A fellow legal marketer recently brought up Avvo in my Legal Marketers Extraordinaire Group on Facebook (message me on the Legal Watercooler’s Facebook page if you would like to join).

She was wondering about the value.

Avvo has always had its distractors, but I’ve always taken a “meh” position. Why? Because I’m in corporate law.

Here’s what I had to say about Avvo:

Avvo has incredible sway amongst consumers and has high search results.

If I was counseling a consumer lawyer (PI, trusts & estates, criminal, etc), I would definitely recommend Avvo and every Best, Super, lawyers.com they could get into. 

For my corporate lawyers, not so much.

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I also believe Avvo will grow in its prominence. Lisa Bloom, Gloria Allred‘s daughter, is a CNN contributor. Just flipped the TV on and there she is with “Avvo Legal Advisor and Spokesperson” under her name.

Kevin O’Keefe had several things to say, but he touched on something that should not be ignored:

Do not worry about search in the sense of getting your lawyers found, worry about what people see when they search the name of your lawyer. That’s the most important search. Avvo profiles will come up near the top on a Google search for the lawyer’s name.

To me that’s the value. If it is popping up in search results when you type in Attorney Name and Law Firm, then it is important.

That is key here. If you Google and Avvo pops up, it is important to that lawyer. Period. The less they do in social the higher it will rank, and there will be nothing to balance it out on the first page. So for that lawyer who doesn’t write or do media, doesn’t blog, doesn’t tweet, not on LinkedIn, Avvo might be the only thing other than their firm’s bio for a legal purchases see when they do their due diligence search.

I typed in the name of one of our partners, Larry Golub. Page after page of great content. He’s a frequent blogger, speaker at conferences, and media source for the firm.

He has an Avvo profile, but after page three of Google I stopped searching for it.

I did the test with a different partner, Marina Karvelas. While she does blog here and there, and has been a media resource, she is not a prolific blogger, speaker, content creator.  Her Avvo profile shows up on page one of Google.

Larry does not have to worry about Avvo. Marina should to a minimal extent. She just needs to make sure that the information is accurate and up to date. Same with anything else that is popping up in the first 1-3 pages of Google (although recent surveys are showing fewer and fewer people are clicking to page 2).

Now, my college roommate is a family law attorney and getting ready to hang up her shingle. She knows where all the dead bodies are buried, so to speak, so she will be getting lots of free legal marketing advice. Towards the top of my list for her is that she create and maintain a robust profile on Avvo. Why? Because consumers are using Avvo to research and conduct their due diligence.

In short, if you are a consumer attorney in any way, shape or form, care a lot.

If Avvo is showing up in your Google search results, but you represent corporate counsel, just claim your profile and make sure the information is accurate. If you don’t like the results, work to raise your profile ranking in Avvo, or create more highly indexed and original content to bury it.

If it’s not showing up in your search results, you don’t worry too much about it.

However, do not make the mistake of dismissing the good folks at Avvo. They are providing a much needed service to consumers out there. Time will only tell if that service will trickle over to being a resource for the business world and corporate counsel.

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  • I had the same ‘meh’ thought until I used Avvo and had a couple clients note they had seen my comments answering questions. If they are reading the site then it is worth taking seriously.

  • Good article. Small issue that might change your conclusion. I Googled “attorney Larry Golub” and it is page one Google (#5, just behind SuperLawyers). A potential legal consumer would likely add a modifier like “attorney” (or lawyer, or maybe the city or state), which means Larry ought to take advantage of the platform just as much as Marina.

    (If you read Larry’s content on the same machine on which you searched for his name, or with G+ logged in on both, I would not be surprised if that content ranked higher when Google skews results to your history, thus skewing your test.)

    • True. But if Larry (or any attorney for that matter) is being vetted by a potential client, more likely they will use the name of the attorney and the firm as they already have this information.

      If they just have the name of the attorney and no firm, the first search would be on the name alone. If that does not bring the right results, they will add “attorney” or “lawyer” to it.

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