Jonathan Rosenfeld is an Illinois based lawyer with a nationwide practice who represents members of our society who have been seriously injured or killed due to the irresponsible acts of an individual or company.
Jonathan is the founder and managing attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, a full service personal injury law firm based in Chicago, Illinois. They handle a diverse array of significant injury and wrongful death cases including: car accidents, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, birth injury, trucking accidents and defective medical devices. They are proud of the diversity of their client base as their clients come from all walks of life and face unique issues in the wake of a significant injury or fatality of a loved one.
In the past three years Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has grown from one attorney to four attorneys and eight full-time support staff along with an in-house nurse and accident investigator.
BusinessInterviews.com: How have managed to position yourself as the go-to firm that’s regularly called in after other law firms have deemed a case too difficult or too risky to pursue?
Jonathan: It’s not that we’re willing to take every case that comes into our office. In our business every case is handled on a contingency fee basis where we not only receive a fee based on the successful outcome of the case, but we also advance out-of-pocket costs on a case that we similarly only recover upon a successful conclusion. If we automatically pursued every prospective case, we would likely be out of business quickly! What we need to do is to make an educated assessment of the cases strengths and weaknesses and determine how or if to pursue the matter.
We are willing to thoroughly investigate cases that may appear difficult at first blush. When a client with serious injuries comes to us after an accident, we not only listen to what they have to say and the information that they have on the case, but we may also do a fairly extensive investigation. In many serious injury cases, we will order medical records, consult with doctors and experts in the respective fields, and meet with witnesses—before we agree to pursue the case. While this really is a lot of work and can be a considerable expense, we’ve found that this thorough evaluation– before we ever file a lawsuit– can make a big difference down the road.
Some of our most substantial cases were people who’s cases were rejected by other law firms who may not have done the research needed to fully evaluate the case. In most of these situations, my guess is that the person evaluating the case simply didn’t have the full set of facts before them. Had they had the opportunity to look at more information perhaps their decision would be different. I guess we’re just more willing than others to spend the time and resources necessary to make the most educated decision possible when evaluating our case.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you elaborate on why you’re excited to expand into the areas of medical device litigation and what impact this will have on your firm?
Jonathan: People get medical devices to improve the quality of their lives– to be able to do the things they enjoy or live without pain. When they receive a defective medical device, not only are these aspirations destroyed, but in many cases they are worse off as not only must they cope with their existing problems, but new issues as well that were introduced by defective device.
The concept of amplified problems introduced by a defective medical device is a recurring theme in our metal-on-metal hip cases involving recalled devices such as DePuy ASR or Stryker Rejuvenate (metal hip prosthetics recalled by the FDA). Many of our clients were relatively healthy and active people who were offered devices that promised them the ability to function at a higher level and without some of the recurring pain. Unfortunately, we’ve seen the introduction of these metal-on-metal devices, not just perpetuate their existing problems, but in many cases we’ve seen an entire new set of problems such as: tissue destruction, heavy metal poisoning, fractures and pain. In these cases, the patient may need to have the device removed and a new hip prosthetic installed. It is a long and painful recovery for these patients.
In the case of metal hip cases like DePuy ASR and Stryker Rejuvenate, many of the pending lawsuits have been consolidated into what called Multi District Litigation in Federal Court. While there may be hundreds of cases that are in the group, we really try to approach each of our client’s cases on an individual basis as though it was a traditional lawsuit without an MDL. For example, in our pending Stryker Rejuvenate cases, we collect photos, doctor’s reports and other information that really is specific to that person. We feel very strongly that supplying individualized information about each client says a lot more than a set of medical records can offer. Regardless of the context, we recognize that each client’s circumstance is unique and deserves to be recognized.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you expand on the use of social media to grow your client base and professional network?
Jonathan: We really make an effort to foster the development of personal relationships with people we meet and interact with on social media. It’s easy to get focused on how many ‘followers’ you have or how many people have ‘likes’ on your page, but I find that these numbers are pretty worthless without genuine relationships behind them. I’d rather get to know one influential person over a long period of time than have 100 clicks on an article I wrote.
