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Rafi Arbel is the Founder and President of Market JD, a firm that specializes in online marketing for law firms. Since 2000, Rafi has leveraged his background as a former litigator who ran his own practice to help lawyers grow their client base. His expertise was honed at a leading provider of online marketing and legal research, where he developed a deep understanding of law firm marketing and operations. Rafi founded Market JD to offer personalized online marketing solutions to smaller law firms. He is also a respected speaker at various bar associations and legal conferences, sharing his knowledge on internet marketing. 


tune in

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [03:38] Rafi Arbel talks about Market JD and how he came up with the name
  • [05:27] Why Rafi transitioned from a practicing lawyer to a business owner
  • [13:46] Setting realistic expectations for search engine optimization and pay-per-click clients
  • [16:40] Common mistakes people make with web design
  • [21:26] How can law firms make their phone intake more effective?
  • [26:24] Why Rafi encourages clients to implement a live chat feature on their websites
  • [28:12] SEO strategies for law firms
  • [31:09] The importance of experimentation in SEO and PPC
  • [34:12] Systems and tech stacks used by Market JD
  • [38:02] Retention strategies in a remote work environment
  • [43:40] The biggest lessons Rafi learned during his years as a vendor at Wrigley Field

In this episode…

How can law firms effectively harness the power of digital marketing to enhance their growth and visibility? What does it take to create a successful online strategy tailored to the unique needs of legal professionals?

According to Rafi Arbel, a former litigator turned digital marketing expert, the key lies in creating bespoke marketing strategies that cater to the nuanced demands of law firms. He highlights how tailored search engine optimization and pay-per-click campaigns, when done right, can significantly elevate a law firm’s online presence and client acquisition rate. Rafi also stresses the necessity of setting realistic expectations and continuously experimenting with new tactics to stay competitive, highlighting the importance of blending both legal and marketing expertise.

In this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz is joined by Rafi Arbel, Founder and President of Market JD, to delve into the fusion of law and digital marketing. They explore Rafi’s journey from practicing law to becoming an innovative marketer, the development of specialized marketing approaches for law firms, and the critical role of adapting and experimenting in the dynamic world of online marketing.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mention(s):

Related episode(s):

Quotable Moments: 

  • “The grass always looks greener on the other side.”
  • “Focus on what you have accomplished, not what is left to accomplish, or what other people have accomplished.” 
  • “If you don’t think about quitting once a day, you’re not a founder.”
  • “No one rises to the level of their goals, they fall to the level of their systems.”

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:15 

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host Dr. Jeremy Weisz.

Jeremy Weisz  0:22 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is definitely no different I’ve Rafi Arbel of Market JD. Rafi before I formally introduce you, I always like to point out other episodes, people should check out other podcasts since we’re both in Entrepreneurs’ Organization together. I have to give a shout out to the interview with Zach Wilcox of Fide Freight, just an amazing entrepreneur. Just from a young age, this is pretty remarkable. So check that interview out. I did one with Robert Hartline who’s in actually EO Nashville of Call Proof. He built up a chain of cell phone stores and sold it pretty remarkable entrepreneur. Will Scott of Culture Fix also in EO he was in EO Chicago? I think he was EO Scottson. How do you fix your culture? I actually want to talk about culture today. And he’s got a great book. So check out the one we will Scott and Don Williams, Don Williams EO Dallas that one was interesting. Rafi because he wrote a book about gratitude, and stories from our hearts. And that was — he told some stories. And it was really emotional when he talked about them. And so that was good, too. So I just want to encourage anyone to check out more episodes on And this episode is brought to you by Rise25. At Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships. Rafi, how do we do that we actually help you run your podcast. So we’re an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast we do the strategy, the accountability and the full execution. Rafi, you know this, we call ourselves the magic elves that work in the background and make it look easy for the hosts in the company. So they can develop amazing relationships and create great content. For me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. And I found no better way over the past decade to profile the people in companies I most admire, which definitely includes Rafi and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should if you have questions, go to And I’m excited to introduce Rafi since 2000. I don’t want to date you here but Rafi Arbel has been helping attorneys build their practice. Okay. In the past, he’s worked for the largest provider of online marketing and legal research. He built a reputation as a leader at that time in law firm marketing strategy and operations. He actually is a former litigator who ran his own practice so he uses his firsthand knowledge of the legal industry to help lawyers grow their client base. And he started Market JD I love that name, by the way, to offer firms online marketing solutions to get more clients and he speaks across the country to lawyers from Chicago, Milwaukee, and many more Bar Association’s he actually I don’t know why he’s as a glutton for punishment. So he went on to earn his MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Rafi. Thanks for joining me.

Rafi Arbel  3:26 

Thank you for having me, Jeremy. It’s a pleasure to be on.

Jeremy Weisz  3:28 

So start off just tell people about Market JD. And what you do, and how did you come up with the name at the time.

