If you are looking for unique, cost-effective ways to grow your practice, you should consider answering legal questions online. Justia Ask A Lawyer provides attorneys with a great opportunity to market their practice by doing just that – for free!
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Marketing is key to growing a legal practice. Somehow, attorneys have to find time in their busy calendars to reach potential clients in new, cost-effective ways in an increasingly digital world. If you’ve ever searched for ways to build your online reputation or connect with potential clients online, this post is for you!
Justia Ask A Lawyer is one easy, free way to digitally market your practice to potential clients. This article will help you better understand Justia Ask A Lawyer: how it works, what’s in it for you, and how to get the most from your participation.
Already using Justia Ask A Lawyer to answer questions? Skip ahead to What Makes A Good Answer.
What Is Justia Ask A Lawyer?
Justia Ask A Lawyer connects people with legal questions to licensed attorneys who can offer brief answers and preliminary guidance.
Imagine a chef at a local restaurant, Cheryl, who has slowly been building a successful business by selling quick, healthy meals for busy families. What started out as a side gig catering to her friends and family is slowly growing into a larger enterprise. Now, Cheryl has decided it is time to quit her day job to focus on her own business full-time.
Someone like Cheryl probably has a lot of questions. How does she lease a new space for this business? What are the rules for hiring employees? Can she use that cool logo her niece designed? Does she need contracts with her vendors? Most importantly, how does she even set up a formal business entity? The odds are Cheryl, or someone like her, will start looking for answers to these questions on the internet.
With Justia Ask A Lawyer, people like Cheryl can submit these questions through an online forum to be answered by attorneys like you. For example, Cheryl could log in to her Justia account, type out her burning questions, fill in the supporting details, categorize them into the appropriate practice area(s), and hit submit. Then, attorneys can view the submitted questions and offer brief answers.
What’s in It for an Attorney?
As an attorney, you are likely wondering why you should spend your valuable time answering legal questions for free online. The answer? Marketing. Marketing is key to growing your practice, and Justia Ask A Lawyer provides a free opportunity to expand your digital marketing footprint.
Exposure to a Potential Client Asking the Question
Answering a question increases the likelihood that the question asker may become your client. Users who submit questions through Justia Ask A Lawyer likely have a legal issue with which they need help now. Once they have a better basic understanding of the law and possible outcomes, they will likely begin to look for the right attorney to assist them with their issue. If you answered their questions on Justia Ask A Lawyer, these users are more likely to contact you than someone else they have found online.
Furthermore, it pays to answer questions quickly. Users who submit questions through Justia Ask A Lawyer have the option to receive email alerts when a new answer is submitted. Therefore, being the first to respond may give you a competitive advantage over other attorneys.
Increase Exposure to Future Potential Clients With Similar Questions
It is not uncommon for people to have similar legal questions and seek answers online. Justia Ask A Lawyer is intended as a helpful online resource, in addition to a marketing tool. Therefore, questions and answers can be viewed by any visitor to the Justia site, and your participation in Justia Ask A Lawyer has the potential to reach well beyond the particular user who submitted a question. Instead, the answers on Justia Ask A Lawyer may be viewed by current and future potential clients. Thus, giving a great answer can continue to help you get additional clients, who may view your responses while browsing the Justia website or by way of a search result on a search engine.
Answering questions on Justia Ask A Lawyer presents another opportunity to build your legal reputation in the digital space. Your answers can be viewed by fellow attorneys, which may help build your reputation with your peers and increase the number of referrals you receive.
Answering questions also allows you to demonstrate your legal knowledge and skill in the Justia Lawyer Directory. Your Justia Lawyer Directory profile includes an Answers section, where answers provided via Justia Ask A Lawyer are aggregated. Your most recent answers are displayed directly on your Justia Lawyer Directory profile, and users may select “View More Answers” to see older answers you have provided. This allows potential clients searching for an attorney to gain a brief glimpse into your legal abilities, even if they have never visited the Justia Ask A Lawyer platform.
Additionally, you can showcase your Justia Ask A Lawyer answers on your own website through an embedded RSS feed.
