Law Technology News Awards spotlight Tech-Savvy Firms

The second annual Law Technology News Awards, presented at a filet mignon and salmon dinner event tonight, recognized the technological savvy of Foley & Lardner, Jenner & Block, Hogan & Hartson and Latham & Watkins -- and the innovative people who put technology to good use for their firms and clients.

Rod Oshins, a Yankee fan decked out in a tuxedo, was the master of ceremonies, who captured the attention of the 200 attendees with his clarion voice.  AmLaw Group Publisher Kevin Vermeulen presented awards to numerous vendors who won plaudits in 13 categories from the magazine's readers, who voted in an online poll.  LTN Editor Monica Bay presented the law firm awards at Legaltech 2005 at the New York Hilton to:

  • Douglas D. Caddell, CIO for Foley & Lardner won the IT Director of the year award.  He had taken 18 offices that were independent tech fiefdoms and created a single, central world-class technology organization.  He provided the vision and motivation for the firm to create value-added services that have attracted clients and won praise from corporate executives.
  • Brent Kidwell, a partner at Jenner & Block, was named "Champion of Technology."  He melded the firm's law practices to create a "Client Driven Applied Technology."  Among his achievements in only 18 months on the job was JennerNet, which collects information from the firm's accounting, email, conflicts, records, human resources, document management, CRM and other internal databases.  He made them all searchable by created a powerful KM Search engine.  For an article about his work, see "Web-Enabled Law Firms Capture New Business" online at
  • William Gregory, CIO of Hogan & Hartson, won the "Most Innovative Use of Technology" category.  The IT department has distributed 900 Blackberrys to attorneys, so they can stay in touch with their colleagues and clients; created a work-flow system using Metastorm's eWord product to integrate the firm's new business intake system with the Blackberrys; and made it possible for lawyers to work remotely, wirelessly and as close to an "in office" mode as possible.
  • Partners John P. Lynch and Mark D. Beckett of Latham & Watkins won the "Most Innovative use of Technology at Trial" award.  They used animation, music and photos to win a breach-of-contract case.  The multi-media presentations provided lost profits and market share in an international arbitration.

In a moving coda to the evening, a dozen yellow roses were presented to Monica Bay, who celebrates her 20th year at AmLaw on February 1.  She started out as a cub reporter for the San Francisco Daily Recorder, and today is Editor-in-Chief of Law Technology News; Editorial Director of Law Firm, Inc. and Small Firm Business, and the voice behind the blog The Common Scold,


10,000 Jam LegalTech NY

I'm at LegalTech New York, along with 10,000 of other technophiles, for one of the biggest tech conferences in years.  It's a sign of the improving economy, and the fact that law firms are opening up their wallets to spend money on technology again.  The show runs from Jan. 31 to February 2.

According to American Lawyer Group Publisher Kevin J. Vermeulen, there are 370+ exhibitors covering three or more floors in the New York Hilton Hotel on Sixth Avenue in New York. I explored the exhibits and it was shoulder-to-shoulder walking.  There is software to manage every imaginable aspect of a law firm.  If you're still doing anything offline or on paper, you need to see this exhibit hall.  Everyone who is anyone in legal tech is here.

The program guide alone is an 88-page magazine.  There are educational programs galore, filling out 16 tracks that change from day-to-day.

  1. Law department
  2. E-discovery
  3. Practice and case management
  4. Knowledge management
  5. Managing technology
  6. Super Session
  7. Emerging Technologies
  8. Advanced CIO
  9. Marketing with Technology
  10. Collaboration Technologies
  11. Legal Tech University
  12. In-House Counsel
  13. Document Management
  14. Business Continuity & Data Backup
  15. Security
  16. Malpractice & Ethics

If you want to catch my talks, I'm on three programs:

  • "Everyone's a Rainmaker: Using What you have to better serve currant clients and attract new ones" at 10:30 am to Noon on Tuesday, Program MwT1.
  • "Client Collaboration" at 1:30 to 3 pm on Tuesday, Program CT1.
  • "The 64,000,000 pound Marketing Gorilla: the Latest Web Technologies" from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m on Tuesday, program MwT3.

