I think it is safe to say that law firm partners know they need marketing yet most don’t understand it and frankly, they have much more important work to focus on. So unless it’s a big firm with an in-house marketing team, it’s not unlikely that marketing agreements are signed without a lot of due diligence or questions asked.
I make this point because I believe it explains the injustices to law firm marketing clients I’ve seen outlined in a couple of law firm marketing service agreements we’ve reviewed lately. One is from a large company and the other might be considered an “up and comer”. Granted these are only two, yet they share the same service agreement model that any law firm looking for website or other law firm marketing services should be aware and beware of.
Legal Terms and Conditions
The legal terms and conditions behind the law firm marketing service agreements lay out the rules of the game—things like who owns what and what happens when the contract is terminated. Be sure you read these carefully and fully understand and agree with the terms before you move forward. It could put your firm in a position of having to start from scratch when you decide you want to leave your service provider.
In particular, make sure you have answers to these key questions:
- What portion of the website content is owned by your firm?
- What portion of the website content is owned by the law firm marketing company?
- What will happen to the SEO development and other work your firm has invested in when the contract is terminated?
- Where will your website be hosted? If it will be hosted on the law firm marketing company’s server, what role will they play (if any) to support a smooth transition to another provider when the contract is terminated?
- Does your firm have the right to execute your own paid marketing programs or is the law firm marketing provider claiming the exclusive right to drive traffic to your site through paid advertising?
- What exactly are the dollars for your monthly service fees going towards?
- Will there be full disclosure in reporting from Google Analytics, Google Adwords and any other reporting platform that supports the programs your firm is paying for?
Have I missed any key points you have discovered?