Education / Schools, Small Law Firms, Solo Practitioners, Technology, Videos

Call It Schooling Clients

Are you tired of getting the same questions over and over again from prospective or existing clients?  Should I choose an LLC or incorporation?  Will I lose my house in bankruptcy?  What is a power of attorney?  How long will my divorce take?  Rather than respond to these same questions over and over, why not school your clients instead?

These days, schooling clients is easy. With the rise of online training and college courses, a broader segment of the population is now familiar with online education. Plus, there are a variety of powerful free tools to create online educational programs to educate clients so that they’ll have a grasp of the basics.

Here’s my experience with some of those tools….

Not long ago I began to explore the option of pre-taped, on-demand webinars. In contrast to recording my live program through an online platform for future use, recording a program right off my machine was simply more dependable because I wasn’t reliant on a shaky internet connection that often lacks the bandwidth to support webcasts. (Note: I use ScreenFlow to record on my Mac and edit videos; Camtasia is a popular PC option.) At the same time, whereas a webcast platform hosts the recordings, I would need to find a place to upload my programs. So I began to investigate the platforms available for MOOCs (massive open online courses), and thus began my love affair with Udemy.

Udemy allows users to create courses in a variety of formats — video, ebooks, or audio — and upload them to the Udemy platform, where you can make them available for free or a fee. For my course, I created a free program, How to Launch A Successful 21st Century Law Practice, consisting of seven 20-minute modules and several handouts. Setting up the “classroom” and uploading my materials and the relevant descriptions was seamless and intuitive. In fact, I was able to set up my course (once I prepared the videos) in a matter of minutes. The platform is robust, allowing for written Q&A, live sessions, quizzes, and a video/PowerPoint mashup.  Udemy also has a broad reach, and over the past several months, over 1,000 students have signed up to take my class.

But what I liked even more about Udemy is that it strives to maintain quality. Udemy requires users to create an attractive “cover” for the program and provides a checklist that Udemy will run through before approving a class.

Although I posted a free course to experiment with Udemy, users can also charge for a program, with a 70/30 split between the instructor and Udemy (certainly better than a CLE program). So depending upon your expertise, you could potentially generate some additional income as well. And even if you make the class available free, your clients might appreciate the information provided. Finally, if you’re interested in generating paid speaking engagements, you can use a Udemy class to demonstrate what you have to offer.

If you’re looking for different ways to deliver content, Udemy is hands down one of the easiest ways to do it.

Would online classes help your clients or aid your practice?  Share your thoughts below.


Carolyn Elefant has been blogging about solo and small firm practice at MyShingle.com since 2002 and operated her firm, the Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant PLLC, even longer than that. She’s also authored a bunch of books on topics like starting a law practice, social media, and 21st century lawyer representation agreements (affiliate links). If you’re really that interested in learning more about Carolyn, just Google her. The Internet never lies, right? You can contact Carolyn by email at elefant@myshingle.com or follow her on Twitter at @carolynelefant.

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