Attorney Steven Gursten shares at Maine legal seminar how lawyers — yes, lawyers — can delight clients and achieve great results, and why your reputation matters in a world of oversaturated legal markets, TV advertisers and ambulance chasing
Every fall, I join a select group of some of the top personal injury attorneys from around the U.S. for an annual legal seminar.
At this year’s TAOS Injury Lawyers seminar in Bar Harbor, Maine, I’ll moderate and help present on “Doing Well by Doing Good.” I’ll talk about why a lawyer’s reputation matters so much, whether it is with insurance company adjusters or with prospective new clients. I’ll discuss how what you say — and more importantly, what people say about you — is so critical to every aspect of our legal practice.
Also speaking on the subject will be Gyi Tsakalakis from Attorneysync. Gyi is a lawyer and also a digital marketing expert who works with law firms around the country. Gyi will be explaining how important online reviews are for even the most brilliant of trial lawyers, and how lawyers can ask these happy clients about sharing with others through online reviews and testimonials that share the good work we do.
The goal of the TAOS Injury Lawyers seminar is for some of the most accomplished trial lawyers in the nation to round table ideas and truly help each other in a confidential setting. That means often only one lawyer from each state. So in my presentation, I’ll talk about why reputation and what people say and think about you is an overlooked competitive advantage.
It helps the best injury lawyers to be able to settle cases for substantially more money with insurance company adjusters. But it also is the answer to how we can continue to grow and thrive in a world where the supply of personal injury lawyers so greatly exceeds the demand, and where markets are increasingly dominated by giant TV advertisers who flip cases by the thousands.
The answer to all this is that lawyers can do well by doing good. It is the strategy we have adopted at my own law firm, Michigan Auto Law, and it has proved an effective marketing strategy to separate us from other lawyers in the hyper-competitive Metro Detroit and West Michigan legal markets.
Better communication also means better results
Michigan Auto Law has avoided television advertising, billboards, radio commercials and the splashy lawyer bus wraps that have become a common sight in and around Metro Detroit and other areas of Michigan.
We’ve differentiated ourselves from the “churn and burn” legal mills that race through high-volume settlements, with car accident victims who end up settling for less than they should have.
Instead of taking as many cases as we can, we’ve signed fewer of them (if this sounds a lot like the scene from Jerry McGuire, it’s no accident). The secret is the same: fewer clients lets our auto attorneys spend more time working on their cases. This means great communication that equals great service. Yes, it is possible for lawyers to delight their clients with great communication and service. It also means better results and bigger settlements. It is the reason we’ve had one of the very top car crash settlements and trial verdicts in Michigan year after year.
Having happy clients who will go out of their way to say wonderful things about you and try to refer the people they know to you is the best way to practice law.
The attorneys who refer people to us know that our clients will receive a level of communication that is generally lacking among the advertiser personal injury law firms. In our own quiet way, we’ve become the go-to law firm for many attorneys around Michigan. There are now several hundred lawyers in Michigan who refer us the car wreck cases they come upon.
So why just talk about how great our law firm is via TV ads, when we can just do great work and let people who are injured in a car crash discover for themselves why we’re the best choice for them? Working hard is tougher than spending money on an ad or bus wrap, but the message from my talk is that choosing to take the hard way, rather than the easy way, is an unshakeable competitive advantage.
That’s why, as my presentation title suggests, we can do well by doing good for the people we help. It’s not just good for our clients or for our business, it’s also good for how the public sees our profession.
What is TAOS Injury Lawyers?
The TAOS Injury Lawyers is an invite-only group of preeminent trial attorneys from around the nation. We got our name after our first meeting, which took place in Taos, New Mexico. We’ve called it the TAOS group ever since.
Our legal seminar brings together a prestigious group of some of the best trial lawyers in the nation, with only one attorney representing each state at the conference. At this gathering, we close the doors and work on sharing the best ideas of how we can better serve the people we represent.
These outstanding injury attorneys have earned the highest peer recognition and professional achievements possible; most are presidents or past-presidents of state trial lawyer associations. It’s a remarkable group of men and women, and year after year it’s an honor for me to be part of TAOS Injury Lawyers as the attorney representing the state of Michigan.