Canadian legal comparison and referral website LawyerLocate.ca is set to launch in the UK in September.
The original Canadian website was established fifteen years ago and allows potential clients to browse for legal professionals by region, city and area of specialisation, with each individual lawyer having their own individual profile, detailing their individual areas of expertise, firm address and other contact details.
The site, which is free for clients, also provides help for online marketing and access to video platform Legaltube.ca.
Partnering with Trevor Worth of Exeter based Portcullis Legals, the website is set for a soft launch in August followed by a full launch in September, with around fifty firms already signing up.
The firm’s Client Business Partner Ryan May said he’s currently pleased with how many firms have signed up.
Ryan said: “The launch isn’t too far away at all now, it feels like it’s just around the corner.
“It’s an innovative product, there are legal directories already that do a good job, but this Canadian model is a little different. Right now it’s we’re just trying to let legal professionals know about it. It’s a proven model, it’s seen 15 years of success in Canada, they’re a Google partner, they were their first legal industry partner, and all of that sounds great, but if we don’t advertise we don’t get anywhere here.
“We’ve received a lot if interest which is great, our vice president has operated in the legal industry here since 1988, so he has a lot of connections built up, so we’re now getting back in touch to demonstrate the signups since then. I’ve spent five years in the industry myself from the high street through to being at a large corporation and ourselves we’ve operated in the industry for some time.
“From a client perspective it just makes it a bit easier, that rather than just going online looking for how many lawyers do conveyancing in Exeter say, they can type in specialism and location, then they can go to them through social media or their website. Lawyers can embed video blogs, clients have all that info in one spot which makes it very easy and efficient.
“It will really help drive traffic to the websites. It’s a bit like a business card, a website. If it stays in your wallet no-one is going to know it’s there.”
Ryan says one of the main benefits is being able to advertise legal professionals as people rather than names behind a logo.
Ryan continued: “It gives us all the opportunity to advertise as human beings. Clients are more likely to trust and buy into someone they can get the measure of properly as a trusted advisor. One in seven are now looking on youtube for lawyers to get a feel for who they are rather than just a picture or a line of text.
“Some firms we can see are doing a great job. But if they aren’t we can help with finding out why and then seeing how we can help.
“What I always ask is do you know what page you come up on a google search for say Conveyancing Exeter. Most people don’t go past the first page. Some solicitors I know personally do conveyancing don’t even come up in first page which really surprised me.
“Of those that do use SEO, the key words they’ll use are conveyancing, matrimonial, probate and the like, but the average person doesn’t use those so you’re not targeting the audience. People look for “marriage breakdown” or “splitting up” or even more natural language searches like “I think I need a divorce”, not jargon. They jargon only pops up for lawyers.”
Lawyer Locate provide profiles for individual professionals, with each paying for a profile rather than a firm having a profile as a whole.
Ryan said: “It’s exciting stuff, i’m pretty enthusiastic about it. Some people say they’re inundated and don’t want to grow which is fine so extra referrals might not be a benefit. But at the same time, as part of membership they bump up on search results and keep up with other professionals. We also have the partnership in Canada, so they can develop some presence over there, with expats and the like.
“If a family member does pass away they’ll need a local lawyer, and nowadays a small or medium size business can now act big – the average teenager in their room has the ability to reach a bigger audience than Coca-Cola did in their first year.
“Right now we’ve got around 50 firms signed up for launch and we’re getting 3,000 visits per month. The site isn’t even live, it’s just a placeholder so it’s really quite astonishing.
“I always encourage people to call me first to go through it to ask about it before signing up and one thing that does come up is the price. We run our site at £90+VAT per lawyer although we do have a pre-launch 20% discount. Some might do it per firm but we do it per lawyer, which really works.
“Our firm believe that people are looking for a lawyer in particular and looking to find out about them. The profile is that person, the person represents the firm.
“Members of the public can sign on and find the lawyer they want and then pick up the phone, or they can fill out a form, state the nature of the affair and then we can forward that to those registered. Beyond the membership fee we don’t charge per referral.”