"I Don't Speak Legalese!"

Connecting with Clients and Building Community

By Rachel Schromen

It’s not unusual that my clients review their estate planning documents and say, “I don’t understand this ‘legalese,’ ” affirming the stereotype that attorneys are overly formal and stiff. While formality is necessary in our profession, I also believe there’s a place for more informal writing, too. That’s one of the primary reasons that I frequently publish blogs on my website. 

I’ve always believed that clients deserve information, and that such information should be presented to them in a way they can understand — in plain language. When I first started my firm in 2016, I wrote simple blog posts about the estate planning process so that potential clients wouldn’t feel so intimidated when they came in for an initial consultation. I quickly realized that writing these blogs was beneficial for me, too: I gained experience in explaining legal concepts in simple language. Additionally, because I was early in my career and still learning, writing the blogs helped me learn and retain knowledge. 

Eventually, I noticed the blog posts on my website could be used as a marketing tool as well. Clients appreciate easy-to-understand legal information, and if it is something they find particularly helpful, they can easily share the link with friends and family. I also send out blog posts in my email newsletter, and it’s not uncommon to receive a response from clients asking questions or checking in regarding their personal legal matters. Being in regular contact in this way helps to keep their legal affairs (and my firm!) top of mind. 

"I’ve always believed that clients deserve information, and that such information should be presented to them in a way they can understand — in plain language."

As my practice grew, I added guest blogs to my website as yet another tool. Whether it’s a grief therapist offering tips for managing grief during the holidays or a funeral planning business sharing some imaginative ways to celebrate loved ones, these guest blogs allow me to share relevant information and resources outside of the legal realm. One of my favorite guest blogs featured the heirloom photography of a local photographer to celebrate Older Americans Month. The images were beautiful and thought-provoking and provided a lovely connection to the elder law side of my practice.  

Inspiration for guest blogs on the website comes from many places. Sometimes I solicit a guest blog because clients have asked questions about a certain topic, and I want to help them find the answers from a local expert. Other times, guest blogs allow me to leverage and collaborate with other professionals as I build business relationships that help me to better serve my clients. These guest blogs provide an opportunity for cross-collaboration, too, because these same guest authors often ask me to write for their clients. 

Another resource that clients will find on my website is video testimonials from former clients. As a small business owner, I know the importance of client reviews on platforms like Google and Facebook. Video testimonials on the firm’s website provide another personal touch for the power of client reviews. This came about when I hired a client to do a short video for my website. It was actually my client’s idea to add the video testimonials. She had attended a client appreciation event that I hosted and noticed the reaction other clients had when they talked about working with me. “We should capture THAT on video,” she said. These testimonials might be helpful for future clients, and they also provide a powerful reminder to me of why I do what I do. 

Of course, I will continue to add more innovative marketing tools as I grow my business. My approach changes and develops not only because the market and technology change, but also because I strive to constantly grow and develop in the way that I practice law and connect with my clients. I want my marketing choices to reflect that.

Rachel Schromen is an estate planning and elder law attorney and owner of Schromen Law, LLC.  Since starting to practice law in 2013, Rachel has been named one of the Top 3 Best Rated Estate Law firms in St. Paul (2018 – 2022) and was voted Best Estate Law Firm in Minnesota by readers of the Star Tribune in 2021 and 2022.  Apart from her law practice, Rachel is a hospice volunteer as an end-of-life doula.