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Awards and Certifications You Should Consider for Your Law Firm

Awards and Certifications You Should Consider for Your Law Firm

The legal industry is competitive. Client acquisition is a crucial part of building a successful law practice. The ABA Journal reports that more and more people are looking to the internet to find a lawyer. A robust website is vital for a law firm—and your website should establish you as an authority. 

At ONE400, we provide digital innovation for the future of the legal industry. Establishing authority is a key task for any lawyer or law firm. Awards and certifications can help. In this article, you will find an overview of the awards and certifications that you should consider for your law firm. 

Why Awards and Certifications Can Make a Difference for Lawyers and Law Firms

Do awards and certifications actually matter? In the legal industry, they certainly can make a difference. With more than 1.3 million actively licensed attorneys working across nearly 450,000 law firms nationwide, the competition between law firms can be fierce. Awards and certifications can help attorneys and law firms put themselves in a better position. Some of the notable benefits of the awards and certifications in law: 

  • Standing out from the crowd; 
  • Building relationships with other professionals; and
  • Establishing authority amongst potential clients. 

An Overview of the Most Recognized Awards and Certifications

Of course, not all awards and certifications are created equal. Certain awards and certifications are highly recognized in the legal industry. Some of the most noteworthy awards and certifications that you should consider for your law firm include: 

  • Best Lawyers: Best Lawyers is an organization that provides peer-reviewed rankings of attorneys. The organization recognizes approximately 140,000 attorneys across several dozen practice areas.   
  • Super Lawyers: Super Lawyers is another organization that provides rankings of attorneys. The organization notes that it recognized no more than 5% of attorneys in any given year. 
  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings: The Martindale-Hubbell Preeminent Peer Review Rating system is another one of the most highly recognized distinctions in the legal industry. It can be an effective way to establish credibility.  
  • Avvo: Avvo published ratings, reviews, and disciplinary information about lawyers in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. As a legal directory, Avvo has high industry recognition.  
  • American Bar Association (ABA Awards): Individuals and business owners respect and trust ABA awards. The ABA (and state bar associations) give out many different awards. Some examples include Samuel L. Smith Award, Robert P. Wilkins Award, Martha Fay Africa Golden Hammer Award, Difference Maker awards, and awards for specialty practice areas.  

Specialized Awards and Certifications Can Help to Establish Authority 

Beyond the most common awards and certifications, lawyers may also benefit from specialized recognition. This can be especially useful for law firms that concentrate on a particular practice area. For example, imagine that you build a criminal defense practice in North Texas. Any awards and certifications that are specific to your practice area can help you build additional authority. The Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) has a criminal law specialty area. A board-certified criminal defense lawyer could gain additional trust among potential clients. 

Presentation Matters: Displaying Awards and Certifications on a Legal Website

Here is a challenge that lawyers face: Potential clients want to know that you have expertise in your practice area. However, potential clients do not want to read a comprehensive resume. A resume is generally too detailed for the average person to take the time to read and digest. A list of awards and certifications that is not presented in a compelling and easy-to-read manner may not effectively get your message across. When it comes to law firm website development and digital communication, more generally, presentation matters. It is crucial that you know how to display awards, certifications, and other essential information on your website.

Do Not Overlook the Importance of Local Market Connection

There are lawyers and law firms that practice nationally. However, the majority of law firms—especially smaller and mid-sized firms—are focused on a single geographic area. Your local market connection matters. Local SEO has become increasingly important in the legal industry. MailChimp defines local SEO simply as a “strategy that helps your business be more visible in local search results on Google.

While there is a lot that goes into local SEO for lawyers and law firms, a big part of it is establishing yourself and your brand as a respected authority within your local market. Awards and certifications are an excellent differentiator. An award or a certification from a recognized local organization—with a city-specific bar association or non-legal business organization—can help to establish a law firm as a trusted authority within its local market. 

Know the Rules: ABA Guidelines for Legal Marketing and Advertising

There are specialized professional rules and regulations in place for attorneys who are marketing their services. For a full overview of the professional regulations, please refer to ABA Rule 7.2: Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services. Here is the key thing to know about ABA rules regarding lawyers and law firms promoting their awards and certifications: 

  • A lawyer cannot claim to be “certified as a specialist” in a particular practice area unless that lawyer has actually been certified by a bar association and names the association within the communication. 

ONE400 is a Proven Leader in Law Firm Growth and Innovation

At ONE400, we are committed to helping law firms grow, prosper, and utilize technology. Our team provides a wide range of services, including strategy & consulting, brand & design, automation, operations and technology consulting, legal subscription plans, and more. Give us a call now or connect with us online for a complimentary consultation. Based in Los Angeles, ONE400 serves law firm clients in the United States and around the world.

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About the author

Allen Rodriguez Allen Rodriguez is a legal product development strategist who has been serving the legal industry for over 21 years. Over the course of his career, Allen has built a reputation for creating innovative legal services products as well as developing highly effective law firm business and marketing strategies. Allen is a valued speaker on the topics of law marketing, legal services product development, and future of law issues.

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