Video Marketing Scripts for Lawyers, Part 2

Video Marketing Scripts for Lawyers, Part 2

Part 2 Contents: Link back to Part 1 HERE

2B. Partially-scripted videos
2C. Prompts for unscripted videos
2D. Scripts for list videos

 

2B. Partially-scripted videos

After you have created a few scripted videos, you likely will not need all the structure and guidance that a script provides.  Here are a few questions you may want to answer.

Bankruptcy

How are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy different?

Version 1: Partially scripted:

Short answer: Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates most of your unsecured debts. In Chapter 13, you must pay back some of your unsecured debts over three to five years.

 Additional Points:

  • Chapter 7 trustee sells non-exempt assets.
  • Most Chapter 7 filers have no non-exempt assets—keep all/most property.
  • Unsecured debts like. . . are eliminated.
  • Lasts about 4 months.
  • Chapter 13 requires monthly payments.
  • Lasts 3 to 5 years.
  • Keep all property.
  • Costs more than Chapter 7.

Version 2: Fully scripted

Here are three significant differences between them:

  1. Debt repayment. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee sells your non-exempt assets and pays your unsecured creditors some of what you owe. The balance of your unsecured debts is eliminated.  If you have no non-exempt assets, you don’t pay anything on your unsecured debts before they are eliminated. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must make monthly payments toward some of your debts. But you keep all your property.  
  2. Duration. Most Chapter 7 bankruptcies are finished within four months. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy lasts for three to five years, the length of your repayment plan.
  3. Cost. A Chapter 13 case costs more than a Chapter 7 case.  Filing fees and attorney fees are higher. And you must pay the Chapter 13 trustee a commission.
How will I know if I’m a good candidate for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Version 1: Partially scripted

Short answer: The best way to know if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to discuss your situation with a bankruptcy attorney.

Additional points:

Profile of a good candidate

  • Low/modest income.
  • Dischargeable debts.
  • Little or no non-exempt property.
  • No need to cure mortgage or car loan default.

Version 2: Fully scripted

You are probably a good candidate for Chapter 7 if you:

  • Have an income below your state’s median or mid-point.
  • Have mostly dischargeable debts like credit cards, medical bills, and personal loans.
  • Have little or no non-exempt property to lose.
  • Don’t need to catch up on a mortgage or car loan to prevent foreclosure or repossession.

These are general rules of thumb.  Talk to a bankruptcy attorney for a detailed analysis of your situation.

How will I know if I am a good candidate for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Version 1: Partially scripted

Short answer: The best way to know if Chapter 13 bankruptcy is right for you is to discuss your situation with a bankruptcy attorney.

Additional points:

Profile of a good candidate

  • Income above state median.
  • Mostly non-dischargeable debts.
  • Significant non-exempt assets.
  • Need to cure a mortgage or car loan default.
  • [Want to lien strip second mortgage.
  • Eligible for cram down of car loan.]

Version 2: Fully scripted

You are probably a good candidate for Chapter 13 if you:

  • Have income above the median income for families your size in your state.
  • Have mostly non-dischargeable debts like alimony, child support, taxes, and student loans.
  • Have non-exempt assets that you want to keep.
  • Want to cure a mortgage or car loan default so that you can keep the property.

These are general guidelines.  You should talk to a bankruptcy attorney for a complete analysis of your situation.

Business litigation

What kind of conduct constitutes a breach of a contract? 

Version 1: Partially scripted

Technically, any failure to meet one’s obligations under the terms of a contract is a breach of the contract. But, all breaches are not created equal. So, instead of asking, “is it a breach of our contract?” a better question might be: How serious is this breach? 

Hello. I’m [state] business litigation lawyer [name]. Today we’re going to talk about the difference between a minor (or “immaterial”) breach of contract and a major (or “material”) breach

Immaterial breach 

  • Minor infraction. 
  • Does not terminate the contract. 

Material breach 

  • Significant failure to perform. 
  • Aggrieved party can terminate the contract and sue for breach. 

Distinguish immaterial v. material based on the terms of the agreement, the circumstances surrounding the breach, and the resulting damages. 

[Example] 

[Call to action] 

Version 2: Fully scripted

Technically, any failure to meet one’s obligations under the terms of a contract is a breach of the contract. But, all breaches are not created equal. So, instead of asking, “Is it a breach of our contract?” a better question might be: How serious is this breach? 

Hello. I’m [state] business litigation lawyer [name]. Today we’re going to talk about the difference between a minor (or “immaterial”) breach of contract and a major (or “material”) breach

An immaterial breach of contract is a minor infraction that does not defeat the purpose of the contract and, consequently, does not terminate the contract; in other words, a contract can survive an immaterial breach. A material breach, on the other hand, is a significant failure to perform on the part of the

breaching party; as a result, the aggrieved party can terminate the contract. Further performance by the aggrieved party is excused, and the aggrieved party has the right to sue for breach of contract. 

Whether a breach is material or immaterial will depend on a number of factors, including primarily, the terms of the agreement, the specific circumstances surrounding the breach, and the damage caused by the breach. A court will ask: Did you suffer significant losses, or did you get substantially what you bargained for, despite the technical breach of the agreement? 

Let me give you a simple example

Let’s say you own a building and you contract with a landscaping company to maintain the grounds. The contract states that the grass will be cut every Friday, but the landscaper cuts the grass on Saturday. Cutting the grass on a different day than is specified in the contract is technically a breach of contract, but the grass is still cut. So, if that’s all there is to it, this is likely an immaterial breach. If, however, the contract states that the grass must be cut every Friday because your venue hosts weddings on Saturdays and Sundays, then the landscaper’s failure to cut the grass on Fridays could be a material breach. 

If you have concerns about whether a contracting partner is in breach, or the nature of that breach and your legal remedies, call us today to schedule a consultation.

Don’t panic. There are many possible defenses to a breach of contract claim.  

Version 1: Partially scripted

Are you facing a breach of contract claim? Don’t panic. A number of different defenses may be available to you. 

[Introduction.] 

Two-pronged defensive strategy: (1) challenge the elements of the claim and (2) raise affirmative defenses. 

Today we focus on challenging the elements of the claim. 

Elements of breach of contract are: contract, breach, damages. 

Defenses include: 

  • There was no valid contract (because, e.g., vague terms; violates statute of frauds; unlawful or in violation of public policy); 
  • There was no breach. Defendant performed its obligations per the contract. Plaintiff suffered no damages. 

[Call to action.] 

Version 2: Fully scripted

Are you facing a breach of contract claim? Don’t panic. A number of different defenses may be available to you. 

Hi. I’m [state] business litigation attorney [name]. 

There are two prongs to defending against a breach of contract claim: (1) Tackle it head-on by challenging the legal elements of the claim; and (2) turn the tables by raising one or more “affirmative defenses.” 

Today, we’re going to focus on the first prong. Let’s dive in.

To win a breach of contract claim, the plaintiff (that is, the party accusing you of breach) must prove: There was a valid contract; 

  • The plaintiff performed its obligations under the contract; 
  • You (the defendant) did not perform; and 
  • The plaintiff was harmed. 

So, in your defense, you could challenge these elements by arguing: 

We didn’t have a contract. If there is no valid contract, there can be no breach of contract. A contract might be invalid and, therefore, unenforceable for a number of different reasons, including: There was no clear offer and acceptance – no “meeting of the minds”; or 

  • The law requires the contract to be in writing, but you had an oral agreement; or The contract (or the clause sought to be enforced) is unlawful or violates public policy. 

Assuming there was a valid contract, your defense might be as straightforward as: There was no breach. You performed all of your obligations, as specified in the contract, in a timely manner. 

Alternatively, you might rely on the “no harm, no foul” defense. More specifically, even if you did breach the contract, the plaintiff wasn’t harmed. In business litigation, “harm” usually means financial harm – lost or damaged assets; lost profits; or damage to or loss of a business enterprise. If the plaintiff suffered no financial harm as a result of the breach, then the plaintiff has no claim against you. 

These are just some of the defenses that may be available to you, depending on the terms of the contract and the circumstances surrounding the alleged breach. If you’re involved in a contract dispute, call us to discuss your legal options.

Is mediation a good option for resolving a business dispute? 

Version 1: Partially scripted

Short Answer: In many cases, yes. 

Introduction: Hi. I’m [state] business litigation attorney [name]. A trial is one way to resolve a business dispute, but it may not be the best way. In this video, I’ll explain why mediation might be a good alternative for you and your business. 

Preliminary matter

  • Mediation = settlement negotiation that is presided over by a neutral third party called a “mediator.” 
  • More structured than direct negotiations between the parties; less formal than arbitration or a trial. 

Advantages of mediation

  1. Mediation is confidential. 
  2. Mediation gives you more control over the outcome of the dispute. 
  • Juries (and, sometimes, judges) are unpredictable. 
  • Mediation allows the parties to participate in resolving the dispute; allows for creative solutions. 
  1. Mediation is non-binding. 
  • Mediator does not impose a resolution 
  • Parties are free to walk away and have their day in court. 
  1. Mediation is faster than a trial. 
  2. Mediation is cheaper than a trial. 
  3. Mediation allows a sneak peak at the opposing party’s evidence and case strategy. Also a potential disadvantage. 
  • Trust that your lawyer is a smart negotiator, who will reveal enough of your evidence to move toward a settlement, but not so much as to jeopardize your trial strategy. 

Call to action.

Version 2: Fully scripted

Is mediation a good option for resolving a business dispute? The short answer to this question, in many cases, is yes. 

Hi. I’m [state] business litigation attorney [name]. A trial is one way to resolve a business dispute, but it may not be the best way. In this video, I’ll explain why mediation might be a good alternative for you and your business. 

Before we talk about the advantages of mediation, let’s make sure we have the same understanding of what mediation is. Basically, mediation is a settlement negotiation that is presided over by a neutral third party called a “mediator.” It’s more structured than direct negotiations between the parties and their attorneys, but less formal than arbitration or a trial. 

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s run through some of the advantages of resolving or attempting to resolve a business dispute through mediation

First, mediation is confidential. A lawsuit is a matter of public record. Mediation, on the other hand, is a private form of dispute resolution. Nothing you share with the mediator, verbally or in writing, will be made public, and the mediation is closed to everyone except the parties and their counsel. 

Second, mediation gives you more control over the outcome of the dispute. A trial is fraught with uncertainty, in large part because jurors (and, sometimes, judges) are unpredictable. Mediation eliminates that uncertainty. It gives the parties an opportunity to participate directly in resolving the dispute and it allows for the possibility of a creative solution – one that meets all of the parties’ needs, but which could not be achieved within the confines of a trial. 

Conversely, if the parties cannot reach a negotiated agreement, they are free to walk away have their day in court. This is another advantage of mediation: It’s non-binding, meaning that the mediator cannot force a resolution on the parties or otherwise “fix” the dispute. The parties have control. 

Another advantage of mediation is that it’s faster than a trial. A mediation can be scheduled on any date, and at any time and place that is convenient for the parties and the mediator. You don’t have to wait for a spot on a crowded court docket or work around the schedules of experts or other witnesses. Plus, mediation typically is a one-day event. It’s likely to be a very long day, but the mediation process is far more efficient than a trial. 

Advantage #5: In part because it’s faster, mediation also is cheaper than a trial

And, lastly, another advantage of mediation is that it gives your attorney an early look at the opposing party’s evidence and case strategy. Now, your opponent also gets an early look at your evidence and case strategy, which can be a disadvantage, but your lawyer will take great care to reveal no more than is necessary to move the mediation forward and to show that you are ready to win your case at trial if a mediated settlement cannot be reached.

If you have questions about the advantages of mediation we’ve covered in this video, or if you would like to talk more broadly about your options for resolving a business dispute, call us.

Criminal

What does the prosecutor have to prove to convict me of [DWI/DUI/OWI/drunk driving]?

Version 1: Partially Scripted

Short Answer: [Lay out the elements of your state’s statute. E.g.,

The prosecutor must prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted. 

  1. You [operated or drove] a motor vehicle,
  2. While [intoxicated by or under the influence of] alcohol,
  3. On a public road or in a public area.]

Additional Points (briefly explain each element)

  • Explain the meaning of “driving” or “operating” in your state.
  • Explain meaning of intoxication or how the prosecutor proves it.
  • Explain the meaning of public road if relevant in your state or, if not, that you can be convicted even if on private property.
  • Mention that prosecution must first establish reasonable suspicion to stop you and probable cause to arrest you. 

Version 2: Fully Scripted

The prosecutor must prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted. 

  1. You [operated or drove] a motor vehicle,
  2. While intoxicated by or under the influence of alcohol,
  3. On a public road or in a public area.

[If true in your jurisdiction: If keys are in the ignition and you’re in the driver’s seat, you are operating a vehicle, even if you have not moved it.] [OR, if true in your jurisdiction: The prosecution must prove you actually moved the motor vehicle.]

The prosecutor proves you were [intoxicated/under the influence] with the results from a breath, blood, or urine test and the observations of the officer who arrested you.  

A “public road” is one that the public can access and includes places like parking lots of private businesses. 

Before offering evidence that you were driving while intoxicated, the prosecutor must first show the police had a reasonable suspicion to stop you and probable cause to arrest you. 

How does the prosecutor prove I was [“driving while intoxicated”/”driving under the influence”/or whatever the terminology is in your state]?

Version 1: Partially Scripted

Short answer: The prosecutor can either prove that: 

  1. Your blood alcohol concentration was above the legal limit of [.08] percent.  Or
  2. [You were impaired/did not have the normal use of your faculties because of alcohol /whatever your state statute provides] regardless of your blood alcohol concentration.

Additional Points

  • Explain how prosecution proves BAC.
  • Explain how prosecutor proves impairment.

Version 2: Fully Scripted

The prosecutor can either prove that: 

  1. Your blood alcohol concentration was above the legal limit of [.08].  Or
  2. [You were impaired/did not have the normal use of your faculties because of alcohol /whatever your state statute provides] regardless of your blood alcohol concentration.

The prosecutor proves your blood alcohol concentration with the results of a breath, blood, or urine test taken after your arrest.  These tests can be untrustworthy and outright wrong. An experienced defense attorney knows how to challenge them in court.

The prosecutor proves [you were impaired/did not have the normal use of your faculties/whatever you state statute provides] with the arresting officer’s testimony. The officer will often testify that you:

  • Were driving erratically,
  • Smelled of alcohol,
  • Had slurred speech, and
  • Admitted drinking.

A good defense lawyer has many strategies for persuading jurors that this testimony is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt of intoxication.

What should I do if I am stopped on suspicion of drunk driving?

Short answer: Give the officer your driver’s license and registration. The officer will ask if you’ve had anything to drink and how much. Tell the officer you don’t want to answer any questions until you’ve consulted an attorney. Be polite, respectful, and firm.

Additional Points:

Run through the next usual steps

  • Briefly explain field sobriety tests, what they are used for, and advise listeners whether to take them. Presumably not.
  • Explain that next step is probably arrest and transport to the station for a breath or blood test.
  • Provide whatever advice you typically give on whether to submit to the test and why. 

Version 2: Fully Scripted

Give the officer your driver’s license and registration. The officer will ask if you’ve had anything to drink and how much. Tell the officer you don’t want to answer any questions until you’ve consulted an attorney. Be polite, respectful, and firm.

The officer might ask you to perform roadside sobriety tests such as standing on one leg, walking heel to toe, and following a penlight with your eyes. The officer may also ask you to take a preliminary breath test on a portable machine. You can [and should] decline these tests. Police use them to get probable cause to arrest you and present as evidence against you in court. 

The officer may arrest you and ask you to take a breath or blood test. If you refuse, your driver’s license will be suspended even if you’re found not guilty. In some jurisdictions, refusing to provide a breath or blood sample is a misdemeanor. Here, in [state] refusal to submit to a chemical test [is/is not] a misdemeanor. 

Estates

What are the advantages of using a trust to leave an inheritance to a minor? 

Version 1: Partially Scripted

Short Answer: Of all the options for leaving an inheritance to a minor, a trust gives you the

most control over the terms of your gift.

Additional Points:

– You control distributions and can impose conditions on the gift.

– You decide when to terminate the trust. Termination after age 18 is ok.

– Termination can be stages.

– Trust property is protected from creditors.

Version 2: Fully Scripted

Short Answer: Of all the options for leaving an inheritance to a minor, a trust gives you the

most control over the terms of your gift.

– You tell the trustee how to use the trust assets. The trustee is usually given discretion to use

trust assets for the beneficiary’s health, education, maintenance, and support. But you can

impose additional conditions. For example, you could instruct the trustee to withhold

distributions if the child drops out of school or does some other undesired activity.

– A trust can protect the assets from a beneficiary’s creditors, impulsive spending, or division

to a beneficiary’s spouse in a divorce. Creditors can get at the assets once they are distributed

from the trust, however.

– You can keep your gift in trust after the beneficiary turns 18. You may not want the trust to

end until the beneficiary is 25 or even 30. Termination can be staggered, so that the beneficiary

receives half the trust estate at 25 and the rest at 30, for example.

The challenge of estate planning for blended families 

Version 1: Partially Scripted 

Short Answer: You’re married or about to marry and you have children from a prior marriage or relationship. One estate planning challenge you likely face is how to balance the needs and expectations of your spouse with those of your children. 

Additional Points: 

Spouses in first marriages often leave their estates to each other. 

Why that puts children’s inheritance at risk in blended families. 

How spousal inheritance rights allow a surviving spouse to thwart the deceased spouse’s plan to benefit children. 

Assure listeners that planning can overcome these problems. 

Briefly mention tools that can be useful in blended family estate planning. Version 2: Fully Scripted 

You’re married or about to marry and you have children from a prior marriage or relationship. One estate planning challenge you likely face is how to balance the needs and expectations of your spouse with those of your children. 

In a first marriage, spouses often leave their estates to each other. Each assumes the survivor will use the inheritance for their family and leave what’s left to their children. 

This arrangement doesn’t work for the blended family. 

If you leave your estate to your spouse, she may decide to leave nothing to your children. If your spouse dies without an estate plan, her relatives will inherit everything she owns. 

If, on the other hand, you decide to leave most of your estate to your children, your spouse may thwart your plan. The law in most states gives a surviving spouse the right to claim a minimum percentage of a deceased spouse’s estate. 

With careful planning, you can solve these problems. It’s possible to both provide for a surviving spouse and protect your children’s inheritance. With tools like trusts, life insurance, prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, an estate planning attorney can show you how.

What qualities should I consider in choosing a guardian for my children? 

Version 1: Partially Scripted 

Try to choose someone who: 

– Shares your values and beliefs. . . . 

