How I Get Clients with Attorney Narimon Pishnamaz: Leveraging Social Media

In just over a year, personal injury attorney Narimon Pishnamaz has leveraged social platforms to gain an impressive 162,000 TikTok followers, 108,000 Instagram followers, and recently 13,000 YouTube subscribers. This has directly translated into 30-40% of Narimon’s new client intake originating from social referrals.

Narimon shared his social media approach and strategy with James Amplifier President Kara Prior during the Grow With Kara show.

Crafting Shareable Social Content

Many lawyers focus overly on “entertaining” videos to grab attention. Narimon takes a different approach – informative and concise legal content without gimmicks.

He tackles topics beyond just injury law that affect people’s everyday lives, like pay discussions, drinking laws, insurance issues and more. These general topics draw in a wide viewership. Narimon then sprinkles in injury-specific videos to convert engaged followers into potential clients.

Narimon also ensures his videos are tightly composed and straight-to-the-point. The scripts convey the core message quickly, which users appreciate when scrolling social feeds.

Promoting Standout Content

Once Narimon identifies a top-performing video, he doubles down by putting some advertising budget behind it. He highlights that lawyers don’t need big budgets – even just $5 per day over years can greatly expand the reach.

This strategy allows his best content to build momentum instead of disappearing into the endless stream of social media. The videos then continue attracting followers and leads years after posting.

Client Acquisition on Social Media

Narimon proves that lawyers can leverage social platforms to directly drive case acquisition. But to replicate his success requires embracing some key mindshifts.

First, great content alone is not enough – you must strategically promote winners to build sustainable traffic momentum. Additionally, boosting general legal topics beyond your immediate practice area draws more eyeballs which you can then convert.

Finally, genuine informative content works better than entertainment gimmicks. Follow Narimon’s lead in crafting concise, engaging social content that delivers value. Then consistently highlight your best performers, and you too can convert social media followers into quality client leads.

Webinar: Like This Attorney, You Too Can Quickly Become a Social Media Success
Attorney Narimon Pishmanaz: Website | Instagram | Facebook
Personal injury attorney Narimon Pishnamaz has rocketed to social media success, acquiring 38,000 Instagram followers and 127,000 TikTok followers in only 10 months. He added YouTube a month and a half earlier, and already has 650 subscribers. Narimon obtains 30-40% of his new intake from social media.
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!

Attorney Marketing Tips from Interviews

Attorney Marketing Tips from Interviews

One-click access
Click the interview title for instant, single-click access to the video replay and its takeaways.

No-Cost Social Media Marketing for Lawyers
Clay Payne on 11/16/22 (23:53 long).  Speaking directly and concisely on everyday law topics, Clay has accumulated over 181,000 Instagram and 158,000 TikTok followers.  No comedy or costumes.  Amazingly, he posted his first Instagram video only 6 months prior to this interview – in April 2022.  Having been licensed only four years ago, he didn’t want to spend a lot on getting clients, so turned to affordable social media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharpening the Focus of Your Law Firm’s Social Marketing
Miriah Soliz on 9/28/22 (32:05 long).  In only 2 years Miriah has grown her Houston injury firm to a team of 8 handling 100 open case files.  She obtains all her cases directly – no attorney referrals – with 99% of her cases coming from Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

Getting Out of the Way of Your Law Firm’s Growth
Mike Morse on 6/22/22 (26:55 long).  After losing a referral source providing 60% of his cases, Mike Morse figured out how to replace those cases and in 5 short years grew his firm from 30 employees to 130.  His team now numbers 170, is growing 20% annually, and does $150 million annually in settlements.  

How This Attorney Built a $100M Law Firm – with Zero Digital Marketing
Bob Simon on 4/6/22 (33:55 long).  With his social posts Robert targets referring lawyers rather than consumers.  He has been hugely successful with his approach, building his firm in 12 years to 75 people and $100 million in revenues.  He is an impressively-creative entrepreneur who also founded a rapidly-expanding co-working space and membership program for plaintiff attorneys.

 

Instantly emailed link
Click the interview title, then complete the short form to be immediately emailed a link to the video replay and its takeaways.

 

Generating Clients from TikTok
Andrea Sager on 1/11/23 (39:40 long).  Andrea connects attorneys to small business clients through The Legalpreneur.  She first began landing clients for her small-business oriented practice through Facebook Groups, and then Instagram.  Her current marketing focus is using TikTok to find and educate new prospects, where she currently has 67,000 followers.

Growing with Social Media & Professional Referrals
Jessica Ornsby on 1/4/23 (25:35 long).  Jessica left BigLaw in 2017 to start her own solo family practice, and then merged practices with a colleague serving Maryland and DC.  After redirecting her personal Instagram to professional topics and acquiring 11,000+ followers, social media has become a substantial lead source for her.  That and professional referrals are growing her practice 30%/year.

Expanding Your Attorney Referral Network with Social Media
Shaheen Wallace on 12/21/22 (28:50 long).  Shaheen launched his firm immediately after graduation, and serves GA, NY, and PA.  He focuses on trying cases, keeping his open cases below 100.  His primary source of clients is attorney referrals.  He is expanding his referral network through (1) connecting on social media and (2) attending and speaking at in-person conferences.

Attracting High-Value Cases
Joe Wilson on 12/14/22 (27:57 long).  Joe founded his Atlanta injury firm 5 years ago, and recently partnered with Nick Rowley’s Trial Lawyers for Justice.  Joe focuses on higher-value cases, referring out the smaller ones.  He and his local team of 5 maintain 40-50 open files, allowing him to devote more time to each case.  He also works with Nick on cases around the country.

Building a Law Firm & Brand Using Social Media
Neama Rahmani on 12/7/22 (33:25 long).  Neama and his partners have in 8 years built a large and fast-growing firm of 25 attorneys and 100 support staff.  Social media, paid ads, TV appearances, and a podcast are driving the growth.  The firm has 3 in-house marketing teams – social, paid, and organic – and 3 public spokespeople, including Neama.  

Growing Your Law Firm with Low-Cost Marketing
Chris Earley on 11/9/22 (32:10 long).  With a couple months to go in the year, Chris has already doubled his 11-person Boston injury firm’s revenue.  He attributes that success to focusing on customer service, list-building, and referrals.  Referrals from attorneys and clients now comprise more than half of his firm’s caseload of 300-350 open case files.

Increasing the Leads Generated by Your Firm’s Website
Matt Dolman on 11/2/22 (42:29 long).  Matt’s firm, which employs a team of 40+, has collected more than $500 million on behalf of its injury clients.  Its growth has been generated primarily using SEO, with its site receiving over 160,000 visitors/month. Matt is highly focused on content creation – both written and video – and uses an agency to generate backlinks.

Triple-Threat Legal Marketer Details What Works Best
Seth Price on 10/26/22 (35:47 long).  Over the last decade Seth and his partner scaled their multi-specialty East Coast law firm from a couple attorneys to more than 40.  And his legal marketing agency, BluShark, handles digital marketing for 250 law firms.  He has broad and deep knowledge of how to effectively market a variety of legal specialties.

