A Really Great Annual Report

buchanan_ingersollIf you want to see a really great annual report from a professional firm, look no further than Buchanan Ingersoll's brand new Industry Focus Annual Report 2003. The print edition is magnificent, and you can also get it online at www.bipc.com/annual/index.cfm.

The typical firm brochure, which focuses internally on the firm going "blah blah blah" about it's practice groups. Instead the Buchanan Ingersoll annual report is entitled "Business Solutions From the Client's Perspective" and it is organized according to 15 industries their clients are in. Instead of pictures of gavels and courthouses, there are pictures of construction workers in hardhats and medical workers in file rooms.

Sure they mention their practices, but they do so by telling short success stories on an industry page: "Refinancing: Represented the owner of PPG Place, a significant office and retail project in downtown Pittsburgh, in a $175 million securitized refinancing involving both mortgage and mezzanine loan components." So the Financial Services section has stories about work they did in Financial Services.

The report is so well-executed, that there is more space devoted to pictures than to text -- the typical success story runs only five lines long. This makes it very readable.

The "Firm Highlights" page, which I suppose is mandatory, is tucked away at the end on page 15 and quotes the firm's plaudits in Corporate Board Member magazine, American Lawyer and The BTI Client Service Survey. Very impressive. Congratulations to Director Of Client Services Jeanne Hammerstrom and her talented crew of in-house marketers.


Legal Technology Consultant of the Year

The online TechnoLawyer community has voted me the Legal Technology Consultant of the Year. I'm thrilled, because I didn't even know I was in the running. Here's the abbreviated press release:


New York, New York -- May 17, 2004. Although it doesn't feature any fashion faux pas or a red carpet, the annual TechnoLawyer @ Awards is the closest the legal profession gets to an Oscar-like event. With 26 different @ Awards handed out, the 2004 TechnoLawyer @ Awards was the biggest yet in the seven year history of this popular event.

The TechnoLawyer @ Awards is produced and managed by TechnoLawyer, www.technolawyer.com, a network of email newsletters for those who manage law firms.

During the month of April, the 9,700+ members of TechnoLawyer voted for their favorite people, products, and services in 24 different categories. TechnoLawyer's staff chose the winners of the remaining two @ Awards.


A lifetime achievement award went to Larry Bodine, this one for Legal Technology Consultant of the Year. Larry is one of the leading business development experts in the legal profession, having helped countless firms with their marketing plans.

In addition to products and services, the TechnoLawyer @ Awards also recognizes the people who use and implement these products and services. Other winners included:

  • TechnoLawyer of the Year: Yvonne Renfrew of California, a lawyers who uses technology to practice law more efficiently.
  • Favorite Technolawyer Contributor: Mary Jo Webb of http://west.thomson.com
  • Syndicated Contributor of the Year: Arthur L. Smith of www.husch.com
  • Favorite Print Legal Technology Publication: Law Office Computing (for which I write the marketing column).
  • Favorite Legal Web site: LexisNexis at www.lexisnexis.com

    The rest of the winners were all companies, like time Matters as the Favorite Case/Practice Management Solution and WestCheck as Favorite Microsoft Word Add-On.

  • Quoted in U.S. News

    I got quoted in U.S. News! It's in the story The World According To Google by David Lagesse in the May 10 issue. Here's the key passage:

    Google has succeeded because it's quicker than riffling through Yellow Pages for a store's number, cheaper than an investigator for scoping a date, and closer than the library when crashing on a term paper. It even finds a sunny escape for a midwesterner tired of the cold. "I Googled 'home for rent' and 'January and February,' and up popped a description and photos of the place we're now staying," says Larry Bodine, a marketing consultant who temporarily fled his Illinois home for Tucson, Ariz. "I can't imagine living without Google."
    I mention this for two reasons:

  • I find that many reporters read and Google blogs. For marketing purposes, they are an excellent way to put news story ideas in front of the media.
  • I've been in Chicago since March, but I can't imaging living without being in Tucson during winter.
  • Getting Free Publicity

    I'm trying to get out more, and heard an excellent talk on "How to create a PR plan that results in Thousands of Dollars in Free Publicity." Joan Stewart of Saukville, WI, a/k/a "The Publicity Hound" spoke at the Chicago Association for Accounting Marketing meeting in Chicago.