– Can provide the children with love and emotional support. . . 

– Has financial resources to raise them if necessary. . . 

– Is young and healthy enough to raise them. . . 

– Won’t require the children to re-locate. . . 

– Has good character; no drug, alcohol problems, or significant criminal history. . . 

Version 2: Fully Scripted 

You’ll probably want to choose someone with whom you have shared values, religious beliefs, goals, and parenting styles. 

Try to choose someone your children know and feel comfortable with and who loves your children and will nurture them. Unless you can provide substantial assets, choose someone with the financial resources to raise your children. 

Select someone who is sufficiently young and healthy to care for your children until they reach adulthood. You may want to choose your parents. Consider whether they have the stamina for child rearing and the possibility that they could die while the children are still minors. 

If possible, select a guardian who lives nearby or who is willing to relocate to where the children live. 

Be careful not to choose someone that a court wouldn’t approve, such as a person who has abused drugs or alcohol or who has a criminal record.

Family

What is a no-fault divorce?

Version 1: Partially Scripted

Short  Answer: The “no-fault” standard to dissolve a marriage requires you (or your spouse) to testify that [your marriage is irretrievably broken or whatever the statutory language is in your jurisdiction]. That is, you and your spouse can do nothing to salvage the marriage. Neither spouse has to prove the other’s fault caused the divorce.

Additional Points:

  • Allowed in all states.
  • No need to prove misconduct caused breakdown.
  • Fault is irrelevant except [describe exceptions, e.g., impaired parent, assets wasted on affair, or whatever is appropriate for your state].
  • Pre-filing separation period may be required in some states. [Mention rule in your state re pre-filing separation if there is one.]

Version 2: Fully Scripted

The no-fault standard to dissolve a marriage requires you (or your spouse) to testify that [your marriage is irretrievably broken or whatever the statutory language is in your jurisdiction]. That is, you and your spouse can do nothing to salvage the marriage. Neither spouse has to prove the other’s fault caused the divorce. All states allow no fault divorce.

Fault has no impact on property division, alimony, or custody, except in limited circumstances. [For example, a spouse’s substance abuse may be relevant in a custody case.  A spouse’s diversion of marital assets to finance an affair may affect the property division.  Or use examples pertinent to your state.]

Some states require a couple to live apart for a time before filing for a no fault divorce. [State rule in your state.]

Can my spouse prevent me from getting a divorce?

Version 1: Partially Scripted

Short answer: Your spouse can’t stop your from getting a no fault divorce. But, by refusing to cooperate, he or she can make the process longer, more expensive, and more acrimonious.

Additional points:

Mention how lack of cooperation can delay divorce and increase cost:

  • Need for process server.
  • Failure to participate in good faith in settlement negotiations or mediation.
  • Refusal to settle.
  • Need for a trial.

Version 2: Fully Scripted

Your spouse can’t stop you from getting a no fault divorce. But he or she can make the process longer, more expensive, and more acrimonious.

You‘ll probably need to pay a process server to have your spouse formally served. If your spouse doesn’t answer the divorce [complaint/petition], you can get a default divorce.

If your spouse answers, he or she can make settlement negations difficult and protracted. If your spouse refuses to settle, you’ll need to appear before a judge for a trial. Your spouse must be notified of the date, but the court can grant your divorce even if he or she decides not to show up.

Do I need a lawyer to get a divorce?

Version 1: Partially Scripted

Short answer: You can represent yourself. But that is not a good idea unless you have a simple uncontested case. 

Additional Points:

DIY best for:

  • Short marriage.
  • No kids. 
  • Little property.
  • Both people self-supporting. 
  • Agree on property and debts.

Hire attorney to review final agreement.

Version 2: Fully Scripted

You can represent yourself. But that is not a good idea unless you have a simple uncontested case. 

Do-it-yourself divorces are best when:

  • The marriage is short;
  • You don’t have children; 
  • You don’t own real estate and have little other property;
  • You are both capable of supporting yourselves; 
  • You agree on how to divide your property and debts; and

Even if you fit into this category, you may want to hire an attorney to look over your final agreement.

You need an attorney if you have any other issues. These could include: custody, child support, division of debts and assets, alimony, a family-owned businesses, or out-of-state property, to name but a few. 

Personal injury

How much is my personal injury case worth? 

Version 1: Partially Scripted

Short answer: The value of your personal injury case will depend, in large part, on the answers to the following seven questions:  

#1.  Whose fault was it?  

#2.  What is the nature and severity of your injuries? 

#3.  What story is told in your treatment records and medical bills? 

#4.  How strong is your evidence of lost income? 

#5.  Do you pass the “likeability” test? 

#6.  How strong are your witnesses? 

#7.  How much time has passed since the injury-accident? 

Version 2: Fully Scripted

Short Answer: The value of your personal injury case will depend, in large part, on the answers to the following # questions:  

#1.  Whose fault was it? 

  • Who is to blame for the injury accident? 
  • Comparative fault:  Is the defendant’s fault greater than yours?
  • As your responsibility approaches 50%, the value of your case drops significantly. 

#2.  What is the nature and severity of your injuries?

  • Right or wrong, some injuries are worth more than others.
  • Readily documented and confirmed by objective evidence (e.g., a broken arm) or soft-tissue injury supported by subjective complaints of pain?
  • Permanent or transitory?
  • Prior injury to same body part?

#3.  What story is told in your treatment records and medical bills?

Your case is worth more if:

  • You sought treatment right away 
  • Your treatment well-documented and proportionate to your claimed injuries
  • Your medical bills match your treatment records 

#4.  How strong is your evidence of lost income?

  • How much have you lost in wages/salary/profits? 
  • Is this amount easily calculated, documented, and verifiable? 
  • If not (e.g., if you are self-employed or a gig worker), your claim is worth less. 

#5.  Do you pass the “likeability” test? 

  • If your case were to go to trial, would jurors like you more than the defendant?
  • Would jurors empathize with your situation? 

#6.  How strong are your witnesses? 

  • Objective? 
  • Credible? 

#7.  How much time has passed since the injury-accident? 

  • General rule:  The more time that passes, the lower the value of your case. 
  • Jury will find it harder to empathize with you if your injuries have long since healed and you have returned to your normal life.  
  • Insurers know this and will delay settlement as long possible.  
Should I talk to the other driver’s insurance company?

Version 1: Partially Scripted

No. As a general rule, you should never talk to the other driver’s insurance company. 

If you have filed an insurance claim following an auto accident, you may get a call from the other driver’s insurance company. Here are four things you need to know about that call: 

  1. The claims adjuster is not on your side. 
  2. You do not have to talk to the adjuster.  
  3. You do not have to give a recorded statement. 
  4. You do not have to sign anything or allow the insurance company access to your medical records. 

Bottom line: The entire purpose of this call is to gather evidence that can be used against you.  Refer the adjuster to your insurance company or attorney. 

Version 2: Fully Scripted

Short Answer: No. As a general rule, you should never talk to the other driver’s insurance company. 

If you have filed an insurance claim following an auto accident, you may get a call from the other driver’s insurance company. Here are four things you need to know about that call:

  1. The claims adjuster is not on your side
  • Adjuster works for the insurance company. 
  • Adjuster’s job is to save the insurance company money, not to get you a fair settlement. 

 

  1. You do not have to talk to the adjuster.  
  • Not required by law, rule, regulation or contractual obligation.
  • Against your interests to talk.  

 

  1. You do not have to give a recorded statement.
  • Goal of a recorded statement: To lock you into one specific set of facts and use your statement against you. 
  • Against your interests to give a recorded statement. Don’t do it. 

 

  1. You do not have to sign anything or allow the insurance company access to your medical records
  • Do not sign a records release or agree to allow access to your medical records. 
  • Insurance company releases are broad, to allow for a fishing expedition.
  • Goal: To find evidence to use against you. 

 

Bottom line

  • The entire purpose of this call is to gather evidence that can be used to lower the value of your claim and reduce your settlement. 
  • Smartest course of action:  Say nothing; politely, but firmly, tell the adjuster to contact your insurance company or your personal injury attorney; end the call. 

 

Do I have a strong slip, trip and fall case?

Version 1: Partially Scripted

Short Answer: The strength of your slip/trip and fall case will turn on the legal issue of liability, or fault. If the property owner/manager is at fault for the accident (or, at least, more at fault than you) and you have evidence to prove that, then you have a strong slip/trip and fall case. 

Let’s learn more

  • Claims adjusters tend to be skeptical of slip/trip and fall claims and claimants. 
  • Adjuster will look for ways to shift some (or even all) of the blame to you.
  • Factors the claims adjuster will weigh in determining liability: 
  • External factors, e.g., lighting, weather.
  • Walking surface.
  • Statements and official reports.
  • Photos/videos.
  • Owner’s knowledge of the hazard.
  • Your conduct and decisions leading up to the slip/trip and fall.

Conclusion:  Liability is rarely crystal clear. The more these factors weigh in your favor, the stronger your case will be and the more likely you are to obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Version 2: Fully Scripted

Short Answer: The strength of your slip/trip and fall case will turn on the legal issue of liability, or fault. If the property owner/manager is at fault for the accident (or, at least, more at fault than you) and you have evidence to prove that, then you have a strong slip/trip and fall case. 

Let’s learn more

  • Claims adjusters tend to be skeptical of slip/trip and fall claims and claimants. 

 

  • The adjuster is likely to drag his feet and make a lowball offer unless you have convincing evidence that it was the property owner’s negligence – and not your own carelessness – that caused you to slip or trip and fall. 
  • Adjuster will weigh the following factors in assessing who was at fault: 
  • External factors, e.g., lighting, weather. 
  • Condition of the walking surface, e.g., flat and dry or uneven, steep, slippery, etc. 
  • Statements, e.g., eyewitnesses, accident reports, police reports, sweep logs, EMT records.
  • Admissions. Did anyone apologize or admit fault at the scene?
  • Photos/videos.
  • Whether the owner knew or should have known of the hazard and failed to remedy it, e.g., a history of falls or complaints about the condition of the property; posted warnings; repairs/modifications.
  • Your conduct and decisions leading up to the slip/trip and fall, e.g., What shoes were you wearing? Were you carrying something that obstructed your view of the walkway? Were you watching your step or were you distracted or talking or looking at your phone? Had you been drinking? Were you on medication?

Conclusion

Liability is rarely crystal clear in a slip/trip and fall case.  The greater your perceived fault, the weaker your case will be. On the other hand, the more these factors weigh in your favor, the stronger your case will be and the more likely you are to obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Social Security disability

Can I be denied disability benefits if I fail to follow my doctor’s treatment plan? 

Version 1: Partially Scripted

Short Answer: Yes.  If the treatment your doctor prescribed would have restored your ability to work, then your claim will be denied, unless you can prove that you had “good cause” for not following your doctor’s orders. 

If you are otherwise eligible for disability benefits, but you refused to follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan, SSA will look for answers to two questions

  1. Would the treatment prescribed by your doctor have improved your condition to the extent that you could return to full-time work?  

and, if so, 

  1. Did you have “good cause” for failing to follow the prescribed treatment? 

Would the treatment have allowed you to work? 

  • Treatment means medication, surgery, therapy, and medical equipment and assistive devices (like a cane or prosthetic). 
  • Treatment does not mean recommended lifestyle changes. 
  • If treatment would NOT have restored your ability to work, then the issue is closed and you will be awarded benefits.
  • If treatment WOULD HAVE restored your ability to work, then you will have to answer this question: 

Did you have “good cause” for refusing to follow the treatment plan your doctor prescribed?  

Examples of SSA-approved “good cause”: 

  • Conflicting medical opinions 
  • Alternative prescribed treatment 
  • Religion 
  • Incapacity
  • Intense fear of surgery.
  • This same prescribed treatment has failed in the past (aka been there, done that). 
  • Cost. 
  • High risk of loss of life or limb.      
  • Risk of opioid addiction
  • Other reasons 

We can help. 

If “failure to follow a prescribed treatment” is an issue in your case, you have two options: 

  • Challenge the claim that you failed to follow your doctor’s orders; or 
  • Persuade Social Security that you had good cause. 

We can help you gather additional evidence to overcome this hurdle and win benefits. 

Version 2: Fully Scripted

Short Answer: Yes.  If the treatment your doctor prescribed would have restored your ability to work, then your claim will be denied, unless you can prove that you had “good cause” for not following your doctor’s orders. 

This is important, so let’s dig a little deeper.

If, after reviewing your claim, Social Security determines that you meet all the criteria to be awarded disability benefits, but there is evidence in your file that you refused to comply with your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan, then your claim might be denied. The outcome of your claim will depend on the answers to these two questions: 

Would the treatment prescribed by your doctor have improved your condition to such an extent that you could return to full-time work?  

and, if so,  

Did you have “good cause” to reject the treatment? 

In this context, treatment includes medication, surgery, therapy, and medical equipment and assistive devices (like a cane or prosthetic).  It does not include broad recommendations that you change your lifestyle. For example, if your doctor recommends that you exercise more, or eat more vegetables, or stop smoking, that does not count as prescribed treatment, and you will not be penalized if you fail to do so. 

If Social Security concludes that the prescribed treatment would not have restored your ability to work, then that’s the end of the inquiry. Your reasons for rejecting that treatment are irrelevant, and you will be awarded benefits. 

However, if Social Security finds that the treatment your doctor prescribed would have allowed you to return to work, then you will have to answer the next question:  Did you have “good cause” for refusing to follow the treatment plan your doctor prescribed?   

According to Social Security, you have good cause to reject a prescribed course of treatment if: 

  • Your doctors do not agree, and you get conflicting medical opinions about the wisdom of following the prescribed treatment; or 
  • Your doctors offered different treatment options, so you chose one and rejected the others; or 
  • Your religion does not allow you to follow the prescribed treatment; or
  • You do not have the mental capacity to fully understand the consequences of refusing treatment; or 
  • You have an intense and very real fear of undergoing surgery; or 
  • You already have tried the prescribed treatment and it didn’t work; or 
  • You can’t afford the prescribed treatment; or 
  • The prescribed treatment is too risky – so risky that you fear you might die or lose a limb or vital organ; or      
  • The prescribed treatment includes opioids, and you won’t risk becoming addicted.

This is not an exclusive list. If you have another reason for refusing to go along with your doctor’s treatment plan, Social Security will consider it.  

If “failure to follow a prescribed treatment” is an issue in your case, you have two options:  Challenge the claim that you failed to comply with your doctor’s plan or persuade Social Security that you acted with good cause in refusing to go along.  Either way, you will have to present additional evidence in support of your claim. We can help you gather the evidence you need to get over this hurdle and win the benefits you deserve.  Call us if you’d like to talk about your situation.

What is the “compassionate allowances” program and how does it work?            

Version 1: Partially Scripted

Short Answer:  The Compassionate Allowances program is a way for Social Security to quickly get disability benefits to the claimants with the greatest need. The same rules and procedures apply to Compassionate Allowances claims as to other claims for disability benefits, but these claims are evaluated, processed and approved at a faster rate. 

Let’s learn more.  

Why “Compassionate Allowances”? 

  • The CA program helps Social Security identify claimants whose condition is dire and fast-track their applications for benefits. 
  • Important because the SSA bureaucracy moves slowly. 
  • Reality is that some claimants can’t wait the many months that it typically takes to get a decision on their claim. 

How does it work?  

“Compassionate Allowances” list:  

  • 200+ diseases/conditions that are plainly severe enough to meet the SSA definition of “disabled,” e.g., neurodegenerative disorders (like ALS), brain disorders, numerous cancers, and rare diseases. 
  • Many of the diseases/conditions are terminal; all have significant and difficult symptoms. 
  • Some conditions (e.g., many cancers on the list) have a severity threshold.

If your impairment is on the list: 

  • Your application will be flagged for CA review; no special application or extra forms required.  
  • Your claim must be supported by objective medical evidence, but the quantum of evidence required is much less –just enough for Social Security to confirm your diagnosis.
  • CA review can take as little as a week for approval of your claim, assuming, of course, that you have the required medical evidence. 
  • Average processing time is 19 days.

Questions? Call us today. 

Version 2: Fully Scripted

Short Answer:  The Compassionate Allowances program is a way for Social Security to quickly get disability benefits to the claimants with the greatest need. The same rules and procedures apply to Compassionate Allowances claims as to other claims for disability benefits, but these claims are evaluated, processed and approved at a faster rate. 

Let’s learn more.  

The Compassionate Allowances program helps Social Security identify claimants whose condition is dire and fast-track their applications for benefits. This is important because the Social Security bureaucracy moves slowly.  Practically speaking, this means that most people have to wait months – sometimes more than a year – to get a decision on their claim for benefits. Some claimants, however, don’t have that much time.  It is in recognition of this reality that Social Security created the Compassionate Allowances program.  

It works like this:  

Social Security has compiled a list of more than 200 diseases and conditions that clearly are severe enough to meet its definition of “disabled.”  The “compassionate allowances” list includes neurodegenerative disorders (like ALS), brain disorders, and numerous cancers, as well as rare diseases. Many of the diseases and conditions on the list are known to be terminal, and all of them present daily symptoms that are extremely difficult to deal with. Some of the conditions on the list have a severity threshold you must meet to qualify. For example, some cancers on the list require that your cancer has metastasized or is inoperable or unresectable (i.e., it cannot be completely removed via surgery) and that, even with treatment, your prognosis is poor. 

If your impairment is on the list, your application will be flagged for compassionate allowances review. You don’t have to file any special application or complete any additional forms.  

Social Security will evaluate your claim using the same criteria that it uses to evaluate every other claim for benefits. And, as with any other claim, you will need to present objective medical evidence in support of your claim. However, the amount of evidence you need to provide for a compassionate allowances condition is far less than for a condition that is not on the list — just enough for Social Security to confirm your diagnosis. Nothing more is required. 

Once your application is flagged for compassionate allowances review, it can take as little as a week for your application to be approved, assuming, of course, that your medical evidence is in order. The average processing time is 19 days.

Questions? 

If you have questions about whether your claim might qualify for compassionate allowances review, call us today. We can help.

Tip:  Keep an asthma journal to monitor your symptoms and your “peak expiratory flow” 

Version 1: Partially Scripted

If you’ve been diagnosed with asthma, you may be able to obtain disability benefits if your condition is severe enough to prevent you from working.  

Asthma claims can be challenging because:

  • Symptoms ebb/flow
  • May be well controlled with medication 
  • Asthma journal can help you build a strong claim.

Use your asthma journal to: 

  • Track your symptoms; 
  • Identify triggers;
  • Describe the impact of your symptoms on your daily life; and 
  • Measure and record your peak expiratory flow.  

