Snap, Crackle & Pop: No Marketing for a While

Xray_1This is an X-ray of a distal clavicle fracture, also known as a shattered, separated collarbone.  The arrow points to the end of the collarbone, which is supposed to be connected to the shoulder bones below.

It's an X-ray of my left shoulder on March 12, after I was riding my bicycle for exercise, and flew over the handlebars, landing with my full body weight on my left shoulder.  It felt like a screaming demon from hell was biting my left shoulder.

I went to an orthopedic doctor and he showed me this X-ray.  I was utterly astonished.  How could this be?  I had been in car crashes, bicycle collisions and all sorts of falls, but never had broken a bone in all of my 54 years.  I still had the false teenage notion that I was unbreakable.

By May the bone had healed, and it was a good source for conversation.  At a dinner at ABA Techshow, all the bicyclists at my table had broken their collarbones too, and we felt each other's shoulders to see who had the biggest bump. Turns out this is a common injury.

But I noticed I could wiggle my collarbone by simply pressing on it.  I got a second X-ray in June, which confirmed that the break had healed up improperly.  The orthopedic doc said if I ever fell on my left shoulder again, the collarbone would go right through my skin.

That was all I needed to hear.  So on July 1 I go to Edwards Hospital in Naperville, IL, for a 1-1/2 hour operation, where the doc will open up my shoulder, put the collarbone to its place with screws and bone grafts, and wrap the tendons, ligaments and muscles back up.  I'll wake up in a brace I have to wear for 6 weeks, they say.  The full recovery will take 3 months, they say.  "You'll experience some discomfort," they usually say.  But my orthopedic surgeon said instead, "this will hurt a lot."  I said, "Yikes!" 

So after a night in the hospital, they'll send me home with a dose of howitzer-strength painkillers.  They told me not to do anything -- not move the arm, not drive, not walk -- for the first two weeks in July.  My patient wife Dorian will have to tie my shoes and get me dressed.  This conflicts totally with Type A workaholic personality.  So I bought speech recognition software to be able to type. 

I am looking forward to this like a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.  I'll have nothing to do but read, watch DVDs and talk on the phone for two weeks.  If you feel like talking, give me a ring at 630.942.0977 after July 4.

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Tips on Speech Recognition Software

Harold_noack The advice is pouring in from all points about using speech recognition software.

Harold Noack, an attorney in Boise, Idaho, told me he has used Dragon NaturallySpeaking and says it's especially demanding. "Especially memory. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is memory demanding I use 1000 MB of RAM," he said.

I have 512K and have called my trusty tech support goddess to double what I've got. Harold said an aspect of great importance is the quality of the microphone you use. The microphone shipped with Dragon is of inferior quality, according to him. He said he alternates between two excellent quality microphones:

  • A Sennheiser MD 431 II which is a boom microphone and costs about $400-$500.
  • A Sennheiser M E 3 which is a headset microphone that costs about $140.

He said to really get serious about this, I should go to the professional Dragon software. It has certain features as far as doing macros etc. that the preferred does not have. Unfortunately, the professional version was not on sale.

"Dragon Naturally Speaking is one of the most complex software. It is very frustrating to use. Just imagine the confusion between for,4, fore and four. Or take their and there. Fortunately, Dragon is pretty expert at selecting the correct word depending upon the surrounding words," he said. "In my experience Dragon NaturallySpeaking is not for someone who is an excellent typist."  I'm going to lose the use of my left arm for six weeks, so I won't be typing much.

Another great source of information is Lunis Orcutt from Tennessee. He uses the trade name for his software of KnowBrainer, which supplements and fills out Dragon Naturally Speaking and is an excellent product at a reasonable price.

Anne Stanton, President/Business Consultant of The Norwich Group said she used Dragon Naturally Speaking about 6 years ago "and at that time it was pretty good."

"Certainly the voice automated software has come a LONG way but I suspect you will need a program you can train to your voice to increase the recognition. Training Dragon took about 30-60 minutes last time I looked at it. Additionally I had some trouble with a slightly older machine. The voice automation puts a lot of demand on processor and memory so make sure you have a bit more hardware than the vendor recommends," she said.

