Archive for July, 2010

Friday Freebies – on Saturday!

July 31, 2010

“BookRoom is a realistic, beautiful, downloadable desktop environment that allows you to read eBooks on Windows system. Take advantage of a growing number of e-Books while enjoying the convenience and features of BookRoom.”

Link

The 15 Minute Blog Post

July 29, 2010

Social Media Examiner does it again with a great post about how to create short and powerful blog posts.

The best tip is how to break down a topic into its component parts and create individual blog posts on each of these aspects.  For example, if you are going to write about the five steps to getting your business on Twitter, they show you how to stretch those steps over the course of five posts.

Another great tip is creating a bank of eye catching headlines so that you can focus on the writing and focus your writing on the kind of thing blogs do best.  I have heard attorneys say that no one will read my blog.  And that is probably true if you have a four line headline followed by two thousands words arranged into three paragraph.  This might be great content to re-purpose for an article but as a blog post, it won’t get read.

Having your cake and eat too

One approach is to write the catchy headline and a couple lines of teaser text and have a “click more” link.  That way people have a chance to engage with your blog and can engage further on topics that matter to them.  But make sure your headline and initial text is attention grabbing or just post the entire article because you will create more work for the user who just wants your meaty content.

Deleted your cookies? think again…

July 28, 2010

Recently filed lawsuit against Quantcast, MySpace, ABC and many more asserts that these companies have violated eavesdropping and hacking laws because embedded into users’ Flash programs are hidden cookies that tracks information back to these websites and more.

Erasing cookie off browser not enough

It appears that Flash stores cookies for these media properties websites where users can’t readily erase them allowing these companies to continue to access updated demographic information without the users know about it.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

Monitoring neglected contacts thru technology

July 26, 2010

There is “CRM” (Contact Relationship Management) and “ERM”  (Enterprise Relationship Management) and now there is “NMM” (Nanny Monitoring Management).  I made up the last one but I’m downloading a new plug-in that reviews my gmail account to surface people I haven’t been in touch with lately and lets me know I might want to reach out to them.

The program is call Etacts and its too soon to render a verdict.

It isn’t law firm marketing vs. social media

July 25, 2010

Kevin O’Keefe is a great blogging and business development resource for the legal community.  However, I disagree with this statement:

“Law firm marketing departments seeking to protect their lawyers’ time by keeping them from learning what it means to blog and use social media are doing their lawyers and firms a disservice. They’re also costing their law firm a lot of business.”

This is an example of the classic “strawman” argument where you pose a position that is extreme and unrepresentative.

Law firm marketing departments are in the business of protecting their lawyer’s time but I doubt very many marketing departments are, “keeping them from learning” about blogs and LinkedIn etc.  What they are doing to protecting their firms’ larger interest in making sure that  how individual attorneys and practice groups are marketing themselves is coordinated with the firm’s as a whole

Example:

Say a law firm partner goes out and creates a blog on generic drugs when most of the firm’s pharmaceutical clients are branded pharmaceutical companies.  Maybe its a new partner in a small office and hasn’t had a chance to be educated on all that the firm does.  Its often the firm marketing department that is on the front lines in such cases and is in a position to educate the partner about best practices in reaching out to clients.  It’s too easy for a partner who knows how to blog or tweet to disregard “marketing” and step into a hornet’s nest.

Law firm marketing provides social media guidance

Allowing law firm attorneys to run amok on social networking and engage in rogue business development without proper guidance from marketing can also cost the law firm lots of money.  Signing up clients adverse to existing client can results in disgruntled and perhaps even litigious clients.

Should a blog disclaim against legal advice?

July 24, 2010

A question I often get from attorneys interested in blogging or interested in publishing articles on the Internet is whether they should include a disclaimer that the information provided doesn’t constitute legal advice.

What if the blog reader is an existing client?

If a client reads a blog post that seems relevant to their case or to an unrelated matter can this client claim that they relied on the attorney legal advise to their detriment?  This is a stretch.  A blog is publicly accessible and clearly meant for a readership wider than clients or prospective clients.  “Advise” should be clearly related to a client’s specific legal situation and its not reasonable for a client to think that a blog post was information the attorney was provided specifically about their case

Is a blog reader a prospective client?

