I came across ONE400 about 6 months ago after meeting Eva Hibnick, one of the co-founders, at a legal tech startup brunch she organized in San Francisco. As we all know, there is no shortage of legal marketing firms out there. Legal marketing matters– we all get that. The hard part is filtering through the noise and deciding on one that can actually deliver a meaningful and tailored strategy. Most won’t.
It’s been my strong suspicion that ONE400 was one of the good ones out there since Eva first described her team’s unique approach to legal marketing, and I recently took some time out to speak with her, and ONE400 co-founder, Allen Rodriguez, to dig deeper.
What is ONE400?
ONE400 is a creative agency that caters exclusively to the legal industry. Founder Eva Hibnick studied at Harvard Law, worked in Big Law and then worked in startups before ONE400. Founder Allen Rodriguez worked at the LA County Bar and Legalzoom prior to founding ONE400. Together they use their backgrounds and knowledge of how legal services should be sold and delivered to the benefit of their clients.
What kinds of projects do you take on?
Projects include developing social media strategies for AmLaw 100 to working on the user experience of a legal tech startup to redesigning a solo practitioner’s website.“The legal industry is not known for having well designed websites, but we are changing that one website at a time” says Eva Hibnick. ONE400 puts a lot of emphasis on good design. In the same way that you would show up to a client meeting in a nice suit and you invest in a nice office, ONE400 feels that you should have a similar attitude towards your website.
“We design based on best practices, but use data to optimize our clients’ sites for conversion” says Allen Rodriguez. “At the end of the day, we are marketers at heart, we know that what our clients want are quality leads that become clients” says Eva Hibnick.
What does the name ONE400 stand for?
The name is based on Rule 1-400, which is the rule governing attorney advertising and solicitation in California. We take ethics very seriously and wanted our name to reflect this. We are actually working with a reputable ethics attorney right now to come up with an e-book about the ethical considerations of using social media, blogging and marketing ones practice.
Only one and a half years in, they have already grown to a team of 6 and are hiring for 4 new positions in the coming months. “We have designers, developers, marketers and legal industry experts on our team and we all work to help our clients grow their businesses” says Allen Rodriguez.
How is ONE400 different from other legal marketing firms?
“We are so much more than a legal marketing firm. We identify more with being a digital agency that happens to cater to one select group of professionals” says Eva Hibnick. ONE400 stays clear of being referred to as law firm marketers given the many negative connotations that come with being associated with law firm marketing. Almost all lawyers have had a negative experience with a legal marketer who over promised and undelivered or just didnt deliver at all. Lawyers always complain about the annual contracts law firm marketing companies require and question the potential ethical ramifications of outsourcing their marketing to the companies. These are all things that ONE400 is trying to change.
“We are not the type of company that slaps up a template website in 24 hours. Instead we take the time to understand what your business goals are and strive to set up inbound marketing channels that you own” says Allen Rodriguez. ONE400 does not require annual contracts, is transparent and data driven in their approach and tries to always bring creativity and innovation to the table. “We talk to every single client and clients can reach us at any time. We pride ourselves in providing an amazing customer experience” says Eva Hibnick.
Why should lawyers entrust the marketing of their practice to someone else?
There are just not enough hours in the day for you to blog, write social media posts, manage your Adwords account, field calls from leads and practice law. Most law firms have their own marketing coordinator or department however there is a trend towards hiring consultants and agencies to help provide guidance on given projects. If firms dont have a marketing coordinator, outsourcing this kind of work allows the attorney to focus on being a lawyer!
What trends are you seeing in the legal industry?
“Many larger firms are finally realizing the importance of having an active presence on social media and are looking to agencies for guidance on such strategies” says Allen Rodriguez. Another trend ONE400 is seeing is the desire for law firms to offer their services as products. “Attorneys see the success of Legalzoom and say to themselves why cant I offer my services at flat fee prices and leverage technology to improve my process as well?” says Eva Hibnick. Many lawyers are coming to ONE400 to help them assess, accurately price and develop legal products.