Negotiating with Attorney Legal Marketing Firm

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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The current economic recession has brought fewer clients and more competition, even for attorneys who have been in practice for years and never felt the need to market their services. Now, they find that the immense price range makes it difficult to figure out what kind of legal marketing services will best fit their needs and budgets.

Negotiating a contract for terms that are favorable to the law firm is key to maximizing the return on investment. Rarely are costs and terms fixed. Most legal marketing programs authorize their representatives to negotiate terms, including price, length of term, trial periods, opt out options, payment terms, and scope of coverage. When negotiating with a lawyer marketing firm, these tips can help obtain the best possible contract:

Negotiate Price: Though price is not always negotiable, many legal marketing programs give their representatives some discretion regarding price. Different programs have different prices. Because most consultants are paid on a commission basis, they have no incentive to discuss lower cost options. It is always wise to explore the possibility of a better price; you may get more value by negotiating other terms.

Length of Term: Most programs require a minimum term, usually year. Some require multi-year terms, though it makes no sense to commit to a multi-year term with an unfamiliar marketing program. Many programs will not permit an opt-out option, but the willingness to provide such an option shows that the marketing representative has confidence in the lawyer advertising program.

Trial Period: A few lawyer marketing programs will offer a paid or free trial, but this is rare because of the legitimate costs associated with generating leads and setting up the attorney’s program. Alternatively, some marketing firms allow a paid trial period where the law firm pays for a certain period of time before enrolling for a longer term. A legal marketing program that offers a trial can be a good choice because granting a trial indicates confidence in the company’s attorney marketing results.

Payment Terms: Almost all legal marketing programs require payment up front. If you negotiate, the marketing representative will often approve quarterly or monthly payments rather than lose a potential contract. It is much easier to obtain a periodic payment plan than an actual reduction in price.

Scope of Coverage: This is the most important area to negotiate. In a few lawyer marketing programs, the price is fixed for specific coverage so no negotiation for more coverage is possible, but this is the exception, not the rule. A representative who wants a contract may agree to increase geographic or practice area coverage for the same price or offer significant discounts as the scope of coverage is increased. Negotiating for broad coverage can result in a significant volume discount.

Pay Per Lead (PPL): PPL programs are one of the newer trends in lawyer marketing programs. If a firm requires a minimum term, one can request a PPL option instead. A PPL program permits a law firm to pay only for actual client leads (usually calls and email) a firm receives. A PPL program can usually be canceled with 30 days notice, which offers maximum flexibility with the low risk. The one negative to PPL programs is that a law firm usually pays a premium (anywhere from $50-$150 per call or email) for the low risk and convenience the programs offer.

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