As the demand for self-service options continues to increase, law firms and other professional organizations are working hard to keep up. Today, one of the most valuable assets you have in this regard is your FAQ page—if you don’t have one on your website yet, it’s time to get one.
If you do have one, perhaps it’s time to give it another look and make sure that it’s up to snuff. After all, the last thing you want is to lose people because they can’t find simple answers to the questions they have. It doesn’t take a lot of work to build an effective FAQ page, either. A simple Internet search will show you what the average user is searching for concerning law firms. From that, you can decide which questions you should add to your site.
As always, we’re here to help you get a head start. Below, you’ll find a list of 10 must-have FAQs to get you started on building your perfect self-service portal for your law firm website. That way, you can give people instant answers and save your team the trouble of answering the same questions over and over (and over) again.
The average person who needs a lawyer can’t typically afford one. That’s what billing is for—you don’t expect your clients to pay all their costs upfront. Perhaps you require a retainer to start, followed by monthly payments.
And then there’s the question of how you charge: by the hour, a la carte (for specific legal services), per case type, etc. People will want to know as much as they can find out about your billing and rates before they make a decision as to who to work with. The transparency that you provide is often more important than the actual prices for your services, so don’t be hesitant to post fees and rates on your website.
Some law firms have teams or partners that work on cases together, while others assign cases to one attorney, and they are the only one who handles it. Clients, naturally, may also have a preference here or at least may want to know what to expect. Make sure that you provide this question and answer it honestly.
Explain the process as much as you can so that people have a good idea of what to expect. Just like with your pricing, transparency is key. Especially in something like the legal process, it’s helpful to have as much insight as possible to make it less intimidating and stressful.
People may not know what they need to bring with them, or that they need to bring anything at all. Of course, the exact paperwork or documents you need may vary depending on the specific claim or case they have, but you can at least provide a general answer here. Let them know that they should bring any relevant paperwork, their ID, any existing legal documentation (including police records), and so forth.
You can also advise them here that once they call for a consultation, you’ll be able to provide them with an exact list of what to bring. If you’ve got public records access, you could even go the extra step and tell them you’ll take care of the document fetching for them.
Everyone wants to know what to expect. The problem is that no legal process is “typical”. While proceedings can be similar, and while case lengths can have a limited range in some instances, every single case is different. We know what you’re thinking: so why offer this Q&A?
Well, here’s the thing—it’s another way to show people your tailored approach and reassure them that you’ll do your best to make sure they’re informed and prepared every step of the way. You can describe general legal events and processes if you’d like, or even link to a loose guideline for all the different types of practice areas that you cover. One thing you can do is to make a timeline with events that have a more specific time frame and note the events that may be more dependent on the circumstances or case itself.
This one should be pretty obvious. People need to know what you do. Not all lawyers handle all types of cases—make sure you make it clear for people, so you don’t waste their time. When it comes to legal issues, people have enough to worry about. Trying to figure out whether or not you’ll handle their case is not something they want to add to their list.
Even if you have good navigation with a full list of practice areas, you should still include this question on your FAQ page. It guarantees that people instantly have a way to get the answers they want and reaffirms that you want to make it easy for them by using your FAQs like this.
This is another must-have for any law firm. Potential clients want to hire an attorney or law firm that has the experience and expertise that they need for the best potential outcome. Although you don’t need to be the most seasoned lawyer in the industry, you should list your relevant experience, as well as any certifications or other relevant information about the areas of practice that you cover and what you’ve done in your career.
This is also a good place to toss in a little educational info. You don’t have to get super in-depth, here—people aren’t that interested in the details. They just want to see that you worked hard to get where you are and that you’ve gone to law school and gotten degrees in your field.
Everyone wants to know whether they’ll have to go to court because of whatever legal issues they’re battling. As you know, there’s no hard-and-fast answer here because again, it’s all on a case-by-case basis. Use this FAQ to explain that based on the type of case, there may be options to settle out of court, or even include a link to a more in-depth look at the typical expectation for different practice areas that you cover.
For example, while divorce can often be mediated, criminal law may have no other option besides attending a court hearing depending on the charges being brought. Make sure that you focus on giving people as much insight as you can.
This is another common question that people don’t often realize has such a variable answer. Include it on your FAQ so that you can explain to them all the variables involved and how they can determine the best course of action (hint: this is where you plug them calling you for a consultation). For example, the statute of limitations on a product injury lawsuit in Ohio is two years, while in Florida, people have up to four years to file. The type of claim also affects how long people have to file, and that’s determined on a state-by-state basis, as well.
You are showcasing your expertise here by providing as much information as you can without actually giving people the answer because the answer doesn’t exist. At least, not until you know the parameters of the case and the other details involved. When you give them an insightful answer that also encourages them to reach out, you’re going above and beyond even though you can’t give them the actual answer that they wanted.
When it comes to dealing with estates and cases on behalf of family members, people often have a lot of questions. The most common, of course, is regarding who can or can’t bring a legal case against someone on behalf of someone deceased. This usually can be any family member that wants to file a case as long as they can prove their relationship, but some states may have different laws.
It may also be that there’s a hierarchy, such as that the surviving spouse has to bring the case and if they don’t, no one else can for “x” amount of time. This is an odd circumstance, but we all know the legal field is a little odd at times. Helping people understand the ins and outs of handling cases like this will give you a big reputation boost.
This is another popular, yet nearly impossible question to answer. People don’t realize, often, that even something as specific as product liability lawsuits for an injury from product use could range in damages from hundreds to millions of dollars, and some claims might even be denied. When people are asking this question, they’re mostly looking for someone to tell them that you will work as hard as you can to get the best outcome in their favor.
You need this question because it allows you to offer this to people. It allows you to explain that the legal process is complex, and their exact claim will depend on the circumstances of their case. In turn, you save yourself from answering the question time and again, and you encourage potential clients to reach out and discuss their specific case so that you can assist them further.
If you really want to step up your game with FAQs, it might be a good idea to create multiple pages on your website. Think about how much easier it would be for your clients (and potential clients) if you had pages set up and organized in a hierarchy and/or by topic?
For example, you could have:
The idea here is to provide people with niche-type pages and FAQs that not only provide a more specific answer for the information they seek, but also assists in increasing search engine rankings when your questions are indexed, and people search for them (or something similar).
It's a good idea to have a main menu or a drop-down that allows people to navigate to all the different FAQ pages easily and get back to where they were without getting lost. That way, they can see not only how helpful you are in answering their questions, but that you’re professional and organized, and really want to make it easy for them to get the answers that they seek.
Your focus should be on your clients and your caseload. While having receptionists and assistants in-house is great, it’s not necessarily the best (or only) solution out there. For example, if you enlist the 24/7 virtual receptionists from Smith.ai, you’ll ensure that every question, call, and other customer inquiry gets answered professionally by an expert team that can handle anything that you need.
From phone calls to live chat on your website, Facebook and SMS message answering, and even scheduling and intake, we can field each one and ensure that your visitors get everything that they need, no matter what your team might be doing. Plus, if there’s something case-specific that requires your attention, we’ll seamlessly pass it along so that you can handle it ASAP. We’ll top it all off with a customized strategy to manage your communications, too.
To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do to help your law firm deliver a higher caliber of service without taking time away from your caseload. You can also find us at email@example.com or (650) 727-6484.