Tom_kane My friend Tom Kane of Kane Consulting, Inc. told me he's used Naturally Speaking (version 7) for a number of years, but not regularly. "You have to spend the time training it, and at times it can be frustrating. If you have a cold, it will act up. But, having looked into IBM's version and trying one early on in the process, I think Naturally Speaking is probably better. I have primarily used it with Word, and once or twice with emails. Patience isn't one of my virtues."

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Talking to My Computer

Dragon8I just purchased Dragon Naturally Speak 8 Preferred speech recognition software. The user speaks into a microphone and the software types the words on your computer screen. I plan to use it to see if it's a good program for marketers to use. Also, I'm going to lose the use of my left arm on July 1.

The info on the box says it works with email, instant messages, surfing the web, AOL, Word and Excel. If you've had experience with speech recognition software or use Dragon Naturally Speaking, please add a comment below. 

I bought it at CompUSA for $189.99.  I was lured to the store by a misleading discount offer. The advertisement said "$50 off!"  However, after I opened the box, it turned out I can only get the rebate if I'm upgrading from Dragon, IBM or L&H software and I have to send in the original product CD.  I feel ripped off.

Inside the box is an installation CD, a headset microphone, a quick reference card and -- saints be praised! -- a printed manual!  I can't remember the last time I bought software that actually came with a manual.

Dragon claims you can get up to 99% accuracy.  But a colleague of mine said that's true only if you speak slowly and clearly, and then you get maybe 85% accuracy. If that's so, it means that very 17th word I use will be jargumbled!#$%&.  People who know me well with hardly notice the difference.

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O'Horo: LSSO was Best Conference Ever

Mike_ohoro There's a new blog by Mike O'Horo I urge you to check out: it's called Demand Trigger and is written by my longtime colleague Mike O'Horo of Arlington, VA.  Mike is known as "The Coach" and is the head consultant at Sales Results, Inc.

Like spaceships passing in orbit, we saw each other at the recent LSSO conference in Boston, each focused on our own duties.  Mike was handing out little baseball bats to marketers, which I thought was perfect: take them back to the office and beat some sense into the partners who resist business development!

"I will say flatly that the programming was unquestionably the best -- across the board - that I have experienced at any law industry conference in the 14 years I've been around the biz," said Mike -- and we've both been to scores of conferences over the years.  I'd have to agree with Mike, who helped sponsor the conference and presented the "Coaching the Coaches" program.

For me it was a goldmine of contacts -- I spent time with senior marketers I admire like Diane Hamlin, Catherine MacDonagh, Patricia Luchs, Steve Barrett, David Freeman, Jill Windwer, John Klymnshyn, Jeff Reade, Bruce Heintz, among others.  I also got to meet cool people who were new to me, like partner Lauren Still Rikleen of Bowdtich & Dewey in Framingham, MA, Deborah C. Scaringi, Director of Marketing at Adler Pollock in Boston, Karen Katz of Law Practice Consultants in Boston, and Iris Jones, Esq., Client Services Advisor at Akin Gump in Washington, D.C.  It will take me all weekend to scan in everybody's business cards with my new Targus mini business card scanner.

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LSSO Announces Awards for Law Firm Excellence

Leonardo_inghilleri The Legal Sales & Service Organization announced today that it will begin accepting entries in the Thomas H. Lee Awards for Law Firm Excellence.   According to Leonardo Inghilleri, former Senior Vice President/Brand Manager, BVLGARI Hotels and Resorts, the awards are designed to advance the systematic pursuit of excellence in client service delivery among law firms.

"We created the awards to be a stimulus for law firms to catch up with 21st century in client service.  The award criteria are all client-driven.  Law firms will need to show visible, tangible results -- we'll look at look at leadership, execution of a plan, and a decision-focused measurement system," said Inghilleri, who is now with West Paces Consulting in Atlanta.

The award is named after Thomas H. Lee, an MIT Professor who was a founder of the Center for Quality Management (CQM) and a pioneer in developing modern management techniques.  He died in 2001.  Lee was convinced that American industry would be more competitive if its leaders were able to apply the operational strength of TQM in combination with the power of strategic planning.

