May 6, 2021

Should Your Law Firm Pay for Awards?

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One of the latest legal marketing strategies involves acquiring and displaying law firm awards and rankings on your site and marketing material. These seals of approval from credible outlets and organizations can help your law firm engage potential clients.

Benefits of Law Firm Awards

Here are some of the benefits that your law firm can gain from getting or paying for legal awards.

Awards help establish credibility

Credibility is crucial in industries driven by word-of-mouth referrals. The legal profession is no exception. Your clients want to know that you have the expertise and experience required to represent their interests and win their case.

When you’re a new or small firm, showing clients what you’re capable of can be challenging. The average person may not understand the complex legal jargon on your site. However, showing them that you’re an award-winning firm is a great start. Clients want to work with lawyers and law firms who’ve earned recognition for their previous work.

Awards offer indirect marketing opportunities

Securing an award allows you to leverage opportunities to increase your online visibility. Law firm website awards organizers often receive significant traffic on their sites and social media pages. Backlinks from their sites can also improve your website’s search engine rankings.

Awards are a recognition of excellence

Accolades and awards are, essentially, validation of the lawyer’s or the law firm’s credentials, expertise, and skills. These commendations help raise the law firm’s profile and make them stand out from their competitors. While a client may not hire a law firm exclusively because of an award they received, it may help get them on the potential client’s short list.

Awards help raise internal morale

Everyone wants to be commended for a job well done — even lawyers. In these trying times, law firms are still operating under budget cuts and when many lawyers are experiencing job insecurity, professional recognition can serve as a way to strengthen the ties between the staff members, associates, and partners. They can also help you attract new and promising additions to your team.

How Do You Get a Legal Award for Your Law Firm?

There are now more than 2000 awards, certificates, and recognitions targeting US lawyers and law firms. These are handed out by law schools, bar associations, and media outlets across the country. In the right context, these awards can help you gain a potential client’s goodwill, trust, and business.

However, not all awards are created equal. Some of these awards may be too obscure to make a difference or too spammy to inspire trust or confidence. It’s important to be cautious and do your research before incorporating these awards into your firm’s marketing strategy.

Here’s how you can get one for your law firm:

  1. Identify viable awards that you can use to help with your firm’s marketing efforts by looking at some of your competitors’ sites.
  2. Check out the submission requirements for each award. Some organizers require you to contact them directly, while others have a very long list of requirements to filter out nominees.
  3. Check if there’s an application fee. If you have to pay to be considered, ask yourself if it’s worth it. Does payment guarantee that you’ll get the award?
  4. Look into how submissions will be filtered and how they’ll decide the winners. Who are the judges? What are their criteria?
  5. Check the deadlines. You don’t want to waste your time applying for awards that have already closed.

What Are the Top Free Law Firm Awards Online?

Some of the best awards are free because no amount of money can buy them. Only your skills and outstanding work will help you net these awards. Here are some of them:

  • Awards from the American Bar Association (ABA): The ABA publishes a list of the Top 40 Young Lawyers in the country every year. They also have awards for the top personalities in other categories. Nominations are done online.
  • IFLR 1000: IFLR is an international legal directory. The award is given exclusively to lawyers and law firms that operate in the corporate and financial sector.
  • Law Firm 500 Awards: This award is given to the top 500 law firms in the country. They’re ranked based on the declared gross revenue of each firm.
  • AVVO Rating: Although this is technically not an award, a high AVVO rating means that the law firm has received mostly positive reviews and feedback from their clients and peers.

What Are the Top Paid Law Firm Awards Online?

Below are some of the most well-known awards where members and participants have to pay to earn one of their badges.

  • SuperLawyers: The site is owned by Thompson Reuters and FindLaw. It’s a well-organized directory for lawyers and law firms across the country. According to the site, only 5% of lawyers in each state receive this award.
  • Forbes Legal Council: This award is fee-based and invitation-only. Lawyers and law firms shell out $1,200 every year to get the badge and publish articles on their website.
  • American Law Society: To be a member and get one of their badges, law firms have to pay an annual fee.

Should Your Law Firm Pay for an Award?

If you’re struggling to find and secure clients despite offering top-notch legal services, paying for awards can help get your name out there. Legal awards may not seem like your top choice for your firm’s marketing strategy, but they offer some valuable opportunities that can help increase your client base and your firm’s visibility.

However, it’s also important to remember that awards aren’t a magic bullet for success. They’re effective, but only if they’re used as one of the components of a layered marketing strategy with a client-centered approach. If you need help acquiring awards, we have over a decade of PR experience in working with various organizations and can help you build a multi-pronged strategy to achieve your marketing goals. Reach out to us for a free consultation—we’d be happy to help.

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