Winners Announced for the 2005 Thomson Elite Excellence in Legal Marketing Awards

Tara_weintritt135_1 Thompson Coburn LLP; Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.; and Miles & Stockbridge Take Away Honors for Marketing Savvy and Creativity

Thomson Elite announced the winners of the 2005 Thomson Elite Excellence in Legal Marketing Awards, presented during the recent Glasser LegalWorks 2005 Marketing Partner Forum on Jan. 21, 2005 at the Four Seasons Resort Aviara in North San Diego, Calif.

The Awards bestowed by Thomson Elite, part of The Thomson Corporation and a worldwide provider of business software to professional services firms, recognize excellence and innovation in law firm marketing. Each year, marketing leaders are honored in three categories: Marketing Partner, Marketing Director and Marketing Initiative. Award winners are chosen by a panel of independent judges comprised of creative thinkers on law firm marketing. 

William_bay_1 This year's awards winners are:

  • Marketing Director of the Year: Tara Magee Weintritt, Miles & Stockbridge, Baltimore, Md.
  • Marketing Partner of the Year: William R. Bay, Thompson Coburn LLP, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Marketing Initiative of the Year: Alan S. Becker, Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

William R. Bay, Marketing Partner of the Year, is a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP in the business litigation practice. He has expertise in a wide variety of insurance-related lawsuits and client crises management and has chaired the firm's Client Relations Committee since 2002.

Alan_becker135Alan S. Becker, winner of Marketing Initiative of the Year, is a founding shareholder of the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., where he oversees the firm's litigation, government relations and international practices. In response to the four devastating hurricanes that hit Florida during a six-week period in 2004, Mr. Becker implemented a marketing campaign that resulted in countless new engagements and new brand positioning as the "go-to" Florida law firm when disaster strikes.

Tara Magee Weintritt, Marketing Director of the Year, is director of Client Services with Miles & Stockbridge, where she executed a comprehensive and successful client-focused marketing program that included client interviews and partner training. Ms. Weintritt manages a five-person marketing department and spearheads branding and identity programs; public relations, client satisfaction and quality initiatives; and other programs.

"For the third year in a row, we are proud to sponsor the Excellence in Legal Marketing Awards at the Marketing Partner Forum," said Chris Poole, president and CEO of Thomson Elite. "We recognize the importance of creative client acquisition initiatives and successful customer relationship management to maintain and increase revenues and client satisfaction."

An independent panel of judges reviewed all nominations. Committee members included Mark Beese, director of Marketing, Holland & Hart LLP, Denver; Silvia L. Coulter, former chief marketing officer, Dorsey & Whitney, Minneapolis; Nathalie M. Daum, 2004 president, Legal Marketing Association; Theresa Jaffe, chief marketing officer, Jenner & Block LLP, Chicago; Browning Marean III, partner, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, San Diego; Laura Meherg, director of Client Services, Burr & Forman LLP, Birmingham, Ala.; Michelle Michaels, marketing manager, National Programs, Foley & Lardner LLP, Chicago; Liz Pava, chief marketing officer, White & Case LLP, New York City; and Mary Beth Pratt, chief marketing officer, Pepper Hamilton LLP, Philadelphia.


Web-Enabled Law Firms Capture New Business

Web technology is helping major law firms "know what they know" so they can present data-rich business proposals to clients and win new business.  A Houston firm has created an online club that clients pay a fixed fee to belong to so they can get information on issues they are following.  Meanwhile a Chicago firm is using a powerful search engine that it can point at any of its internal databases to retrieve facts about the firm, which are used to persuade clients to hire the firm.

Partners Mark J. White of Baker Botts and Brent Kidwell of Jenner & Block described how they used Web features to assemble data to attract new business at the Year 2005 Marketing Partner Forum held on January 18-22 at the Four Seasons Resort in North San Diego, CA.  This year a record-setting 500 registrants came to the Forum, which is presented by Glasser Legal Works, a unit of Thomson Inc.