The awards will evaluate firms on how successfully they apply the practices of:

* Business development
* Client Retention and Growth
* Profitability
* Value Creation

There will be awards categories for experts (firms with most requirements are being built or in place), intermediate (firms that have demonstrated results in specific areas and and beginners.  There will be three award recipients per category:
1. Law firms under 50 lawyers
2. Law firms between 51 and 151 lawyers
3. Law firms with 151+ lawyers

Applications will be available on the LSSO Web site in October.  "The awards will not be given just because you have a pretty face and a nice office," Inghilleri quipped.

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Business Development Goes Mainstream

Catherine_macdonagh_1Sales in law firms, which was considered a radical idea in 2002 (see Law Firms Now Employing Directors of Sales) is now an established and accepted part of law firm practice development.

The 130 attendees at the Raindance Conference of the Legal Sales and Service Organization (LSSO) are proof of this.  Organized by Silvia L. Coulter of Coulter Consulting Group (formerly of Dorsey & Whitney) and Catherine Alman MacDonagh of Day, Berry the three-day annual meeting is going on right now is Boston.

The list of law firms that are here is impressive.  It's not the firms that run wild-eyed Yellow Pages ads or promise millions on highway billboards.  The firms are the major, brand-name firms of the U.S. and Canada:

  • King & Spalding
  • Dorsey & Whitney
  • Goodwin Procter
  • Thomson Hine
  • Goulston & Storrs
  • Day, Berry & Howard
  • Jones Day
  • Womble Carlyle (which was the first to hire a business developer in 2002).
  • Drinker Biddle & Reath
  • Graydon Head & Ritchey
  • Preston Gates & Ellis
  • Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal
  • Latham & Watkins
  • Duane Morris
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
  • DLA Piper Rudnick
  • Holland  Knight
  • Nixon Peabody
  • Nutter McClennen & Fish
  • Dorsey & Whitney
  • Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr
  • Kirkpatrick & Lockhart
  • Borden Ladner Gervais
  • Wolf Greenfield
  • Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner
  • Palmer & dodge
  • Morgan Lewis & Bockius

A sampling of the vendors and sponsors also reflects the sales orientation of these law firms.  They include Legal Insight Media, Inc. (Flash movies for your WEb site), Thomson's Firm360 (competitive intelligence database), Sales Results Inc. (sales training), ALM Research (market research and intelligence), BTI (market research), ContactEase (CRM relationship management).  Also included at Hubbard One (web sites), Marketing Resources Group (executive recruiting), Corporate Legal Times (news magazine) and Clockwork Design Group, Inc. (branding and design).

Monica Bay is here too, and she blogged a presentation by Keith Ferrazzi, who said the way to build business relatioinships is by:

  1. Making intimacy the basis of any business relationship.
  2. Being generous, and first focusing on making everyone around you successful.  This will make them trust you and help you be successful.

No one is here to talk about brochures, seminars, newsletters or basic marketing (which is the foundation for sales).  They're here to talk about how to get new business.

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How to Get Your Firm Fired

Michael_platt Do you find that your firm just has too many clients?  Are you getting so much new business that it seems you can't keep up with it?  Are you annoyed with all those trips you have to make to the bank to deposit all the money your making?

If so, a panel of CEOs speaking on the program "Inside the Mind of A-Level Clients" has the answers for you.  Speaking at the Association for Accounting Marketing conference going on right now in Orlando, they offered true stories about how you can lighten your load of all those burdensome clients and their time-consuming work.

The panel was moderated by Michael Platt, of Oak Brook, IL, who has over 20 years of experience bringing business leaders together to foster idea sharing, best practices, and continuous improvement. A nationally recognized leader in the accounting profession, he drives the development of the Blueprint for Excellence program through Upstream Midwest.