Particularly when building relationships with colleagues, these on-line relationships need to have many of the same components we have in our personalized relationships in the ‘real world’ where we engage and provide help to one another. I’ve been really fortunate to have developed relationships with some good people and excellent attorneys across the country whom I can call on for help with a case or just to bounce around ideas about litigation strategies. I also find that many of my colleagues I’ve met online tend to be very conscientious when it comes to their work as well, which is great when I need to refer a case to a particular jurisdiction.
In the cases of attracting clients through social media, you’ve got to understand that social media is a two-way street. No one wants to see someone just sharing a bunch of material about themselves or their work. Perspective clients, want to see someone who knows their stuff but is genuine with their interactions online. In this sense, I will regularly go out of my way to provide information to a potential client. If they ask me to help them with their case, that’s great— but even if they don’t, the interaction builds good will and may come back to help at some point down the road if other people see that you are a good guy and willing to help.
BusinessInterviews.com: Do you have a specific social media strategy or has it been something that has grown organically with the business?
Jonathan: I think have a social media strategy is headed for failure if you are looking to satisfy quotas and just do it because you heard it’s the thing to do. That being said, I think there’s some empirical evidence suggesting that sites rank better with some social love behind them.
The best thing that someone interested in establishing a social media presence is to get an account going and commit to using it for a specific period of time. See which platforms you prefer and where your colleagues and target audience is active. It’s important to remember that just like no one wants to be friend with someone who is always asking for favors and time, no one wants to engage with someone one a social media platform who is only focused on spreading their agenda and not anyone else’s.
There’s no doubt that establishing a social media presence takes a lot of time and work, but once you get some momentum going—it does become more natural and interactions feel less forced.
As for different social platforms, I think the biggest opportunity is with Google+. The platform is still in it’s early stages, but it is growing quickly and there are some rumblings that interactions on G+ have a positive impact on search results. If resources are limited, I don’t think you can go wrong spending time here over other platforms.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you elaborate on how using aggressive on-line marketing tactics and creating legal niche websites has ensured that you have a thriving business?
Jonathan: Consumers today have become incredibly sophisticated when it comes to educating themselves about their injuries and legal rights. For the most part, by the time they pick up the phone and contact an attorney, they’ve done a lot of homework and know what the issues in their case are and about your law practice.
When it comes to developing websites, we try really hard to anticipate the information that people want to know in their circumstance. Rather than try to sell a client with our law firm, we try to provide genuinely helpful material presented in a concise way. It’s not that we’re talking down to anyone, but a lot of these concepts are very complex and take a lot to fully appreciate. We want to viewed as an authority on the topic, regardless of the fact that we’re attorneys.
In the case of our Stryker Hip FAQ and Bed Sore FAQ websites, we came up with the frequently asked question format as a concise way to deliver real information that clients were seeking. In preparing these sites, we asked existing clients about information that they were interested in. We also conducted several focus groups to really appreciate the issues facing people in these demographics. We spent a lot of time getting to appreciate the issues that came up in these circumstances and quickly learned that it wasn’t always the legal information that we wanted to provide. In this respect, the focus groups were very telling and in some ways humbling—but incredibly useful!
By focusing on providing quality information as opposed to marketing fluff, I think we’ve earned the trust of consumers and perspective clients. Increasingly, search engines are rewarding sites that offer value and have genuine authority in their specific fields. In this sense, as search algorithms change, many of our sites not only hold their own, but continue to attract more visitors.
We are also, very mindful of the fact that we need to stay current in these areas in order to attract the type of visitors that we want. We spend a considerable amount of time making sure our information is current and accurate. If we lose the trust of our audience our practice will undoubtedly suffer. Changing our mindset from what we want to share with people vs. what people want to know if crucial for the success of any business.
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