Increase Your Exposure on the Justia Platform
Attorneys who answer questions on Justia Ask A Lawyer increase their exposure across the Justia platform. Displayed with the questions you answer will be your profile picture and contact information (phone number, link to an email form, and website). Additionally, your answer is linked to your Justia Lawyer Directory profile, where users can view your full credentials in detail.
You may also appear in Justia Ask A Lawyer Leaderboards. For each question you answer, you will receive points. You also are awarded points for upvotes on your answers from other attorneys and users. These points are aggregated into a score that determines where your attorney profile ranks on the Leaderboards. These Leaderboards are displayed in various locations on the Justia Ask A Lawyer website and in the Justia Newsletter. Leaderboards are generally organized by US state and practice area, which increases the chance of a Justia Ask A Lawyer Leaderboard attorney being seen by a potential client. However, Leaderboards for nationwide practice areas, such as immigration and patents, are not limited by a US state.
In addition to your attorney profile potentially appearing at the top of the Leaderboards in your state and/or practice area, previously submitted answers generally remain on the Justia platform, where they may be viewed by other users searching a similar legal question. Each answer submitted via Justia Ask A Lawyer undergoes a quality review by members of the Justia Team. High-quality (good) answers are marked to appear before lower-quality answers on Justia Ask A Lawyer. Therefore, submitting good answers is key to maximizing this potential for increased exposure.
How Do You Answer a Question on Justia Ask A Lawyer?
Answering questions through Justia Ask A Lawyer is simple. You can navigate to Justia Ask A Lawyer to view the questions available for answering. The available questions can be filtered by state and practice area. The practice area categories include:
- Consumer Law
- Criminal Law
- DUI / DWI
- Employment Law
- Estate Planning
- Family Law
- Immigration Law
- Personal Injury
- Products Liability
- Real Estate Law
- Tax Law
- Traffic Tickets
- Workers’ Comp
- Admiralty / Maritime
- Agricultural Law
- Animal / Dog Law
- Appeals / Appellate Law
- Arbitration / Mediation Law
- Business Formation
- Business Law
- Cannabis & Marijuana Law
- Car Accidents
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Civil Litigation
- Civil Rights
- Communications Law
- Constitutional Law
- Construction Law
- Domestic Violence
- Education Law
- Elder Law
- Election Law
- Employment Discrimination
- Energy, Oil and Gas
- Entertainment / Sports
- Federal Crimes
- Gov & Administrative Law
- Government Contracts
- Health Care Law
- Identity Theft
- Insurance Bad Faith
- Insurance Defense
- Intellectual Property
- International Law
- Internet Law
- Juvenile Law
- Land Use & Zoning
- Landlord – Tenant
- Legal Malpractice
- Lemon Law
- Libel & Slander
- Medical Malpractice
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Military Law
- Municipal Law
- Native American Law
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Patents (Intellectual Property)
- Public Benefits
- Securities Law
- Sexual Harassment
- Small Claims
- Social Security
- Stockbroker Fraud
- White Collar Crime
- Wrongful Death
If you have become an expert in the developing laws, regulations, and legal issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we have even developed a specific Justia Ask A Lawyer section for questions related to COVID-19.
If you want to receive email alerts when new questions are submitted in your practice area, you can request notifications.
What Is a Good Answer?
The key to getting the most benefit from your participation in Justia Ask A Lawyer is to give good answers, but what makes a good answer?
While there is no precise formula for answering these questions, a good answer generally is concise, offers guidance on the issue presented, and refers the reader to any additional resources that may be helpful to him or her. Good answers should avoid using legal jargon or acronyms that may not be readily understood by non-attorneys. It is okay to remind the user that hiring an attorney is advisable, but it is not helpful to offer this as your only response.
Consider Cheryl, our small business owner. Her company has continued to grow. She went to Google looking for advice on marketing and using the logo her niece created. She saw a blog suggesting that she trademark any logos or similar brand designs. However, Cheryl isn’t sure how that process works, so she submitted a question on Justia Ask A Lawyer about how to register a trademark.
Consider the following hypothetical answers received by Cheryl in response to her query:
Answer 1: Hire an attorney.