  • Take your client to lunch, use up two hours of their time and send them a bill for $250.
  • Pepper the client with broadcast emails sent to hundreds of other people, send them marketing materials even after they requested that you stop, and give them gifts they don't want (like sending Omaha steaks to a vegetarian.)
  • Send underlings from your firm who are unprepared and show up late to visit the clients, just before renewal date of a contract.  Do this especially with major clients.
  • Don't give the client a single point person to call.  Instead, tell them they have a "team," each of whom says "I don't handle that" when the client calls them.
  • Always rotate the people working on the client's account, so that the client never sees the same person more than once.  If possible, hand off a client from a partner to the newest associate you have.
  • Be sure to nickle-and-dime the client, by charging for every thing you can think of.  For example, if the client calls to ask a quick question, immediately send a bill for $100.
  • Make the client feel that they are a small account to your very large firm.  Remind them that you represent many bigger firms and have a lot of other clients to keep happy.  Assign them inexperienced associates and avoid having partners work on their matters.
  • When the clients call, be sure to tell them how busy you are.  Complain that you have other clients and you're working around the clock.  The clients, of course, are also working long hours and will be especially put off by your saying how busy you are.  It will also convey that you care about other clients more than them.
  • If the client sends you a referral, don't bother thanking them.  Don't do anything special about it -- certainly don't send a gift tailored to their interests.  There is no need to send business back to them either.
  • Be unavailable at key moments.  If December 31 is a key deadline day for your clients, be sure to take the day off.  Similarly, if there are deadlines the client needs to know about, don't bother telling them and schedule a vacation day for the deadline date.
  • If something is keeping your client up at night regarding their company, mind your own business and don't inquire how you could help out.
  • At the end of a successful matter, don't ask for client feedback.  It could only lead to more work.
  • If you offer several services, keep the client in the dark about them.  This way only one practice group in your firm will have to bother with the client.  If the client has a problem that someone else in your firm could help them with, keep your mouth shut.
  • When speaking with the client, presume that they know as much about law or accounting as you do; always use technical terms or art.  Make it clear that you are the smart one and the client is just stupid.
  • Don't bother asking how the client likes to be contacted.  They may prefer email, phone calls or in-person visits, but to keep your workload to a minimum, just communicate in the fashion that you prefer.
  • Do as little as possible in person with the client, as this would only deepen the relationship.  Stay in touch by email and postal mail so that they have no idea what you look like.
  • If the client wants an annual meeting -- at no charge -- to go over what services you provide and also what they expect for the next year -- remind the client that you're very busy. Explain that the client that they'll have to get used to the way your firm does business.  If they trap you into having lunch with them, be sure to follow up with a bill for it.  Make the client pay for lunch too.
  • Don't let the client know you have a marketing director.  If the client does find out, keep the marketer away from the client or off the client team.  You do not want a marketer asking questions about the client's business or how you could serve the client better.  If the marketer offers you advice, nod your head and just ignore it.
  • Use fear to market your services.  There's nothing more off-putting than a scary letter from a law or accounting firm.  Besides, they already know about regulatory and statutory changes from their own trade magazines.  But try to scare them anyway.
  • Don't add value to the client's business.  Make sure that they view you as an expense.  A big expense, because your fees are really high.

These tips were brought to you from real-life experiences of Dorthea M. Wynn, CEO of the Orlando Heart Center; Anthony Wood, President of The Leadership Coalition, Roseland, NJ; Karen Hough, Founder & CEO, ImprovEdge, a New York City training firm; and Ronald Kaplan, CEO, Action Products International Inc. in Orlando.

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Ed Russ of Grant Thornton named Marketer of the Year

Edmond_v_russ_2Edmond V. Russ, a Partner and Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for Grant Thornton won the CPA Practice Management Forum "Marketer of the Year" honor, presented during the recent Association of Accounting Marketing meeting.  The firm also captured a first prize for Marketing Research in the AAM Marketing Achievement Awards for a study that led the firm to open an 8-person office in Phoenix.

With a staff of 12, he is responsible for strategic marketing and planning, brand building, and managing the marketing and sales resources of the firm. As partner in charge of marketing, he also serves as a member of the firm's National Leadership Team.

Winners have to demonstrate overwhelming support of the leadership of their firm, and an outstanding impact on their firm. Under Ed's leadership, the firm has creating a brand campaign with mail, TV and radio, tripled unaided brand awareness, and increased net income 30% in 2005. The managing partner said, "he's the best marketing director we've ever had - and I've been with firm 28 years." Ed also maintains a job bank for marketing and sales peoples, and gets many calls from search firms.

The June 9 AAM Marketing Achievement Awards was a lovefest of hugs, cheers and wild applause. Plus the dinner was a monster fillet mignon, and dessert was a luscious chocolate mousse.