“Peak expiratory flow” (or “PEF”)

  • Measures how open/constricted your airways are
  • Peak flow meter
  • Peak flow test: 
  • How to?  “Fast blast”
  • Measures how much air you are able to expel in one forceful exhalation
  • Useful for self-monitoring and taking proactive role in treatment 

Now, back to your journal.  

  • Any form is acceptable
  • Guidelines: 
  • Use your own words;
  • Make regular entries; 
  • Include regular (even daily) PEF readings;
  • Be honest; and 
  • Be specific. 

Conclusion:  PEF scores and journal entries work together to provide additional information SSA needs to more accurately assess the severity of your asthma and the extent to which it prevents you from working. 

Questions? We can help. 

Version 2: Fully Scripted

If you’ve been diagnosed with asthma, you may be able to obtain disability benefits if your condition is severe enough to prevent you from working.  

Asthma claims can be challenging because asthma symptoms tend to ebb and flow in response to various triggers and often can be well controlled with medication.  

You can build a stronger claim and improve your odds of winning benefits by keeping an asthma journal.

Use your asthma journal to: 

  • Track your symptoms (e.g., tightness in your chest, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, etc.); 
  • Identify possible asthma triggers (things like dust, cold air, exercise);
  • Describe the impact of your asthma symptoms on your daily life; and 
  • Measure your peak expiratory flow and record the results.  

Let’s talk for just a minute about peak expiratory flow. “Peak expiratory flow” (or “PEF”) is a means of assessing how open or constricted your airways are. To measure your PEF you need a small, hand-held device called a “peak flow meter.” This meter allows you to do peak flow tests from home.  A peak flow test is a simple, painless, “fast blast” test.  You just blow into the meter, and it measures how much air you are able to expel in one forceful exhalation.  A peak flow test is a good way to self-monitor your symptoms and take a proactive role in your healthcare and your asthma treatment. 

Now, back to your journal.  

Your asthma journal can take any form that works for you: a handwritten diary; a computer log; a spreadsheet; or even a large desk calendar. Whatever form you choose, follow these guidelines to get the maximum benefit from your journal: 

  1. Use your own words;
  2. Make regular entries in your journal and be sure to include regular (even daily) PEF readings;
  3. Be honest. Don’t exaggerate your symptoms; and 

Be specific. A detailed journal is a persuasive journal. 

Your PEF scores and your journal entries, together, should paint a vivid picture of the impact of your symptoms on your daily life over an extended period of time. This information will help Social Security more accurately assess the severity of your asthma and the extent to which it prevents you from working. 

If you have questions about how to get started, or other concerns about your asthma claim, call us. We can help.

2C. Prompts for unscripted videos 

Once you have moved from reading scripts word-for-word to using partial scripts or just bullets, and feel more comfortable speaking in front of a camera, consider answering questions like the ones provided below.

The questions can be: 

– Posed by a person off-camera who you respond to

– Spelled out on a slide that appears before your answer

– Asked verbally by you before you answer

However you begin, once you can shoot without a script your videos will appear more natural and will be more engaging.

 

Bankruptcy

Hi, I’m ____ from the Law Offices of ____. We’re a {specialty} firm serving the _____ area. Many clients want to know more about {topic}, so that’s what I’m going to discuss with you today 

[Section 1. For your website’s about page.] 

___ What led you to the law and to representing financially distressed individuals? [We are seeking here to personalize and humanize you, and to build a connection with your viewers. Is there something in your upbringing or past that stands out as a draw to helping people put their financial problems behind them? Can you tell a story that illustrates that pull? If you have a team helping you, mention their assistance.] 

[Section 2. For your website’s about page.] 

___ What are the most rewarding aspects of your work? 

[Here we want to convey your enthusiasm for and dedication to your calling. What gets you excited about coming into the office? What makes you feel you and your firm are making a contribution to society and a difference in people’s lives?] 

[Section 3. For your website’s home page. Pick one.] 

___ How do you help people? 

[Tell us about the condition of financial affairs which new clients bring to you, and then the position they leave after you have helped them. Maybe as an illustration you can tell a story about a particularly-compelling fact pattern that will appeal to your ideal client. And perhaps we can weave in some of your firm’s testimonials and recommendations.] 

___ What about your approach to helping people is your firm especially proud of? [Is there something distinctive about your approach? Is it especially personal and communicative? Or are you streamlined and automated, getting the job done efficiently and promptly? Or maybe it comes from being especially selective about clients so you can devote considerable personal attention to each client’s challenges?] 

___ What can a new client expect once you agree to take them on? [Explain how your service unfolds. Perhaps you can illustrate one or more of the intellectually-challenging aspects of handling a client’s bankruptcy so that the prospective client thinking about using Nolo or internet forms understands the task may not be as simple as envisioned.]

 

Business litigation

Hi, I’m ____ from the Law Offices of ____. We’re a {specialty} firm serving the _____ area. Many clients want to know more about {topic}, so that’s what I’m going to discuss with you today 

[Section 1. For your website’s about page. Pick one.] 

___ What led you to the law and to representing businesses involved in disputes? [We are seeking here to personalize and humanize you, and to build a connection with your viewers. Is there something in your upbringing or past that stands out as a draw to helping people resolve their business disputes? Can you tell a story that illustrates that pull? If you have a team helping you, mention their assistance.] 

___ What are the most rewarding aspects of your work? 

[Here we want to convey your enthusiasm for and dedication to your calling. What gets you excited about coming into the office? What makes you feel you and your firm are making a contribution to society and a difference in people’s lives?] 

[Section 2. For your website’s home page. Pick two.] 

___ How do you help businesses and their owners? 

[Tell us about the situations which new clients bring to you, and then the position they leave after you have helped them. Maybe as an illustration you can tell a story about a particularly-compelling fact pattern that will appeal to your ideal client. And perhaps we can weave in some of your firm’s testimonials and recommendations.] 

___ What about your approach to helping people is your firm especially proud of? [Is there something distinctive about your approach? Is it especially personal and communicative? Or are you streamlined and automated, getting the job done efficiently and promptly? Or maybe it comes from being especially selective about clients so you can devote considerable personal attention to each client’s challenges?] 

___ What can a new client expect once you agree to take them on? 

[Explain how your service unfolds. Perhaps you can illustrate one or more of the intellectually-challenging aspects of handling a business dispute so that the prospective client thinking about going it alone understands the task may not be as simple as envisioned.] 

 

Criminal

[Section 1. For your website’s about page.] 

___ What led you to the law and to representing those charged with crimes? [We are seeking here to personalize and humanize you, and to build a connection with your viewers. Is there something in your upbringing or past that stands out as a draw to helping people caught up in the criminal justice system? Can you tell a story that illustrates that pull? If you have a team helping you, mention their assistance.] 

[Section 2. For your website’s about page.] 

___ What are the most rewarding aspects of your work? 

[Here we want to convey your enthusiasm for and dedication to your calling. What gets you excited about coming into the office? What makes you feel you and your firm are making a contribution to society and a difference in people’s lives?] 

[Section 3. For your website’s home page. Pick one.] 

___ How do you help people? 

[Tell us about the condition of situations which new clients bring to you, and then the position they leave after you have helped them. Maybe as an illustration you can tell a story about a particularly-compelling fact pattern that will appeal to your ideal client. And perhaps we can weave in some of your firm’s testimonials and recommendations.] 

___ What about your approach to helping people is your firm especially proud of? [Is there something distinctive about your approach? Is it especially personal and communicative? Or are you streamlined and automated, getting the job done efficiently and promptly? Or maybe it comes from being especially selective about clients so you can devote considerable personal attention to each client’s challenges?] 

___ What can a new client expect once you agree to take them on? [Explain how your service unfolds. Perhaps you can illustrate one or more of the intellectually-challenging aspects of handling a client’s criminal charges so that the prospective client thinking about using a public defender understands the drawbacks.] 

 

Estates

Hi, I’m ____ from the Law Offices of ____. We’re an estate-planning firm serving the _____ area. Many clients want to know more about {topic}, so that’s what I’m going to discuss with you today

[Section 1. For your website’s about page.]

___ What led you to the law and to helping people?

[We are seeking here to personalize and humanize you, and to build a connection with your viewers.  Is there something in your upbringing or past that stands out as a draw to helping people put their affairs in order?  Can you tell a story that illustrates that pull?  If you have a team helping you, mention their assistance.]

[Section 2. For your website’s about page.]

___ What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?

[Here we want to convey your enthusiasm for and dedication to your calling.  What gets you excited about coming into the office?  What makes you feel you and your firm are making a contribution to society and a difference in people’s lives?]

[Section 3. For your website’s home page.  Pick one.]

___ How do you help people?

[Tell us about the condition of financial affairs which new clients bring to you, and then the position they leave after you have helped them.  Maybe as an illustration you can tell a story about a particularly-compelling fact pattern that will appeal to your ideal client.  And perhaps we can weave in some of your firm’s testimonials and recommendations.]

___ What about your approach to helping people is your firm especially proud of? 

[Is there something distinctive about your approach?  Is it especially personal and communicative?  Or are you streamlined and automated, getting the job done efficiently and promptly?  Or maybe it comes from being especially selective about clients so you can devote considerable personal attention to each family’s estate?] 

___ What can a new client expect once you agree to take them on?

[Explain how your service unfolds.  Perhaps you can illustrate one or more of the intellectually-challenging aspects of organizing a client’s estate so that the prospective client thinking about using Nolo or internet forms understands the task may not be as simple as envisioned.]

 

Family

How do you communicate with clients and keep them informed about what’s happening in their cases? 

[Do you: 

− Give clients a phone number to reach you? Or an email address? 

− Prefer phone calls or email? 

− Have a legal assistant or secretary they can call if you are unavailable? 

− Send them regular updates? How often? (some attorneys write brief progress notes on their bills) 

− Copy them on all letters, pleadings, memos, etc. 

How long does it take you to respond to client calls and emails? 

Add any advice you have for clients about keeping up with their cases and in touch with their lawyer.]

Besides law school, do you have any other training or experience that has made you a better family law attorney? 

[Here you might talk about, for example: 

− The regular CLE you take or teach. 

− Whether you are a certified specialist and what was involved in getting the credential, − Awards you have earned and professional organizations you are active in. 

− Whether you are also trained as a mediator, therapist, counselor, accountant, etc. − Experiences from a previous job or career. 

− Your divorce, if you are divorced. 

− Your experiences as a parent. 

You could even talk about your experience with a particular client or case that had an impact on the way you practice or a person who mentored or trained you. ]

Can you describe your most challenging/memorable/rewarding case?

[This can kick off your collection of case-specific videos.]

 

Personal injury

Hi, I’m ____ from the Law Offices of ____. We’re a {specialty} firm serving the _____ area. Many clients want to know more about {topic}, so that’s what I’m going to discuss with you today 

[Section 1. For your website’s about page.] 

___ What led you to the law and to representing the injured? 

[We are seeking here to personalize and humanize you, and to build a connection with your viewers. Is there something in your upbringing or past that stands out as a draw to helping the injured? Can you tell a story that illustrates that pull? If you have a team helping you, mention their assistance.] 

[Section 2. For your website’s about page.] 

___ What are the most rewarding aspects of your work? 

[Here we want to convey your enthusiasm for and dedication to your calling. What gets you excited about coming into the office? What makes you feel you and your firm are making a contribution to society and a difference in people’s lives?] 

[Section 3. For your website’s home page. Pick one.] 

___ How do you help people? 

[Tell us about the condition in which new clients come to you, both physically and mentally, and then the position they leave after you have helped them. Maybe as an illustration you can tell a story about a particularly-compelling case that will appeal to your ideal client. And perhaps we can weave in some of your firm’s testimonials and recommendations.] 

___ What about your approach to helping people is your firm especially proud of? [Is there something distinctive about your approach? Is it especially personal and communicative? Or are you streamlined and automated, getting the job done efficiently and promptly? Or maybe it comes from being especially selective about case acceptance so you can devote serious effort to each case?] 

___ What can a new client expect once you agree to take their case? [Explain how a case unfolds. Perhaps you can illustrate one or more of the challenging aspects of obtaining a fair settlement with a story about when an insurer dug in its heels and what it took to drag them to the negotiating table. The purpose of this illustration is to persuade the

prospective client thinking of handling his/her own negotiation that the job may not be as simple as envisioned.] 

 

Social Security disability

Hi, I’m ____ from the Law Offices of ____. We’re a {specialty} firm serving the _____ area. Many clients want to know more about {topic}, so that’s what I’m going to discuss with you today 

[Section 1. For your website’s about page. Pick one.] 

___ What led you to the law and to representing disabled individuals? [We are seeking here to personalize and humanize you, and to build a connection with your viewers. Is there something in your upbringing or past that stands out as a draw to helping people unable to work? Can you tell a story that illustrates that pull? If you have a team helping you, mention their assistance.] 

___ What are the most rewarding aspects of your work? 

[Here we want to convey your enthusiasm for and dedication to your calling. What gets you excited about coming into the office? What makes you feel you and your firm are making a contribution to society and a difference in people’s lives?] 

[Section 2. For your website’s home page. Pick two.] 

___ How do you help people? 

[Tell us about the situations of the new clients who come to you, and then the position they leave after you have helped them. Maybe as an illustration you can tell a story about a particularly-compelling fact pattern that will appeal to your ideal client. And perhaps we can weave in some of your firm’s testimonials and recommendations.] 

___ What about your approach to helping people is your firm especially proud of? [Is there something distinctive about your approach? Is it especially personal and communicative? Or are you streamlined and automated, getting the job done efficiently and promptly? Or maybe it comes from being especially selective about clients so you can devote considerable personal attention to each client’s challenges?] 

___ What can a new client expect once you agree to take them on? 

[Explain how your service unfolds. Perhaps you can illustrate one or more of the intellectually-challenging aspects of handling a client’s appeal so that the prospective client thinking about going it alone understands the task may not be as simple as envisioned.] 

 

2D. Scripts for list videos 

In the text world, these are called “listicles.”  They have their own name because they are so popular with information consumers.  

They draw people because they:

— Require minimal effort to consume

— Curate information

— Convey authority

— Are entertaining

 

Bankruptcy

7 Steps to Rebuilding Your Credit After Bankruptcy 

Many people who could benefit from bankruptcy hesitate to file because they believe it will take years, even decades, to rebuild their credit. Not so. You can rebuild your credit after bankruptcy, probably sooner than you think, if you exercise self-discipline and take a step-by-step approach: 

Step 1: Clean up your credit report. 

Lenders rely on your credit report when deciding whether to extend credit to you, so you want to make sure it is accurate. Look for errors like these: 

  • An outstanding balance on an account that was discharged in bankruptcy; 
  • Late payment notations when you paid on time; 
  • Closed accounts that are listed as open; 
  • Paid accounts listed as unpaid; or 
  • Duplicate entries. 

If you find an error, report it and follow up until it is corrected. 

Step 2: Create a budget and stick to it. 

Rebuilding your credit requires self-discipline, and discipline demands a budget. Once you know your monthly expenses as compared to your monthly income, you can begin to make smarter financial decisions. 

Step 3: Make a habit of paying all your bills on time. 

Establish a bill-paying routine and be disciplined about following through with it each month. A strong payment history will be the most important factor in raising your credit score. 

Step 4: Apply for new credit. 

You need to establish new credit in order to build credit and generate a FICO number. There are several ways to do this. You could: 

Obtain an unsecured credit card. You will probably receive multiple credit card offers when your bankruptcy is completed. Why? Because banks know you cannot file for bankruptcy again for several years, and they can sue you and garnish your wages if you default. Read the fine print before you sign anything. 

Become an authorized user on an unsecured credit card. Because the cardholder is responsible for paying the bill, you don’t even need to use the card to bolster your credit, as long as the bank is reporting the card activity to the credit bureaus. 

Apply for a secured credit card. It works like this: You deposit a sum of money into a bank account and that sum, or a percentage of that sum, becomes your credit limit. To boost your credit score, charge small amounts each month and pay the balance in full and on time.

Apply for a secured loan. This works like a secured credit card. For example, you agree to leave $500 in your savings account, in exchange for a loan of $500. 

Another way to establish new credit is to obtain an installment loan. One type of installment loan you may be able to get is an auto loan. Some lenders will extend this type of credit to individuals within a few months of bankruptcy discharge. 

Step 5: Make timely payments and keep your balance low. 

As I’ve mentioned, your payment history is a critical piece in establishing your credit score. So, once you obtain new credit, pay your bill on time and in full. If a zero-balance is not possible, then keep your balance at or below 30% of your credit limit. 

Step 6: Take a measured approach to building new credit

A rush to open multiple new lines of credit in a short period of time will undermine your efforts to rebuild your credit. Keep the number of credit accounts you open to a minimum – just one or two — and spread your applications over time. 

Step 7: Check your credit score and monitor your credit report. 

Check your credit score regularly, and check your credit report every six-to-nine months. Make sure any newly obtained credit is being tracked consistently and accurately. 

So, to sum up: Although a bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for up to ten years, you can minimize the negative impact in about 18 months if you are disciplined in your approach to your finances. The key will be to establish a strong payment history and to keep your credit card balance low, relative to your spending limit. 

 

Business litigation

6 Factors a Business Lawyer Will Consider in Evaluating Your Case 

Do I have a case? 

I’m asked that question often, by business owners trying to figure out what exactly they are dealing with. A dispute surely is brewing, but is it a misunderstanding that might be resolved with a phone call or two, or is it a more serious issue that might justify a lawsuit? 

To help you assess whether legal action makes sense, we’ll consider a number of different factors, starting with liability. Is the other party to the dispute liable – that is, legally responsible – for the harm you and your business have suffered? To put it another way, can you hold the other party accountable under one or more legal theories, such as breach of contract, or unfair competition or fraud? If liability is clear, you have a stronger case. If liability is questionable, or if the other party could raise an affirmative defense or a counterclaim that would excuse it from liability or limit your damages, then your case is weaker. 

That brings us to the next factor we’ll consider: your damages. “Damages” is the legal term for the harm your business has suffered as a result of the other party’s wrongful conduct. If your business suffered no harm, then you likely have no case, even if the defendant’s liability is clear. If the damages are speculative or uncertain, then you may have a case, but your case is weaker than if your damages are readily quantifiable. Lost profits, for example, are easier to quantify than is harm to your business’ reputation. 

A third factor we’ll consider in evaluating your situation is the potential defendant. Does the potential defendant have assets to satisfy a judgment and/or insurance that might be applied to a settlement? If not, you and I both could invest a great deal of time, money and effort in pursuing your claim and end up with a “win” in name only, without you ever seeing any actual compensation for the harm done to you. 

