Looking to reach new clients? One smaller firm’s pandemic success story

Shelves of law books in a firm’s office

Attorney Gregory M. Jachts prides himself on the superlative client service offered by his firm, Simon, Sarver, Swetz, & Jachts. Having worked his way up to partner while wearing many different hats over the years, Jachts has always held to one unwavering value: extending personal, hands-on attention to each client.

“If you come into my office, you meet with me, and I handle your case from start to finish,” he says.

While SSS&J has been serving the Paterson, New Jersey community since 1936, it remains a relatively small firm, one that has faced its fair share of larger competitors.

“Northern New Jersey is brutal when it comes to advertising competition,” Jachts explains. “I’m up against firms that are spending $50,000 plus a month.”

For many years, SSS&J relied strictly on referrals from loyal, multi-generational clients. The firm experimented with advertising as much as its modest budget permitted—movie theaters, newspapers, even a television commercial. But none of these provided a sufficient return on investment.

“We can’t compete with some of these other firms’ televisions budgets,” Jachts says. “Unless you have that giant budget, it’s not going to work.”

Attorney Gregory M. Jachts
Attorney Gregory M. Jachts

Spanish-language marketing is also particularly crucial for SSS&J. Hispanic residents make up nearly 70% of the Paterson-area population and thus represent the largest demographic for local businesses, including law firms.

“We did a lot of Spanish marketing that was really scattershot,” Jachts recalls. “We’d do community stuff like sponsor parades or festivals, and we’d advertise in Spanish-language newspapers. The problem is that it was all too general. We generated a lot of interest and a lot of calls, but not a lot of clients.”

As if the firm’s marketing troubles weren’t daunting enough, the bulk of its business came to a screeching halt in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Until then, the majority of SSS&J’s business had been workers’ compensation cases. But now people had stopped going to work. What’s more, the courts were closed, preventing the firm from settling existing cases and generating revenue. SSS&J would also be impacted in the long term since cases that came in that spring would not be settled without indefinite delays.

“It pretty much shut down our income,” Jachts recalls. “I knew then that we needed to make some sort of pivot and get steady income coming in to get through this.”

That’s when Jachts decided to team up with FindLaw as an advertising partner to help generate immediate criminal and traffic cases. This move provided a steady new source of income that kept SSS&J afloat during the pandemic. It also has helped the firm grow its business in ways traditional advertising efforts had failed to do.

Leveraging FindLaw’s online legal directories Abogado.com and FindLaw.com, SSS&J increased its advertising click-through rate by an average of 26% after adding additional directory listings. And contacts to the firm increased by 51% throughout the past year. “With FindLaw.com, we certainly got a return on our investment,” Jachts says. “We get steady calls, and it’s really opened up people across the state to find our firm.”

Along with FindLaw.com, Abogado.com has helped SSS&J both grow its Hispanic practice and gain new business across the entire state of New Jersey. “With Abogado.com, we can market specifically to the kinds of clients we’re looking for, and more importantly, market to people who are looking for us,” Jachts says.

“The conversion rate from call to client on Abogado.com has been remarkable,” he adds. “In our worst month, it has been a three-to-one return on investment. I’m talking about cash in the door—someone came in, hired us, and paid us. It’s been so much better than any other service I have ever used.”

Not surprisingly, Jachts heartily recommends that attorneys and small firms partner with FindLaw to effectively grow their practice. “I think being on multiple directories is very helpful to cast a wider net and get the people that are looking for you,” he says.

And when it comes to building a Hispanic client base on Abogado.com, Jachts offers a couple of additional pointers: “Hire people that speak Spanish, and take the extra time to set up a Spanish landing page on your website.”

To learn more about listing on Abogado.com and other marketing tactics for connecting specifically with Hispanic clients, download Thomson Reuters’ new in-depth guide, Increasing opportunity: How law firms can forge strategic connections with Hispanic clients.

 

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