    I was in the new business for 15 years but she offered several great tips I hadn't heard before:
    *Start at the bottom of the totem poll when contacting a publication - the beat reporter. Don't call the top editors, who are busy doing performance reviews, fighting with the ad director and negotiating with the union. Aim as low as possible. Find out in advance which reporter covers your beat (law, accounting or consulting).
    *Partners are reluctant to woo reporters. Here's a way to motivate them: every time a competing firm is mentioned in a news story, clip it out and start a file. After a while show the file to the partners, and point out that the competing firms have partners out schmoozing with the press.
    *If you are lucky enough to meet a reporter for lunch, pitch one good story idea, not 20. Start out by asking "how can I help you understand..." (a) our industry) (b) new legislation or (c) our lingo.
    *When taking a report our to lunch, don't jump to grab the check to pay it. Ask them first what their ethics policy is on payment of the check.
    *When you introduce your partner as an epxert resource, give them the partner's cell and home phone numbers. Deadlines occur at crazy hours, and he who gets called gets quoted.
    *Position your partners as an "expert." The media has a loose definition of who an expert is. It is basically a person who answers the phone.
    *Write letters to the editor that (a) comment on an article already published in the paper or (b) expresses a strong opinion on one side of a controversial issue. Editors are starving for letters to the editor and they love getting letters.
    *When you send out your newsletter or e-Newsletter, don't just send it to clients and prospects. Send a copy to the media too. If you're sending e-mail, get their permission first, you don't want to be considered a spammer.
    *When you get a reporter's voicemail, leave a message that says, "(a) I just read your story on "X" and (b) it gave me an idea for a new story (or a follow-up) story on "Y." Give me a call and I can tell you about it." Don't give away the story idea; make the reporter call back to get it.
    *Read the editor's column. It will discuss new columns, reporters, areas of coverage, features and columnists. These are all prospects for your story pitches.
    *Send news stories from other publications to reporters about a new trend. It will generate call-backs from reporters.

    Joan Stewart can be reached at 262.284.7451 and at www.PublicityHound.com on the web, and JStewart@PublicityHound.com via email.


    A dozen Habits of Successful Professionals

    How do you achieve excellence in your professional practice? We are creatures of habit, and thus our habits define who we are. "Good habits are hard to develop but easy to live with. Bad habits are easy to develop but hard to live with," said the highly-quotable Nido Qubein, who mesmerized the audience of the Institute of Management Consultants conference here in Nashville.

    Nido is a consultant who is in such demand that he works only on a five-year non-cancelable contract; 70% of his business for 2004 is guaranteed through 2009. He is also chairman of a bank, owner of Great Harvest Bread Company and has written 20 books. See www.nidoqubein.com. He listed 12 habits that will make you excellent as a professional, as well as bring you tons of business.

    1. Every single day, call or write four clients or prospects. That's 20 people a week, 1,000 people a year. "It doesn't matter what the reason is, just call to see how they're doing. I cannot tell you the power of this idea," he said. "Remember, if you are out of sight, you're out of mind."

    2. Keep your desk clean. Treat every day as the day before a vacation. "Don't delay until tomorrow what you can do today."

    3. Read one hour a day. "If you go to the bathroom five times a day, you've got time to read. If your constipated you can read a book every three months," he joked. Nido looks for things to read that inspire his heart. He saves the morning paper for the evening. "I can wash down pretty much anything with a good glass or Merlot."

    4. Ask yourself, "what did I do today to create new business?"

    5. Pay yourself first. He's done this every day since he was 23 and was working 17 hours a day. Today he's 55 and this simple habit has created a fund that allows him to invest in other businesses.

    6. Always work from the "is" and the "does" takes care of itself. What is your identity? How do you see yourself. Even when he was poor, he knew that poverty is a temporary status. "Wealth is a state of mind."

    7. Don't work "slowly but surely," work slowly and cumulatively. It's the little things we do that amount to something worthwhile and add up to great relationships with clients.

    8. Your success depends on the choices you make, not the circumstances you find yourself in. He joked that he had a friend who was married eight times, and thought he was perfect but the women he'd met were screwed up. Nido asked him, "did it ever occur to you that you've been making bad choices?" Nido said the greatest choice he's ever made was to become a transformational consultant, not a transactional consultant. The former not only solves the client's problem, but influences them in measurable and lasting ways. "It's the difference from having insight and having impact."

    9. Seek brand insistence, not mere brand preference. Simple preference is not enough. "Pepsi is branded in my mind, but I don't drink it," he said. All you need is a dozen clients who insist on using you. You want your clients to say, "I need you in my life." You can't be just nice to have around or someone who has some information clients need at the moment.

    10. Don't make the grave error of seeking fame and not fortune. If you want fame, you can buy it. "I'd rather have eight clients who insist on having me than 1,000 clients who have heard of me," he said.

    11. Every day when you go to sleep, ask yourself, "what did I learn today?" You should try to learn something new every single day. The more you know, the more you will be able to apply it to your practice.

    12. Build your reputation. "If someone were to ask your clients behind your back, what would they say about you? Would they say you're a good guy but when you're gone they'll hire someone else?" When we know what our clients think about us, we truly know something valuable.