Another factor we consider is the strength of your evidence, including your “jury appeal.” Do you have documents that support your case? How strong are your witnesses? How strong of a witness will you be? To put it more bluntly: Will a jury like you? Even if your case never gets to trial, your jury appeal is important because the insurance company will consider it in valuing your case for settlement. 

Forum issues also must be considered. Where would a lawsuit be filed? In federal court or state court? If state court, in which state? This issue may be governed by the terms of a contract or, in the absence of a contract provision, we may have a choice about where to file a lawsuit, which could work to your advantage. Likewise, if your dispute arises from a written contract, the contr act may include an arbitration provision that bars you from seeking relief in court. Even without a mandatory arbitration clause, some form of alternative dispute resolution – like mediation or settlement negotiations between the parties – might be favorable to letting a jury resolve the matter. 

Finally, the last factor we consider in evaluating whether and what type of legal action makes sense is you and your mindset. Resolving a business dispute can be expensive, time-consuming and physically,

mentally and emotionally draining, especially if we have to file a lawsuit. Are you prepared to take this journey? 

If you are dealing with a business dispute, you don’t have to worry over it alone. Call us. We can assess your legal options in light of the case evaluation factors we’ve discussed here and help you determine your next best step.

 

Criminal

3 Effective Drunk Driving Defenses

#1. Improper stop

The police cannot stop a car at random hoping to catch an impaired driver. The officer must have a reasonable, articulable suspicion of unlawful conduct. Isolated incidents of weaving or other “bad driving” are not always enough for a legal stop.  

#2. No probable cause to arrest

The officer must have probable cause to believe the driver is under the influence.

The officer may claim that the driver had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or an unsteady gait. These behaviors may have innocent explanations like fatigue, illness, or anxiety.

The officer may claim the driver failed field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are difficult for most people to pass.  Police often administer them incorrectly.  Poor performance can be explained by injury, footwear, roadside conditions, or nerves.

#3. Untrustworthy test results

Test results can be questioned. Police and lab personnel do not always follow proper testing procedures. The breath machine can malfunction. Falsely high results can be caused by medical conditions, injuries, the timing of the test, and other factors. Blood samples can be contaminated if not properly collected, preserved, and stored.

When supported by the facts, these defenses can lead to dismissal of the case, a favorable plea deal, or a not guilty verdict.

 

Estates

5 Goals You Can Accomplish with an Estate Plan

Caption: #1. You decide who gets your property.

Narration: An estate plan lets you decide who gets your property after you die. If you die without an estate plan, state law determines who gets your property and in what shares. The state’s plan may not be what you want.  For example, the state scheme will not let you:

  • Leave unequal shares of your estate to your children.
  • Disinherit a child.
  • Leave property to a spouse for life and then to children from a prior marriage.
  • Leave a gift to a grandchild, more distant relative, life partner, or friend.
  • Leave a gift to charity. 

Caption: #2 You can avoid probate.

Narration: An estate plan lets you avoid or minimize the delay and expense of probate. Probate, the court-supervised process of distributing your estate, can be time-consuming and expensive.  You can eliminate probate or minimize the assets that need to be probated with estate planning techniques such as a revocable living trust, transfer on death deeds, and beneficiary designations.

Caption: #3 You can choose a guardian for your children.

Narration: An estate plan lets you choose a guardian for your minor children and a person to manage their inheritance. If you and your children’s other parent are dead or incapacitated, a court will appoint a guardian for them. Usually, the court will appoint the person you choose in your will. If you don’t name a guardian, family members could fight over the job. The court could name someone you don’t trust.

Caption: #4 You can provide for your incapacity.

Narration: An estate plan lets you provide for your incapacity. With a durable power of attorney, you can choose a person to manage your finances if you are incapacitated. With a health care power of attorney, you can choose a person to make medical decisions for you when you no longer can.  In a living will, you can provide written guidelines about what type of end-of-life treatment you want.

Caption: #5 You can minimize estate taxes.

Narration: An estate plan lets you minimize estate taxes. If you have a substantial estate, your estate plan can incorporate tax-saving trusts. A bypass trust ensures both spouses fully use their estate tax exemptions. A marital deduction trust avoids estate tax when the first spouse dies. An irrevocable life insurance trust removes life insurance proceeds from an insured’s estate, and other irrevocable trusts transfer wealth from a parent’s estate without giving the child beneficiary immediate control over assets. 

 

Family

7 Ways to Protect Your Assets During Divorce

Divorce is a stressful and life-changing event. Although you may feel you have little control over the process, there are some things you can do to safeguard your interests and ensure you come out of the process in a financially stable position.

(1) Do not confuse “protecting” your assets with “hiding” your assets. You can protect your assets from being dissipated, but you cannot hide your assets to keep them from your spouse. Any “hidden” assets will not stay hidden for long. A savvy private investigator will find them, and the court will punish you for your deception.

(2) Know what you have. Create a record – a detailed list or a video inventory – of the contents of your home on a particular day. Note the location and the condition of each item.

(3) Make copies of important financial records. Make three copies of your important records – financial statements, tax returns, deeds, etc. Give one copy to your spouse; give one copy to your attorney; and store the third copy in a safe deposit box or other secure location away from your home.

(4) Begin to establish financial independence. Open a separate checking account, in your name only, if you do not already have one. Talk with your spouse and your divorce attorney about closing joint bank accounts and canceling joint credit cards; as a group, determine how best to share the funds and apportion the debt.

(5) Be vigilant. Check your credit report regularly so that you will not be caught off guard by a loan application, or charges to a new credit card, or other activity. Put a freeze on any joint savings or investment accounts; obtain and review regular statements for these accounts.

(6) Don’t overlook retirement plans and life insurance. If your spouse has a pension plan, retirement account, or life insurance in his or her own name, obtain a current statement and a copy of the plan.

(7) Don’t make emotional decisions. You can be emotional about your divorce, but not about your financial decisions. Decisions of this magnitude are best made with the advice of knowledgeable and experienced professionals – a divorce attorney, a tax attorney, a financial planner. 

Seek professional advice before making any major financial decisions during your divorce.

 

Personal injury

10 Topics Your Personal Injury Attorney Will Discuss With You at Your First Meeting 

Your first meeting with a personal injury attorney is an information-gathering session. To determine whether you have a viable case, the attorney will ask questions and talk with you about these ten topics: 

  1. Your background;  
  2. The event that caused your injuries;
  3. The nature and severity of your injuries;
  4. Your medical providers and treatment history;
  5. Your medical history;
  6. Your accident history;
  7. Your present employment situation; 
  8. Insurance coverage that might be available to you;
  9. Witnesses to the injury-accident; and 
  10. The impact of the injury-accident on your enjoyment of life.

Though these questions may feel intrusive, everything you tell the attorney is confidential. Therefore, it is important to be open and honest with the attorney, in order to get an accurate assessment of your situation.

 

Caption

Topic #1: Your Background  

Narration 

First, your attorney will gather some basic background information including: your full name; your age; your address and contact information; your marital and family situation; your education history; and your employment history. 

Having gathered this background information, your attorney will move on to questions about the injury-accident.

 

Caption

Topic #2:  The Event That Caused Your Injuries

Narration

When asked about the injury-accident, provide as much information as you can, and be as detailed and specific as possible. What was the date of the accident?  At what time of day did the accident occur? What were you doing before the accident occurred? What do you remember about the accident itself? What do you remember about the immediate aftermath of the accident? 

 

Caption 

Topic #3:  The Nature and Severity of Your Injuries 

Narration 

Next, your lawyer will ask about injuries to various parts of your body. Do not be shy. Describe the nature of your injuries and the symptoms you experienced and continue to experience as a result of the accident. For example, you might say: 

My head hit the steering wheel, and I sustained a concussion and a large bump and gash on my forehead.  The gash on my head was painful, and the concussion symptoms lingered for months. Even today, I still experience headaches and dizziness. I rarely leave the house anymore because I’m so embarrassed by the giant scar on my forehead. 

Your lawyer will ask about your recovery and your prognosis for the future. Be honest. Try not to exaggerate or minimize your situation. 

 

Caption 

Topic #4:  Your Medical Providers and Treatment History

Narration 

Now that you have described your injuries, your lawyer will want to know about all of the medical treatment you have received in relation to the injury-accident, including who provided the treatment and where.  All treatment includes emergency treatment at the scene, as well as subsequent treatment provided at a hospital or clinic by a physician, surgeon, radiologist, physical therapist, psychologist or counselor, etc. Because this information is so important, your lawyer will ask pointed questions and want detailed answers. You may find it helpful to create a list of your medical providers ahead of time and bring this list with you to refresh your memory.  

 

Caption 

Topic #5:  Your Medical History 

Narration 

Your personal injury lawyer will want to know about any significant events or issues in your medical history. Your lawyer may ask, for example, “Prior to this injury-event, were you a generally healthy person?” “Have you sustained any injuries (regardless of the cause) to the same part of your body that was injured in this accident?”  “How was that injury resolved?” 

 

Caption 

Topic #6:  Your Accident History 

Narration 

Expect your lawyer to ask questions like: Have you been in any prior accidents, whether or not you were injured? Did you file an insurance claim in relation to that accident? How was that claim resolved? Have you ever filed for Social Security disability or workers’ compensation? 

 

Caption 

Topic #7:  Your Present Employment Situation 

Narration 

Another topic of conversation will be your current employment situation and how your injury has affected your ability to work. For example, your lawyer might ask: Who is your employer? What is your income? What type of physical activity is required to do your job? How much time have you lost from work? Do you anticipate losing more work time? What work-related losses have you suffered as a result of this incident; for example, have you lost income? benefits? a promotion? training opportunities? etc.? 

 

Caption 

Topic #8:  Insurance Coverage

Narration

If you have information about the defendant’s insurance coverage (that is, coverage that might be available to you through the person who caused your injuries), bring that with you to the meeting.  In addition, share with your lawyer information about all potentially available insurance coverage you have, including auto, health, and homeowner’s.

 

Caption 

Topic #9:  Witnesses

Narration

Objective witnesses can play an important role in proving your personal injury case. Can you identify any eyewitnesses to the incident? Can you think of anyone else (not an eyewitness) who might be a potential witness? Think, for example, about a “before and after” witness who could testify about how the accident and your injuries have changed you. 

 

Caption 

Topic #10:  Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Narration 

One final topic your lawyer is likely to discuss with you is the physical, mental and emotional impact of your injuries on your daily life. Your lawyer will ask, for example, “What were you able to do before the accident that you are not able to do now, or are able to do only with difficulty or pain?”  

 

Social Security disability

5 Tips to Improve Your Chances of Obtaining SSD Benefits 

Hi, I’m ____ from the Law Offices of ____. We’re a {specialty} firm serving the _____ area. Many clients want to know more about {topic}, so that’s what I’m going to discuss with you today 

Today I’m going to share with you five things you can do to improve your chances of obtaining Social Security disability benefits. 

#1. Pay attention to the paperwork. 

Social Security will ask you to provide a great deal of personal information and complete a small mountain of paperwork in support of your application for disability benefits. The whole process can feel unnecessarily intrusive and more than a little overwhelming. However, it’s critical that you comply with these requests. If you fail to complete the required forms accurately and promptly, or if you provide limited or incomplete information, especially with regard to your medical providers, your claim is likely to be denied or, at best, any award of benefits will be delayed. 

#2. Be a good patient. 

One of the most important things you can do in support of your claim for disability benefits is to take care of your health. See your treating doctor regularly. Follow through with all prescribed treatment plans and do not stop treatment until you are released by your doctor. Disability benefits are awarded to individuals who have a severe physical or mental impairment that is diagnosed by a medical professional and supported by objective medical evidence. If your medical records reveal lengthy gaps in treatment or that you stopped treatment altogether, your claim is likely to be denied. 

#3. Keep a contemporaneous record of your medical care. 

Social Security will gather your medical records in support of your initial application for disability benefits, but if your claim is denied, you will have the opportunity to present additional medical evidence in support of your appeal. This will be easier to do, and far less stressful for you, if you keep good records from the outset. Here are some ways you might do this: 

  • Set up a folder to hold all documents related to your medical treatment. 
  • Keep a separate calendar just for medical appointments. 
  • Collect a business card from every doctor or medical facility you visit. 
  • Keep your receipts and empty prescription bottles for all medications you take. 

#4. Keep a symptom diary. 

A symptom diary is a written record of the nature and severity of your symptoms and the impact of your symptoms on your daily life. This record can be critical to the success of your claim because it will help you provide detailed, compelling testimony at your hearing, even if (as is likely) the hearing takes place many months after your initial application is denied. To get the maximum value from your symptom diary, follow these guidelines: 

  • Make regular entries; 
  • Use your own words; 
  • Be honest; and 
  • Provide details that paint a picture of the impact of your impairment on your daily life.

Finally, 

#5 Be persistent. 

Most initial applications for Social Security disability benefits are denied, as are most written requests for reconsideration. However, the odds favor the persistent. More than half of the individuals who appeal their claim to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge are awarded benefits. 

So, if your claim is denied, don’t give up. Appeal! 

Your denial letter will explain the appeal process, but if you have questions or concerns, reach out to an experienced Social Security disability attorney without delay. You have only a limited time in which to file an appeal. 

All of these tips are effective and simple (but not necessarily easy) ways to bolster your claim. If you would like more information, or if you have questions about Social Security disability, call us at ###-###-#### to schedule a free consultation.

Video Marketing Scripts for Lawyers, Part 1

Video Marketing Scripts for Lawyers, Part 1

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Planning and topics
1A. Envisioning collections
1B. Educational videos
1C. Salesy videos
1D. Sample collection action plans
2. Pattern scripts and examples
2A. Scripted FAQ videos
2B. Partially-scripted videos – Included in Part 2
2C. Prompts for unscripted videos – Included in Part 2
2D. Scripts for list videos – Included in Part 2

Introduction

For years video marketing has been under-utilized by lawyers, but we are at long last seeing them adopt it as a core marketing tool.

Three big advantages

A. Draws the right clients. Client relationships frequently require that you work with individuals over extended periods.  When those relationships don’t click, the experience can be painful.

Videos let prospective clients get to know you before they call.  If they don’t feel comfortable, they will go elsewhere.  Conversely, prospects who are drawn to your personality and style of lawyering will call your office first.

This process naturally pulls in clients you want to work with, and weeds out those who seek a different personality and style of lawyering.

B. Conveys your distinctiveness.  Lawyers seem to have finally learned that video is the easiest and surest way to distinguish them and their firms from their competition.  

Their websites and ads certainly do not.  Consumers have long been unable to point to any material differences between lawyers based on text copy and still images they find online.  The websites and ads all look and read similarly, despite their creators’ claims to the contrary.

But show prospects your face, let them hear your voice, explain how you approach various legal scenarios, and those prospects will quickly form a distinctive opinion about you.  You will no longer have to struggle with ways to separate yourself from the pack.

C. Great teaching tool. Video also has the advantage of being a hugely popular way to learn.  Prospective legal clients need to get up to speed quickly, and many turn to video to learn about their new challenge.

The more accurately a video addresses the prospect’s situation, the more likely the prospect will conclude that the speaker is the right lawyer to work with.  Consequently, the larger your video collection, the more prospects your videos will persuade that you are the lawyer to call.

This book addresses that challenge head on, showing and telling you how to create a large and diverse collection of videos that prospects will find persuasive, so dive in and learn. 

If you need help implementing any of the book’s content or suggestions, our done-for-you Marketing Amplifier service described at the end of this article can help you create engaging custom videos for your website and social pages.  Many of the examples you find in this guide were shot and edited by us for our Amplifier subscribers.

Kara Prior, Founder
James Amplifier

Creative social media for lawyers

Planning and topics

 

1A. Envisioning collections
1B. Educational videos
1C. Salesy videos
1D. Sample collection action plans

Just as you or your agency did when you were creating your law firm’s website, you will want to at least partially plan the video library you intend to create.  At minimum, you should list the categories you will begin with, plus what you might next expand into.

You are more likely to build a well organized and complementary set of video collections if you first visualize and outline what you would like to end up with.  This chapter will help you do exactly that.

 

1A. Envisioning collections

As with every type of online marketing, starting to produce videos and then stopping a short time later will only result in failure.  If you want your videos to generate calls and clients, you need to make producing them an integral and regular part of your marketing efforts.

As a result, you want to plan on building collections of videos.  As when writing a brief, a pamphlet, a lengthy article, or anything of substantial size, your collections will be better organized if you first outline them.  

We do this with the collections we have created by dividing the legal video universe into categories, and then listing potential topics in each category.  If a particular category is large, we add subcategories.

We begin this organizational process by dividing the legal video universe into two camps: educational and salesy.  

 

1B. Educational videos

These are our favorite videos to produce, for we strongly believe that in online marketing, teaching is more effective than selling.  In the digital world, the most prolific teachers are usually the ones generating clients at the lowest cost.   

We recommend you begin by answering questions commonly asked of you by prospects and new clients.  These videos will be the easiest for you to write and shoot, as you have had prior practice answering the questions.

These videos will also save you time, for you can refer clients to the videos when they have questions.  Additionally, prospects and clients who do their own research will have reviewed these videos before they meet with you, so you won’t have to answer their same basic questions as often as you used to.  

Some potential FAQ topics are:

Bankruptcy

– How will I know when I need to file bankruptcy?

– What common mistakes do debtors make before filing for bankruptcy?

– How long does a bankruptcy case take?

– Can I keep using my credit cards if I’m planning to file for bankruptcy?

– Will I lose all my property if I go bankruptcy?

– Isn’t a credit-repair company a better option than bankruptcy?

– Which debts are not discharged in bankruptcy?

Can bankruptcy help me if I am behind on my mortgage or my home is in foreclosure?

– Can bankruptcy help if I am behind on my car payments or if my car has already been repossessed?

– Can bankruptcy help me if my wages have been garnished?

Business litigation

– What are the ways in which a party can breach a contract?

– What does a plaintiff have to prove in a breach of contract case?

– In what situations is the plaintiff excused from performing?

– What is a material breach of contract?

– What is an anticipatory breach of contract?

– What is the parol evidence rule?

– What strategies can a defendant use to defend against a breach of contract claim?

– What are some common affirmative defenses to breach of contract?

– What are the remedies for breach of contract?

– If negotiating a settlement before a lawsuit doesn’t work out, what is the first step in formal dispute resolution?

Criminal

– How far can the police go when conducting a “search incident to arrest”?

– How does the “plain view” exception to the warrant rule work?

– My loved one has been arrested. What should I do? 

– What happens after an arrest? 

– How does a prosecutor decide whether to file charges? 