Mark_white Mark J. White, a partner in Baker Botts in Houston, described the firm's online Texas Industry Project extranet, built by Web developer Hubbard One in Chicago, where 60 companies represented by the firm's environmental practice can get daily updates on legal issues that affect them.

"The extranet has been a fabulous tool to drive membership into the group," White said.  "It's a very good tool to bring new membership on board."  Prospective members from can get one month of free access to the extranet, so they can view the list of members, get daily information updates and review all the legal projects underway.  White said membership of the group has grown by 100% over the least five years.

The members include companies in the oil, gas, paper, electric, petrochemical and semiconductor industries that have environmental law issues.  In the past the firm used to send clients 2-inch thick monthly packet of information; it was too much for clients to absorb.  With the extranet, Baker Botts can issue bite-size e-mail updates focusing only on the particular issues clients are following.

Clients can also check the extranet to see the scope of particular projects, who's the lead person at the company, the lead person at the firm, the budget and current status of the project.

Ready, aim, search!

Up north in Chicago, Brent E. Kidwell, partner and Chief Knowledge Counsel of Jenner & Block, has spent the last 18 months building JennerNet, which collects information from the firm's accounting, email, conflicts, records, human resources, document management, CRM and other unstructured databases.

"In RFPs, clients ask whether we will be able to provide them information about us and our matters, whether they can get it via and extranet and what the cost will be.  We tell them "yes" to the first two questions and "free" to the cost question."


"The firm has puddles of data that bleed into JennerNet," Kidwell aid.  "We can selectively pick what we expose the client to, at no cost to the firm or client," he said.  "We can create an extranet on the fly - and show clients every document related to their matter in the Hummingbird document system, allow them to see certain financial information, and allow them to see news snippets about Jenner & Block.  We're just opening certain door to let the client through."

Point search engine at data

For internal use, the firm created KM Search, a powerful search engine that can be pointed at any structured data source.  It will show all the documents retrieved in full text and preview them with the search time highlighted.  Users can change databases and rerun searches or search multiple depositories of information at the same time. 

The marketing department is a heavy user of the system, because they can look up a lawyer's biography, all the lawyer's current cases and find lawyers who know about a particular area of law.  This is essential information to answer RFPs.

"The value is that they can type a query -- like "what do we know about Bill Gates?" The search engine will hit everything in the document repository, finance and accounting systems, docket system and CRM system, and concatenate all the information and show the results," Kidwell said.

For example if a potential client wants to know how many cases the firm has had before a certain judge, "we can show them we've had 122  cases, what the time period was, what kind of cases they were, which attorneys were involved and how the cases were resolved."

If a reporter calls asking how many trials did the firm handle in 2004, the marketing department can retrieve the number of cases, and also the filing dates, jurisdictions,  attorneys involved, legal issue and types of hearings.

The firm's docket database of cases is hosted by an outside company, which updates the information every night.  On the new business intake forms, lawyers put the case into a category and the docket department follows up to make corrections and associate the case with a practice group.

"It's important to know what your people know and what their experience is," Kidwell said.  "We can dig up every piece of information about our people - their biography, business facts, languages spoken, court information with the KM search tool.  So when a client calls and says "do you have anyone who has this particular kind of experience?" this is where we will get the answer."


Thomson Corporation Acquires Hildebrandt International

Here's the official press release:

EAGAN, Minn., 01/18/2005

Hildebrandt International, a premier management consulting services firm to legal organizations world-wide, and The Thomson Corporation (TSX: TOC; NYSE: TOC) today announced that they have signed a definitive agreement under which Thomson will acquire Hildebrandt. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Combined, Hildebrandt International and Thomson bring unrivaled industry insight, client knowledge and consulting expertise, providing exceptional management, organizational and technology advice and services to the legal profession.