Clearly ABA Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 is not applicable as there is no way that a blog reader could be considered a client.  No relationship has been established but are they prospective clients?  ABA Rule of Professional Conduct 1.18 clearly states that a prospective client is one where a person “discusses” with a lawyer the possibility of forming a client-lawyer relationship.  Someone reading legal information on a blog hasn’t discussed representation with an attorney so there is no way that a reader could be viewed as a “prospective” client.

What if you give a blog post to a prospective client?

If an attorney sends a blog post to a prospective client where there was been a discussion about possible representation and the client acts upon this information to his or her detriment, then this prospective client may have a claim.

Disclaimer no magic bullet

In the scenario where an attorney allegedly sends a client a blog post and even if it contains a disclaimer that the post should be used as legal advice, I don’t see how that disclaimer helps if the client says that the attorney told him or her that he could rely on this information.  My point here is that lawyers look to disclaimers as insurance policies and I think that is a mistake.  If an attorney mis-uses their blog, no disclaimer will help and if an attorney uses his blog correctly, then a disclaimer isn’t necessary.

Lawyers – on the hook for identity theft rules?

July 23, 2010

The FTC is arguing that attorneys should not be exempted as “creditors” under the identity theft act known as “FACTA.”  The American Bar Association is arguing that attorneys shouldn’t be lumped into the category of  “creditors” because that’s too broadly defined and lawyers are generally exempted from federal regulatory agencies without explicit authority.

Not so says the FTC

The agency argues that attorneys who don’t require immediate payment for their services, are creditors under FACTA and will be required to adhere to “red flag” rules when it comes to identity theft.

FTC’s brief is here

Friday Freebies – DVD burning software!

July 23, 2010

“BurnPro is a burning application tool to simplify your burning needs. From now on, it’s really easy to burn Audio CD, Data CD/DVD’s, create Video DVD’s (S)Video CD’s, create and burn disc images, and more! It gives easy access to all functionality with a simple menu system, so you don’t get lost. Just click, add files and burn!”

Link:

Social networking – strategy, strategy, strategy

July 22, 2010

Here is the rationale from “Legal Expert Connections” about why they are making their social media consulting services available to law firms.

“Social networking is now an essential element in any law firm Internet marketing campaign.”

I don’t question the truth of this statement but I doubt that many attorneys make that assumption and I believe it contributes to the concept of marketing by hype. If you say something is true enough, it becomes so even when no one has looked at the supporting evidence. I believe you have to start the conversation at a different point.

Hit attorneys where they live

“Do you write articles for law journals? Does it take months before your article is published? Do you have to pay for the reprint rights so that you can send it around to clients via email? Consider writing a blog where your insights are immediately published to the Internet and allow you to reach out to prospective clients in a timely manner with no editorial board to please or pay!”

Use case approach

Focus on what attorneys do now for marketing and business development and show them how social networking can save them time and money in reaching out to potential clients.

Makes sure social networking initiatives aren’t based on hype

If attorneys start with transforming their current marketing into social networking marketing, that can do a couple things: help the attorney see whether their current marketing efforts make sense and two – allows social networking directly address a marketing need they recognize.

Otherwise – hype city

Helping attorneys setup Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, creating pretty logos for blog sites might make them feel like they are doing something in the short run but it won’t help them understand how marketing works and how they can make their marketing work with social networking in the long run.

Why we build lawyer sites on WordPress

July 21, 2010

One word: plug-ins

Actually there are many good reasons to use WordPress as the platform for building websites: WordPress makes it easy for users to update their own sites, its an open source platform that is constantly being updated and refreshed, provide great flexibility in design and solid information architecture.

Plug-ins

But to me the greatest value in launching a website in WordPress is being able to quickly take advantages of Internet developments to update your website instantaneously.  There is no reason to let your website grow stale and tired because by staying abreast of new plug-ins, you can make sure your site looks current and compelling.

Two examples

1.  Say you have a bunch of social networking links on your homepage.  You set them up a couple years ago and already they look dated. The plug-in “Sexy bookmarks” (name can be changed for family friendly websites) allows you to instantaneously spruce up the look and feel of your social networking links in about five minutes.  No need to hire a programmer, designer and project manager.

2.  You have to blog but you are afraid that during trial, your posts will dry up because you will totally absorbed in the case.  The “editorial calendar” plug-in allows you to set up an editorial calendar within WordPress to manage upcoming posts that you’ve written but want to stagger releasing.  Now you can schedule blog posts over a period of months if you have a backlog and they will publish to your blog automatically.

This way you can have your trial and your current blog too.


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