– What if the alleged victim in my case does not want to press charges? Does that mean the charges will be dropped? 

– What are the possible grounds for a “motion to suppress”?

– How does the judge decide whether to allow or suppress the evidence? 

– If I am offered a plea bargain, should I take it? 

– What rights do I give up if I agree to a plea bargain?

Estates

— Do I need to have a certain amount in assets to make a will?

— What property passes under a will and what property does not?

— Can I disinherit a child?

— Will a revocable living trust avoid or reduce estate, gift, and income taxes?

— Will a revocable living trust protect my assets from creditors?

— Do I still need a will if I have a revocable living trust?

— What property should I transfer into my revocable living trust?

— Can I move property in and out of my revocable living trust?

— Why do I need a durable power of attorney?

— Should I have both a living will and a DPOA for health care?

Family

– I want to file for divorce; does it matter who files first? 

– I am afraid my spouse will react harshly to the divorce, what should I do to prevent this? 

– I am afraid my spouse will move out and take the children. Is there anything I can do to prevent this? 

– My ex is not paying court-ordered child support, is there anything I can do? 

– My ex is denying me court-ordered possession of the children. Can I stop paying child support? 

– What happens with the house in a divorce? 

– How do I get a fair share of my spouse’s retirement upon divorce? 

– Can my spouse be ordered to provide for college expenses for my children? 

– What if my spouse spent or wasted a lot of our property during the marriage? 

– My spouse has a history of alcohol and drug abuse. What can I do to protect my children from this? 

Personal injury

— Should I go to the doctor after a car accident? 

— The insurance company told me that I don’t need to hire a lawyer. Is this true? 

— How do you determine the value of my claim?

— What is the difference between personal injury protection and medical payments insurance?

— Can a lawyer settle my case without my consent? 

— What questions will I be asked during my deposition? 

— How long will my personal injury case take? 

— Do I have to be present for court appearances? 

— Will I be able to recover punitive damages for my injuries? 

— Will I have to pay anything in order for you to handle my case?

Social Security disability

– How can I tell if I am disabled enough to apply for Social Security disability benefits?

– Do I have to be unable to do any job to qualify for benefits?

– When should I apply for disability benefits?

– I was unable to work for a while, but my health is improved and I can now

work. Am I entitled to benefits or is it too late for me to apply?

– My claim for disability benefits was denied. How do I appeal?

– Is an appeal worth the effort?

– When is the best time for me to get a lawyer involved in my case?

– How much does a disability lawyer cost?

– What are hearings like?

– How long will it take for a hearing to be held and a decision to be issued?

1C. Salesy videos

These videos are not direct sales pitches, but we put them in the sales category because they address prospects who are further along the decision-making path and closer to placing a call than prospects who are watching FAQ, whitesheet, or takeaway videos.

These following three types of videos are especially powerful persuaders, so we encourage you to seriously consider building collections of each.

(1) Past scenarios.  Prospects are seeking a lawyer who has experience with their situation.  A collection of past-scenario videos helps you show a percentage of your prospects that you have served a client with a situation similar to theirs.  The larger your collection, the greater the odds that a match will arise.

These videos lend themselves to storytelling, since they have a beginning and an end, which will naturally lead to an interesting video.  And you shouldn’t need to prepare a script or even bullets, especially if you shoot the video shortly after completing your service and while your memory is fresh.

 

[Designer: insert example of one or two past-case videos here]

[Andrew: those videos can be found on the Creating Great Legal Videos PDF]

(2) First conversations.  Before making a first call to a law firm, prospects are unsure what to expect.  Showing them what a first conversation is like will go a long way in reducing that uncertainty and making it mentally easier to pick up their phones.

As with previously-handled scenarios, these first conversations can be tailored to different fact patterns you commonly handle.  Again, if a prospect sees their scenario they are more likely to figure you know how to handle the prospect’s situation and won’t be learning at their expense. 

 

[Designer: insert example of a role-playing video here]

[Andrew: those videos can be found on the Creating Great Legal Videos PDF]

(3) Why use an attorney. A portion of your website visitors will be unsure of the value of your service and questioning whether they need representation.  From the perspective of a lay person on the outside looking in, the work you do may not seem that complex.  

A video providing some insight into the pitfalls that await the inexperienced, the work required to surmount the many coming hurdles, and the hard-won knowledge from years of specialized practice can quickly dispel a prospect’s belief that your assistance is unneeded or not worth the money.

 

[Designer: insert example of finished “this is what I do” video here]

[Andrew: those videos can be found on the Creating Great Legal Videos PDF]

(4) Client testimonial.  These videos are equally persuasive, and you don’t need a lot of them.  In fact, you don’t even need to be involved in obtaining them.  Ask a team member to contact happy clients, learn which ones will let you record and publicize a Zoom session with them.

Then have the team member interview the client.  Don’t worry about constructive criticism being included.  In fact, you want to seek it out, for it will both help you improve and make the video more believable.

If you are just starting out and don’t yet have finished matters with happy clients, ask an attorney friend to sing your praises over a recorded Zoom session.  In exchange, you can do the same for him or her.

 

[Designer: insert one or two examples of finished testimonial video(s) here]

[Andrew: those videos can be found on the Creating Great Legal Videos PDF]

1D. Sample collection action plans

Pulling this chapter’s recommendation together into six-month action plans, the following outlines provide some potential video-creation templates for you to follow.  

We provide two different plan sizes, which vary in their comprehensiveness and how many videos are required to execute them.  Outlines, scripts, and slides to help you get started on implementation are provided in Chapter 2.

(1) Conservative action plan: two videos/month

— Calendar regular day and time for shoots at the pace of one each month.

— Select two initial categories (recommendation — FAQs and Previously-Handled Scenarios).

— Choose your first two topics (recommendation — an FAQ and your most recent scenario handled).   

— Shoot your first FAQ video and send it to your selected outsourcer for editing.

— Provide the FAQ video to your agency for posting.

— Repeat every two weeks, alternating between FAQ and Past Scenario videos.

(2) Aggressive action plan: four videos/month

— Calendar regular day and time for shoots at the pace of one every other week.

— Select three initial categories (recommendation — FAQs, Past Scenarios, and Testimonials).

— Choose your first two topics (recommendation — FAQ and your most recent scenario handled) and your most recent scenario handled), and identify several satisfied past clients.

— Shoot your first FAQ video and send it to your selected outsourcer for editing.

— Provide the FAQ video to your agency for posting.

— Begin calling satisfied past clients to request testimonials.  If yes, immediately switch over to Zoom and ask them to concisely tell the story of their engagement, from contacting you to completed plan.

— Shoot a new video every week, rotating through FAQs, Past Scenarios, and Testimonials as available.

 

Pattern scripts and examples

2A. Scripted FAQ videos
2B. Partially-scripted videos
2C. Prompts for unscripted videos
2D. Scripts for list videos

In this chapter we do the hard work for you.  Instead of having to draft your own scripts, we provide a number of ready-to-use, specialty-specific manuscripts.  

If you are already creating videos, simply review our copy and make any changes needed, and then incorporate them into your next shoots.

If you haven’t yet begun to create videos, read chapter 3 for tips on setup, rehearsing, and delivery before getting started with our scripts.

2A. Scripted FAQ videos

The number of frequently-asked questions that you can answer is nearly endless (see section 1B for starter topics).  

We recommend that you begin with broad-appeal questions and then gradually add narrower topics.  Below are several scripts to help you get started.

After you have created a few FAQ videos, you should find that you only need bullets rather than scripts to organize your thoughts and keep you on track during your presentation.

 

Bankruptcy

Is My Situation Bad Enough to File Bankruptcy?

[Estimated reading time: 3:08 (621 words)]

Hi, I’m ____ from the Law Offices of ____. We’re a {specialty} firm serving the _____ area. Many clients want to know more about {topic}, so that’s what I’m going to discuss with you today

If you are struggling financially and worried about paying your bills, you might be wondering:  Is my situation bad enough to file bankruptcy? 

As a bankruptcy lawyer, I’m asked that question often, by folks just like you – good, responsible people who find themselves in debt due to unforeseen and traumatic circumstances. I wish I could give you an easy answer, but there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “Is it time to file bankruptcy?” 

Whether bankruptcy is the right remedy for you at this time depends on your specific circumstances.  There are, though, common benchmarks you can rely on to help guide you in making this important decision.  Let’s review those benchmarks: 

Benchmark #1:  Still Time to Consider Other Options 

In the early stages of financial distress, you may be struggling to pay all of your bills each month, and may even have fallen behind on a bill and been called by a collection agency. You may have little or no savings. You may have lost your job recently and, along with it, your health insurance. 

At this stage, bankruptcy is not your only option, and may not be the best option, but you have to take action to get control of your finances. 

  • At a minimum, you’ll need to cut back on your non-essential expenses, make a budget, and stick to it. 
  • This is a good time to try negotiating with your creditors. Depending on the nature of the debt and the creditor, you may be able to negotiate a reduced payment; a reduced interest rate; or a manageable payment plan. 
  • Finally, it might be helpful to talk with a reputable debt counselor.  
Benchmark #2:  Time To Consider Bankruptcy 

Do any of the following apply to you:  

  • You are two or more months behind on two or more debts.
  • You are paying for necessities with credit cards.
  • You are using one credit card to make the minimum payment on another credit card.
  • You have more credit card debt than you can pay off over five years.
  • You have high medical bills that aren’t covered by insurance.
  • You owe taxes you cannot pay.  

If any one of these factors applies, then your situation has moved beyond Benchmark #1, and it’s time to reassess.  Bankruptcy may be the smart decision. At this point, you should give serious thought to consulting with a bankruptcy attorney to learn more about your rights and legal options.  

Benchmark #3:  Time To File Bankruptcy 

It’s time to file bankruptcy if: 

  • Your wages have been garnished.
  • Your bank account has been frozen.
  • Your home is in foreclosure.
  • Your car has been or is about to be repossessed. 
  • You’ve been sued on a debt. 

If any of these situations applies to you, reach out to a bankruptcy attorney without delay. As a debtor, you have rights, but you have to act quickly to protect those rights.  For example, you have only a limited amount of time to respond to a lawsuit. If you don’t respond, the lawsuit will result in a judgment, and a judgment gives a creditor powers and remedies it might not otherwise have. 

In Closing 

The best advice I can offer you is this: Don’t wait until you hit these last benchmarks of financial distress to reach out for help. If you are struggling to pay your bills, piling up credit card debt and dodging creditors, call us at ###-###-#### for a free and confidential consultation. With time and some advance planning, we can help you protect your home and preserve more of your assets, and if bankruptcy is inevitable, put you in a better position to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy.

 

Business litigation

How Will a Business Lawyer Evaluate My Case? 

[Estimated reading time 3:10] 

Hi, I’m ____ from the Law Offices of ____. We’re a {specialty} firm serving the _____ area. Many clients  want to know more about {topic}, so that’s what I’m going to discuss with you today

Do I have a case?  

I’m asked that question often, by business owners trying to figure out what exactly they are dealing with. A dispute surely is brewing, but is it a misunderstanding that might be resolved with a phone call or two, or is it a more serious issue that might justify a lawsuit? 

To help you assess whether legal action makes sense, we’ll consider a number of different factors, starting with liability.  Is the other party to the dispute liable – that is, legally responsible – for the harm you and your business have suffered? To put it another way, can you hold the other party accountable under one or more legal theories, such as breach of contract, or unfair competition or fraud? If liability is clear, you have a stronger case. If liability is questionable, or if the other party could raise an affirmative defense or a counterclaim that would excuse it from liability or limit your damages, then your case is weaker.

That brings us to the next factor we’ll consider: your damages. “Damages” is the legal term for the harm your business has suffered as a result of the other party’s wrongful conduct.  If your business suffered no harm, then you likely have no case, even if the defendant’s liability is clear. If the damages are speculative or uncertain, then you may have a case, but your case is weaker than if your damages are readily quantifiable. Lost profits, for example, are easier to quantify than is harm to your business’ reputation. 

A third factor we’ll consider in evaluating your situation is the potential defendant.  Does the potential defendant have assets to satisfy a judgment and/or insurance that might be applied to a settlement? If not, you and I  both could invest a great deal of time, money and effort in pursuing your claim and end up with a “win” in name only, without you ever seeing any actual compensation for the harm done to you. 

Another factor we consider is the strength of your evidence, including your “jury appeal.” Do you have documents that support your case? How strong are your witnesses? How strong of a witness will you be?  To put it more bluntly: Will a jury like you? Even if your case never gets to trial, your jury appeal is important because the insurance company will consider it in valuing your case for settlement.

Forum issues also must be considered. Where would a lawsuit be filed? In federal court or state court? If state court, in which state? This issue may be governed by the terms of a contract or, in the absence of a contract provision, we may have a choice about where to file a lawsuit, which could work to your advantage.  Likewise, if your dispute arises from a written contract, the contract may include an arbitration provision that bars you from seeking relief in court. Even without a mandatory arbitration clause, some form of alternative dispute resolution – like mediation or settlement negotiations between the parties – might be favorable to letting a jury resolve the matter. 

Finally, the last factor we consider in evaluating whether and what type of legal action makes sense is you and your mindset.  Resolving a business dispute can be expensive, time-consuming and physically, mentally and emotionally draining, especially if we have to file a lawsuit. Are you prepared to take this journey? 

If you are dealing with a business dispute, you don’t have to worry over it alone.  Call us at ###-###-####. We can assess your legal options in light of the case evaluation factors we’ve discussed here and help you determine your next best step. 

 

Criminal

The Police Are at the Door. Do I Have to Let Them In? 

[Estimated reading time: 3:20]

Hi, I’m ____ from the Law Offices of ____. We’re a {specialty} firm serving the _____ area. Many clients want to know more about {topic}, so that’s what I’m going to discuss with you today

The police are knocking at your door. Do you know what to do? The answer depends on whether the officers have a warrant. So, before you open the door, ask: Do you have a warrant? 

If the officers have a warrant, you cannot refuse them entry or prohibit them from searching. You can, though, take the following steps to protect your rights and ensure that the process of executing the warrant goes as smoothly as possible.  

First, gather information.  

  • Ask for a copy of the warrant. Read it carefully. Does the warrant accurately describe the date, time and place of the search? Is it signed by a judge?
  • Ask for a copy of the “probable cause affidavit.” This is the sworn statement the officers presented to the judge in order to obtain the warrant.  
  • Ask for a business card from the lead officer conducting the search. If more than one law enforcement agency is involved, get a card from each agency leader. 
  • Determine the “what and why” of the search. Ask the officer in charge the reason for the search, its object, and how long it will take. 

Then, say as little as possible

  • Once you have made these preliminary inquiries, stop talking, and stay out of the way. Do not interfere with the officers. The sooner they finish their work, the sooner they will be gone. 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, call your criminal defense lawyer at your first opportunity. 

What if the officers at the door do not have a warrant? 

If the officers at your door do not have a warrant, they are not stopping by for a friendly chat. They are investigating criminal activity or a suspicion of criminal activity, using a technique known as “knock and talk.” 

The goal of this technique is to get you to open the door so that the officers can look over your shoulder for evidence of illegal activity in plain view or, even better, obtain your permission to come inside for a chat and a look around. Both of these scenarios allow the officers to conduct a lawful search and/or seizure without having to obtain a warrant

So, how should you respond to that knock at the door when the officers do not have a warrant?  You do not have to open the door, but if you choose to, follow these guidelines to assert and protect your constitutional rights: 

  • Step outside and close the door behind you
  • Tell the officers

I have done nothing wrong, and I would like to help you, but I will not answer any questions or consent to a search without a lawyer present.

  • Once you have made this statement, stop talking. Do not answer any questions; do not consent to the officers entering your home; do not consent to a search of any kind.
  • Go back inside, close the door behind you, and call your criminal defense lawyer.  

If you are not able to turn the officers away (because that is a very hard thing to do), you still have the right to limit the scope of the officers’ movement and activity inside your home. 

  • You can tell the officers, for example, “You’re welcome to come in, but we’re going talk here, in the hall.” 
  • If the officers ask your permission to do anything (e.g., to “look around upstairs” or “take a look in this backpack”), you have the right to say no. Exercise that right. 

A police encounter is unnerving, regardless of why or when the officers knock at your door.  The best way to handle this situation – whether the officers have a warrant or not — is to (a) politely, but firmly, assert your constitutional rights, and (b) reach out to a criminal defense lawyer at your first opportunity.  

We are here to help.  You can reach us 24/7 at ###-###-####.

 

Estates

Do I Need an Attorney to Draft my Estate Plan?

[Estimated reading time — 2:45]

“Hi, I’m ____ from the Law Offices of ____. We’re a {specialty} firm serving the _____ area. Many clients want to know more about {topic}, so that’s what I’m going to discuss with you today.”

Legally, you do not need an attorney to draft your estate planning documents.  Wills and trusts do not have to be prepared or even reviewed by an attorney for them to be valid. However, they must comply with legal standards.

You need to decide for yourself if you feel competent to create your own estate plan or if you would instead be better served by hiring an estate planning attorney.  Here are 8 questions to answer when deciding:

  1. Do you and your spouse agree on how to pass on your joint and individually-owned assets? Owning a mix of marital assets and separate property can be a complicating factor.  Differing views on desired bequests to charities and others may also need to be reconciled.
  2. Do you have minor children? You will need to name guardians, determine at what age the children inherit, and specify how the assets will be managed in the meantime.
  3. Do you have children from a prior marriage and a current spouse or partner?   Ensuring equal distribution to your offspring can be especially difficult with blended families. 
  4. Do you have a child with special needs who will require long-term care?  If the child is receiving public assistance like SSI and Medicaid, a Special Needs Trust may be required to ensure continued qualification for that assistance. 
  5. Do you have a substantial estate? The more dollars to be transferred, the greater the value of professional guidance … both to ensure your wishes are fulfilled and to minimize taxes.  
  6. Are there any reasons your estate might be contested? Maybe you want to disinherit a child or other heir.  An explanation and airtight estate plan will help.
  7. Do you want to leave a portion of your estate to charity? Giving appreciated assets directly or through a trust can save taxes.  Retirement plans can also provide tax-saving opportunities when giving to charity.
  8. Do you own a small business or other business assets?  Transferring a business to the next generation requires preparation, tax planning, and documentation.   

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these 8 questions, you should at least initially consult a knowledgeable estate planning attorney so you fully understand the complexities of your situation.

While form templates can work for organized individuals with small and simple estates, they are not designed to handle the situations listed.  If you have questions or need assistance, you can contact us at ###-###-####. 

