EmPower and attorney locator apps offer new opportunities for exposure
Finding attorneys online via legal apps is not new, but some recent additions to the market are accelerating competition. Google is now showing apps in mobile search results, which provides an excellent opportunity for attorneys to reach potential clients who are increasingly using smartphones to search for legal assistance.
Google App Indexing opens a whole new marketing world. When someone searches for legal information on a smartphone, Google now includes related apps in the results, whether or not they are installed on the device. Previously, those searching for particular information would have seen relevant apps only if they already resided on the smartphone being used.
Google App Indexing already contains 30 billion links. When a user is searching for legal information, and indexed content from an app is relevant to the search (on Android devices), an app install button will appear in search results. For example, if the user is looking for information on the division of property pending a divorce or for an attorney who handles DWI arrests, Google may show an attorney locator app. A quick tap and the potential client is sent to the Google Play store to set up the app and explore relevant content.
This drives new users to apps, expands an app developer’s marketing reach and delivers information to those who otherwise would not have such accessibility. There is something very empowering about being able to immediately download and use an app from within a search result.
One of the newest attorney locator apps, projected to be on the market in late summer 2015, is EmPower from U.S.-based Encore Digital Media, LLC. Their team consists of advocates, attorneys, IT professionals and consumer representatives interested in developing an app that allows people to easily access attorney information.
EmPower boasts outstanding features and sterling support. It includes an attorney search based on name, location and practice areas and offers a full digital directory with lawyers website, office, biography and name. Directions to the attorney’s office are provided with an interactive mapping feature. All attorney biographies are available, and the app offers the option to call or directly email attorneys.
EmPower is new and has not yet had the chance to prove itself in the trenches. However, it seems the company may offer the app free when it becomes available on Android devices and iPhones. EmPower also mentions three “Tier packages” with the first tier referred to as the Premium Tier One.
Tier One: Premium includes the attorney and the law firm with lawyer name, picture, law firm logo, address, phone number, email address, areas of practice, information on rates, name of firm, firm address, law firm website address, officer hours, a brief 300-word bio the equivalent to a keyword search.
Beta Special Price: $1,500
Tier Two: Standard includes lawyer search, attorney name and picture, address, phone number, email, practice areas, education, admission information, rate information, a brief 150-word biography and the equivalent to keyword search.
Beta Special Price: $1,000
Tier Three: Basic includes lawyer information, lawyer name, address, phone number, email and areas of practice.
Beta Special Price: $500
EmPower is not the only attorney locator app out there. However, many are packaged as “Ask an Attorney” apps, rather than full search apps. If someone wishes to ask an attorney a question, they would find it convenient to be able to find that lawyer should they wish to speak to him or her.
Niche variations on the find an attorney application theme also exist, such as the BernieSez.com app and website. BernieSez provides services to those who need traffic citations handled. Users upload basic information and usually a snapshot of their traffic ticket. Traffic attorneys then bid on representing the individual who posted looking for legal representation.
Are attorney locator apps worthwhile? Certainly people looking for information pertaining to a legal issue would be happy to have access to them. Google will continue to adjust search results to fit user needs, and your firm should be actively seeking ways to proactively stay in front of the most online viewers possible.