In the early days of the Internet, some lawyers did very well for themselves by being among the first to have a website or a blog. As more law firms launched web pages and it became a more crowded field, search engine results became more important. Schemes and tricks to move up in search results were circulated.The law firms and other businesses were hit with a barrage of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts promising to raise your search result profile.

Our new Digital Edge podcast features Stephanie Kimbro and is called How People Search for Lawyers: The Consumer Law Revolution. Stephanie sees a new phase of Internet marketing coming. (In many ways, it is already here.) Will the marketing power offered by branded legal services networks benefit lawyers? And will the branded legal services networks make it much harder for a solo or small firm trying to do their own SEO to get noticed online?

This is an area where many lawyers will be cautious. If a branded network commits an ethics violation in advertising, could the lawyer participants be held responsible? What might seem to be common business practices in marketing for others could be seen as inappropriate fee splitting for lawyers. If you don't have a clue what a branded network is, you might want to listen to our podcast.

Stephanie is the author of the newly published book on the topic, The Consumer Law Revolution: The Lawyer's Guide to the Online Legal Marketplace.

(As an aside, at our recent Oklahoma Bar Solo & Small Firm Conference, Debbie Foster reminded us of the very old trick of repeating the same phrase in white font on a white background on a website to improve the search results. Of course the search engine companies figured that one out long ago, but many in the audience remembered and chuckled.)