 

Family

Answers to Common Questions About  Your Property Rights When You Divorce

[Estimated reading time – 3:56]

I’m [location] family attorney [name]. In this video, I answer five questions I’m often asked about the division of property during a divorce.

#1. What property will I get to keep once the divorce is over? 

You will get to keep a fair share of your marital property, also known as community property in some states. Marital property is property that you and your spouse accumulated during your marriage. It may include your home, vehicles, investments, personal property, and retirement accounts.

Marital property is usually divided equally between spouses. An unequal division is sometimes appropriate to avoid alimony or provide for a spouse with special needs. 

You will also keep all your separate property provided it has not been so mixed with marital property that it cannot be identified. Separate property is property you acquired before marriage and property you received during marriage as a gift or inheritance.

Earnings from separate property that accumulate during marriage, such as interest or dividends, are marital property that is divided.

#2. What happens to the family home in a divorce?

If one spouse wants the home and can afford it, the equity in the home is credited to that person’s share of the marital property. 

The spouse taking the home must provide the other spouse with equivalent assets or cash in compensation for his or her share of the equity. The equity can be determined by having the home appraised and then deducting any outstanding mortgages.

If you and your spouse cannot agree on who keeps the home, or neither of you can afford it or want it, the usual alternative is to sell the home and split the proceeds. 

If you think you want to keep the family home, ask yourself these questions: Can you afford to buy out your spouse’s interest? Can you afford to pay the mortgage, taxes, and upkeep on your post-divorce budget? Is suitable alternative housing available for a more affordable price?

Often neither party can afford the home and the only realistic solution is to sell it.

#3. Am I entitled to a share of my spouse’s retirement account if we divorce?

All property accumulated during your marriage, including your spouse’s retirement plan, is subject to division. You will be entitled to a fair share, usually half, of the amount accrued in your spouse’s retirement account from the time you married until you divorce. 

Your spouse could “buy out” your share of the plan by giving you other marital assets or separate assets.  Otherwise, the plan benefits are divided. A court order, known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO may need to be sent to the plan administrator to complete the division. 

Retaining an interest in your spouse’s retirement plan may be important if you are unlikely to secure sufficient retirement benefits otherwise. Alternatively, you may prefer a buy out if you expect to have adequate retirement benefits from your employment.

#4. What can I do to prevent my spouse from taking our possessions and draining our accounts before I file for divorce? 

You’ll want to document what you own so that if your spouse does take or destroy property, you will have proof that the property existed. Take photos; create an inventory; copy title and financial documents.

The court could award you a greater share of the marital property to compensate for missing assets.

When you file for divorce, you can ask the court for orders prohibiting this behavior. A spouse who violates these orders can be punished. 

#5. What if my spouse wasted a lot of our assets during our marriage?

Sometimes one spouse spends marital assets excessively for selfish reasons. Examples include:

  • Spending substantial sums on an extramarital affair; or
  • Spending lavishly on drugs, alcohol, partying, or gambling.

If you did not condone or benefit from the excessive spending, the court may award more of the remaining marital property to you to make up for the wasted funds.

Please give us a call if you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss a divorce or other family law matter. We can be reached at: ###-###-####.

 

Personal injury

Do I Have a Good Case?

[Estimated reading time — 3:55]

Hi, I’m ____ from the Law Offices of ____. We’re a {specialty} firm serving the _____ area. Many clients want to know more about {topic}, so that’s what I’m going to discuss with you today.

If you have been injured in an accident you might be wondering whether you have a strong case.  The answer is “it depends”.  I’m going to talk to you about factors we consider to determine whether or not you have a strong potential personal injury case. 

  1. Liability:  Liability is basically fault. Proving “liability,” that the other person caused the accident & not you, is the first and biggest hurdle in your case.  This is especially true in smaller personal injury cases. Insurance companies have no fear whatsoever about rejecting claims in small cases in which there are serious questions as to liability. To put it another way, if the defendant’s fault or responsibility is unclear, then so is your chance of achieving a favorable outcome in your case. 
  2. Damages: Liability can be clear, but if there are no damages, then you have no case. Damages are the harm that was done to you in the accident, including your past and future medical bills, as well as your pain and suffering and out of pocket loss. Even in the earliest stages of your case, you probably have some idea as to how severe your injuries are. Cases involving broken bones, which show on x-rays are relatively easy, but soft tissue cases, such as neck and back strains, are more difficult because they don’t easily show on x-rays or MRI’s.
  3. Ability to pay:   Does the potential defendant have the ability to pay? If not, you and your attorney may invest a good deal of time, money, effort and emotional energy in the case, but never see a penny in return. Either some type of insurance must cover the incident, or the defendant must have personal assets like property that could be sold to pay the judgment.
  4. Will the jury like you? Will jurors empathize with your situation? On the other hand, what kind of person is the defendant? Will the jury like the defendant? There are some “bad defendants” – the drunk driver, the tire squealer, or the bully. If you have an unlikeable defendant, your settlement range goes up. But even more importantly, if the jury doesn’t like you or doesn’t believe you, your settlement range goes down.
  5. Witnesses:  Your case is only as good as your evidence, and usually your evidence is only as good as your witnesses. If, for example, your only witness to support liability is a relative or friend, your case is weaker than if you had several impartial witnesses. Your doctor might be a witness to the medical part of your case. If the doctor involved has never testified, doesn’t want to testify or cannot testify well, this lowers your case’s settlement value. 
  6. How tight-fisted is the defendant’s insurance company? As lawyers, we are familiar with which companies are the most tight-fisted and will make ridiculous, low-ball offers on cases.  So we might need to file suit. However, if the carrier is fair, and some of them are, we may get a higher settlement offer. 
  7. How much time has passed since the incident that caused your injuries? As a general rule, the longer it takes a case to get to a jury, the less sympathetic the jurors will be. This is particularly true if you experienced pain or other symptoms for a limited time after the accident, but you have fully recovered by the time of trial. 
  8. How much damage was there to the cars involved? In many automobile cases, the actual damage to the automobile may be minimal as car bumpers are made to absorb more impact now than they could years ago. If  there was only a bumper scratch or minor fender damage, the jury will question the extent of the impact and, therefore, the extent of your injuries. On the other hand, if the car in which you were injured looks like an accordion, it will be easier to convince a jury that you sustained serious injuries.

To recap, the primary factors determining case strength are:

— How clear is the defendant’s liability?

— How large and consistent with your injuries are your medical records?

— Will insurance or defendant assets fully cover your loss?

— Will a jury like you and your actions, and dislike the defendant and his actions?

— Do persuasive and unbiased witnesses support your claim?

— Does the insurer have fair settlement practices?

— Will you be fully recovered by the time of trial?

— And in auto accident cases, how extensively and visibly was your car damaged?

We are available to discuss your situation.  You may contact us at: ###-###-####.

 

Social Security disability

Will I Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

[Estimated reading time – 4:30]

The following 5 questions will assess whether you are likely to qualify for Social Security disability benefits or whether you should have an attorney evaluate your case before you apply.

#1. Are you insured?

To qualify for disability benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough in jobs that required you to pay Social Security taxes.

Eligibility is determined by the number of work credits you have earned. You can earn up to 4 credits a year.  If you are disabled at age 31 or older, you generally need at least 20 credits in the 10 years before you were disabled. Significant work in 5 out of the last 10 years usually satisfies this requirement.

Younger workers need fewer credits.

If you have a steady work record, your insured status will lapse about 5 years after you stop work. Your disability must have begun before your insurance lapses. 

#2. Are you working?

You will not be approved for benefits if you are engaged in “substantial gainful activity.” 

Full-time work is typically substantial gainful activity.

Part-time work is substantial gainful activity if your monthly earnings exceed a limit set each year by the Social Security Administration. Recently, it has been around $1,300. 

#3. Do you have a severe medically determinable impairment?

You must have a physical or mental abnormality that can be established by medical tests or examinations. As a rule, if a doctor can make a diagnosis, you have a medically determinable impairment.

Even when doctors disagree about your diagnosis, if medical tests and examinations show abnormalities, you have a medically determinable impairment.

Your impairment is severe if it causes any reduction in your capacity to perform work.

#4. Will your impairment last at least 12 months or result in death?

Your impairment need not be severe for the full 12-months.  If you experience good and bad days or short periods of remission followed by flare-ups, you will satisfy this requirement.

If you can return to work after 12 months, you may be eligible for benefits for a temporary period.

#5. Are you capable of working?

Generally, being able to work disqualifies you from disability benefits. But there are exceptions for older claimants and those with certain conditions. 

If you are younger than 50, you will probably have to prove that you cannot do “past relevant work” or any other work, even a sedentary job. So, if you can still do a job you had in the past 15 years or an easy sit-down job, you will not qualify.

The ability to work is not always fatal to a claim. 

Your impairment might qualify you for benefits under the Listing of Impairments, a list of medical conditions that the Social Security Administration considers disabling, even if you can work. 

If you are over 50, you may be eligible for benefits even though you can do some jobs.  Social Security regulations recognize that older workers with limited education, a history of unskilled work, or no transferable job skills will have difficulty adapting to new work.

Many claimants between ages 50 and 54 are disabled even though they can do sedentary work.  Many claimants aged 55 or older are disabled even though they can do sedentary and light work, that is work that requires significant walking or standing.

In Summary

You should apply for Social Security disability benefits if:

  • You were insured when you became disabled.
  • You are not working or are working part-time but earning below the current monthly limit.
  • You have a mental or physical abnormality that can be documented with medical tests or examinations and that impairs your ability to work.
  • Your condition has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.
  • You cannot do the easiest full-time or part-time job you had in the past 15 years.
  • You cannot do other full-time work.

If you can work, but you meet the other requirements, you may want a lawyer to evaluate your case. You may be eligible for benefits based on your medical condition under the Listing of Impairments.  Or you may be eligible if you are over 50 and you would be unable to adapt to new jobs given your employment and educational background.

We are available to discuss your situation.  You may contact us at: ###-###-####.

Click for Part 2 including more scripts for your specialty!

Social Media Cheatsheet for Law Firms

Social Media Cheatsheet for Law Firms

Nearly half of the dozens of attorneys I have interviewed on my GrowWithKara show are obtaining many of their new clients from social media.  

Several are spending little to nothing to obtain those clients.  Outlined below is the approach they are using, complete with links to their video explanations.  

If you don’t have time to perform this work yourself, my team can provide a done-for-you social media marketing channel.  Click here to schedule an explanatory appointment with me.

Kara Prior, Founder

James Amplifier

11 steps to more clients

Step 1: Set up social pages.  If you don’t already have them, establish Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok profiles using a memorable brand name.  Ali Awad recording at 15:25, Robert Simon recording at 15:00 and 29:10, Miriah Soliz recording at 16:30, Marc Wasserman recording at 26:30.

Step 2: Ask friends and family members to follow you.  Your posts will regularly remind them of the type of law you practice.  Nima Etemadian recording at 18:50, Miriah Soliz recording at 28:15.

Step 3: Retain a video editor.  Every attorney I’ve interviewed outsources their editing.  Fiverr and Upwork list qualified freelance editors.  Or you can use Canva to do it yourself.   Kyle Newman recording at 30:20, Robert Simon recording at 22:50, Miriah Soliz recording at 8:30.

Step 4: Schedule a weekly video shoot. Because you need to post daily or close to it, you must commit to a regular shooting schedule.  Plan on 2-3 hours initially, but you will get faster with practice.  You don’t need to be a comedian to obtain large numbers of views.  Kyle Newman recording at 12:20, Narimon Pishnamaz recording at 15:40.

Step 5: Outline multiple topics weekly.  You should always be looking for topics.  Following other attorney-marketers can provide inspiration.  Answering common client questions is a good way to begin. Narimon Pishnamaz recording at 6:00,

Miriah Soliz recording at 3:20 and 14:55.

Step 6: Shoot multiple videos weekly.  Using your phone, begin shooting at your scheduled time slot.  Try to knock out 5-7 videos at each shoot, remembering that is okay to leave some bloopers in.  Narimon Pishnamaz recording at 6:00, Miriah Soliz recording at 20:45.

Step 7: Shoot testimonial videos with happy clients.  Ideally some will include a photo of you two holding a large check.  

Ali Awad recording at 17:00, Tina Odjaghian recording at 14:50.

Step 8: Post one video every day.  The more frequently you post, the better your results.  You can use the same videos on multiple platforms.  If you start with just one platform, make it Instagram.  Ali Awad recording at 14:10, Narimon Pishnamaz recording at 10:45, Tina Odjaghian recording at 18:50, Miriah Soliz recording at 7:55.

Step 9: Boost the popular videos.  Select your audience and target your location.  “For $100 you can probably get 1,000 views.”  Ali Awad recording at 26:05, 27:30, and 28:10, Miriah Soliz recording at 4:15, 5:25, 6:35, and 23:55.

Step 10: Stick with it for at least 6 months.  Some of my interviewees received leads immediately, but others required several months.  All eventually succeeded.  Kyle Newman recording at 14:15, Narimon Pishnamaz recording at 23:00, Miriah Soliz recording at 15:35.

Step 11: Track your response and let your winners run.  The strength of the social media marketing channel is that your inexpensively-boosted videos can keep pulling in followers and clients for years.  Ali Awad recording at 52:00, Miriah Soliz recording at 7:00.

 

Ali Awad’s 24 Social Media Tips for Attorneys

Ali Awad’s 24 Social Media Tips for Attorneys

Introduction

Ali Awad is considered by most to be the #1 social marketer in the legal world.  In less than 6 years he has built a 50-person, $20 million law firm using social media as his primary marketing channel.

Ali not only has this incredible track record going for him; he is a master at explaining what has driven that success.  He is articulate, generous with details, and backs his explanations with examples.  We are fortunate to have someone so willing to share his learnings as one of the legal industry’s social media pioneers.

I interviewed Ali 3 times in 2022 for nearly an hour each time.  He provided a wealth of practical information in every session.  Reading the transcripts of those interviews would be a lengthy endeavor, so I have condensed his most valuable teachings into this quick-reading booklet.  

I have highlighted Ali’s best suggestions for easy skim-reading.  Also included are links to the interview recordings and the locations of each tip.  When you come across a tip that is especially applicable, you can listen to Ali’s recommendation in his own words.  

If Ali’s practical tips and phenomenal results inspire you to expand your firm’s social media marketing efforts but you are short of implementation time, we can take 95% of the work off your desk.  Our social media marketing program is described here

I hope you find this article and my weekly GrowWithKara interviews helpful.

Kara Prior, Founder

James Amplifier

 

Getting Started

Tip #1: Brand your practice.

Kara: A strong brand has enduring value.  It magnifies the impact of your other advertising, and keeps the leads flowing even when that promotion tails off.  Best of all, branding generates leads who want to work with you, instead of the lawyer-shoppers that other digital advertising brings in.

Social media is ideal for building your brand, for unlike TV, radio, and billboards, social media costs little.  I have interviewed several successful young attorneys whose only initial social media expense was freelance video editing. 

Ideally you will select a brand name other than your own so that its value outlasts yours.  Examples I’ve come across are: money lawyer, breakup lawyer, the magnifier, MVP accident attorneys, legal eagle, and Ali’s CEO Lawyer.

Ali (January 2022 interview):

[7:55]  “If anyone is in a reactive practice like personal injury where there needs to be a precedent before they hire you, i.e., there is an accident, it is not their fault, they are actually injured, they want to see a doctor, they’re willing to hire an attorney, and hopefully there is insurance coverage available, that is a condition precedent to hiring you.  The average American gets in one car accident every 17.9 years, so that is a very big, very long-term branding play.  So for a reactive business you cannot just create one or two videos and expect clients.”

[8:44]  “In a proactive business, if anyone is in the credit repair business, or you deal in expungements of criminal history, or you are in intellectual property where you advertise to specific businesses, you want to tell them I’ll do this trademark for you, I’ll do this copyright for you, you can get clients from just one exceptional video. They’re not focused on branding.”

[9:20]  “The problem with that approach is that the moment you stop running that video as an ad, you stop spending money, the leads dry up. What we’re looking at here is building a brand.  By the way, my Instagram got shut down last year for two weeks.  You would think my business got decimated as a result, but no, people still Googled CEOlawyer, people still called 833-Ali-Awad because it is my name.  Because I had built that brand over the years, the shutdown had zero effect on my business.  You should be building a brand to protect yourself from always having to spend money.”

[10:18]  “Your highest-profit margin and your best cases are going to come from the ones that people specifically seek you out for, based on your brand.  That is why this conversation is so important.”

Tip #2: Make yourself the face of your firm.

Kara: You should be the subject of most of your social videos.  Just as viewers expect Ali to appear regularly on @CEOLawyer, and me on @GrowWithKara, they will expect to see you on your social pages.

More importantly, viewers connect to people, not to corporations.  People have personalities, interesting lives, families, hobbies, challenges at work, and successes worth celebrating.  All of these are worth sharing with your followers.  

And your firm’s spokesperson should be you, not a team member.  Team members come and go, and you don’t want to someday lose the brand that you may have spent years building.

Ali (March 2022 recording):

[41:15] “I haven’t seen a firm advertise and successfully build a brand on social media.  Usually, the ones that are hiding behind a firm name don’t perform as well.  I do think leadership should be involved.  If you have partners and all of them are popular, then lean into that.”

[42:10] “I don’t think employees should be advertised.  They could become your competition.  Unless they are family and not going anywhere.  The best example I can think of is Morgan & Morgan in Florida.  He advertised Dan Newland for many years, and he made Dan the face of their billboards.  They had a falling out and Dan opened his own firm.  Now Dan has one of the top 5 personal injury firms in Florida.  So now Morgan & Morgan doesn’t promote any of their other lawyers.”

Tip #3: Focus on one brand.

Kara: Ali made the common startup mistake of having one brand for his law firm and another for himself.  In a personal service business like law, in the eyes of viewers, you are your law firm. 

So create only one page on each social platform, and as recommended in Tip #2, make yourself the star of that page.

Ali (March 2022 recording):

[46:55] “Having a law firm brand page on social media is a waste of time.  It is better to put everything on your personal brand and run that business page as a professional account.  Do you know who is following your law firm page?  All of your competitors, to see what you are doing, and maybe some of your employees.”

[47:30] “Get everyone to one channel.  The biggest mistake I see people make is they want to have 5 different brands.  I just got rid of Ali Awad Law completely.  After 5 years of using it, since that is the name of my practice, I just changed it to CEO Lawyer.  CEO Lawyer is the brand, not Ali Awad Law.  Scrap your law firm page; put everything into your personal brand.”

Tip #4: Share your journey.

Kara: The conversation Ali is referring to begins with using social media to let your followers into your life.  You want them to get to know you – both you the lawyer and you the individual.  