Howard_wolosky Howard M. Wolosky, the Editor in Chief of Practical Accountant magazine, was inducted into the AAM Hall of Fame.  With 35 years in the publishing business, two law degrees, and experience speaking at many events, he has actively promoted the accounting marketing profession. "I run a magazine for partners and owners of small and medium sized firms.  I've been showcasing some marketers because they have tremendous substance.  The accounting profession has changed, and marketers are the key component to why many firms changed their business model.  You make a substantial contribution to change," he told an audience of fans.

The Rookie Marketer of The Year -- a new honor -- was Renee Stranghoner of Weaver & Tidwell in Texas. "Her managing partner credits her with explosive growth in the industry. She will be a role model for other marketers," said presenter Laura Snyder. In her first year on the job, the got firm 70 media hits, a 60% proposal win rate and overall firm growth over 30%. Weaver & Tidwell also won awards for sales presentations and firm brochures.

Other big winners included:

- Schenck Business Solutions, headquartered in Appleton, WI, which won awards for their internal incentive program, best niche building campaign.

- Tauber & Balser (along with Capstone Marketing and Dalton-Fischel Design) for their corporate identity package.

- Welch & Co., a regional firm based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with 11 offices in Ontario and Quebec, for their internal sales campaign and their advertising campaign.

- The Rehmann Group, a Michigan accounting firm, for its event marketing and seminars, and a miscellaneous award.

- Winter, Kloman, Moter & Repp, a Milwaukee area accounting firm, won awards for single mailings and miscellaneous marketing.

BennettOther winners in firms with more than 75 professionals were:

- Bennett Thrasher for web site design.

- Plante Moran for newsletters.

- Dixon Hughes for single mailings.

- BKD for campaign mailings.

- Tofias PC for a marketing survey.

- Kennedy and Coe for logo design.

- Larson Allen for corporate identity package.

- Cooper Norman for collateral material.

- Witt Mares for best use of technology.

- The Society of Louisiana CPAs for their publicity campaign.

Winners in smaller firms with fewer than 75 professionals were:

- Brown Armstrong for sales presentations.

- Clayton McKervey for newsletters

- KBA Group LLP (which actually mailed black socks in a SOX promotion.)

- Cerini and Associates for a marketing survey.

- Gorfine Schiller & Gardyn for their niche building campaign.

- MckonlyKroll Lindquist Avery for their advertising.

- McKonly & Asbury for their Web site design.

- Clayton McKervye for event refracting and seminars.

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"We're a marketing firm that does accounting"

Here's the secret to successful marketing, as expressed by Rita A. Keller, Director and Partner of Brady Ware in Dayton, OH:  "We're a marketing firm that does accounting."

Rita_kellerMarketing is embedded into the culture of the firm, a regional firm with 90 professionals in Indiana and Ohio.  "You need to start with young people.  They're told that to make partner they've got to bring in business.  Part of our initial orientation program is spent with the marketing director, who goes through all our marketing efforts and opportunities."  She spoke at the Association for Accounting Marketing conference going on right now in Orlando

The firm marketing budget is between 2 and 3 percent of gross revenues.  IMHO, that's the minimum a firm must spend to do marketing right.  The challenge is showing ROI, because the CPA mentality is "show me the numbers."  Rita said that the problem with marketing is that much of it is intangible -- such as firm reputation and market awareness.  "It's impossible to tie it down," she said. "It's about a long term branding process and how are viewed in community, do young people want to work for you or your competition, etc.  We know that clients come to our firm because of our Web site, our collateral and everything that we're doing to get noticed.   It's hard to put an ROI on that, but you can't stop marketing."

She offered several tips for marketers to succeed in professional firms:

  • Learn all that you can what a CPA (or other professional) does, what they do day to say, and will help you devise the best tactics to promote the firm. 
  • Make sure the partner see your face all the time.  Be certain to have face-time with all the partners and know what they're doing.
  • Your office must be in a visible spot next to the professionals.  This way can drop in when they're walking down the hallways.
  • You must be personally visible.  If there is a partner meeting coming up, ask to be a speaker. Speak out in meetings -- don't wait to be invited to speak.  Speak up and take credit for your ideas.  Don't sit back and defer to others.

And, because most professional firm marketers are women working in a predominantly male office, she offered six warnings for female marketers.  "There are six things men can do that you can't," she cautioned.