Growing 20-25% Annually on a 10% Legal Marketing Budget
Reza Torkzadeh on 10/19/22 (41:23 long).  In 10 years Reza has built a 62-person injury firm in the competitive SoCal market.  The firm has consistently grown 20-25% annually, and is on track for 30% this year.  That growth has been driven by a heavy focus on customer service and a broad-based marketing effort.  However, the firm is spending only 10% or so of its revenue on marketing, unlike many injury firms this size.

Streaking to Greater Law Firm Heights
John Fisher on 10/12/22 (41:27 long).  John’s 12-year old upstate New York firm handles catastrophic medmal and injury cases, typically having only 30 open files at a time.  It is referral based, with over 500 referring attorney-partners.  John provides some great lessons for increasing the high-quality cases that come from attorney referrals.

Generating Consistent Law Firm Growth
Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert on 10/5/22 (39:23 long).  Jennifer’s Atlanta personal injury firm, launched in 2013 immediately upon obtaining her license, has collected over $100 million in settlements for over 5,000 clients.  Her firm’s revenue has doubled most years, now employs 30, and is on the Inc 5000 list of fast-growing businesses.

Blending Catastrophic & Volume Injury Case Models
Darl Champion on 9/21/22 (47:21 long).  In 8 years Darl has grown his Atlanta-area injury firm to 13 people handling about 200 open files.  Initially he pursued attorney referrals, but has now broadened his marketing channels to include SEO, PPC, social media, and client referrals.  His highest-value cases are coming from attorney referrals.

How I Keep My Firm Healthy and Growing
Bert Parnall on 9/14/22 (37:12 long).  Bert’s New Mexico firm has represented over 5,000 clients and collected over $100 million in settlements and verdicts.  Since launching in 2009, his firm has grown to 12 attorneys and 69 people.  Half of the firm’s cases come from client and professional referrals, with the other half coming from “a symphony of media” as detailed below.

The Marketing Tech & Techniques Working for Me
Mitch Jackson on 8/31/22 (56:29 long).  Mitch has for decades been a technology pioneer, first with websites, then social media, and now the metaverse and Web3.  He hosts weekly meetups for digital entrepreneurs in his virtual penthouse, and publishes a LinkedIn newsletter called Metaverse, Web 3, Law and Tech.  Mitch’s SoCal firm focuses on injury and business litigation.

The Marketing I Use at My 30-Person Firm
Mauro Fiore on 8/17/22 (48:25 long).  Mauro has personally tried over 50 cases before a jury, and his firm has recovered over $250 million for its clients.  Referrals from personal connections are a major source of business for Mauro’s 5-lawyer, 30-person firm.  He also joint ventures with a major local advertiser, and successfully uses non-branded advertising. 

Rapid Growth, Low Spend, High Conversions
Alex Northover on 8/10/22 (35:12 long).  Alex started his firm only 18 months ago, in January 2021, but already has 400 open case files.  Part of that rapid growth has come from accepting … and generating solid settlements … from cases that other firms turned down.  A second source of growth is social media, which Alex has targeted at referral sources. 

How to Build a Network of Referral Partners Online
Joe Volta on 8/3/22 (26:27 long).  Joe is a young lawyer successfully growing his book of injury business.  Amazingly, he is spending zero dollars while doing so.  He reaches out to national marketers online, offering to handle their cases in the Carolinas and then focusing on making the referring attorneys look good.  Recently Joe has started attending select conferences to meet his current and prospective referral partners in person.

Breaking Marketing Rules & Getting Clients
Marc Wasserman on 7/20/22 (45:23 long).  Marc and his brother have built a huge brand in their firm Pot Brothers at Law and its trademark saying, ‘Shut the Fuck Up.’  Their startup story is an interesting one, and driven entirely by free networking and organic social media.

Free & Paid Marketing That Works
Matt Dubin on 7/6/22 (45:18 long).  Matt started the Dubin Law Group, a greater Seattle injury firm, after being told by his financially-strapped employer to polish his resume.  Lunches with referral sources and writing for SEO were his early marketing go-to’s.  Now growing rapidly with 4 offices, 10 attorneys, and 50 people total,  Matt uses a full marketing mix that includes Google Ads, digital display ads, community events, TV, radio, and busboards.

Low-Cost, Niche Marketing
Tina Odjaghian on 6/15/22 (30:34 long).  10 years ago Tina started her own firm, which specializes in traumatic brain injuries and other catastrophic cases, and now numbers 15 people.  Social media is a key contributor, with Tina’s fashion, family, and law-focused personal Instagram page having 558k followers.  Nurturing referral relationships is Tina’s other marketing focus.

‘Owning the Phone’ Marketing
Justin Lovely on 6/8/22 (35:55 long).  In 2009 Justin founded The Lovely Law Firm, a personal injury and criminal defense firm headquartered in Myrtle Beach, SC, when he couldn’t land a job as real estate lawyer.  Together with his wife Amy, Justin has grown the firm to 5 attorneys and 15 staff using a variety of marketing channels and an approachable, community-focused style.

Low-Cost, Rapid-Start Marketing
Nima Etemadian on 6/1/22 (32:35 long).  Nima and his partner have built an exceptionally fast-growing young personal injury firm based in highly competitive Southern California.  Networking, attorney referrals, and social media provided the initial rocket fuel, and the growth of client referrals have the firm tripling its revenue last year and this year.  Good mentorship early on provided the guidance.

Focusing on Strengths & Marketing Them Effectively
Brett Sachs on 5/11/22 (41:47 long).  He and wife Chelsee handle injury cases in California and Texas under the name MVP Accident Attorneys.  In 4-½ years they have grown their firm from launch to a team of 50 using a multi-channel marketing approach – SEO, PPC, radio, and social media.

Getting the Most Out of the Best Legal Marketing Channels
Jason Melton on 5/4/22 (44:25 long).  He launched his multi-specialty practice in an under-served part of Florida, promoting with organic SEO.  Now he promotes his practice with outdoor events, PPC, and Instagram.  In less than one year Jason has acquired more than 14,000 Instagram followers.  

How ‘The Hammer’ Spends a $12M Marketing Budget
Darryl Isaacs on 4/27/22 (27:57 long).  Darryl is a recent entrant to the social media arena, but has been a heavy TV advertiser since 1996.  He also has a huge billboard presence in his market.  A creative thinker and contributor to the profession, Darryl manages several marketing mastermind groups in addition to his $40 million firm.

How This Attorney Became a Social Media Success
Narimon Pishnamaz on 4/13/22 (23:12 long).  In less than a year Narimon has acquired 137,000 TikTok followers, 37,000 Instagram followers, and more recently, 650 YouTube subscribers.  Unlike many social promoters, Narimon takes a mostly-serious, informational approach rather than trying to be entertaining.

Transforming His Instagram Into a Lead-Gen Machine
Kyle Newman on 3/30/22 (35:32 long).  Kyle has only been on social media since 2019.  Even though he works in a long-established firm receiving a steady flow of referrals, 25% of the firm’s new clients now come from Kyle’s social presence.  More importantly, some of the firm’s largest settlements and verdicts have come from socially-originated cases.

