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Winning The Game of Case Acquisition

Click to view the slides below. This program was presented February 7-9, 2016, by Adam Warren, CEO & President of The Sentinel Group at The National Trial Lawyers Summit in Miami, FL.

Introduction- The Playbook & Building a Winning Team!

There are a number of elements that have to be taken into consideration to properly develop and execute a winning marketing campaign strategy for case acquisition.  While it would be easy to detail dozens of assets that must come together in just the right way to achieve the goal of utilizing both online and offline marketing that is both cost effective and achieves great case quality, breaking these complex ideas into a simple process is a good first step to a successful marketing approach.

Winning the game of using marketing for case acquisition is in many ways similar to putting together a winning team on the football field, or in any sports endeavor.  It starts with an essential playbook, with that playbook focusing on four key areas:

  • Media
  • Intake
  • Marketing Team
  • Technology

Here are some details on each of these key elements:

Media - Having the right approach to media is critical to success of any campaign.  For television, knowing what networks, what day parts, and what rate to buy media can make or break a campaign.  Is a guaranteed cost per call approach to obtaining media time, also termed “performance” media a better way to go, or is a targeted cash approach?  How does radio compare to television, or does a digital approach make more sense?  Perhaps a blended strategy will help the law firm with a particular case type.  Understanding when, where, and how to apply the right kind of media to marketing case acquisition is fundamental to a successful campaign.

Intake - Arguably the single most important aspect to campaign success.  We’ve seen many law firms waste precious financial resources on building a campaign and acquiring media only to lose good cases to poor intake.  Having the right intake team who understands the details on the cases you’re working to achieve can literally make or break many campaigns.  Also important is to have an intake team large enough so ring times to answer and wait times to talk to a representative are mitigated, and also having a 24/7 intake is critical to making sure calls are answered regardless of the time of day the call is being placed.

Marketing Team - Make sure to spend the time to ask questions and do research to find the best marketing team you can.  A good marketing team will have decades of media experience behind them using marketing assets for case acquisition, and understand how to blend media in the right approach to maximize case acquisition and find the lowest cost per intake and lowest cost per case acquired numbers possible.

Technology - The foundation of all successful campaigns, our system is known as TrafTrack®.  It uses powerful technology and provides our clients equally powerful tools to track, analyze, and understand what’s happening in their campaign, all in real time.   Calls are recorded digitally in the system, and as a campaign grows and matures TrafTrack will continually update to optimize the campaign to improve on quality.


Every year, 30% of the US Population uses legal services, for a total of 103,480,348 new legal actions every year.  That according to the National Center for State Courts

In 2015, 144 legal entities competed in the legal services space on Television, spending approximately $116,306,860 through October of 2015 to acquire clients and cases.

First Down- Media

The focus among the major channels of media, more specifically Television, Radio, Print and Digital for case acquisition is often best utilized using the type of campaign known as Direct Reponse.  This media type differs from general advertising in that a specific response is sought from the consumer of the advertising.  That specific response can take the form of a telephone call, a web form fill, text, and many others.

Many attorney firms have successfully utilized performance media to help them lower their cost to media while achieving high case quality.  There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to both a cash buy strategy and performance strategy that relate to how quickly the creative can be integrated into media, the speed by which the campaign can be pulled down, fluctuation of campaign results, and ability to target specific networks and day parts.

Second Down- Intake

While we have discussed the critical importance of having the right media, one single advantage of our intake solution is the ability to defer setup cost and call center fees to the back end portion of the campaign. This has helped law firms successfully avoid both risk and up front costs to launching a case acquisition campaign.

Some of the key performance indicators for measuring intake performance are cost per packet from media, and conversion rate by campaign measuring the ratio of intake calls to fee retainer agreements, and fee retainer agreements sent for signature measuring returns.

Third Down- Marketing

 OpenJar Concepts® delivers performance driven and traditional cash buying advertising spanning the breadth of television, radio, print, web, mobile, and digital.

The Sentinel Group® is OpenJar Concepts Brand for Legal Marketing.

Other legal brands that OpenJar Concepts has created include:  Justice, Alert, Tort Lawsuit, and Relief Line.

Fourth Down- Technology

The key to the technology delivered by TrafTrack® centers on the system ability to maximize ROI for any campaign by optimizing call volume and quality. It provides a simple and clear interface, and provides real time reporting tools giving users a clear view on call activity, caller information, and campaign status.

Newer campaigns can be delivered giving our law firm clients an essential “buffer” of up to 30 seconds, allowing for payment only on calls that have been vetted out thus increasing overall campaign performance.

Several campaigns that are more “mature” can better utilize an Interactive Voice Response (aka IVR) system allowing the caller to press a digit in response verifying that they have been a victim of the case type being advertised.


Virtually any case type works well with this approach to marketing, and is by no means limited to Mass Tort.  Other campaign case types that have historically worked well are among, but not limited to:

  • Trucking Accidents
  • Personal Injury
  • Nursing Home Abuse
  • Sexual Harrasment
  • Discrimination
  • Wage and Hour Disputes

In conclusion, like any winning strategy putting the right playbook together with the key elements of the right media, the right intake, the right marketing team, and the right technology will stack the deck in the favor of the law firm seeking a marketing approach to case acquisition.

Adam Warren is CEO & President of OpenJar Concepts Inc.®/The Sentinel Group, 27710 Jefferson Ave., Suite 302, Temecula, CA 92590. He can be reached at (951) 296-9222 and online at

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