Hildebrandt will continue to operate as an independent business, and will be aligned with Thomson Legal & Regulatory, the largest market group within Thomson. Brad Hildebrandt, founder and chairman, and his management team, will continue to run the business and drive the overall direction of the organization. Hildebrandt will continue to be based in New Jersey with offices in Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Bonita Springs, Fla. and London.

"Thomson and Hildebrandt share a common goal to help professional services organizations become more competitive, efficient and profitable," said David Hanssens, Chief Strategy Officer for Thomson Legal & Regulatory. "We will combine Hildebrandt's expertise in consulting to legal organizations with the expertise of Thomson's strategic business consultants to deliver deeper, broader client service, insights and analysis to our clients. Moreover, these insights will help shape the development of new services that enable legal organizations to better manage their information and make better decisions."

"This acquisition brings together the legal profession's most influential businesses and brands," said Hildebrandt. "This is a significant advance for Hildebrandt, already known worldwide for its strategic vision and insights. We believe we will be able to enhance and broaden our skills and service which will have major benefits for our clients."

About The Thomson Corporation

The Thomson Corporation (, with 2003 revenues from continuing operations of $7.44 billion, is a global leader in providing integrated information solutions to business and professional customers. Thomson provides value-added information, software tools and applications to more than 20 million users in the fields of law, tax, accounting, financial services, higher education, reference information, corporate training and assessment, scientific research and healthcare. With operational headquarters in Stamford, Conn., Thomson has approximately 38,000 employees and provides services in approximately 130 countries. The Corporation's common shares are listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC).

Honesty in Advertising

Byrnes_merz_card Byrnes & Merz, a Newtown Square, PA, branding agency sent out a direct-mail card entitled the "10 Hidden Laws of Branding."  The two-page folder begins with "Understand what branding is and what it is not," and concludes with "Don't live in the past."

What made me laugh was the refreshingly honest business reply card, giving the recipient three options:

  • YES. E-mail me to talk further about my branding needs.
  • NICE TRY. Just keep the mailers coming.
  • SORRY. I see through your shameless promotional piece.

So if you want a branding agency with a sense of humor contact them at or

Clever "Moving Offices" Card

Sachnoff_postcard_1The fact that a firm is moving offices is one of the most mundane annoucements marketers must make.  However, one Chicago firm found a way to make their announcement clever and memorable.

Sachnoff & Weaver, a 130-lawyer firm, is moving from one tower of a building to another.  Talk about something tough to make interesting!  But they did it with this postcard about "making the leap" from No. 30 to No. 10 South Wacker Drive.  Kudos to VP of Client Services Dean Harakas and his cohorts.


Why Some Lawyers Strike Out at Rainmaking

When I headed up marketing at Sidley Austin, it was obvious that some lawyers loved marketing.  But other lawyers were not interested in being rainmakers, had no interest in marketing, nada.  It was always a question -- what about them made them non-marketers?

The answer lies in an article "Herding Cats: The Lawyer Personality Revealed," which can be found on the LawMarketing Portal at  According to Larry Richard, a former trial lawyer and current behavioral consultant with Altman Weil, Inc., it has to do with five personality traits common to attorneys:

  1. High Skepticism: tending to be skeptical, even cynical, judgmental, questioning, argumentative and somewhat self-protective.
  2. High Urgency: characterized by impatience and a need to get things done, a sense of immediacy. Urgent people are sometimes brusque, poor listeners, and can be annoying to many people. Urgent lawyers try to be "efficient in relationships" which is fatal to personal marketing.
  3. Lack of Socialbility: being less inclined to enjoy interacting with others, preferring to spend more time dealing with information, the intellect or interactions that emphasize the mind rather than the heart.

  4. Low Resilience: tending to be defensive, resisting feedback and being hypersensitive to criticism.

  5. High Autonomy: resisting being managed, bridgling at being told what to do and to prizings their independence.

So it's true: trying to get a group of lawyers to market their practices is like herding cats.