How This Attorney Built a $12M Family Law Group
David Crum on 3/10/22 (29:58 long).  David founded both a law firm and a legal marketing agency, so has especially detailed knowledge about what works in attorney marketing.  Below he provides specific information and numbers on what propelled his multi-location family law firm to prominence and financial success.

 

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.

 

Social Media Recommendations for Attorneys

Introduction

Most every Wednesday I air one of my recent 1:1s with successful attorney-marketers.  I recently interviewed the following 10 attorneys whose tips I feature in this booklet:

– Ali Awad started his practice in February 2017 with a laptop in the trunk of his car.  He was living with a roommate and paying $300/month in rent.  His first year, he generated $3.2 million in settlements.  None were big wins; most were $25,000 minimum policy cases.

– Nima Etemadian and his partner have built an exceptionally fast-growing young personal injury firm based in highly competitive Southern California.  Networking, attorney referrals, and social media provided the initial rocket fuel, and the growth of client referrals have the firm tripling its revenue last year and this year.  Good mentorship early on provided the guidance.

In 2009 Justin Lovely founded The Lovely Law Firm, a personal injury and criminal defense firm headquartered in Myrtle Beach, SC, when he couldn’t land a job as real estate lawyer.  Together with his wife Amy, Justin has grown the firm to 5 attorneys and 15 staff using a variety of marketing channels and an approachable, community-focused style.

– Jason Melton launched his multi-specialty practice in an under-served part of Florida, promoting with organic SEO.  Now he uses outdoor events, PPC, and Instagram.  In less than one year Jason has acquired more than 14,000 Instagram followers.  

– Mike Morse.  After losing a referral source providing 60% of his cases, Mike Morse figured out how to both replace those cases and in 5 short years grow his firm from 30 employees to 130.  His team now numbers 170, is growing 20% annually, and does $150 million in settlements.  

Kyle Newman has only been on social media since 2019.  Even though he works in a long-established firm receiving a steady flow of referrals, 25% of the firm’s new clients now come from Kyle’s social presence.  More importantly, some of the firm’s largest settlements and verdicts have come from socially-originated cases.

– Tina Odjaghian. 10 years ago Tina started her own firm, which specializes in traumatic brain injuries and other catastrophic cases, and now numbers 15 people.  Social media is a key contributor, with Tina’s fashion, family, and law-focused personal Instagram page having 558k followers.  Nurturing referral relationships is Tina’s other marketing focus.

– In less than a year Narimon Pishnamaz has acquired 137,000 TikTok followers, 37,000 Instagram followers, and more recently, 650 YouTube subscribers.  Unlike many social promoters, Narimon takes a mostly-serious, informational approach rather than trying to be entertaining.

– With his social posts Robert Simon targets referring lawyers rather than consumers.  He has been hugely successful with his approach, building his firm in 12 years to 75 people and $100 million in revenues.  He is an impressively-creative entrepreneur who also founded a rapidly-expanding co-working space and membership program for plaintiff attorneys.

– Marc Wasserman and his brother have built a huge brand in their firm Pot Brothers at Law and its trademark saying, ‘Shut the Fuck Up.’  Their startup story is an interesting one, and driven entirely by free networking and organic social media.

If the practical tips and phenomenal results of these attorneys 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

1. Getting Started

Nima Etemadian: “When I first started marketing organically on social media, my goal was to remind my immediate following, including my friends and family, that personal injury is what I do.  I want to be front of mind.  My best friend’s brother, who has known me since childhood, called me one day to ask, ‘Do you handle car accidents?’  Within a month he and his mom referred four or five cases.  Putting out new content to stay front of mind with friends and family has been super important.”

Jason Melton: “@jasonmeltonesquire is a terrible handle, by the way.  It is 20 characters long.  I should have picked something shorter.”

“The most important thing with social media is, ‘just do it.’  It’s okay if it stinks.  Nobody cares. Just don’t post it again.  Keep posting and hopefully it gets better.  Nobody is going to judge you for bad posts.  There are lots of bad posts.  The posts are not intended to be memorials hanging on your gravestone.  You’re not going to get good at it if you don’t start posting.”

Kyle Newman: “I’ve been our firm’s sole trial attorney for 13 years now.  In 2019 I had my busiest year ever, trying 10 cases to verdict, which is a lot. Half of them were complex medical malpractice cases, which is really my specialty.  At the end of the year, I had my biggest case, over $6 million that we won and it struck me during jury deliberations that I could really do this.  Then I came across Andy Stickel’s course, which I took, and it opened a whole new world to me, which was social media marketing.  It came at the perfect time, for that is when the pandemic hit.”

“I read a book by Russell Brunson called Expert Secrets.  You have to read this book if you are trying to get into this.  The book changed my entire perspective on marketing, social media, and establishing yourself as an expert.  What this is really about is helping people, and that is the epiphany you have when you go from being a content consumer to being a content creator.”  

“You can use any platform you are comfortable with.  For me it was Instagram, and now I am really into YouTube.  I never was that into Facebook, though we do some Facebook advertising, but we have scaled that back in the past year because of the price.”

“One of the things Russell Brunson talks about is your Dream 100, which is all the people who are in your space that you want to work with or be like.  I had always relied on the NY Bar and the NY Trial Lawyers Association for information, but for the first time I was open to a whole new world of attorneys across the country – people like Nicholas Rowley, Chris Stewart, and Ali Awad, who are not only great trial lawyers but also have their own content-creation styles.”

“For people who are on the fence about getting into this, a misconception I had about social media was that it would be a negative thing, that I would encounter a lot of haters and trolls.  However, my social media journey has been incredibly positive … especially with other people in the space.  Others in the space have been highly supportive.”

“It also leads to a lot of business possibilities.  I can’t tell you how many referrals I’ve gotten from this.  Opening the door as a trusted resource brings people who may not know a lawyer in New York to reach out to me just to get info.”

“If you’re new to this, first pick one platform that you use the most – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube.  You will be more familiar with how it works.  Delete the distracting accounts you have on that platform, and instead focus on what the other people in your space are doing.  Then begin.  You have your phone, so you don’t need to buy equipment at the beginning.  Just start and get comfortable with it.”

Tina Odjaghian: “When I started my social media account back in 2015 I wasn’t targeting anything.  I just wanted a creative outlet to post about my family, fun, and fashion, which I’m super passionate about.  I caught a lot of flak, because it was so unconventional and not lawyer-like.  Now everyone is coming around, and talking about their hobbies and personal interests.”

“I was one of the only attorneys there.  It started out as a personal page.  I do most of my outreach and engagement through my personal page.  Most of my referrals come from my personal page, not my business page.”

“It took a long time before my page took off.  I was learning as I went.  I wasn’t consistent or polished.  I didn’t understand how the algorithms worked.  I wasn’t engaging with the audience I should have been connecting with.  It took some time.”