1. Men can cry, you can't.
2. Men can have sex, you can't.
3. Men can fidget, you can't.
4. Men can yell, you can't
5. Men can have bad manners, you can't
6. Men can be ugly, you can't.

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Accounting Marketers Give Incentives to Market

Aam_logo_1I'm in Orlando at the Association for Accounting Marketing conference, along with a record-setting 425 accounting marketers from across the continent.  Attendance is up 50 people this year, and the marketing ideas are flowing from every corner.  Having worked myself in law marketing for 8 years, it's a treat to come here, because the number-crunchers have totally new and progressive ideas on marketing.

The event started with a round table discussion.  Did you know that accounting firms offer incentives for their staff and partners to market? This is a totally alien concept in law firms.  Typical law firms expect their employees and partners to market, even though there's no bonus for doing it. 

Interestingly, it turns out that money is not a good incentive.  You give someone $1,000 for achieving a marketing goal and they'll just pay off their car loan and forget about it.  But if you send them on a cruise, give them a free vacation at a resort or give them a basket of gift certificates -- they will remember it.  And they'll market to get the prizes.

Occasionally, marketers run into cynicism from the non-partners.  Some employee professionals say "why should I market? I'm just lining the pockets of the partners." There are many answers -- if you have your own clients, you have power and independence, and you have a better chance of becoming a partner.  But basically you have to get rid of the cynics; they're a bad influence.

Incentives work: one accounting firm ran a 12-week marketing program and brought in $900,000 in new business.  First, the firm formed teams -- including the admin staff!  Teams were picked by draft, just as in pro sports, so there couldn't be a team of all rainmakers competing against first year employees.

The targets were, in order, current clients, referral sources and new clients.  The program was to increase marketing activity, not only results.  Accordingly, partners and associates worked from personalized to-do lists, and could check off a marketing activity once they did it.  Charts were posted around the firm so each person could see where their firms were in the standings.

Accounting firms also use lead-generation companies to set up meetings for them.  One firm, for example, hired Whetstone Consulting to target 100 companies in specific industries.  The marketing director identified the hot buttons and pain points for each industry.  The company mailed two direct mail pieces to the targets, followed up by phone and set up 6 appointments and the firm closed 3 as new clients.  The cost of the program was $3,000 and generated $100,000 in new business.  Why use a lead generation program?  Because the partners don't want to make the initial calls themselves.  Sounds just like law firms, doesn't it?

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The Abrupt Resurrection of Mid-Sized Law Firms

Ward_bower135For years, top management consultants have been saying that mid-sized law firms were doomed.  This was because:

  • They couldn't compete with multi-office mega-firms with their platoons of professionals.
  • They couldn't offer one-stop shopping like the multi-practice megaliths.
  • They weren't brand-name firms that corporate counsel like to pick to cover their butts.
  • They were just chattel to be gobbled up by big firms.   

Brad_hildebrandt But abruptly the management gurus have reversed themselves.  "Now it seems the mid-size firms are more vital than ever," said Ward Bower in the June 2005 issue of Chicago Lawyer magazine. In various speeches, Ward's counterpart Brad Hildebrandt of Hildebrandt, Inc. has predicted the demise of mid-sized firms. "There's been a lot of talk over the years about how law firms must grow non-stop to survive, and that the mid-size firms are dying out. But that just isn't true," said Freeborn & Peters (law firm) chairman Randall Vickery. 

For purposes of discussion, let's define a "mid-sized" firm as one with 30 to 100 lawyers in a big city.  For all you marketers working at these firms, here are the new found advantages of being where you are.  Mid-sized firms:

  • Can match the expertise of the mega-firms with global networks.
  • Have equal access to cutting-edge technology, which has become less expensive in the last 5 years.
  • Have the speed and agility that mega-firms can't offer.
  • Offer lower pricing, because smaller firms have less overhead and there are no economies of scale in law firms.  Big firms have many inefficiencies, redundancies and bureaucracies.  And pricing counts.
  • Are more flexible about pricing and more willing to offer flat fees, success bonuses in exchange for lower rates.
  • Have partners who will work on a case and won't hand off the client to a less-experienced associate.
  • Corporate counsel hire lawyers, not law firms.  He who has the best relationship gets the client, regardless of firm size.
  • The idea of one-stop shopping isn't that important.  Corporations are happy to hire regional firms for specific projects.

