Here at Mockingbird, we have made our disdain for long-term contracts well-known. We have seen too many law firms fall victim to the predatory practices of FindLaw and other such agencies. Too many of our clients have come to us after being stripped down by contracts designed to empty their wallets. It’s because of this that we want to warn you of the dangers of signing onto a long term contract and how to avoid it.
Ownership of the website often sits in the fine print of these contracts, and it rarely benefits the law firm. This is one of the ways agencies trap their clients; they can’t leave without losing their website.
Right alongside domain ownership is content ownership; the agency owns all the content on the website. This means that even if the client manages to leave, they can’t keep anything from the website they might have been adding to for years.
Upselling Poor Service
When you’re trapped in a contract the agency has little motivation to provide you with the service you deserve. When you find them failing to deliver, they might even ask you to pay more for certain features that should be included or are completely irrelevant. Suddenly the contract is more expensive and the service is just as bad.
We’ve been in the business for a while, and we’ve had more than a couple of firms come to us desperate and without a website:
Helping these firms get back on their feet has made us painfully aware of how damaging long term contracts can be. That’s why we’ve built a guide for escaping FindLaw.
What to Look for When Signing a Contract
As a lawyer, you’re probably used to the implications of the fine print. The fine print for your marketing agency shouldn’t be given any less attention than what’s in your clients’ cases. Here are a few of the things you should keep an eye out for and flag:
- Domain ownership
- Content ownership
- Termination penalties
- End dates
If you see yourself about to sign a contract that will hold you for years, stop and think: is there a better way?
There is. Don’t make bad decisions in 2020 that will follow you for the next decade. Don’t sign the contract.