“At the 5-year mark, my social media started to take off.  I had some videos go viral.  I learned what works and what doesn’t, and fine-tuned accordingly.  Now we get a lot of brand partnership opportunities, and a lot of opportunities in law.  We are now starting to see the full potential of having a robust social media presence.”

Narimon Pishnamaz: “I had a friend who encouraged me to get on social media and who said he would help me make videos without charging me much.  We used TikTok as our platform, beginning in May 2021 [10 months prior to this recording].  I had no followers at the beginning.  We made 15 videos in our first shoot.  Our first 10 videos received minimal views.  TikTok does push your content, so you’ll get 200-300 views if you use the proper hashtag.  But then one video hit 750,000 views within a week or two, and that one video propelled my TikTok following.  Next time I looked I had 10,000 TikTok followers.”  

“That video covered what to do if the police knock on your door.  Now I’m a personal injury and medmal lawyer, so everyone says that video is not going to help me get business.  But if you keep making personal injury videos you are going to run out of content, so you need to have a 360-degree approach to these videos.  You cannot just make personal injury videos if you want to have a huge following on social media.  I have re-posted that video 3-4 times in the last 9 months and every time it gets 400,000 to 500,000 views.”

Robert Simon: “I was first on Facebook.  My handle was @LAInjuryLawyer.  I started to brand myself early on.  I was hesitant to get on Instagram.  My wife is a social media influencer.  She has her own fitness/supplement brand.  She and my very smart marketing manager said I had to get on Instagram.  From there it exploded.  Nobody else was doing it.  It was stodgy old law firm stuff, while we for example had a wrestling ring at our Christmas party.”

“Most of my cases come from social media.  We had an online presence from our first week.  When starting we targeted young lawyers, because those were the lawyers who didn’t try cases, plus lawyers who didn’t do personal injury.  When we started on Instagram we used to get a ton of messages and DMs, ‘Can you help me on this case?’  That is how it started.  

Don’t name your firm using your and your partners’ names, using an email that is hard to remember.  We boiled ours down to JusticeTeam.  I’ll wager that we get a lot more cases just because our name is easier to remember.  And it is something that you can sell later on.  You have a brand, you have a presence, you have goodwill, make sure you are saving all that stuff so you are not killing yourself as a lawyer in your 70’s.”

Marc Wasserman: “While my brother and I shared an office suite prior to 2015, we had separate practices.  I had been dealing with cannabis defense cases since the beginning.  My nephew wanted to cultivate, which was a felony back then.  My brother and I schooled ourselves on how he could defend himself if arrested.  When he did get arrested, several times, we got the cases dismissed.”

“My nephew then invited us to go on a show called ‘Getting High with Adam Ill” on breal.tv.  We needed a place to send viewers, so my brother created our Instagram page.  We did a series of 15-second videos focused on what to do if you get pulled over.  Within 2 weeks we had 5,000 followers.”

“Instagram commenters asked, ‘What do I do if the cop says ________?’  So over the course of a couple months we came up with a 25-word script and started pushing ‘Shut the fuck up!’”

2. Strategy and Planning

Ali Awad: “Social media will build you a massive brand.  You have a tremendous opportunity, especially with TikTok today.  I just hired a TikTok manager an hour ago.  All she is going to do, full time, every single day, is just crush TikTok videos.  Most people would say it is crazy to spend $60-80,000/year on a person just to build up your TikTok presence, but long term I’m thinking I can continuously remarket to these people.”

“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.”  

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

Nima Etemadian: “Do some planning at the beginning.  Do you want your personal page to promote your practice?  Some people don’t.  I love what I do, so I made the decision to merge the two. Having the right mindset before you begin is important.

Darryl Isaacs: “In the last year we have upped our social media presence, and we now are getting better-quality cases.”

“Social media right now is what I am going to call a blue ocean.  I see a window of about a year, year and a half, before it is going to become crowded.  Social media is so important.”

I went big on TikTok 6 weeks ago.  An attorney from Atlanta who is killing it said I have to start doing video.  So I shot some, and my first only got 1500 views.  I was so disappointed.  But last week I did 2 that got over 150,000 views.”  

“I think a lot of them are so stupid, but that it what the public wants.  An expert I recently heard at a conference said, ‘It’s not our job to question the customer.  It’s our job to give the customer what they want.’  I totally agree with that.”

“People want to see me on TikTok.  None of us want to do it, but you have to do it.”

Jason Melton: “From day one I’ve never spent a dollar on TV.  Because of what I’ve learned about social media in the past year, I may continue to not advertise on TV.  I’m 47, and it never dawned on me that some people don’t watch TV.  They use their televisions, but they don’t watch TV.  I didn’t realize there is a whole swath of people, most everyone under 30, who don’t watch TV anymore.”

“That triggered my sea change with Instagram.  I started posting videos in July 2021, mostly during a family road trip, which we also put on YouTube.  It clicked for me when I received a call from a now-client who said, ‘I see your stuff on TV all the time.’  It dawned on me that people don’t distinguish where they watch.  It doesn’t matter whether they saw you on their phone, laptop, or TV screen.”

“For me social media is a way to market to people who we weren’t servicing.  The bulk of our clients are older than I am.  Social media is an opportunity for me to appeal to a new demographic.

Mike Morse: “You spend time on social platforms for branding.  It enhances your billboard and TV presence.  It targets a younger audience. I know some lawyers with 5, 6, 7 million followers.  I don’t know what business is coming into the firm from those followers, however.  The lawyers don’t share that information.  But that is a lot of eyeballs, and they are free.  I don’t know if it is starting to level the playing field with TV lawyers who spend millions annually, but it could.  I don’t see why it couldn’t.”

Tina Odjaghian: “It occurred to me early on that people don’t want to see a generic business page.  They want to see a person who they can relate with.  To the extent I was strategizing, I didn’t know it.  I was just doing what felt right at the time.  I saw it working, so did more.”

Narimon Pishnamaz: “I usually test my content out on TikTok.  It is like a free analysis tool.  If it works on TikTok, it is going to work on Instagram Reels.  TikTok will literally show you the data on the video.  It will say, ‘40% of people watched your video all the way through.’  ‘The average watch time on a 20-second video you posted is only 5 seconds.’  That is not a good video.

“You can use that information in your ads, too.  Your cost-per-click is going to be a lot lower if your video performed well on Tiktok.”

Brett Sachs:  “We use social media not just for leads.  We have gained a lot of our talent through social media.  One of our top trial lawyers has a background in toxic and complex torts.  The second he wanted to go into general p.i., he called us.  ‘I’ve been following you guys forever, and you fit my mold.  Do you have a spot for me?’”

“We do a lot of intentional hiring here.  We have a culture we need to maintain, which is shown through our brand and through social.  Finding attorneys who have that light-hearted and fun nature is difficult, so we use social to get case managers, attorneys, support staff, and other people in the industry who trust us.”