Meanwhile, the mid-size firms get lots of lifestyle benefits.  The atmosphere is more casual, partners go out after work with associates, one firm has its own basketball court, kids run up the hallways, some of the artwork is done in crayola, and the walls at one firm carry quotes from my hero, Theodore Roosevelt.

What are other bloggers saying about you?

Ever wonder whether you are being trashed or lauded in the blogosphere?  I read a great tip from the e-newsletter of Joan Stewart, a.k.a. The Publicity Hound.

If you want to see what the bloggers are saying about your company, or your firm, go to technorati.com/ and do a search. If nothing comes up, you need to start creating a presence on the Internet. Your own blog is a great place to start.

I also found that a blog by Gregory Deatz called "The Information Dirt Road" refers to my blog frequently, so I've added him to my blogroll.

A Technorati search like doing a reader survey on your own blog. You can find out which items visitors are reading, and which items other bloggers are linking to.
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Accounting Profession Getting Into Blogging

The June 2005 issue of the august AICPA Journal of Accountancy carries an article "Would You, Could You, Should You Blog?" promoting the use of blogs as "a formidable business tool" for accountants to get new clients.  This article is a significant milestone, because there are 10.8 million blogs as of today, a paltry 900 attorney blogs, but about a dozen accounting firm blogs.

"Marketing. Blogs provide a low-cost way to reach a desirable market segment--the affluent and well-educated--and woo them as CPA clients. One way to approach this is to integrate a blog into your marketing plan, so it works with your existing Web site and newsletter. (Roth & Co.'s Kristan refers to his Tax Updates blog as the "first draft" of his newsletter. All stories in his weekly newsletter going to more than 2,000 recipients first appear in the blog.) Besides helping to publicize your firm and showcase its niche specialties, blogs can allow everyone in your firm to share information quickly on current developments and to track information on sales leads," says the Journal.

According to the magazine, "So far there are few accounting blogs, and a fair number of the existing ones cover taxes. In addition to Tax Updates (www.taxupdateblog.com), there is the Tax Guru (www.taxguru.net) blog, where Arkansas CPA Kerry M. Kerstetter answers tax questions and posts links to tax-related stories (and the occasional cartoon) in the news. Russ Fox, CPA, of Clayton Financial and Tax, California, comments on tax news in his Taxable Talk blog (www.taxabletalk.com). Stuart Levine, a Maryland tax attorney, analyzes cases on the Tax & Business Law Commentary blog at http://taxbiz.blogspot.com. Trish McIntire, an enrolled agent (EA), incorporates her own experiences with links to tax news on the Our Taxing Times blog at http://trishmc.typepad.com.

"Perhaps the most visible nontax accounting blog is the Financial Accounting Blog at http://accounting.blogspot.com, which posts current items relevant to financial accounting and finance. Other nontax accounting blogs include

Blogs are just catching on in the accounting profession, and that means the door is wide open for CPA firms to create new and innovative uses of this technology. There is a huge opportunity for accountants to enter this area.

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Survey Shows Increase in Number of Law FIrm Web sites.

Ltrc The ABA Legal Technology Resource Center's 2004-2005 preliminary survey results indicate that 68.1% of law firms have an Internet web site. This is an overall increase from previous years. Not surprisingly, 100% of law offices with 50 or more attorneys have websites. This figure remains unchanged.

Only 19.7% of solo practitioners maintain a web presence (this is a huge decrease). Of respondents from small firms (2-9 attorneys), 62.4% reported having web sites (this is an increase) , while 93.2% of firms with 10 to 49 attorneys have web sites (also an increase).Web_sites_by_firm_size

  • Firms with securities, acquisitions and mergers practices were most likely to have a web site, with 90.9% of respondents from firms with that practice group saying they had a website.
  • Firms with intellectual property practices ran a close second at 90.5%.
  • Firms with employment/labor (83.3%), medical malpractice (81.3%) and litigation (81.2%) practice groups round out the top five.
  • Firms with practice areas in general practice (civil) (38.7%), estates, wills and trusts (40.9%), contracts (45.5%), criminal (46.2%) and family law (51.4%) were the bottom five.

The 2004-2005 ABA Legal Technology Survey Reports will be released in June 2005. You can subscribe to their updates online.

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