Something for nothing usually means something of little to no value. However, when it comes to marketing and advertising there are some resources that cost only time, so they are not quite "free". Craiglists offers free classified advertising for the vast majority of the posts the public is able place on the site; and, some attorneys have utilized this. But, to what result?
Now, like the rest of those who love a 'freebie' for something desired I have to admit that Craigslist has become a useful tool for my practice. However, posting my office's services has not worked very well for me over time in terms of ROI (return on investment). By ROI, I mean time-in versus dollars-out. Typically, and not to disparage anyone, those looking under legal services on Craigslist are those likewise seeking a 'freebie'. As I have asserted before, anything handed out for "free" has a tendency to diminish the value of the service, unless perhaps if done as a gratuity of some sort, or may give off the impression of desperation; although large firms or companies have at times been successful using 'teaser-type' offers. Yet, even 'teasers' can have a bait-and-switch appearance that may mean losing "the sophisticated consumer".
Where I am finding some success with Craigslist is in searching under the employment links for contract work or outsourced legal work. One caveat is: attorney beware. I preface responding to any advertisement on Craigslist as there are definite pitfalls and traps. One such pitfall or trap is a legal service provider who is fraught to find an attorney to do "unpopular" or borderline unethical legal work. While maybe lucrative business, e.g. doing residential foreclosures, the repercussion could mean becoming infamous for a particular line of work such as with said example. Admittedly, creditors may really appreciate or seek out your work. Then again, being seen as the legal version of the Sheriff of Nottingham or Prince John (keeping the Disney depictions in mind) carries with it infamy many attorneys do not want to have.
The upshot of a handful of some of the Craigslist postings under legal jobs is that there are good firms seeking to outsource good work, but they are likely seeking to save on costs through using such a practice. I must also mention that Ethics rulings and opinions of various state bars have restrictions and regulations on outsourcing of any kind. I would advise contacting your local attorney regulation office and/or ethics committee/board to find out more if taking in or outsourcing out any legal service. Otherwise, if found to be legitimate there may be at least some supplemental legal work for your solo practice - I would not rely too much on depending on outsourcing, however, as it may be only temporary or use up a lot of time for less compensation than billing out hours for 'paying clients'.
If contacted by an advertiser, doing your due diligence is essential as with any thing else that is an investment of your time. What is more, it may not hurt to interview the firm instead of them interviewing you; this could bring some credibility to you in the process. Make your time valuable! Finally, I would truly appreciate any submissions for ' craigslist.com success stories' to share with other attorneys.