Robert Simon: “If you want to go direct to consumer, and do the educational route, I think TikTok is a very good value.  However, don’t skimp on Facebook; Facebook still has the highest bargain.  It has a bit of an older demographic.  Get into the chat rooms and start answering questions.  You can go to TikTok and do informational stuff.  You have a younger demographic, but they will be reaching out to you.  I know a lot of younger lawyers who have gone viral on TikTok.  They’re getting cases and referring them out.  It is very smart.  They act as general counsel for that client.”

“Be cognizant of what you’re trying to market for.  Pick a niche.  Why not be, say, the construction work injury lawyer?  You’re picking a demographic so if you ever want to do an ad spend on social media you will know how to target it better, and then pick the cases that either you have good knowledge in or that you think will be the most profitable and enjoyable for you.

Marc Wasserman: “In 2007-08 I was getting a lot of cannabis cases, so I made business cards with the name ‘Pot Brothers at Law’ as a joke and started handing them out.  Fast forward to 2015, and we again started using that name.  We unwittingly, unknowingly created a brand.”

“You have to engage.  It is about engaging back.  I still do.”

3. Effective Content

Ali Awad: “Instagram recently changed its algorithm so the playing field is more level.  New creators are now more on par with those who have large followings.  Why?  Instagram wants to compete with TikTok so new people will join the platform.  Instagram realized there was a plateau in new people joining.”

“When I used to get 20, 30, or even 50,000 views on my videos, now I’ll get only thousands.  What is the point of having a million followers if you are only getting a couple thousand views?  But if you scroll down a bit you will see that one of my videos recently hit over 1 million views on Instagram.”

“The reason I talk a lot about TikTok is because it is still easy to go viral there.  On Instagram it is a lot harder.  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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”  

Here is my problem with bankruptcy.  The lawyers are advertising it as debt relief … like they are scared to talk about it as bankruptcy.  Why not lean into it using the opposite direction: ‘Here is how you can use bankruptcy to your advantage.  You should not be scared of bankruptcy. Here is why: boom, boom, boom.’”

“I think you can create a ton of content around whatever is your practice area.  I don’t do as much content in bankruptcy, tax, or credit repair.  I’ll touch on them from time to time.  I’ve found after doing thousands of videos that criminal defense, specifically with DUI and dealing with police, especially with our heightened political atmosphere, those videos go crazy.  So I stick to those.”

Nima Etemadian: “I think about simple topics that are very easy for lay people to understand and digest.  I also look at other attorneys’ pages and see what they are talking about.  Narimon Pishnamaz does a great job.”

“Items in the news, like the Johnny Depp trial, Dave Chappelle being attacked on stage, or Chris Rock being slapped, are great topics.  If you can put stuff out the moment it happens and hashtag it, you will get a lot of traffic and a ton of eyes on it.

Justin Lovely: “My podcast has really taken off since we started newsjacking, giving our perspective on current issues.  Today we dropped our Johnny Depp trial.  I don’t know if you are keeping up with the Murtaugh murders; we’ve been commenting on that.  Giving our spin on current events, we can say, ‘If this happened in South Carolina, this is the legal issue.”

Listicles perform.  For example, ‘My top 3 ways to increase your settlement,’  or ‘Top 5 mistakes to avoid.’  I try to answer simple questions like, ‘How much does a lawyer cost?’  Those get some traffic, but my goal for those is to appear for a search.”

“We research what is trending on Google.  My paralegals record questions frequently asked by prospects and clients.  If something appears which I haven’t covered, I will shoot a video on it.”

“We are going to start talking about what is happening on the local news – a local car wreck or tragedy or motorcycle accident.  We can go live immediately after it happens.”

Jason Melton: “Privately, I can be funny.  But I don’t often act that way on my videos, which may stunt my Instagram’s growth at some point.  The most successful Instagrams are the ones who are super entertaining, which makes sense because I don’t want to watch boring stuff either.”

“I love to travel, and love the idea of sharing that with people.  I strongly believe that when people travel, they become nicer.  Travel breaks down stereotypes and barriers.  Travel allows the mind to be curious rather than afraid.  I’ve used my travels as posts, and I hope people like that.  I like sports and food and use them, too, but I find travel is a nice way to merge in legal concepts.”

“Sometimes my videos are simply, ‘Here are 3 things not to say in your deposition.’  But for people just getting started, try to find a way to be entertaining.”

Mike Morse: “One of the big-firm lawyers asked me how do you know what good content is?  I replied, ‘Content that makes you stop scrolling.’  It’s not that hard.”

Kyle Newman: “The big thing for when you become a creator in this space is that you get inspiration through everything you do.  I could be listening to the radio and get an idea for a video that ties into personal injury or trial practice.  Last night I was home with my wife and got an idea for a video that involves a Miley Cyrus song which I shot today that I will probably put out tomorrow.  We were watching Pitch Perfect and that song came on.  That one is probably funny.”

“You draw inspiration from your work, too.  Yesterday I was hating on defense attorneys.  I did a post on how you can never trust them.  That was based on an experience I had two days ago.  ‘You’re wrong, your case is crap,’ he was saying and the guy ended up being full of it.  That was a lesson for young attorneys that I thought they should know.  There is an endless amount of content and inspiration right in front of you on all these platforms.”

“I try when home with my family to put my phone away completely.  But every night before bed I’ll scroll through, for instance, Instagram Reels feed.  Every night I find inspiration and place it in my saved reels.  People see what is working on social and in marketing, and then give it their own twist.”

Tina Odjaghian: “I would post about fashion because it is something I’m passionate about.  I post about my family because they are a key part of my life.  I knew early on that what I was doing was unconventional, so in order to obtain the respect of my colleagues I needed to pepper my posts with real-life results and successes in my firm so I’m taken seriously as an attorney.”

“I caution new attorneys, the ones who are on TikTok doing cutesy social videos, to be careful.  Make sure that you are also representing what you are doing in the legal field.  People want to know that you have seen the inside of a courtroom, if you want to be viewed as an authority.  Make sure that you are balancing your content appropriately.  It cannot all be gimmicks.”

“Every 3 or 4 posts I would post something about a 7-figure result we hit.  That way, if there is any doubt about whether we are real attorneys doing real work, those posts speak for themselves.  When we are published, which happens often because we try cases of first impression, we post about it.”

“If I’m speaking at a conference, whether it is my own or someone else’s, I make sure to post about that.  I make it a point to integrate all aspects of my life so it is as accurate a representation as you can get on social media. 

Narimon Pishnamaz: “Criminal content is the number one content category for legal.  Even if you’re an injury lawyer, throw some criminal content out there.  Tell people what they can do if the police knock on their door and what to do in a DUI situation.  Everybody can relate to these.”  

“In personal injury, you can make videos about Uber cases, Lyft cases, trucking cases, any car accident.  But they have to be 10 times more engaging than criminal content in order to do well.  No one thinks they will be in a vehicle accident, while they do think about police encounters and drunk driving.”

“Lawyers can be too stationary when shooting.  Walk when shooting some of your videos.  The movement helps keep eyes on the video.”

Brett Sachs: “I’m much more into the business of law rather than the practice of law.  I don’t want people to think when they are hiring the firm that they’re going to get me.  I hire attorneys who are way more skillful than I am, so I want to brand the firm around our core values versus one individual.  As a result, our social media presence is capturing who we are behind the scenes.”

