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“I have a long-standing history of respecting artists’ wishes.”

Al Yankovic


Any law firm that does the same kind of work you do in the same region is your competition. It’s a mistake to think they are not simply because of differences in skill, compassion, structure, or ability to deliver exceptional results for clients.

Over the years, I have heard many personal injury lawyers say that a particular mega-advertiser isn’t their competition. It typically sounds something like this: “We aren’t trying to be (insert firm name).” I’ve come to realize that what they really mean is that their own firm:

  • Doesn’t aspire to be like the mega-advertiser
  • Is composed of more skilled attorneys
  • Obtains superior financial results for their clients
  • Provides a much higher level of client service

Smaller-budget advertisers want to believe that the big spenders aren’t their competition, and it’s natural to feel this way. What these attorneys fail to understand, however, is that none of the above differences are obvious to a prospective client who is looking at a list of law firms on a Google results page.

In order to achieve marketing success, you have to put yourself in your prospective client’s shoes. Recognize that they will not be as discriminating as you would be when looking for legal representation. Differentiate your firm as much as possible from those who can outspend you. For example, if you are competing with a big-budget advertiser on a legal directory such as, be sure your tagline is more impactful. A competitor may say, “We’ll Get ‘Er Done!” You can say, “Our AV Rated firm has a 30 year history of representing individuals and families injured in serious car accidents. In Wichita, call (678) 877-7975.”

Here is another quick example of how the perceptions of clients and lawyers can differ. It’s very common for personal injury mega-advertisers to send a staff member to a prospective client’s home to complete the consultation and execute a retainer agreement. And many of these firms can have their representative to the prospect’s home within one hour of the initial phone conversation with the firm’s intake personnel. Many high-quality law firms believe this is tacky, and frown upon the practice. However, there are many clients who view this approach as an incredible display of great customer service. They don’t want to travel to a lawyer’s office if they don’t need to do so, pay for parking, and  navigate an intimidating office building.

Do you see the disconnect? The law firm that looks down on the mega-advertiser assumes their client sees the world through the same lens as they do. That’s a critical error in marketing.


  • Define your competition as everyone who does your same case types within a 50-mile radius.
  • Realize that the fact that you are different from another firm in your own mind doesn’t make them less of a competitor.
  • Prospective clients typically see only a tiny bit of information before picking up the phone or sending an email. Make sure your messaging hits home, and also that your intake personnel are ready to provide a very strong client experience.

Related Reading
Your New Client Intake Must Be Perfect, page 44.