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October 27, 2007

Get Out Of The Yellow Pages. Now.

You need to be in the "white pages" of the telephone listings so people who already know you can find your firm. But if you want good clients--if you really are seeking higher-end corporate clients--get out of the "yellow pages", or any other commercial listings in which people search for lawyers from scratch. At best, these listings produce calls and inquiries from unsophisticated users of legal services, and

waste your and your firm's time on the phone when they call. GCs, CFOs and HR people don't find law or accounting firms in such listings. Cancel those listings today. You are paying for something that disrupts you and your firm. We got out of such paid-for listing years ago. I know--it sounds arrogant, high-handed and cruel. But no mom-and-pop calls ever again may make you happier and richer.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzb├╝hel Desk) at October 27, 2007 03:59 AM

Comments

Don't be misled. Stay in the Yellow Pages! The comment from Oliver is lacking insight and some of the most foolish advise I have ever heard. It seems to me that Oliver doesn't know how to screen the yellow page calls for the select few sophisticated clients that he wants to provide his services to. It sounds more like advice from an established law firm that doesn't need new clients to provide for their firm. Good clients are just as likely to look for you in the yellow pages as bad clients are. New businesses open everyday and many of those grow quickly into sophisticated well established corporations. Indeed the yellow pages will get your phone to ring. And once it does you get to select the clients you chose to serve. If the phone isn't ringing you may be stuck with any client that comes along.

Posted by: P Johnson at October 26, 2007 08:15 PM

I second this recommendation. Years ago, before I knew better, I accepted an invitation from a friend at the US Embassy in Seoul to enroll my firm -- and, more importantly, my name, contact number and e-mail address -- on the list of attorneys capable of serving American clients. It seemed to be an honor, so of course I was happy to do so.

Over the course of seven years now I've been on that list -- not once have I received any inquiry from any sophisticated client. A lot of midnight calls from drug users, schizophrenics, cranks and timewasters, but nobody worthwhile. I can always recognize the calls that originate from the list because they start out "Um, um, um..." instead of a cogent explanation of who's calling and why.

I answer every phone call "This is Brendon Carr speaking." How else can I tell if the caller is coming from the Embassy list? They respond to that statement by asking "Is this Brendon Carr speaking?" It drives me crazy.

You're right about these inquiries being disruptive. I'm a nice guy, so I tend to spend 15-20 minutes of unremunerated time listening to these people.

In fact, I'm still on the Embassy list because the inertia of it has taken over -- but Holden, I'm taking your suggestion and contacting the Embassy to get off that list.

Posted by: Brendon Carr at October 27, 2007 01:32 AM

Stay in the yellow pages, especially if you have a specialty. I practice in a rural area and many of my very good clients have found me because they were looking for a board certified estate planning attorney and found me in the yellow pages.

Posted by: Hal Moorman at January 12, 2008 11:56 AM

What are you talking about?

Posted by: California Divorce Lawyer at February 1, 2009 06:35 AM

CDL: The yellow pages and similar sources attract Crappy Clients. If you seek lunatics, hillbillies, and the lowest rung of small business, though, it's to die for.

Posted by: Hull at February 1, 2009 02:27 PM

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