“We like to educate and excite people, so most of our content revolves around having fun while producing an educational piece.  Some of it is just fun so people get to know us.  Clients don’t always come to our office or see us, but I want them to know that we are good, genuine people who care.”

“We filmed something yesterday that makes fun of social norms in our profession.  We show me going around the office and I’m doing everything, from taking all the phone calls, talking to all the clients, doing all the settlements, and trying every case.  Behind me are our fans, who are our team members, laughing and saying, ‘Wait, that is not true.’”

“We try to give a light-hearted nature to our presence, but also try to educate as well.”

Robert Simon: “Be original, but you don’t have to be your firm’s spokesperson.  I know one guy who does everything in cartoon fashion so that it looks like a Farmville video.  Look at the meme lawyer accounts.  They’re super funny, and they’re just memes.  They’re never in it, but they get a ton of traffic and views, and now they’re starting to monetize those views.  They’re setting up law firm stores.  You just need to do stuff you think is funny; that’s what I do.  Don’t be too polished or you will come across as impersonable.”

“Some of the highest-performing videos I have are with my kids.  Those are the ones that get the most views.  Also whenever there is something controversial.  I had to sue Tom Girardi, a well-known lawyer out here, when I was a baby lawyer.  I received a letter from him which I posted.  It said something like, ‘You have until Monday to do X or you will never work again in this town.’  He just got disbarred.  He’s been stealing for years.  I took a clip of Matt Damon where he says, “How do you like them apples?’ and combined it with the letter.  That was my highest-view video.”

Marc Wasserman: “For the majority of my content, I am flying by the seat of my pants … because that is all I have time for.   We just stayed true to who we are and the followers came organically.  We had no master plan.  We simply set out to get a few clients for free and give out free information.  And what we provided was not readily available. ‘What do I do when the cops ______?’  ‘Check out pot brothers, they have the answer.’”

Ali Awad: “Don’t tell me you don’t have time to create videos.  Everyone has one minute per day.  And if you have a face for radio, you don’t have to do video.  You can create content with just the captions.  Have a picture of you standing outside or with a client, or a picture of a settlement check … covering the checking account number … and then have a beautiful caption underneath saying, ‘To you this might look like a normal check, but to me, this was the proudest moment of my career.  And here is why….’” 

Tina Odjaghian: “I’d say I spend 15-20% of my workweek is spent on marketing efforts, including social media.  On top of that, I go to a lot of social functions.  I do a lot of meet and greets, and speaking at conferences.  Educating is a huge marketing tool for me.  I enjoy it and am passionate about it.  I’m big on raising the bar industry-wide.  As it turns out, those efforts are very fruitful in getting referrals.”

“Once you put it all together, I’d say 40-45% of my time is spent marketing myself and my firm, with social media being a part of that.”

Robert Simon: I spend 20% of my time on social media, maybe more.  It is sometimes higher and sometimes lower.  I get a lot of business from it, a lot of notoriety, and help a lot of folks.  When I’m in trial, some of which have lasted 6 to 8 weeks, I’m still producing content.  When I’m on lunch break, I’ll explain what just happened.  People want to learn what is going on in the trenches.  When I get into trial, I’m so uber-prepared that it is fun by the time I get to trial.”

5. Efficient Production

Nima Etemadian: “The videos don’t have to be polished.  I shoot on my iPhone and edit quickly.  If you look closely, the transitions are frequently messed up.  Too many lawyers think it needs to be perfect.  ‘I’m a lawyer; people are expecting perfection.’  It doesn’t have to be that way.”

“I went to a seminar and chatted with a guy, Law by Mike is his Instagram, who recommended: ‘Get stuff out there, it doesn’t have to be polished, and produce consistently’ … which is something I have been lacking.  He said, ‘If you’re going to do it, create a system and a process.’  Narimon is good at this; he shoots a bunch of videos one day a week and then progressively posts them.”

“If you produce four videos each month, then post one a week.  If you have more, post twice a week.  But don’t fall off a regular schedule; the algorithm doesn’t like that and you won’t get as many views.”

Justin Lovely: “I have a podcast called Carolina Justice Report.  We’ve repurposed the podcast into short clips for Instagram Reels and TikTok.”

“When I go to repurpose it, shooting one time I’ve got the podcast, the videocast, a Reel, a TikTok, and a YouTube video.  I can crank out a lot of content from the podcast.  The podcast drops every Tuesday on Apple iTunes.  The videocast drops on Facebook and YouTube.” 

“We plan to start getting hyperlocal with it.  We’re going to do one hour every morning as soon as my studio is built.  Our marketing director will interview me, and we will hit topics as they occur.  That is how people are consuming their news now.  Hopefully that will lead to more authority in the Myrtle Beach and Charleston market, and people will call us.”

Kyle Newman: “If I have a long engagement like a trial I will try to get a bunch of videos done beforehand.  There are times when you get a writer’s block with this.  For me what works is devoting a few hours in the afternoon.  I’ll write a script, try to film it, and post it on YouTube.  With all of this, you get better as time goes on.”

“You can learn about videography on YouTube.  I built an entire video setup on my desk so I don’t need anyone’s help.  I just flip on my camera and I’m ready to go.”

“I do everything on my own, but I do have an assistant in India who does all my video editing and all my graphic work.  That I would never suggest anyone do on their own because it is so time consuming.”

“Harnessing overseas work is powerful.  The quality is high and the cost low.  If you’re just starting out, Fiverr is great.  But it is better for project work.  For me, as I’ve been doing this for three years now, I find Upwork is great.  I want to work with someone for an extended time period.”

Tina Odjaghian: “I wish I had a media team, but I’m such a control freak that I want to maintain control over my content.  I worry that it will lose authenticity or get watered down.  I make a lot of my videos with the help of my amazing assistant, or my 7-year old, who takes a lot of my photos.”

“As far as the quotes and motivational stuff, I bank things I see.  My assistant helps me put it together.  I bank a lot of content, because when I’m in trial there is no way I can find the time to do it every day.  I tell new attorneys that if you’re not going to post consistently, don’t begin.  So I make sure to bank enough content so I can post on a regular schedule.”

Narimon Pishnamaz: “On the night before a shoot, I take 4 hours or so to make 15 to 20 scripts.  On the filming day I get 2 or 3 suits and 4 or 5 ties ready.  We shoot 2 and sometimes 3 times per month, devoting 4 or 5 hours to each shoot.  Usually I shoot on Saturday, but also sometimes in the evening from 5:00 to 10:00.  

“We shoot the videos one after another after another using different scenes and making it engaging.  I try not to shoot more than twice a month due to trial demands.  Even though I have a trial in two weeks, tomorrow Saturday I plan to shoot 17 or 18 videos.  I wrote those scripts today.”  

“When I started, I was shooting every week.  But that proved unsustainable because I was so busy at the office.  It is more tiring to shoot so many videos at once as I now, but it is way more time efficient and gets way more content out.”

