A terrific next step in education-based marketing strategy is the law firm mobile device app, designed to address a specific client need. Law Technology News recently reported on apps designed by Latham & Watkins and O’Melveny & Myers, to inform users about anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws.
The Latham & Watkins iPhone and iPad app, which is called the AB&C Laws Application, was launched on July 18th. It is free from Apple Inc.’s iTunes app store. The app serves as a reference tool informing users about anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws in major jurisdictions around the world. In November, 2012, O’Melveny & Myers released a similar app with a more narrow scope, which focuses exclusively on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA). The app can be downloaded free from Apple Inc.’s iTunes app store. (search: “OMM FCPA”), and is designed for use on the iPhone® and iPad® devices. According to a firm spokesperson, the app has been downloaded 550 times since it was launched.
I completely agree with legal marketing guru Micah Buchdahl, owner of marketing company HTMLawyers, who is quoted saying, “there are more law firm apps on the market than people may realize. But that doesn’t mean they are all effective. . . . The reality is that most of these apps that the law firms have developed have very small usage and really it’s just about saying that you have one . . . If a firm does create an app, the best bet is to be practice-area specific . . . the apps have come down in price and can cost between $5,000 and $25,000 to create, depending on the app’s sophistication.”
I didn’t say this was a cheap strategy. I said it was a smart one.
Most firms don’t have the internal resources to develop an app. Latham & Watkins and O’Melveny & Myers had the talent on staff. I’m not sure whether Fox Rothschild did their own design work on the app, but suspect they did. When West Virginia-based Spilman Thomas & Battle, which has an office in Pittsburgh, decided to develop a human-resources-focused app, they turned to Pittsburgh-based Quest Fore for assistance. They launched their app, SuperVision in early July, 2013.
There is no doubt that we’re just scratching the surface of the development of law firm apps which are actually useful to clients, rather than being a glorified advertisement for the firm. Right now this is a strategy which requires a significant investment of time and dollars. Given increased demand by law firms, I anticipate that tools will be developed which will make app development an affordable strategy for smaller firms.