You the lawyer: What do you do when in the office?  What are the high points of your week?  What frustrations arise?  What does your workspace look like?  Who works nearby?

You the individual: What do you do on the weekends?  Do you have a partner?  Kids?  Where do you go on vacation?  Do you participate in any charities or community events?

Over time many of your followers will come to know and like you.  That is the first step.

Ali (March 2022 recording):

[3:40] “You are always allowed to share information.  That’s the piece that so many lawyers miss.  You need to give people information throughout your journey of growth.  Whether you are a first-year law student, just graduated, or in your first year of practice, every one of those obstacles is an opportunity for you to market yourself and show the journey you are going through.  You are building a following in that process.”

[4:55] “You are especially building a following of your friends and family.  I’m always shocked by lawyers wanting to get new clients, new followers, and new attention to their page before they have captured existing friends and family.  Start with the people you already know.  You probably already have 500 or 1,000 friends on Facebook.  If those people need a service you offer, and they don’t hire you, you have failed at marketing.  Those people already know and like you, and it is your job to make them trust you by showing your credibility and qualifications as a lawyer.”

[5:40] “The fastest way to build a brand is to do it slowly.  Consistently take time out of each day to show people what you have going on.  Share your wins and your losses.  People really like stepping in to give you constructive criticism and feedback, so give them the opportunity.  Example: ‘I just opened my practice, what name and logo do you think I should use?’  ‘Hey, which photo should I use for my promotional brochure?’ ‘Man, today completes my first year in business and it’s been way more of a struggle than I thought.  What do you recommend that I do more of to build my business?’

Tip #5: Don’t sell; teach.

Kara: After getting followers to know and like you, the next step is to get them to trust you.  That is best accomplished by selflessly sharing helpful information and advice.  

When you provide answers to common prospect and client questions, viewers learn that you know your specialty.  When you explain how to overcome hurdles that frequently arise, viewers see that you have experience.  And when you detail past cases, viewers learn that you have handled cases just like theirs.

Sharing what you know is the surest way to convey your expertise and build trust.

Ali (January 2022 interview):

[3:25] “Don’t focus on client acquisition.  My sales and persuasion strategy is to educate you so much that you cannot imagine working with anyone else.  I’ve already given you so much free legal advice, marketing tips, and business strategy, whatever you’re coming to me for, I’ve given you so much overwhelming value that you feel bad if you don’t hire me.”

[3:50] “You do that by educating people and getting the stuff that is already in your head onto video.  The number one problem is not lawyers using the incorrect platform, improper aspect ratios, or not using catchy headers; it is overcoming the mental block of sharing content with people.”

[4:18] “All you have to do is think about the frequently asked questions – the information that your clients always ask you for – and put it on video.  Just answer.  Most of the time you will find that your answers come extemporaneously.  You will be able to speak about these topics easily; you don’t have to practice.  You know this stuff.  You’ve lived it for years.  Get out of that thinking that you have to create content.  It is just documenting.  In fact, while I am doing this Zoom I have my phone right here.  I know that at some point I am going to say something usable.”

Tip #6: When getting started, don’t boost any videos.

Kara: When getting started, work on (a) getting comfortable in front of the camera, (b) selecting high-interest topics, (c) beginning with a strong hook, and (d) conveying valuable information concisely and energetically.  More help with b, c, and d can be found further below.

Your initial goal should be to create popular videos.  You need to grow your follower count, and the best way to obtain those followers is by posting videos daily, and having several of those videos obtain a high number of views. 

Ali (January 2022 interview):

[25:25] “I recommend you spend the first 90 days creating content before you run any ads.  The reason for that is your $500 you have to spend on ads cannot go very far if your content sucks.  However, if it is viral content, something that got 5,000, 10,000, 100,000 views, and you put a little money behind it, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram will reward you by showing that to more people.  

[26:10] “As a general rule, you should not run your content as an ad unless it already has an element of virality.  The video needs to perform well organically to perform well as a paid strategy.  The best ads are very memorable.  You have to test out different styles of content in your comfort level, or maybe a little outside your comfort level, to see what your audience likes most.  And when you create for your audience, they will tell you what works.”

[27:55] “Don’t run ads for the videos that you like; run ads for the videos that your audience tell you they like.  The highest level of engagement that you can get on a video is a share.  In Instagram you click View Insights.  The shares and saves are the highest levels of engagement.  Next are the comments, and next are the reactions.  Likes are the lowest form of engagement.  Don’t pay attention to views because they can be manipulated.”

Platform Choice

Tip #7: Instagram and Facebook are a powerful combination.

Kara: For lawyers serving consumers, I recommend you begin your social media marketing efforts on Instagram and Facebook, using reels for the majority of your posts.  

Instagram is more businesslike than TikTok (which I know is a low bar), and its messages are more substantive, so it is my first choice for lawyers looking to expand their social presence.  

Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, it is easy to post on both platforms simultaneously, so I recommend using them together.  Ali has his most loyal followers on Facebook, so it is his primary source of social media clients.

Ali (June 2022 interview):

[41:10] “If Instagram is working well for you, go all in on it until you hit a point of diminishing returns.  It costs you nothing to share the same content on Instagram as on Facebook, so re-post it as a Facebook Reel.  The biggest reach you are going to get on Facebook now is on Facebook Reels, so push it out there.  It is free.”

[41:30] “On Facebook you also have the ability to get people to follow you and direct message people at scale.  We actually get the most clients from Facebook.  I have 8,000 friends and followers on Facebook, and get most of our cases from there.”

[41:50] “The followers we have on Facebook are so much more loyal.  We get 100% engagement organically.  When was the last time you posted anything on Instagram and got 100% engagement?  That doesn’t happen on Instagram, but it does on Facebook because we built it slowly over the years and didn’t inherit a bunch of old followers like we did on Instagram.”

Tip #8: Add TikTok next.

Kara: It is currently far easier to grow your following on TikTok than Instagram, so some lawyers are beginning there social media marketing efforts on TikTok.  

TikTok is more entertainment-focused, however, so you will need those additional followers to generate a meaningful number of leads and clients from the platform.  

I recommend TikTok as an add-on after you are established on Instagram.  Ali recommends beginning with TikTok.

Ali (June 2022 interview):

[38:50] “It really depends on your market.  If you are going after a younger audience, and your service resonates with a younger audience, then TikTok does work well.  The problem with TikTok is there is so much spam in the messages.  You will have to go through 20-30 messages before you find one prospective client.

[39:10] “On Instagram, I feel like people only hit that message button when they genuinely want to communicate with you.  Instagram does work very well for us for converting, perhaps because people see it as a more serious platform.” 

[40:10] “I think Facebook and Instagram have more robust platforms and have more serious people on those platforms, but today, you still have the best chance of growing a following on TikTok.  I think it is a good idea to start on TikTok and keep harvesting and getting as many clients from it as possible, because by the end of 2022 it is going to be very expensive to compete on TikTok.  They are going to start pushing out ads, and there will be corporate clients investing.”

[40:55] “It goes in cycles.  Just because you are winning on TikTok now doesn’t mean you always will.  That is why I have decided to be omnipresent on all my channels.  When you dominate one, keep at it and put a system in place.  Then go experiment with the next one.” 

Powerful Presentations

Tip #9: Grab the attention of your target audience.

Kara: Your social videos compete with crazy stunts, swimsuit models, and physical feats, so they need to be well-designed.  That means:

– Skipping any introduction and starting with the key point or question to be answered

– Using motion to draw the eye

– Concisely and directly conveying your information

– Delivering that information in more animated fashion than you usually do

– Captioning your words for the many viewers who don’t have their sound on

– Adding an entertainment element when you comfortably and authentically can

Ali (January 2022 interview):

[16:50] “When you’re doing face-to-face communication and talking to people, you don’t need to have an elevated or an elated type of personality and charisma.  You are face-to-face, you’re 18-36” apart, 12-18” apart.  They can read your body language, your eyes, your expressions, everything.  However, when you are doing the same type of communication in two-way video like on FaceTime or Zoom, it’s a little bit lower.  You can’t give that same type of body language, so you have to increase that level of energy.”

[17:50] “When you go to one-way communication, where I’m just putting out a video and posting it online where I can’t see your reaction, now you have to increase your energy even more.  You have to increase your voice an eighth of an octave, you have to give people a little more excitement, you have to smile more, you have to be more proactive about raising your energy, and raising your eyebrows and getting closer to the camera.”  

[18:25] “Boring content kills.  I would rather you create one exciting video a week than create 100 every single day.  Be exciting first, because you are competing against supermodels and cute kittens and delicious food, and people are so easily distracted.  They’ve got a thumb and all they have to do is swipe and they’re off to the next video.”

[18:45] “You have 1-1/2 seconds to grab someone’s attention.  And during that 1-1/2 seconds you have to get excited, you have to bring that energy.  Even if your video is only 15-30 seconds, think about how you can cut as much bullshit from your video.  Get to the point fast, grab people’s attention in the first second, and that’s when you will have a higher chance of going viral.”

[19:35] [To stop the viewer’s scroll…] “It’s a hook.  The hook can be something like, ‘My billionaire friend told me…,’ ‘The first time I ever made a million dollars was….  Stop scrolling right now and watch this.’  The hook is never, never, introducing your name and your law firm.”

Tip #10: Shoot client testimonials.

Kara: I know I don’t need to persuade you that video testimonials from clients are high-value.  But they can be difficult to obtain.  I know, as we have shot dozens of them for attorneys.  

Ali’s technique of having clients come to the office to pick up their settlement checks, and videoing them in the process, is wise, for the tallest hurdle is getting clients in front of a camera and talking.

Ali (March 2022 recording):

[43:30] “I think people underestimate the value of testimonials.  Getting your clients to talk about how great you are is way better than you blowing your own horn.  The best strategy for personal injury lawyers to grow their fan and follower base is to have video capability at their firm anytime someone is coming to pick up a settlement check.  Those stories are going to resonate with anyone in a similar situation.”

[44:00] “If you have a strong relationship with those clients, they are going to say things you could never say on video because you don’t want to seem like you are promoting yourself so blatantly.  Using testimonials is a huge way to drive traffic and business to your practice … especially if that person is likely to share the testimonial on their social media.”

Tip #11: Go outside the confines of your specialty.

Kara: This is a smart but controversial suggestion.  Lawyers sometimes have difficulty understanding that social media marketing … especially in personal injury … is a two-step game.  First you accumulate followers.  Then you tell them what you do.

Accumulating followers for personal injury lawyers requires that you provide information outside the specialty, for few who have not been in an auto accident care about what to do if they are in an accident.  

The two-step technique is also valid for non-injury lawyers, as you can grow your follower count much faster if you talk about everyday law topics. More on this below.

Ali (March 2022 recording):

[20:10] “Car crash videos have a voyeuristic element, so we create a lot of them. The more they have a live dashcam view, the higher the likelihood that people are going to engage.  The videos on my page that are getting a million-plus views are usually those car crash videos.  The views are completely organic.”

[20:50] “You run that car crash video as an ad, and let the algorithm pick who wants to see it.  You don’t have to target a specific audience so long as it is within a demographic or geographic location.  Target that video to a specific subset of audience within a geographic location, let Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok decide who they want to see that video, because they are motivated to have more people see it so you spend ad money.  Have the call-to-action be to follow your page.  That is how you get new followers and how you retarget them with new content.”

Tip #12: Shoot and post videos on criminal law, especially DUI.

Kara: The single most popular legal topic on social media is criminal law – what to do if the police knock on your door, what to say if the police stop your car and want to search it, or ask if you have been drinking, and so on.

Again, you have to believe in the two-step approach to social media marketing – attract followers with popular content and then share your specialty-specific information with them.

Ali (March 2022 recording):

[33:05] “Let me give you some strategies you can implement right now.  The easiest way to create viral legal videos is talking about criminal defense, and specifically DUI.  You might be a personal injury lawyer, but I promise your DUI checkpoint videos are going to get hundreds of thousands more impressions than your personal injury videos.  Why?  Personal injury is boring.  People don’t care about car accidents until they’re in one.  I dangle that carrot with criminal defense and DUI content, and then retarget them with personal injury content.”

[33:40] “So start a video with, ‘Here’s what you need to do if the police pull you over.  Then list your 3 points.  Do that video 10 times, with varying content, and I promise that one of them will go viral.  I’ll pay you if it doesn’t go viral.”

[34:10] “The reason personal injury lawyers don’t find success on social media is because they are using it as a lead generation and advertising platform instead of a branding platform.  You don’t need millions of followers; you just need your friends and family to recommend you to their friends and family, and that is enough for you to have a multi-million dollar business.”

Tip #13: Everyday law topics perform well, so discuss them.

Kara: This is my recommended approach.  Rather than just focusing on criminal law, which while popular can get repetitive, I suggest you provide information on legal topics that your followers are likely to find helpful in their daily living.

Money matters are always of concern, so discuss rules around credit, refunds, and taxes.  Most everyone drives, so review rules of the road, with examples of violations.  Many people fly commercially, and airlines have gotten tough to deal with, so explain fliers’ rights.  

If you address the legal topics that surface at cocktail parties, your follower count will grow faster than if you limit yourself to discussing your specialty. 

Ali (March 2022 recording):

[35:05] “Credit repair, too.  I have a tax lawyer in my academy.  She is crushing it. All she is doing is educating people on how to use different strategies to pay lower taxes.” 

[36:15] “If you’re great at bankruptcy, credit repair, tax law, or criminal defense, all those videos will do way better than personal injury because they are much more likely to be shared.”

[38:55] “The easiest way is to get organic followers by giving them viral content like how to deal with tax issues, what you can do to maximize the benefits of your bankruptcy, and how to deal with police officers at a DUI checkpoint.  These are topics that have consistently performed well on social media, and they will outperform buying followers or influencer shout-outs 100% of the time.”

Tip #14: Not every post needs to be a video.

Kara: Finding time to shoot reels can be a hurdle.  A team member can generate additional posts for you using memes. 

I recommend thought-provoking or inspirational statements over trying to be funny, as I find them more professional.  Regardless, your posts should remain true to who you are and consistent with the image you are presenting online.  If you are a jokester at heart, then don’t let me hold you back.

Ali (June 2022 interview):

[46:20]  “My best performing content is not videos.  They are just pictures with really thoughtful copy to go along with them.”

Magnifying Results

Tip #15: Boost your best videos.

Kara: This is a game-changer.  You can materially expand your viewership and increase the pace of your follower growth without spending a lot.  I put $200/month behind my Instagram@GrowWithKara reels.   I find that putting a little money behind each of my posts works best for my content

Ali takes a different approach, boosting his viral posts.  He pays less per 1,000 views when he starts with a video that is already popular.  More on this technique in the next several tips.

Ali (March 2022 recording):

[17:55] “Here is my entire social media strategy, hopefully in under a minute.  I pay attention to the virality of my content. Whenever I generate a video that is getting tons of shares, which is the main metric I pay attention to … how often was this post, video, copy shared?  If it was shared by more than 10% of my following, then I spend money on it.  So if I received 800 shares when I had 8,000 followers on Facebook, then it is viral content.  But the 10% is not a strict guideline.  I then use that viral content as an ad, showing it to the people who were most likely to engage with my post.”  

[18:35] “To recap, first I invite my friends and family to my business page, second I test a lot of different content to see what goes viral, and third I put ad dollars behind the content that goes viral.  That is how I grow my brand.”

[19:05] “What is successful is almost always the stuff you think is not going to work.”

Tip #16: Spend $5-10/day on your sponsored content.

Kara: Compared to other advertising venues like TV, radio, or billboards, advertising on social media is cheap.  You don’t need to spend much to have an impact … especially if you are promoting a video that is already popular.

Over time your spend can and should steadily grow, because you can leave a particular post’s ad budget in place for years.  Ali has been running some ads continually since his startup years.  

Ali (June 2022 interview):

[28:10] Ali: “Whatever you can afford – a dollar a day, 5 dollars a day, 10 dollars a day.  This is how you become the 800-pound gorilla in a small market.  If you are in a town with 50,000 people, and you wait until you have a video that goes viral and then target those 50,000, everyone in that town will have seen your video for a few bucks.  If you do that 3-5 times, now suddenly you are a celebrity.”

[28:40] Ali: “That is we take over markets like Atlanta with 7 million people, or Georgia with 11-12 million, or nationally with 300-400 million people.  You play that game.  You create content, figure out what people actually like, run that content as an ad to your ideal client, with a call to action that says ‘Come and follow my page,’ and then re-target them with advertising for your particular product or service.  That is the branding play.”

Tip #17: Once successful, increase your ad spend.

Kara: My most successful interviewees, Ali included, have all steadily increased their marketing and advertising budgets.  They are careful to track lead and client sources so they correctly allocate their budgets, but they work to keep the total spend growing.  That is how they expand their firms.  

Once social media is delivering for your firm, you should seek to enhance the branding benefits, flow of leads, and new-client signings by posting more frequently and enlarging your ad spend.  

Ali (March 2022 recording):

[14:00] “In 2018, my first full year in business, I spent $6,698 on social media ads and generated $3.2 million in settlements for my firm, which resulted in over $1 million in attorney’s fees.  That ROI was wonderful, but is obviously not sustainable as you grow your business and realize there are ceilings to advertising.”

[14:25] “Keep in mind as you are growing your business that the clients who say, ‘I saw your ad on Facebook, or I saw you on Instagram or TikTok,’ that doesn’t take into consideration that other people who are following your page may have recommended you to a friend or family member.  Look for the long-term play in branding and building your reputation online instead of just a dollar-for-dollar case acquisition cost – cost per lead and cost per case.”

[15:00] “My cost per case on Facebook right now is $3,000.  That includes the cost of our intake department – we have 6 full-time people there, we have 2 virtual assistants handling my social media, we have another two VAs handling reception, plus two office assistants for backup calls.  And our media team is included in that mix.”

[15:00] “Most lawyers would say $3,000 per case is a ripoff.  Don’t do it.  But you need to go deeper into your data.  For example, I got 17 new referrals last month.  The same month last year I received 9 referrals.  The people following me are now recommending me to other people.  My branding is building an ecosystem of word-of-mouth referrals.”

Tip #18: Ask viewers to follow you.

Kara: Growing your follower count is a key foundation step.  You won’t see much viewer engagement until you have a decent number of followers.  Those followers are also needed to guide the platform’s algorithm for any boosting you do.

The surest route to additional followers who could become clients is to boost your popular posts to the geographic areas you serve, and ask those new viewers to follow you.