“I have one guy filming, editing, and every day posting my videos.  He uses a phone, not a high-def camera, to record the videos.  We use 4k, 60 frames/second on the iPhone, and we have good lighting.  We produce 25-30 videos/month, and we post almost every day.  Every day when he posts he will send me the final copy of the video, asking if it is right.  I’ll approve it and then he uploads it onto Instagram and TikTok, and we just started using YouTube.  YouTube has been doing pretty well for us also.”

Robert Simon: “I have the luxury now of having a social media team, who I talk to daily to make sure we get things right, and to make sure we have funny videos.  Anytime I have something highly produced I use Outlier Creative, founded by my JusticeHQ partner.   A lot of times it is just me doing something with my iPhone that I think is funny, informative, or educational, and I throw it up there.”  

“Realistically, the best way to go about this is to do it yourself.  The best lawyers do on TikTok using Canva or go directly to the app on Instagram.  I do, too.  It is pretty easy to do.  But it’s a time thing.  Having started my firm over 10 years ago, I get to pick where I spend my time.  If you don’t have that luxury, get somebody in college to handle your social media for you.  It’s not that complicated.

6. Results

Ali Awad:  “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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“Answering your question, when did I start seeing leads … immediately.  I started seeing cases and clients immediately, but that wasn’t my intention.  My intention was to build a brand and educate people.  That is what I am continuously doing now.”

Nima Etemadian: “The majority of referrals through social media have come from friends, family, and acquaintances who now follow me.  Rarely a random person will reach out through social media with a case.”

“Nowadays your real estate is online.  When someone finds your website, they are also going to look on social media.  Now they’re looking at your reviews on Yelp, checking out your website, seeing your Google My Business, oh my you’re on TikTok as well, plus Instagram and Facebook.  Now they’ve seen you five or six times.  You’re building a connection before they even call you.”

Kyle Newman: “Leads started coming within the first few months.  You’re going to get a lot of people reaching out to you who don’t have real cases, or who have questions about things that are outside your practice area.  After I took Andy’s course we put in place a strategy using ClickFunnels and Active Campaigns, and I set up Facebook Groups.  We did that for awhile and it worked well.  Some of the biggest cases we’ve gotten, and some of the biggest verdicts and settlements we have gotten in the last 3 years have been leads from social media.  All it takes in personal injury is one big case to justify this.  Early on we did get one big case from this, and then we said, ‘Yes, this is working.’  There might be times when you don’t get hits, but you need to keep pushing.  You will get there.”

“I’m lucky that we already had a nice client base.  For the most part, our clients come from word of mouth because we have been in the area for so long and my dad has a great reputation and a great connection with the local community in the Bronx, but I’d say right now probably about 25% of our cases come from social media.”

“Last year I got into YouTube, which I’m trying to do more of now.  It is different from Facebook and Instagram because it is a search engine.  People using it are searching for information and that will bring them to you, as opposed to Facebook and Instagram where you are trying to net people using a big net.  Last year we put out a video for a new mass tort regarding an ultrasound gel that had been recalled.  It was contaminated with bacteria and had caused all these horrific infections, and last year alone we got 45 cases just from that video.  And they were serious cases.”

“On YouTube the quality of the leads is a bit higher.  There people are searching for information, maybe about a car accident, or a slip and fall, or how to sue their landlord, so they already have an issue they want an answer for.  None of the stuff we put out on YouTube is like a traditional attorney ad.  This modern view of advertising is really just to put out useful information and establish yourself as an expert.  That is more than enough for people to seek your services.  The days are over for ‘I’m the best attorney, I’ve won $100 million.’  What works for us as a smaller law firm trying to keep costs as lean as possible is to seek organic reach.  Then you can advertise things that are working for you based on what is getting the most engagement, what type of questions the audience is asking.”

“If you keep it as a social interaction and humanize yourself and what you do, as a real person and a real expert in your field, then I think it will go a lot further.”

Narimon Pishnamaz: “30-40% of my new intake is from social media.  Within a month of going viral on TikTok, people started texting me. I obtained a good dog bite case early on, so I doubled down on social.  I reply immediately to the texts, and I also have my office staff reply if I’m in a deposition or arbitration.”

“Even though I have 127,000 followers on TikTok, the best quality leads are coming from Instagram, not TikTok.  TikTok is a really good app for exposure and going viral, but the quality of leads coming from Instagram are much better.  Instagram Reels is the best way to pursue leads.  Instagram people are much more engaged for the long term.  TikTok won’t push your videos unless people interact in the first few seconds.  The Instagram Reels algorithm has been more beneficial for me.  My Instagram leads are usually aged 25-35, and highly engaged with my content, commenting on my stories, and replying.”

“I’ve gone to about 50-70 million views across all platforms in the last 10 months, maybe more.  People are coming to me from all over.  Instagram lets you see location: ‘10% of your followers are in Los Angeles, 10% are in New York.’  I get a lead for a car accident in Manhattan.  Obviously I cannot take that case, so I regularly refer those cases out.  In turn, I’m hoping if they get a lead in California they will send it to me.”

“I get all types of leads.  Sometimes it is a personal injury case, but it may also be a DUI or landlord-tenant.  When you are doing 360-degree coverage in your videos of all types of law, you will receive leads for all types of cases.  You have to know how to manage those leads.”

Marc Wasserman: “Leads began flowing immediately.”

7. Top Recommendations

Ali Awad: “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.”

Darryl Isaacs: “You need to get somebody who knows what they’re doing, which means hiring a young person.  I ran an ad, but didn’t get much response.  Then I did a TikTok video in which I wore a Christmas sweater and said, ‘Come work for me doing social media and it will be like Christmas every day.’  I received responses from influencers; one had 30 million followers.  We hired one who has had millions of views and has hundreds of thousands of followers.”

“She films videos for us.  She also stars in them, and I am in hers.  We are inter-changing followings.”

“Anybody can start doing this, but I would try to get local influencers to help.  We formed an alliance with a local realtor who has a hundred thousand followers and posts 2-3 videos a day.  Once or twice a month we will get together and shoot 3 or 4 videos.”

Justin Lovely: “Video.  Just get started.  You will be surprised how many people say they saw you.”

Jason Melton: “The first thing I tell young lawyers is don’t do marketing unless you can really splash whatever space you’re in. If you’re going to do bus stops, do a lot of them and be the bus stop guy.  Don’t do 3 bus stops, 1 billboard, and 1 newspaper.  It is just not memorable, for people’s brains don’t work that way.  Really work a channel.”

“For social, pick one channel, whether it is Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or YouTube, and then drive real fast in that lane. Otherwise you will end up with four bad channels.  It is the same with other marketing.  Pick one and really kill it before you do other stuff.”

Mike Morse: “It is not necessarily the technique, it is the message that is important.  I see such terrible messaging in ads.  The typical legal ad is garbage.  It’s boring. But I can’t walk 10’ out of my building without someone coming up to me and saying, ‘I love your commercials.’  ‘I love your Mom.’  ‘I love what you do for our community.’  I know that my competitors aren’t hearing that.  We decided to do it differently, and it works.”

