Can Lawyers Pay for Leads?


June 25, 2020

Lawyers can pay for leads. However, some conditions and rules apply to stay compliant with the American Bar Association (ABA).

To keep your marketing ethically sound, it is vital that you:

  • Understand how the lead generation service is structured
  • Are not paying to be recommended
  • Are not paying the service based on how much you earn from their leads
  • Keep up to speed with the ABA’s ethics regulations and rulings

In addition to staying on the right side of the rules, you will also want to think about your capacity to service the leads, the methods you have in place for tracking, and how you will measure your conversion rate. You want to be compliant with the ABA when implementing measures to draw clients to your law firm. For whatever reason, if you are found in violation of these regulations, you could be subject to disciplinary action.

Lead Generation Services Must Follow Bar Marketing Standards

A lead is an inquiry from a person who shows interest in your services. The lead generation company serves as a digital bridge that connects potential clients to your firm through various measures. For example, some lead generation services may have potential clients fill out a form on a landing page, which will be turned over to the law firm. From there, the law firm can review the provided information and determine whether they want to follow up with the claimant.

Essentially, it is a place for the prospect to fill in their details and request a free consultation with a lawyer to discuss a specific legal problem. But as with everything, lead generation companies can vary in quality of service.

The ABA makes it clear under Rule 7.2 that a lawyer is permitted to:

pay others for generating client leads, such as internet-based client leads, as long as the lead generator does not recommend the lawyer, any payment to the lead generator is consistent with Rules 1.5 (e) (division of fees) and 5.4 (professional independence of the lawyer), and the lead generator’s communications are consistent with Rule 7.1 (communications concerning a lawyer’s services).”

The importance of understanding how your lead generation service is structured is vital. Additionally, it is important to consider that while generating leads can drive people to your door, you will still need to understand what will prompt them to take action by getting to know your audience and nurturing the leads.

Finding a service that not only supplies data but turns it into real business intelligence can be key to your law firm’s client conversion.

Choosing a Legal Case Lead Generation Company

A potential client may ask you questions about your services, experience, and what you will do for them, the same should apply when you are searching for a lead generation company.

Levels of expertise and costs can vary, so questions to ask a potential partner should relate to:

  • Experience. The lead generation service provider should be able to demonstrate that they have a full understanding of your services, your area of law practice, and your end goals.
  • The exclusivity of leads. You do not want to work with a lead generation company that shares potential leads with your competitors. You do not want to pay for a service, only to market yourself via email or over the phone to someone who is already considering working with another law firm.
  • Testimonials. You want your potential partner to be backed by positive reviews and proven results. If a company does not have any feedback regarding their services, you may want to reconsider working with them.
  • Bar marketing compliance. A reputable service will be able to demonstrate how they comply with the ABA’s rules.
  • Measuring performance. You want to partner with a lead generation company that you know has data-driven results. When considering a specific company, you want to ask about the number of leads generated for other clients, how many were qualified, how they were qualified, and how many resulted in conversion.

While many services can generate legal leads, finding a partner who understands your needs and those of your potential clients, along with the continually evolving legal marketing environment, can be challenging. Still, researching the right service provider may pay off in the long run.

Call X Social Media Today

Attracting clients to your law firm not only allows you to continue serving your community but also can promote your bottom line.

X Social Media was founded by Jacob Malherbe, author of “The Facebook Effect for Lawyers,” and winner of the 2018 Legal Services Innovation Award. We are a recognized legal advertising agency offering results-driven services that leverage the power of Facebook and Instagram to provide pre-qualified leads to our partners.

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