Rafi Arbel  3:38 

So Market JD does internet marketing for lawyers, which is websites SEO and pay-per-click. But I like to think that we’re more than just what we do. It’s how we do it and who we are as a company that really differentiates us and makes us a different experience than just your standard digital marketing agency. So we had to come up with a name and at the time I was working with Aviva Cuyler from what was the name for a company I can’t even remember the name of it, but it had a JD at the end of it as well. And before I started Market JD, I was actually thinking of working with her. We had a really good relationship. And then I started Market JD and I couldn’t think of a name and I just tried to say to myself, what do we really do and who do we really serve? And we serve lawyers, and we do their marketing. So I thought lawyers understand what JD means even if the rest of the public doesn’t. And lawyers will also understand that we’re doing their marketing, and it was a domain name that was available. No small consideration when you’re starting a startup. So that was the genesis of Market JD. Supra, that’s the name of the company. Sorry about that. That’s the view of this company. A lot of people have heard of JD Supra. Go ahead.

Jeremy Weisz  5:07 

No, talk about deciding to go out and start this company, right? Because as I said, you were a lawyer, right. And you spent a lot of time, energy and money doing that. So talk about the decision to start an agency.

Rafi Arbel  5:27 

So I have the legal experience. I was a practicing lawyer. And then I worked for Thomson Reuters, the largest provider to law firms. And I learned a lot from them. And I really, am thankful for my time and experience there, I learned a lot about operations, sales. And really all parts of a law firm, they exposed me to so many different law firms, and showed me the sorts of problems and solutions that were out there. And so I really became a consultant of sorts, simply by having gone through that experience. It taught me more so than the practice of law, because I got to see the problems of so many other firms. So when I finished my MBA, I was really at a crossroads. And I had to decide what I wanted to do with my future. And I thought that I was too entrepreneurial, and I had my own ideas and my own vision on how I can help lawyers better market themselves. I think Thomson Reuters is a great place or was a great place anyway, when I was there. But it didn’t quite satisfy my urge to sort of chart my own path. And every large corporation has its limitations and restrictions. And I was very much sort of pigeonholed there into the role I was playing. I thought at Market JD, I could create a company that was much more responsive to the needs of our clients. And I wouldn’t have to satisfy 10,000 clients, I could satisfy 100 clients. And that’s a lot easier to do at a small number. Because this isn’t a business that’s easily scaled. That’s one of its limitations. But one of its beauties were like custom home builders, it’s really hard to scale a custom home builder, being a custom home builder, you’re really working on a handful of clients at a time. And you’re really trying to deliver the best possible product and make that client the happiest they can be.

Jeremy Weisz  7:27 

Starting a business is not easy. Do you remember the first milestone as far as a client goes?

Rafi Arbel  7:39 

Probably the first milestone was, I know my first year, I think I made $30,000. And my second year wasn’t so much more, maybe $50,000 or $60,000. But I think by the time I got to my third year, and I finally made six figures, I felt like I had finally figured out what it took to succeed in this business, and what I needed to deliver to make the clients happy.

Jeremy Weisz  8:06 

Talk about that, because you could have been like, wow, I was making good money at Thomson Reuters. Right? I could just go back. What was I thinking? How did you talk? What did you do with the self-talk? In those first few years.

Rafi Arbel  8:22 

That was hard, because the grass always looks greener on the other side. And the longer you’re not making as much money as you were making, the greener the grass looks. But what I focused on wasn’t the gap. But the gain, I focused on what I had accomplished, not what I was left to accomplish, or what other people were accomplishing. And I was very proud of myself, that I was able to learn and master some of the fundamentals of running a small business. Most small businesses don’t survive five years, we’re going on 14. So it was important to also focus on the success of our clients. It wasn’t about me, it was about watching our clients grow. And that’s something that you don’t get necessarily working for a corporation where they forced you to go from client to client, and there’s a lot of turnover in terms of who you’re supposed to serve. But with market JD, I could have 510 or, in my case, 14-year relationships. And what I found is that the people that stick around the longest, oftentimes get the greatest benefits. Because of our long-standing relationship. I learned certain things about the firm that I don’t need to ask about. We’re not starting from scratch in year one. We’re building on a solid foundation that we created together based on the vision of our clients. I love that. So when you ask how we got through those initial years. It was really with the help of our clients.

Jeremy Weisz  9:57 

Yeah, I love that focusing on the success of clients, I was in a conversation with a couple other founders several weeks ago, one of them really, I mean, both of them are really successful. One of them, I think, took two companies public. And they were talking about one of them, like, just frustrated that day. And the other guy goes, listen, if you don’t think about quitting once a day, you’re not a founder. And I was like, once a day, well, once an hour, like, what do you mean? So I get it. What was your life like, at the time? Were you married when you decided to venture out and do your own thing? What was your personal life like?