“You have to find your voice, and what works for you.  Not everybody can adopt my schtick.  I use my Mom and my dog and make fun of myself in the ads.  That’s me.  It won’t work for everybody. You have to be different and shake it up a bit.  Once you have the message, you will learn how to get it out.”

Kyle Newman: “The main thing is to stay authentic.  Whatever your personality, there will be viewers who are into it.  In this crazy world, maybe the weirder you are, the more outside the norm you are, the better for you.  People are drawn to that.”

“There is a natural tendency to act like a lawyer and not like yourself.  As long as you are providing valuable information, people will be drawn to it.  People can tell if you are half-assing it, but if you put a lot of work into it, viewers will appreciate it.”

Tina Odjaghian: “Be authentic.  People have a bullshit detector.  Even if you like something, don’t try to emulate it.  Do your own thing.  You’ve got what it takes.  Just do you.”

“Work on yourself.  That doesn’t have to be within the confines of our legal profession.  Maybe you’re struggling with limiting beliefs, self-confidence issues, or the ability to assert yourself in a room.  Or perhaps there are trial techniques that you need help with … or even interpersonal skills.  Read books, do progattend retreats – anything that nourishes your soul.”  

“Once you become a more content and happy and positive person, that will resonate with people around you.  Then whatever you are approaching becomes more successful. Invest in yourself, and make yourself a priority.  Trust that that process will materialize in a way that serves you and your business.”

Narimon Pishnamaz: “The best advice I can give everybody is don’t come into this thinking you are going to create 2-3 videos and results are going to happen.  Progress will occur gradually.  If you want to succeed, you need to commit 2 days a month to writing scripts and shooting videos.  You have to post consistently.”

“Start small.  The first month post 10 videos, but be consistent.  Every month post 10 videos and I can guarantee somebody is going to like your content and share it, and more and more followers will gradually come.”

Brett Sachs: “Develop a cheap, easy way to market yourself.  You can do it on Instagram.  A lot of my friends do that.  They put all their efforts into free social media, do their own filming and editing.  Market yourself as who you are, and do it for as little cost as possible.

Robert Simon: “Have a plan, an audience, a plan of attack, and then be consistent with it.  If you’re going to be in social media, you have to realize that you’re going to be more visible in how active you’re using their app, whatever platform you’re on.  If you are posting more on Instagram, and people are doing more DMs, you will show higher on people’s feeds.” 

“Have a brand identity.  Have a handle that is easy to remember.  You can create a new handle.  I know a lady who calls herself @TheBreakupLawyer.  She does family law.  Genius!  Another lawyer is named @NewJerseyTrialLawyer.  Whenever I have a case to refer in New Jersey I go right to her because I remember the name.  My name is @PlanetFunBob, because that has been my name since I was a little kid because I am always laughing and having a good time.”

“Lawyers, you are in the business of sales.  It doesn’t matter if you are selling your case to 12 jurors, selling yourself to the client who walks in the door, or selling to person who is watching your video, you have to know who you are selling to, what they like, and make yourself relatable to them.”

Marc Wasserman: “If you’re just starting out, whatever your thing is, bring it simplistically to your audience together with a large piece of yourself … if not all of yourself.  Granted, not everyone is willing to do this.  My brother was not near as comfortable as I was.  I’m an actor and filmmaker.”

Conclusion

I hope you pulled several use-it-today suggestions from this collection of social media marketing tips from experts.  I especially liked these lessons:

  1. Getting Started

– Tina Odjaghian: “I just wanted a creative outlet to post about my family, fun, and fashion, which I’m super passionate about. Now everyone is coming around, and talking about their hobbies and personal interests.”

– Narimon Pishnamaz:  You cannot just make personal injury videos if you want to have a huge following on social media.”

 

  1. Strategy and Planning

– Ali Awad: “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.”

– Narimon Pishnamaz: “I usually test my content out on TikTok.  If it works on TikTok, it is going to work on Instagram Reels.  TikTok will literally show you the data on the video: ‘The average watch time on a 20-second video you posted is only 5 seconds.’  That is not a good video.

– Marc Wasserman: “You have to engage.  It is about engaging back.  I still do.”

 

  1. Effective Content

– Ali Awad:  The videos on my page that are getting a million-plus views are usually those car crash videos.  The views are completely organic.”

– Justin Lovely: “Listicles perform.  For example, ‘My top 3 ways to increase your settlement,’  or ‘Top 5 mistakes to avoid.’  I try to answer simple questions like, ‘How much does a lawyer cost?’  Those get some traffic, but my goal for those is to appear for a search.”

 

  1. Allocating Time

– Tina Odjaghian: “I’d say I spend 15-20% of my workweek is spent on marketing efforts, including social media.  Educating is a huge marketing tool for me.  I enjoy it and am passionate about it.”

– Robert Simon: “I spend 20% of my time on social media, maybe more.  It is sometimes higher and sometimes lower.  I get a lot of business from it, a lot of notoriety, and help a lot of folks.

 

  1. Efficient Production

– Nima Etemadian: “The videos don’t have to be polished.  I shoot on my iPhone and edit quickly.  If you look closely, the transitions are frequently messed up.  Too many lawyers think it needs to be perfect.”  

– Justin Lovely: “I have a podcast called Carolina Justice Report.  When I go to repurpose it, shooting one time I’ve got the podcast, the videocast, a Reel, a TikTok, and a YouTube video.  I can crank out a lot of content from the podcast.”

– Kyle Newman:   “Harnessing overseas work is powerful.  The quality is high and the cost low.  If you’re just starting out, Fiverr is great.  But it is better for project work.  I find Upwork is great.  I want to work with someone for an extended time period.” 

 

  1. Results

– Ali Awad: “Answering your question, when did I start seeing leads … immediately.  I started seeing cases and clients immediately, but that wasn’t my intention.  My intention was to build a brand and educate people.  That is what I am continuously doing now.

Kyle Newman: “Leads started coming within the first few months.  Some of the biggest cases we’ve gotten, and some of the biggest verdicts and settlements we have gotten in the last 3 years have been leads from social media.”

 

  1. Top Recommendations

– Mike Morse: “It is not necessarily the technique, it is the message that is important.  I see such terrible messaging in ads.  The typical legal ad is garbage.  It’s boring.  We decided to do it differently, and it works.  You have to find your voice, and what works for you.”

– Robert Simon: “Have a brand identity.  Have a handle that is easy to remember.  You can create a new handle.  I know a lady who calls herself @TheBreakupLawyer.  She does family law.  Genius!

_______

 

If after reading this article you have implementation questions, contact me anytime.  I am always happy to talk with marketing-oriented law firms.  

These attorneys are a wonderful source of social media marketing guidance, so I hope to continue having them update us on their social media strategies through my GrowWithKara show. 

In the meantime, if you need help with your social media marketing, know that we have scripted, remotely shot, edited, captioned, and posted hundreds of social videos for lawyers and can do the same for you.  Our done-for-you program is described below.

Kara Prior, Founder

James Amplifier