Image source: PhotoDune
Mace Yampolsky grew up on the wrong side of the tracks just north of Boston in Revere, Massachusetts. As a young child, Mace watched many of his neighbors run into trouble with the law. We've all made mistakes before: running a red light, failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, forgetting to pay parking tickets. Some of us have even had a couple of beers and foolishly driven home. Many of us are lucky enough to pay a fee or take a driver's education course and move on. But for Mace's neighbors, small mistakes led to even bigger legal problems.
"Many of the people I grew up with weren't able to help themselves," says Mace. "People accused of a crime often don't know what to do and say things that end up hurting themselves. I wanted to help."
Worse, Mace says he watched how insurance companies took advantage of people injured through no fault of their own. The insurance companies would push people to settle cases for far less than they were owed. Lacking legal guidance, people settled- even though they were still injured, in pain, and unable to live a full, active life. Mace decided to do something about it.
Mace's passion for helping others drove him to study law. Today, he's one of Las Vegas' top defense attorneys, and his firm Mace Yampolsky & Associates has successfully defended hundreds of clients. Over the years, Mace has earned a reputation as one of Las Vegas' most outspoken, memorable and effective criminal defense attorneys.
Recently, I sat down with Mace to learn more about his journey to becoming an attorney. As a digital marketer, naturally I had to ask a few questions about how digital marketing is transforming the legal profession, giving individuals in legal trouble immediate access to legal assistance. From his flamboyant personality to his passionate commitment to helping each and every client, Mace is nothing like what you'd expect from a defense attorney. Here are his fascinating insights:
What drives your passion for the legal profession?
I've represented lots of people for all kinds of legal issues. From my experience, I noticed that many individuals were being charged with DUI, these people are not "REAL" criminals. They are just people that for the most part made a mistake and had a couple of drinks. It seemed to me like many people would "just plead Guilty" to get it over with unfortunately they didn't realize that there were severe consequences that they just didn't consider: loss of license, an increase in insurance, adverse presumptions in custody cases and potential deportation. As I learned growing up, people accused of a crime often don't know what to do and end up hurting themselves and getting trapped in the system. I became a lawyer to help people navigate this system to a better life.
Between smartphones and Google, people have immediate access to legal knowledge. This is an entirely different structure than existed even a decade ago. How have you adapted to digital trends?
You're absolutely right; it's easy to Google your way to just about any legal answer these days! But like WebMD, there's often a lack of experience or necessary background knowledge to really make sense of online legal advice. That's one reason why our website started offering a 24/7 messaging service. We also have live operators that answer the phone 24/7. I am always available for emergencies. Sometimes when clients were about to be arrested, I've been able to convince the police to let me appear in court with the customer instead of arresting my client.
Once I was called right after a client suffered a severe accident. I was able to contact his family and make sure that he received proper treatment from the beginning, then met them all at the hospital. This reduced their stress level. I've often met clients at the hospital. This makes the customers less nervous and allows me to make sure they are treated properly in the ER. We live in a 24/7 world, and whether it's through my firm's website or phone, I believe in always being available to help.
You've received some fantastic online reviews on multiple platforms. How important are do you feel these online reviews are when people select a lawyer? How have these positive reviews impacted your business?
I think these reviews are incredibly important. What I say about myself is one thing. What others say is infinitely more important. If potential clients see that I've handled cases like theirs, it makes them feel more comfortable. When potential customers see the terrific online reviews, it significantly reduces their anxiety and stress level. It makes them more likely to hire us.
What's the biggest piece of advice you would give a new law firm that's building its first website?
There's an old joke that "half of my marketing is working, but I just don't know which half." In today's highly competitive marketplace, there's no room for guessing games.
Figure out exactly what kind of cases you want and what your ideal client looks like. Then write content for your website on a regular basis that attracts these ideal clients. Don't forget to promote your content! Getting your content seen by the right people is more than half the battle. Make sure you can track where your leads come from.
Looking back, what is the one thing you wish you had known before you got started with your practice?
I wish I knew I was going to have a thriving practice and do only the types of cases I like: DUI, criminal and personal injury. Lawyers that specialize can help clients more effectively. I handled divorce cases for about 15 years, and I hated them! Now, I'm much happier with my current focus.
You are well known for being such a "character" around Las Vegas; how has this positively impacted your business?
I have an ebullient and flamboyant personality. I'm not like every other lawyer. I make people laugh. I play the piano and harmonica. I've performed with many bands around town. The same qualities that make me entertaining also make me a great trial lawyer. My juries never fall asleep, and they never forget me!
From our interview, it was clear that Mace Yampolsky is a different kind of lawyer. He's genuinely passionate about helping people navigate the legal system and protecting their rights. He's also digitally savvy: he understands that digital marketing success is predicated on more than just a website that ranks in Google search results. From online reviews to 24/7 access, Mace is redefining what it means to be a modern criminal defense attorney. And it doesn't hurt that he's an excellent piano and harmonica player, either!