Rafi Arbel  10:38 

Yeah, no one could understand it. It was 2008-2009 at the height of the recession, probably the worst possible time to start a business. I have a wife. And at the time, I had three young boys, all in private day school. That’s no joke right there. No, that’s our joke. It was far more than each one of those was the cost of a mortgage. And I had some money saved. But it wasn’t easy. And there were a lot of doubters out there. And I’d never created a website before. And I’d never run an SEO campaign before. So there were a lot of variables out there, and there was a lot going against me, I’m still not sure why I thought I can do that. I’m sorry about the lights, let me get those lights turned back on, there we go. So there was a lot going, there was a lot against me, stacked against me. But I did it anyway, I don’t know why I just was driven, as driven to do this. And I knew if I persisted, I didn’t know if I was gonna get rich, but I knew I’d be able to earn a living. And more importantly, I’d be able to do what I want with the people who I want to do it with and help real people and form long relationships. And that’s been the most satisfying part, are the people that I’m working with? Some of those people are former clients from Thomson, I still have clients that came with me from Thomson 14 years later, still with me.

Jeremy Weisz  12:02 

Amazing. Yeah, let’s talk about a few examples. You had a criminal lawyer that you work with, talk about what you do with them.

Rafi Arbel  12:13 

Yes. So for example, Max Keller, he’s in Minnesota, Minneapolis. And Max is a criminal lawyer who was a solo practitioner. But over time he hired associates. And we started probably about a decade ago. And we helped him build his practice. And over the years, as he increased his marketing, the size of his practice grew. And now he’s at the point like some of my other clients, where he has more business than he can handle. So the constraint is no longer the marketing, it’s the employees, he needs to find more employees to take on the work. And so, I really consider myself part of his firm, we talk regularly, and he relies on us. And it’s just one of those relationships that make coming to work every day so satisfying.

Jeremy Weisz  13:14 

It’s got to be really cool, from a business owner perspective, to have control of your destiny, right to really be able to because it’s hard enough, in itself to just run a business and have all the moving pieces, but to control your destiny to turn things on when you want to turn things on. So talk about some of the things that you do with him or any of the clients as far as, like you said, he didn’t have to worry about the clients necessarily anymore. What are some of the things that you do?

Rafi Arbel  13:46 

What are some of the things we do to generate clients? Oh, so like, what are the campaigns that we run for them? Right, so we largely do search engine optimization, and pay-per-click, and both of them help our clients show up on the search results page when somebody runs a search. And I think it’s really important in running these campaigns to set the clients expectations properly. No one’s going to spend $3,000 a month on a personal injury campaign and get 10 PI cases. They’re not going to get 25 times their return. And that’s important to be honest with the client. Because it’s so easy to promise the clients something or the prospect to get the business and then not deliver. So I don’t want that because that doesn’t foster long-term relationships. If they’re not happy with the kind of return that they can expect from online advertising, I’d rather have them not be a customer and use their money somehow else. But for the people that understand the realities of the marketplace, and who are realistic in their expectations and have other sources of business, then we’re probably the right fit. So for search engine optimization, that’s the longer bet, you’re investing in the content on your website. And the reason you’re investing in the content on your website is to be a service to your prospective clients, because they’re on the web because they’ve got questions. And they are looking for the best answers, and so as Google, so when we create websites, and when we run a search engine optimization campaign, we’re spending a tremendous amount of time trying to figure out what questions people are answering and generating answers that are substantive, that read well, and that best satisfy our clients questions. And when we do that, Google acknowledges that and that’s when they begin to rank very strongly in Google.

Jeremy Weisz  15:53 

I want to talk about websites for a second, and some of the mistakes you see people making with websites, because you could do your job amazing, drive tons of traffic, have great SEO, and then they hit someone’s website. All could fall apart at that moment, possibly, or not. So what are some of them is and oftentimes, you probably go into these law firm sites, and you have your years of expertise, what works, what doesn’t work. So what are some of those things that you find, by the way, I asked it, because it applies probably to all of us, including myself. So I’m sure there’s stuff that I need to be doing on my site. But what are some mistakes people make with their website.

Rafi Arbel  16:40 

So a firm in Indiana, a personal injury firm in Indiana called us and they asked us to audit their website. And we did, it was made by one of the major providers out of Florida. And it was a very expensive site. And we came back to them. And we said, take a look at your homepage. And on the homepage, at the top was a large red button. And it said contact us. And it was the major focus of the Hearos section, the top section of the website, they said click on the button, they clicked on the button, and it led them to a 404 page. It’s like the whole point of the website is to get them to click on it. If that button is not working, all of your marketing is failing, you’re not going to get a second bite at that apple. So it’s just having a Q&A process where somebody doesn’t even have to be a highly paid employee goes through and make sure all the basic functions are working at a minimum is probably step one. And you would be surprised at how often they’re not because it requires an investment. So when people say, oh, why do you charge what you charge for your website, I say because you’re getting a lot of labor, we’re making sure things like your Contact Us button are working. But it goes much deeper than that. But that really illustrates the point is somebody has to care about your site, somebody has to look at it. And probably from a Market JD perspective, the thing that we focus on is the people that create the site or not the people that do the Q&A. And so we always have a second at least at least one other usually two or three other people reviewing different parts of this site. And that ensures quality and consistency.

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