Answer 2: To file for a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office, you can submit an application online at: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/filing-online/initial-application-forms. You will need to submit a copy of the logo, submit the other requested applicant information, and pay the required fees. If you need any help with this process or have more questions, please feel free to reach out to me.
Answer 3: Depending on how your trademark will be used, it may need to be registered in your state or through the USPTO. Some businesses also register their trademarks in other countries. This is a complicated process, and it is recommended that business owners work with an attorney to guide them. You also need an attorney to ensure a trademark clearance search is properly performed so that you do not inadvertently use a trademark that is confusingly similar to another trademark, which could result in an infringement claim.
Answer 4: Good question! There are multiple areas of the law to consider here. Depending on how your trademark will be used, you may need to consider registering it at the state level, at the federal level, and perhaps in other countries.
At the federal level, you can submit an application online with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Before applying, you may want to check out this helpful trademark basics page put together by the USPTO: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/basics. Once you are ready to move forward, the application forms are available here: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/filing-online/initial-application-forms. You will need to submit a copy of your logo and the required application information, as well as pay all the required fees.
This can be a complicated process and continues beyond simply submitting the application. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney to ensure that the process is completed correctly and that you do not inadvertently subject yourself to the potential for liability to another company. For example, if your logo is too similar to another trademark being used for the same or similar goods & services, you may be subject to an infringement claim. If you have additional questions, please contact me (or another trademark attorney) to discuss further. Best of Luck!
As you can see, these answers vary widely in terms of helpfulness to the user who submitted the questions. Furthermore, these answers do not all equally showcase the answering attorney’s legal knowledge and skills. Therefore, they do not all have the same digital marketing value.
Simply telling Cheryl to call an attorney is not a good answer. While it is true that Cheryl probably needs to call an attorney, this answer didn’t give her any additional insight into how the process works. Furthermore, this answer is of little marketing value to the answering attorney. The attorney may receive some additional exposure on the Justia platform simply by having answered the question, but the response does not offer useful information that would receive upvotes to boost the answering attorney in Leaderboard rankings. Finally, this answer does not showcase any special legal knowledge or otherwise boost the responding attorney’s online reputation. A more in-depth answer would have much greater short-term and long-term marketing value.
However, what about the hypothetical answers that are more in-depth? Answers 2 and 3 both offer Cheryl guidance on the issue and are each concise and helpful. The answers have different strengths. Answer 2 offers additional resources to consider – the USPTO application link – while Answer 3 points out some of the complex questions to consider when deciding whether to register a trademark, such as jurisdiction concerns and potential infringement claims.
Each answer is also likely to have useful marketing value. Both will likely increase the attorney’s exposure on the Justia platform. Additionally, both help the attorney build their digital reputation. The answers show some knowledge of trademark law and illustrate that the attorneys are willing to help others navigate that process. The responses may appear in some online search results outside of Justia. However, they could each be improved to better help Cheryl and to better serve the attorneys’ digital marketing efforts.
The best hypothetical answer to Cheryl’s question is Answer 4. Answer 4 is still concise but offers Cheryl basic legal information about how to file a trademark and the complex issues she may encounter while navigating the trademark process. It does not use acronyms or legal terminology that may be unknown to Cheryl. It also offers Cheryl resources that may give her more in-depth information on the topic. While the answer reminds Cheryl that consulting an attorney would be advisable under this circumstance, this suggestion is not the core of the answer. Since this answer is relevant, more comprehensive than the other answers, and clearly written, it is likely to garner the answering attorney more exposure on and off the Justia platform. It also helps build a digital reputation indicative of trademark knowledge and a willingness to help. This hypothetical answer is likely to have the best digital marketing value for the answering attorney.
Justia Ask A Lawyer is a great opportunity to boost your Digital Marketing efforts for free! Answering questions places your marketing efforts on the internet – the place to which more and more people turn for information each day. You can spend as much or as little time as you would like answering questions on Justia Ask A Lawyer, but remember that you should be giving good answers in order to get the most from your participation. In general, good answers are concise, helpful, and clearly written, and offer the users more resources to navigate their legal problems.