Archive for September, 2009

Legal blogging: all good topics gone?

September 28, 2009

Kevin O’Keefe has a good piece about the purpose of blogging for lawyers.  It’s not about making money on your legal blog or owning a particular practice niche.  It’s about starting and participating in a conversation with your peers, clients and prospects about a topic relevant to your practice.

I would add another benefit of blogging: it’s a way of expanding and deepening your own expertise by engaging in what is happening now in the field and engaging directly with others about these topics.

O’Keefe’s Post

Schools confront social networking challenges

September 27, 2009

Organizations all face tough issues with social networking, mostly involving inappropriate material becoming public but entities where authority is critical to the organizations mission; police, schools, government agencies and the like, are even more vulnerable to the viral danger of social networking.  Schools in particular face difficult issues both from the student end – their facility at social networking and the damage that it can do to peer relationships and from teachers whose authority can be undermined by the salacious photos, discussions of drug use of drunkenness if these things become common knowledge.

Here is an article that addresses some of the legal issues school district face in this regard.

Treat Facebook like a resume

September 26, 2009

Because chance are a prospective employer will look you up on it.  

According to a study published in 2009, Harris Interactive found that 45% of all employees use social networking to screen candidates.  That number jumps to 53% for professional services such as law firms.  The top three social networking sites for employer screening are Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace.  

Employers reported that 35% of the time they found content that discouraged them from hiring candidates with the top three red flags being inappropriate photos, evidence of drug use or excessive drinking and badmouthing a previous employer.  However, they also found content on those sites that made them more likely to hire someone, for instance a profile that documents the candidate’s relevant skills and talents or that the candidate’s personality seems like a good fit.

What lawyers should know before meeting a prospect

September 25, 2009

Alexis Martin Neeley provides a helpful post about preparing materials before meeting with a prospect.  She is definitely right about the importance of being prepared before the meeting.  However, I have heard people say that its better to prepare materials after the meeting because then you have a better idea of the client’s interests and concerns and because it provides a natural opportunity to follow-up with the prospect.

I think it depends on the prospect.  If they know nothing about your firm, an introductory brochure is useful as a takeaway.  

However, I would also suggest attorneys learn about the prospect.   Who do use for their outside legal work?  Do they spread the work around or do they only have a couple go-to firms?  What’s going on with the prospect’s business?  Do they post a mission statement on their website?  How much do they focus on diversity and charitable work?  Are they facing a huge lawsuit or are their rumblings that they might be facing litigation?

These questions will help attorneys to key into the mindset of the prospect to make them feel they are talking to people that “get” them.

Top law firm taglines

September 25, 2009

Steve Matthews of Stemlaw provides a list of top U.S., Canadian and U.K. law firm taglines.  Two firm might be a bit chagrined at the similarities in their taglines:

Leonard Street & Deinard: Uncommon Wisdom. Common Sense.

Quarles & Brady: Common Ground. Uncommon Vision.

NOT ROI in one page

September 24, 2009

I’m not here to pick fights with name brand legal marketing consultants.  HOWEVER, when Larry Bodine includes as a headline, “Proving Marketing ROI in One Page” and then offers up a “report” to senior management of marketing activities, I have to speak up.

ROI is Return on Investment (sorry to restate the obvious but it seems necessary in this instance.)  An inventory of marketing activities is only the “investment” portion of the equation.  The “return” is the part that interests senior management.   So listing the RFPs that the marketing department prepared and sent out the door is only the first part.  The “return” is which of those activities resulted in more business. 

And here is the kicker: marketing departments don’t generate new business for the law firm.  They assist the attorneys to generate new business and the key to a successful ROI strategy is building strong partnerships with the attorneys so that they are targeting the right opportunities, pitching the firm’s service in a compelling way, including the appropriate attorneys in their pitches and proposals.

Also, a report just of marketing activities provides a deceptive picture of ROI.  A pitch or a newsletter may take years to pay off.  That doesn’t mean those efforts are wasted but its important for management to understand that successful marketing takes time, resources and persistence.   I would include a section above the list of marketing efforts that describes the in-roads attorneys are making with potential prospects and clients.  That requires communication with the attorneys about marketing efforts and that is far more important than providing a list of marketing department activities to senior management.

Social networking and personal injury claims

September 24, 2009

Legal Technology has published an article, “Social Networks and Personal Injury” and it walks through some of the privacy issues involved for lawyers representing personal injury plaintiffs.

Hadn’t thought about this: the article claims that an adversary seeking to “friend” a plaintiff on Facebook is engaging in impermissable contact with the plaintiff.

Really?  The article ends claiming “Big Brother should not be watching us over the Internet.”  It not just Big Brother who is watching, its everyone, that is  the nature of social networking.   The question now is where will the line be drawn between the right to privacy and competing rights.

Social networking embedded in PBWorks

September 23, 2009

A tool that allows businesses and law firms to collaborate across  location now includes user profiles and Twitter-like microblogging tools.


Larry Bodine responds to Twitter dust-up

September 23, 2009

Mr. Bodine’s argument is that Twitter is declining in usage and that only 4% of in-counsel use it so don’t bother with Twitter for client development. 

First, he undercuts his own argument by admitting that his article was, “all over Twitter” which suggests that there is plenty of interest in Twitter by folks doing legal business development. 

Second, 4% of in-counsel isn’t such an awful number.  Say, there are ten thousand in-house lawyers (very low estimate) then 400 use Twitter.  Say, you manage to get 10% or forty of them to follow you.   That’s a bad thing?

Third, if Twitter is simply a component of your business development strategy, one that you don’t sink much time or money into, how can you lose by using it? 

Larry Bodine’s response

Why employers shouldn’t ban Facebook

September 22, 2009

Apparently, this is pretty popular among employers of whom an estimated 76% have banned employee use of social networking sites.  Here are a couple arguments against this approach.  One, giving breaks to employees to check their profile has been shown to reduce stress and increase productivity.  Second, the use of Facebook and other social networking tools teaches employees how to post content, upload files and communicate effectively in a web environment.