It’s important for legal professionals to have a place where they can collaborate with one another. The Circle of Legal Trust provides exactly that for attorneys. Anthony Castelli, a CoLT member and personal injury attorney in Cincinnati, was gracious enough to answer my questions on how the group can be a great resource for up and coming or experienced attorneys.
Q. What is the Circle of Legal Trust?
A. The circle of legal trust is a loose confederation of lawyers dedicated to fostering best practices in marketing for lawyers . It started with a couple of lawyers running into each other on the internet and exchanging ideas for their mutual help and benefit in their law practices.
The leader and driving force is California personal injury lawyer Michael Ehline. As association grew into friendships we thought of becoming the lawyers that did and taught attorney SEO the right way. So we decided to form our own club with our own rules for membership [and use] the guidelines of the major search engines.
Our rules are loosely patterned after motorcycle clubs. You have to hang around with us for awhile and then you can become a full patched member. You will know a full patched member as their web site proudly displays our patch.
In order to do so your web site must be in compliance with Google , Yahoo and Bing’s guidelines, you have to be willing to talk with other members and help them as you can when they have problems with marketing . You need to attend our Friday hangouts when you can . This is where a lot of real learning comes in.
We attempt to discover on the internet people with expertise in various areas of the internet. We have been very successful in having them present on cutting edge topics that teach us all.
We offer to them exposure in the lawyer community and the chance to write an article and post it on the Circle of Legal Trust web site.
What separates us from other groups is that we understand you cannot give away good . Because it always comes back, so we stand ready to help each other develop our marketing efforts and share with each other just about anything we can learn or see that can be of benefit to each of us to improve our marketing as well as out lawyering.
The only non lawyer that we consider a “clubber” is Andre Van Wyck, an SEO specialist who saw what we were about and has devoted countless hours to put our infrastructure together . That infrastructure centers around the Circle of Legal Trust web site www.circleoflegaltrust.com.
The Circle of Legal Trust is an organization comprised of attorneys, search experts, and consumers with two primary focuses.
1.) Improving ethical internet content generation, social authorship, vote earning, ethical and other issues pertaining to such.
2.) Helping consumers and law students answer hypothetical questions in real time at www.legaltorch.com, as well as building and maintaining the worlds largest legal practitioner’s database library and encyclopedia at www.articles.legaltorch.com.
We are more than just a professional organization and actually akin to a brotherhood in which members seek to assist one another in advancing our individual marketing efforts. As a collective lot, we are far more powerful and capable than pursuing similar objectives alone. As a result, we remain selective on our members and expect each individual to adopt a core belief that by being selfless and actively working together as a team the results should be exceptional.
Q. Does COLT hold any traditional courses or webinars on SEO or online promotion for its members?
A. COLT holds hangouts on Fridays normally at 11am est. This is where we teach each other or bring in expert SEO specialists the likes of Eric Enge , Ronnie Bincer, David Amerland, AJ Kohn, Mark Traphagen and many others to teach us about their specialty or a topic of great interest. Most of these are recorded and are archived on Michael Ehline’s YouTube channel.
We held our first annual virtual convention in Las Vegas and created a PDF magazine to advertise and memorialize this free event
Q. How many members does COLT have?
A. Colt has approximately 10 members at present . We try to give a member his own territory which is statewide. That member can grant territory to new member with in their own territory. For example Mike Ehline has California and I have Ohio. Mike saw great promise in Steven Sweat another California personal injury lawyer and granted him territory. We try to keep our listings up to date but with the demands of busy law practices and monitoring our own SEO we are not always as current as we would like to be.
We list the members at the web-o-trust.org where you can also find their own whitelists . This is their personal recommendation of people that are valuable and trusted in SEO though not necessarily lawyers or members of COLT.
Q. Can any member become an author on the site?
A. Any member has blogging privileges on the Circle of Legal Trust . Although not to promote their site but to further internet legal marketing.
Q. How can COLT help benefit me as an attorney?
A. You benefit by being able to attend the hangouts and conferences we put on. although most of them are open some of then are closed.
• You get to blog on the www.circleoflegaltrust.com.
• You get membership in an authority attorney group that will help with your Google web site signals.
• You get prominently listed at the web trust. Long term we are building out a co-branded web sites that will be broken out by state.
• You have access to contact the other members who will try to help you with your questions.
• You know lawyers that are pushing out authoritative content and web sites and if they like the content they may link out to it or be linked to. So the ability of linking to or being linked to by a trusted source vs someone whose site could harm you is enhanced.
• You may decide to do co-branded articles or posts with highly vetted and regarded members enhancing your presence on Google Plus.
• You get to personally know SEO experts that you can engage on Google or even hire to help you with some aspect of seo.
• You get the camaraderie of common focused lawyers .
• You may be able to give and receive actual referrals of cases. I have actually referred out a case and on another occasion got help in Indiana from our Indiana lawyers William Hurst and Alexander Limontes.
To become a member we ask you to participate if we see you may be someone who is like minded and has a core competency as a lawyer as well as demonstrating “white hat” SEO practices or the desire to learn them .
You also ask one of the members to sponsor you as a hang-a-round.
We ask that you comply with our rules and mission statement
1.) As a member of the Circle of Legal Trust you agree to adhere your conduct in accordance with our mission statement, rank and duty requirements below. Hence, you consent to receiving assignments from our President, or any other member designated by the President to assign tasks.
2.) You will be expected to regularly participate in social media with the purpose of supporting and advancing the efforts of fellow Circle of Legal Trust members.
3.) All members must participate in actively posting quality, value adding content, along with endorsing and occasionally sharing the quality and helpful posts of fellow members. In accordance with our mission statement, it is the goal of this organization to improve the individual internet and social media presence of each respective lawyer/member, as well as improving the value of available online professional legal materials and information.
4.) You will be expected to participate (as schedule permits) in Google+ member hangouts that will occur once every two weeks at a designated time. This is a meeting the is separate and apart from the “Circle of Legal Trust Hangouts” that occurs every Friday as hosted by Michael Ehline.
5.) Each member is expected to actively engage in researching the latest trends in SEO, social media, and content drafting as it relates to attorneys and law firms in order to facilitate the goals of this organization.
6.) Members will receive assignments once every two weeks at our designated meeting. The assignment will relate to topics and trends in SEO and social media. Each member must draft an article/blog or create a presentation concerning the topic and relate the subject matter to marketing our individual law firms on the internet and through social media.
7.) Each member of the Circle of Legal Trust has been properly vetted for having the necessary attributes to advance the goals of the organization. The President retains the ability to add and remove members based on merit and/or inability to maintain a commitment to advancing the mission of the Circle of Legal Trust.
We’d like to thank Mr. Castelli for taking the time to answer a few of our questions. You can learn more about Anthony Castelli at his website castellilaw.com. He recently introduced his social security disability web site http://