recently with Andrew Wilson, Partner at Serotte Reich Wilson, LLP in Buffalo, N.Y. about Lawyers.comSM chats and other marketing activities that have proven valuable to his practice.
LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell®: Can you briefly describe your practice?
Andrew Wilson: Our firm has been doing immigration for close to 40 years. We are a little different from many immigration firms because we handle anything and everything immigration based. That includes employment-based matters and family matters, as well as removals in immigration court.
LNMH: In addition to answering consumer-submitted questions in the Ask A Lawyer section of Lawyers.com, for the last 10 years you've also been hosting an online immigration chat on the site. For our readers who aren't familiar with the chats, could you briefly explain how they work?
AW: They are pretty simple. You log into Lawyers.com and people come into the chat real time. They'll submit their questions, I'll ask follow ups and we'll go back and forth as I answer their questions.
It's not legal advice, but is for individuals who have questions about specific issues: "Is this possible?" "I need general immigration advice."
LNMH: By our calculations, you're approaching your 500th online chat. Why is it a worthwhile part of your marketing efforts?
AW: There are five reasons I do it.
It's a great way to keep up with current issues. Because I'm answering immigration questions online, I become aware of issues that will affect my clients.
I like helping people. It's not pro bono work, per se, but I'm helping people who might not have money to spend on a lawyer.
It's also important to have the exposure. Attorneys have to be visible online. And it's nice to be seen as knowledgeable in my area of immigration law.
I certainly like the search engine optimization, or SEO, aspect of it. Lawyers.com allows me to get my name and our website URL out there. It helps with our search engine optimization and drives traffic to our blogs.
Finally, I enjoy being associated with LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com.
LNMH: Do you often help people on the chats who then become clients?
AW: It's not my immediate goal. Attorneys shouldn't go into the online chats with a goal of getting new clients each month. It's much more valuable in terms of search engine optimization and online visibility.
LNMH: Is it more often a case that clients — as they research attorneys to hire — see your immigration chat work, read transcripts and then contact you?
AW: Yes, though it's not always obvious when it happens. Maybe a new client saw an answer I provided or saw a chat I hosted. They might not have been the person who originally asked the question, but they read my answer.
LNMH: Aside from your Lawyers.com activities, how else do you market your own practice?
AW: We focus most of our efforts on the Internet and online marketing. We try to build up our website, and we have several blogs that do quite well.
I also try to stay active online, through Lawyers.com and other sites. Then there are the old-school marketing efforts, like writing articles and speaking at conferences.
LNMH: How would you rate the success of your Lawyers.com activities in comparison to your other marketing efforts?
AW: I'm a tough grader, and it's a solid eight out of ten. It's been one of the best things I've done. It's excellent exposure, and it's helped with my client development efforts.
LNMH: What advice would you offer to attorneys who want to get more involved with Lawyers.com?
AW: Attorneys have to be seen and be active online, because consumers are going online to find lawyers. If someone couldn't find anything other than your website, that would cause concern.
These days, it's not enough to have a website or a blog. You need to generate traffic to your site, and Lawyers.com is perfect for that.
Lawyers.com is a perfect fit for us because our marketing efforts are focused on the Internet.
To learn more about Lawyers.com chats or to find out how your firm can participate, contact a LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Specialist.
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