Ali (June 2022 interview):

[26:05] “So you have to take some of the content that works well and then figure out how to convert that into clients.  Whenever you get viral videos … with viral for a social newcomer being anything over 10,000 views, usually 100,000 views, and for veterans 1,000,000 views … you should run that video as a sponsored ad.  Boost it as a promotional advertisement to everyone in your local market.”

[26:40] “Why? Because TikTok has already shown you that this is content people actually want.  TikTok will show it to more people because it incentivizes those people to stay on the platform.  The more people see content they like, and the longer they stay on the platform, the more ads TikTok can show to them.  So TikTok wants to run ads that keep people on the platform.  So if you’re doing both – you create fantastic content and you run it as an ad – they’re going to blow it up and show it to many people for pennies on the dollar.”  

[27:15] “The call to action should just be for people to follow your page.  That is how you get thousands of followers for very little effort.”

[27:30] “Whenever you do get that fantastic video or post that performs well, run it as an ad and keep running it until you hit a point of diminishing return.  We have ads that have been running since 2018.  We don’t turn them off.  They continue to draw comments, bring in new followers, and create engagement.  They are great ads.”

[27:50] “No matter how great a piece of content, unless you retarget it and show it to people who could be your prospective clients, you’re missing out on the bulk of what business owners should be doing on TikTok.”

Tip #19: Automate your Instagram engagement.

Kara: Ali has so many followers on Instagram@CEOlawyer – 1.8 million as of this writing – that he set up a slick auto-response system that sorts his leads into buckets.  Hopefully someday all of us will be half as successful and need to do the same.

Ali (June 2022 interview):

[39:40] Ali: “We have software that communicates with clients automatically on Instagram.  TikTok does not give you an open API, so you do not have that ability to integrate chatbot messaging software.  On Instagram when someone messages me, a chatbot responds, ‘Hey, thanks for reaching out to the CEO Lawyer team, do you need help with one of the following: car accident, legal advice, business advice, or the Academy?’”

Helpful Tricks

Tip #20: Hide crashes with stickers

Kara: For personal injury lawyers running car crash videos, which remain highly popular, you can keep them from being taken down by displaying a “Boom” or “Bam!” sticker at the time of impact instead of showing the crash.  The videos will draw just as many viewers, and you won’t have to worry about deletions.

Ali (June 2022 interview):

[20:45] “If anyone is doing personal injury videos, you probably get a lot of them banned for community guideline violations.  Reem, tell them about the workaround that you discovered doing hundreds of these videos with me.  Also, what have you noticed about the videos going viral on TikTok with hundreds of thousands and even millions of views.”

[21:30] Reem: “This was a process.  I didn’t figure it out on day one.  I went to YouTube and found some car crash videos.  At first I would just post the videos themselves.  A lot of people were asking questions and wanted Ali’s reaction.  So we added Ali’s response to the video.”

[22:10] Reem: “If it is a simple rear-end collision, ‘How much is this case worth?’  ‘How much could it be worth if a Walmart truck is involved?’  I used the CapCut video editor to pull the YouTube video and add Ali’s reaction.  But don’t do too much editing on CapCut because TikTok wants you to use their editing and captions.  I posted it and TikTok took it down! These car accidents are scary for the public.”

[23:30] Ali: “Everyone loves seeing car accidents.  They love the dashcam video view because it is exciting.  The guys that are killing it on TikTok are the ones that take the attention from viral videos and put their face in it somehow.  The challenge then is, ‘What happens when TikTok takes down your car crash videos?’”

[24:10] Reem: “You don’t want the dashcam portion to be too long … tops 5 or 6 seconds.  Then when the cars collide you put a Boom! or Bam! sticker.  I had one car crash post taken down after 100,000 views.  I put the Boom! sticker on it, reposted it and it got even more views.”

Tip #21: Loop your videos

Kara: This is another slick little trick.  The higher a video’s average watch time, the more it will be shown.  Conversely, the lower its average watch time, the less it will be shown. 

As a result, anything you can ethically do to increase average watch time is helpful, including this looping tactic.

Ali (June 2022 interview):

[31:45] “We made the video into a loop so the end of the video transitions perfectly into the beginning of the video, so lots of people watch the video 1.1 or 1.2 times before they realize they are watching the same video footage again.  That drastically helps with your numbers.”

Evaluation

Tip #22: If you’re not generating leads and clients, you’re not doing it right.

Kara: I state this cautiously, for social media is like SEO in that it takes time to deliver its benefits.  If you already have a following and do some boosting of your best posts, you can begin seeing results in 3-4 months.  

But if you are starting with a new profile and have zero followers, you should figure 6-8 months before benefits accrue.  Does that time requirement make it any less valuable?  Only if you are not going to consistently post new content for the long haul, for like SEO, it is that consistency which delivers results.

You also need to engage with the followers who respond.  Per tip #19, some of that engagement can be automated and delegated once social media is generating a material number of responses.

Ali (June 2022 interview):

[11:45] “The only thing that matters when you’re creating social media content … or any type of marketing … is to get clients and make money.  That is why you do it.  Marketing is an investment, not an expense.  If you are investing your time creating videos and writing captions, working to create exciting and engaging content, and you are not getting any clients from it, it is time to switch your strategy.”

[12:15] “I’m not saying the first video you post should go viral and you will get tons of cases from it.  But at some point getting clients needs to be the litmus test.  If all you’re getting is random people commenting ‘That’s great,’ or your friends saying, ‘I saw your video and love that story,’ change is needed.  If 6 months in you haven’t gotten a single client, that is a problem.”

[12:40] “Yesterday we signed up 3 cases just from TikTok.  It is normal to be getting clients from social media.  Does it happen every single day?  For me, yes, but in the beginning, no.  Not for the first 3 or 4 years.  Over time I’ve built an infrastructure for responding to messages and integrating social media into our intake department.  Now we have a robust 50-person operation, and social media drives all of it.”

Tip #23: Have you attracted quality followers?  Are you engaging with them?

Kara: If after 6 months you are not getting clients from social media, you need to examine your approach:

– Do you have many followers?  Is that count steadily growing?  Have you added a meaningful number of local followers by boosting your most popular posts to the geographic region you serve?

– Are you or someone in your office engaging with those who comment?  You need to respond to comments that might become leads and encourage a call.

– Are you running ads offering lead magnets, sending responders to a targeted landing page, and following up with the downloaders?

Ali (June 2022 interview):

[1:04:55] “You should be getting cases with the first couple hundred followers if those are good followers.  Or you can have a million followers and not get any cases if they are not relevant to your practice area.  So how do you do that?  How do you get people to become your clients?”

[1:05:15] “First, they need to know you.  They need to know that you exist.  Give them entertaining content that invites them to like and follow your page.  What is entertaining content?  Anything that makes them want to share it with someone else.”

[1:06:00] “Then you need to get them to trust you.  Most people just go to the know, know, know.  The way you get them to convert is by educating them about the practice area you are in once you have gotten their attention.”

[1:06:25] “The advertisement, just going out and saying, ‘Hey, I’m Ali Awad and I fight for maximum compensation.’  That riff to a cold audience will never work.  But if you start with, ‘Here is what you do when you deal with the police.  Here is how to deal with a DUI checkpoint.  Here is what you do at an airport when TSA starts asking you questions.’  You produce videos to educate them, now you have some followers, and then you hit them with a video about injury, immigration, taxes … whatever type of law you practice.”

[1:06:45] “If you do that systematically, your followers will begin to understand the work you do and the type of law you practice.  That is how you convert them.  You don’t convert them from a cold audience.  You warm them up first to become your ideal audience and your ideal clients.”

Tip #24: Have you made a sufficient commitment to social media?

Kara: To succeed on social media, you need to go all in, stick with it, and steadily increase your efforts and budget – just as you would and likely have done with your other successful marketing channels.

If you are only posting once or twice a week, rarely or never boosting, and not offering lead magnets with ads and targeted lead magnets, your odds of success materially decline. 

Study the winners.  Adapt their techniques to your unique style.  And give your efforts a minimum of 6 months and preferably 12 to bear fruit.  I am confident that you can do this, and that if you do, you will develop a profitable social media presence.

Ali (June 2022 interview):

[45:45]  “I met with a firm a couple of days ago that spends $12 million a year on advertising.  We are about half that – $5-6 million a year.  I looked at how they spend their $12 million.  Their budget for social media was $2,000 a month.  I asked them, ‘Are you telling me your social media spend is only 0.2% of your marketing budget?  That shows me you don’t care.’”

[46:20] “Why do they not care?  They’re old school.  They’ve been on TV, billboard, and radio for the longest time, and they don’t believe in their social media marketing.  So my problem with you not being the face of your marketing is that you won’t understand and appreciate how powerful this is and how important it is until you’ve actually done it yourself.”

[46:40] “That is why we are the fastest-growing law firm in America.  That is why we have a $20 million practice in 5 years, and that’s attorneys’ fees, not settlements.

Conclusion

I hope you have found some tips you can apply to your social media marketing efforts.  My favorite tips and Ali quotes are: 

Tip #1: Brand your practice.

“Your highest-profit margin and your best cases are going to come from the ones that people specifically seek you out for, based on your brand.” 

Tip #5: Don’t sell; teach.

“Don’t focus on client acquisition.  My sales and persuasion strategy is to educate you so much that you cannot imagine working with anyone else.”

Tip #13: Everyday law topics perform well.

“The easiest way is to get organic followers by giving them viral content like how to deal with tax issues, what you can do to maximize the benefits of your bankruptcy, and how to deal with police officers at a DUI checkpoint.  These are topics that have consistently performed well on social media.”

Tip #15: Boost your best videos.

“To recap, first I invite my friends and family to my business page, second I test a lot of different content to see what goes viral, and third I put ad dollars behind the content that goes viral.  That is how I grow my brand.”

Tip #19: Automate your Instagram engagement.

“On Instagram when someone messages me, a chatbot responds, ‘Hey, thanks for reaching out to the CEO Lawyer team, do you need help with one of the following: car accident, legal advice, business advice, or the Academy?’”

Tip #24: Have you made a sufficient commitment to social media?

“I met with a firm a couple of days ago that spends $12 million a year on advertising.  Their budget for social media was $2,000 a month.  I asked them, ‘Are you telling me your social media spend is only 0.2% of your marketing budget?  That shows me you don’t care.’  They’re old school.  They’ve been on TV, billboard, and radio for the longest time, and they don’t believe in their social media marketing.”

 

11 DIY Tips That Will Improve Your Marketing Results

11 DIY Tips That Will Improve Your Marketing Results

7 DIY Tips That Will Improve Your Law Firm’s Marketing Results

Suggestions from Nick Jervis, Samson Consulting

The fastest and least expensive way to increase your firm’s revenue is to generate more clients from the people who are already finding you. These 7 tips will help you do exactly that.

GENERATING CALLS

1. Every web page should end with two calls-to-action. Because of 3/4s or more of the time your website is viewed on a smartphone rather than a desktop or laptop, each page on your website should prominently display a: (a) click-to-call phone number and (b) link to your inquiry form.

A floating bottom bar can work well to display these two items, or the text on each web page can end with, “To learn more about how we can help you, call 000-000-0000 or submit this form.”

If your website lacks these two items, fixing the shortcoming will have a material impact on your call volume. Tell the agency handling your website that this is a high-priority project.

2. Put your clients first in every piece of marketing writing, and be different. What benefit do your clients receive by retaining you? How does working with your firm differ from retaining your competition?

Closely examine your marketing message … especially the top copy on your website. Does it sound similar to your competition’s? Without a distinct and compelling sales message, your marketing will perform poorly.

TURNING CALLERS INTO CLIENTS

The easiest way to boost your firm’s profits is to improve your conversion percentage. So many firms fall short in how they handle prospect inquiries that this subject should be your top focus.

3. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Law firms as a group are terrible at lead management. They don’t make handling prospect inquiries a priority, they are slow to return prospect calls, those calls frequently lack empathy, and rarely is there any follow-up with prospects who don’t immediately sign.

Lead handling is sales. Like any other endeavor sales requires training to be good at it, which few lawyers have received or have any interest in obtaining. The solution? Put a person with sales talent and experience in charge of handling your prospect inquiries. Establish an aggressive lead follow-up process that includes repeated attempts to connect by phone or email, a shock-and-awe package and nurturing series for the undecided, and a monthly newsletter. You will see a meaningful bump in your conversion rate, revenue, and profitability.

If you cannot afford a salesperson or your lead volume does not justify the expense, listen to a sampling of your inquiry calls or make a few ghost calls. At minimum, you need to learn whether your front desk person is costing you business.

4. Focus on the prospects and their legal problems. Too many inquiry calls are handled with the law firm’s interest in mind rather than the prospects’.

You have to find out what matters to the prospective client in order to stand apart from the other firms being considered. That requires asking detailed questions about the prospect’s situation, and identifying the aspects of the legal issue that most concern the prospect. Challenges that concern you as a lawyer are likely not what worry the prospect. Try asking:

— How is the situation affecting you?
— What are the biggest challenges that ____ is creating?
— Are you concerned that ______?

5. Begin with a fixed price service. Hourly billing makes prospects nervous. If that is how you bill, at the initial consultation experiment with quoting an affordable fixed price for your initial steps. That gives the prospect a chance to try out working with you at a known cost.

Once the new client is then comfortable with the value and service you are delivering, migrate the client to hourly charges. It will be much easier for a new client to say yes to an unknown cost once the client trusts you.

6. Set weekly and monthly file opening goals. Whether you are the only fee earner, or you have several billers on your team, setting and monitoring targets for signing new clients will place attention on this critically important task.

What gets measured gets improved. Calls from prospective new clients will move up in priority, and will not be left to linger for hours or even days.

7. Publicly assess new-business numbers. For all your attorneys and other fee generators, you should lead a weekly or biweekly 15-minute meeting that has them report:

— Inquiries from prospects received last week
— Number converted to clients
— Reason why some did not convert
— Chargeable hours for the week
— Billings for the week

Interested in improving the results generated from your current marketing efforts?
Schedule a call with President Kara Prior.

Takeaways from How Lawyers Can Boost Their Marketing ROI

With Bill Hauser of SMB Team

Lawyers tend to say the same things as their competitors, and prospects cannot distinguish one attorney from another.

Having a unique selling proposition is critical, according to Bill at SMB Team. Embrace your insecurities and make them your USP. If your firm is new and small, talk about how that allows you to devote extra time to each client and case, and how important each client and case is to you.

The key marketing amplifier is brand. Brand creates trust. Without building a brand and creating that trust, cold marketing will not work well.

ROI obsession holds lawyers back. Instead they need to focus on educating and helping prospects so they build name recognition and trust. Without that, your leads will be skeptical and hard to convert.

The more important metric to measure instead of marketing ROI is, “Are you reaching your revenue goals?”

Second is cost per lead, but do so on a macro basis, not by channel. We live in a multi-touch society, and the last touch before call is not always the most important one.

The third marketing measurement to make is booked consult conversion rate.

Building pre-eminence is the highest return marketing task. Execute by giving away so much free information and assistance that the market trusts you.

Marketing only captures leads, which are opportunities to profit. But it takes effective intake and efficient processes to turn those leads into profit.

Form relationships you feel unworthy of creating. Don’t self-limit when networking.

Before you blame your agency for not performing, first look at your law firm. Is your intake as strong as it should be? Am I persistently, positively following up with and educating my leads? Do I have a high-energy, service-oriented person answering the phones? Do you have a strong selling proposition? Do you have a proprietary marketing strategy that your agency executes?

Book Summary: The New Law Business Model Revealed

by Ali Katz

This well-written title from Ali at New Law Business Model is aimed at lawyers who want to shift their practices to a fixed-fee model, and do so by selling estate planning services. But in doing so, it also details an approach that can be used by lawyers in other specialties, including bankruptcy, business transactions, divorce, immigration, and personal injury.

Below we summarize tips from the book that can be used to advantage whatever your specialty. However, for estate planners … both current and future … much value will be obtained from the book and we recommend buying a copy ($37 paperback / $19 Kindle on Amazon).

WHERE TO FOCUS

1. Five key metrics. You should weekly track for your firm: (a) its number of inquiries, (b) how many of those inquiries turned into booked appointments, (c) how many of the booked appointments were kept, (d) how many kept appointments turned into paying clients, and (e) at what average fee. The author’s free site MoneyMapforLawyers.com can help you determine how many you need at each level.

2. Structured initial consultation. Author Katz through her agency teaches lawyers to provide structured initial planning sessions that require prospects to complete homework beforehand or pay $750 to do the homework during the session. The technique is usable by bankruptcy, divorce, immigration, and personal injury lawyers. Unlike most initial consultations, the emphasis is on planning, not selling.

3. Targeted marketing. Creating targeted services for niches, in the author’s case — families with young children, business owners, and retirees — brings focus and differentiation to your marketing, and allows you to become the go-to lawyer in your community for those highly-targeted services.

4. Quality referrals. Initially the author wasted much time trying to build a sizable network of referral sources. She learned over time that it is far more productive to focus on cultivating and educating 3-4 referral sources. For referral sources, quality counts more than quantity.

Most important for the author was educating the sources on how she and her services differed from other estate planners. [Again, here is that differentiation thing. Getting the message?]

5. Affinity groups. Speaking to groups having the right prospects is the author’s number one source of new business. Best of all, this type of marketing is free. Key to its success is an automated follow-up program. The author obtains a 15% open rate for her follow-up emails, and frequently hears, “Ali, it is great to meet you at last. I’ve been getting your emails for so long I feel as if I know you.”

The lawyers the author advises are hosting 2-6 presentations/month, and any paid advertising they do is aimed at getting prospects to attend the presentations. She strongly recommends no paid advertising until your client conversion rate hits 80%.

6. Higher signup percentage. The author has helped bankruptcy and divorce lawyers materially improve their conversion percentages by giving their initial consultations a name, a purpose, and a value. Prospects receive the planning session free only if they do their homework, and that commitment is backed with a credit card.

Want to convert more of your leads into paying clients?
Schedule a call with President Kara Prior to learn how we can help.

Marketing Tip of the Month

from Andy Stickel, Social Firestarter

“Here are 4 of the biggest mistakes lawyers make with their marketing (according to Andy at Social Firestarter):

1. Not treating leads as urgent. Clients calling want help now. If they are not treated like a priority, they will go elsewhere.

2. Failing to train your phone person to capture leads. The person answering your phone must obtain a caller’s name and phone number, and promise a quick return call from the attorney.

3. Using a call menu or phone tree. Every extra step is one more chance for the prospect to hang up. Get rid of them.

4. Not using an answering service after hours. You must have 24-hour call service. One extra case/month will pay for the service. Noting on your Google My Business listing that you are open 24/7 will increase your call volume.”