How to Escape From FindLaw

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I rarely meet a lawyer happy with FindLaw FirmSites. The complaints are endless. Here’s the sort of thing I hear:

  • FindLaw is too expensive.
  • FindLaw doesn’t generate sufficient leads.
  • FindLaw generates crappy leads from tire kickers who can’t afford us.
  • FindLaw sells to my competitors, and they outrank me.
  • FindLaw charges me for every little change to my site.
  • FindLaw is constantly trying to lock me in longer.
  • FindLaw puts its logo/links on my site.
  • FindLaw locks me into a contract I can’t easily escape.
  • FindLaw keeps offering new products that I have to buy or my competitor will buy them and get the leads.
  • FindLaw never stops asking me for more money.

I hear as many FindLaw website complaints as I hear complaints about the cable company and cell phone companies. That’s impressive.

When I ask FindLaw FirmSites lawyer/customers about their satisfaction with the service, I see eye rolls followed by long-winded rants. Some lawyers hate FindLaw.

I assume there are happy FindLaw customers out there somewhere. However, I don’t bump into them. Maybe they’re in the first-class lounge and I’m flying coach? That could be it.

I’ve never used FindLaw. I don’t have any firsthand experience with it, so I only know what I hear from others at my workshops and other events and meetings where I speak or attend. It’s all very casual, but there’s a lot of toxic feedback out there with respect to FindLaw.

I gave my official FindLaw warning in “FindLaw Isn’t the Devil. Or Is It?” so I’m off the hook.

But warning you about FindLaw isn’t sufficient. You require more of me. I’m supposed to be part of the solution, not just part of the problem, right?

Are You Co-Dependent on FindLaw?

If you’ve had enough—if you’re finished with FindLaw—then, when your contract runs out, quit. I’ve known more than one lawyer who simply got so frustrated that he stopped paying before the contract expired and ultimately negotiated a settlement. You’ve got to do what makes economic sense for your practice. I’m not here to provide legal advice.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Let’s have a FindLaw conversation with a lawyer.

The lawyer is bitching and moaning about FindLaw, so I say “quit.”

Does he say “okay”?

Now, he generally responds with some variation of a story that’s basically this: “I can’t quit because then my site won’t rank well and I won’t get the calls I need to keep going.”

Odd. If it’s not working for you, then what difference would it make if you quit?

It’s only then that we get into the details instead of the rant.

What I hear when I push back is something along the lines of the following:

  • It was cheaper when I started.
  • It generates leads, but they aren’t great.
  • The price keeps going up as the site adds services it tells me I need.
  • I feel like I’m being held hostage by the contract.

For some customers, FindLaw does a good job of generating enough business to build dependency, but the business isn’t sufficient in quantity or quality for the lawyers to feel that it makes economic sense as the expense increases.

It’s also possible that FindLaw is doing a good job and that lawyers just like to whine and complain. Do you know anyone like that?

How to Break the Cycle

However, if you’ve decided to move on from FindLaw, then you’ve got two options for kicking the habit. (It’s just like when you got off heroin, remember?)

You can (1) go cold turkey or (2) you can wean yourself off.

I’d go cold turkey if I had minimal overhead. If it’s just you and no staff and minimal rent, etc. then just kill it. Sure, your revenue may dip, but you’ll be scared shitless so you’ll be scrambling for business. Just do it.

If I had substantial overhead, then I’d go with an alternative for replacing my website. Here’s what I’d do:

  1. Build a new site. I’d probably do it via a contractor on Elance. In fact, I’d buy a copy of Outsourcing Projects With Elance and use it as my guide.
  2. Use different contact info on the new site. I’d set up a special phone number and e-mail address to make tracking easier.
  3. Add content. I’d start adding interesting content to the site and allow the traffic to grow organically.
  4. Watch. I’d monitor the ranking of the site as the visitor count improves, and I’d keep watching the FindLaw site as well.
  5. Ditch FindLaw. Once my new site is up and running and generating new business, then I’d cut the cord. I’d have replaced the business coming from the FindLaw site with the business from the new site. Problem solved, addiction ended, and I can move on to my next issue.

Feeling held hostage by your marketing vendor is painful. It’s not, however, impossible to escape. It takes time and effort, but you can break free of FindLaw.

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