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Did you know there is more to practicelaw than just forms?  practicelaw is designed to be a repository of resources intended to help your practice.  Similarly, the MSBA’s practiceblawg is a blog for the Association to share with you how the MSBA can help you improve your efficiency and grow your practice.  The MSBA offers members a number of products and services and is always looking for ways to better serve its members and provide greater value.

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Your MN Find a Lawyer Profile

by Joe Kaczrowski | May 17, 2015
 

Averaging more than 8,000 searches each month, the new MSBA directories have been searched over 36,000 times since the January 1 launch. Have you added or updated your profile?

Not sure how to get started? You can check out the step-by-step instructions in this video, or just follow these tips and with a few clicks your profile will be up and running.

The MSBA has two new directories, the MN Find a Lawyer directory, a public directory where potential clients can find you, and the MSBA Colleague Directory, a members-only directory through which you can connect with your fellow MSBA members. The MSBA Colleague Directory is an "opt-out" directory, meaning members are automatically included in the Colleague Directory unless they uncheck the box. The MN Find a Lawyer, on the other hand, is an "opt-in" directory, meaning that members will not appear in the listings (and will not be found by potential clients) unless they check the box. The directories also include a number of customizable fields and privacy settings, enabling members to choose what information is included in which directory.

Setting up your profile is quick and easy. With just a few clicks you can be listed in the MN Find a Lawyer and/or MSBA Colleague Directories.

First go to your profile:

1)Log in 
2) Go to Your Account 
3) Select Update Profile 

Next choose which directory or directories in which you want to be listed:

Then press 'Save Changes'. That's it. You're now included in the directory or directories of your choice. (Note that there are two required fields. If these aren't populated yet, you will also have to choose something from each drop down in order to save.)

So you're listed in the MN Find a Lawyer directory (and/or MSBA Colleague Directory). Is that enough?

Profiles with pictures are fourteen times more likely to be viewed. Consider adding a photo to your Profile. Note that the directories have a size limit of 1 MB; however, resizing a high-resolution image is easy, and can even be done through your email program.

The MSBA is continually working to update and enhance our directory program, with several new features and added functionality scheduled for release in May and August. The latter update will include enhancements to the search results page, including mini-profile photos.

Of the 36,000 searches since January 1, sixty-two percent have been by practice area. If you haven't added or updated your practice area information, your profile and contact information will not come up in over half of the searches being run. As an added bonus, choosing practice areas adds a pie chart to your profile, which is another graphic that can make your page more visually appealing to visitors.

Of course showing up in search results isn't of much benefit if potential clients can't contact you, so be sure your contact information is up to date as well. In addition to searches by practice area, potential clients can search by geography, or refine practice area searches by geography. Especially useful in outstate Minnesota, potential clients can search within a specified radius of a zip code.

What else should you add to your profile? That's up to you. As noted above, contact information is important, so consider adding your email address and a link to your website (check the privacy settings to ensure these are visible in MN Find a Lawyer). As an added benefit, including a link to your website can help with your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), as it links to your site from the MSBA. You also can add links to your social media channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Last year video accounted for seventy-eight percent of all internet traffic in the United States; that figure is predicted to climb to eighty-four percent by 2018. YouTube is the number 2 search engine. If you have an informational video about your practice or services, consider adding a link to that video on your profile.

The new MSBA directories also include a number of free text fields, where you can describe yourself and your practice in your own words. Some fields are predefined ("About My Fees," "About My Practice," "Professional Values," etc.) but with others not only can you write what you want but you also can define the header or description of the field.

All text fields are searchable from the keyword search feature. For example, members have used these fields ("About My Fees") to indicate they offer alternative fee structures to improve Access to Justice. These fields offer a way for you to further define your brand and reach potential clients.

If you're already listed, take a moment to review your profile and see if there is other information you can include to help your profile appear in more searches by the potential clients you want.If you haven't added your profile yet, see what over nine hundred of your peers have already discovered: the new MN Find a Lawyer directory is easy to use, quick to set up, and another way to use your MSBA membership to find new clients and grow your business.