Don't Accept That Counter-Offer

Bruce_allen_tiny When you get a job offer it's better to take it than to accept your current firm's counter-offer, according to Bruce Allen of Rutan & Tucker.  In a recent Marketing Catalyst blog post he says, "An amazing statistic is that 89% of people accepting counter offers are gone in 6 months. 89 PERCENT!"

He recounts how me made a job offer to a woman to join his marketing team.  "When partners at the last firm found out she intended to leave they pulled out all the stops; made promises; told her everything is going to be great from here on out. She stayed." Bruce wrote.

"Not too many days later I've heard from her and now she is MEGA unhappy. The partners may have wanted things to transform, but the people she actually reports to are still the same." he says.  "If the relationship is not transformed, money and platitudes will not change a thing. A huge discount (or a raise in the case of my teammate) changes nothing about why someone is unhappy."

So maybe the grass is greener on the other side.  If you get a good job offer, simply take it.


RSS Feeds on NJ Law Firm Site

Njlawblog This just in: The law firm of Stark & Stark in Princeton has made available 15 separate RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds specific to various firm practice areas through its New Jersey Law Blog ( The addition of these customized feeds allows subscribers to get instant notification of new developments in area of law most important to them.

According to Richard C. DeLuca, Director of Business Development for the firm, Links to these newly available feeds can be located within the "Blogs" section of the 90-lawyer firm's Web site. The 15 practice area feeds now available are:

Banking & Financial Services
Bankruptcy & Creditor's Rights
Business & Corporate
Community Associations
Condemnation & Eminent Domain
Corporate Investigation & White Collar
Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use
Securities Compliance & Arbitration
Trusts & Estates

The New Jersey Law Blog still offers a main RSS feed ( which distributes information added to any one of the blog's 18 sub-categories.  The firm also publishes the Traumatic Brain Injury Law Blog at


RSS Feeds Appearing Now on Law Firm Web Sites

Wilmerrss_2In a new phenomenon I've discovered, law firms are beginning to add RSS feeds to their Web sites. This is a universal feature of blogs, of course, but it works just as well for Web sites. I've had RSS (or Really Simple Syndication) feeds on The LawMarketing Portal for several months. now. They're wonderful for attracting traffic because they allow visitors to subscribe to my content.

Wilmer Cutler offers RSS feeds to 19 sections of its Web site at "RSS feeds allows Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr to deliver the content that you select from our list below and display it for you in one convenient location. RSS feeds are a simple way to receive timely legal updates from the firm," the Web site explains.

Wilmer Cutler has more than 1,000 lawyers with offices in 14 cities in the United States, Europe and Asia. To view the firm's RSS feeds, you must first have a news reader (or aggregator) installed on your computer. A news reader is the application used to view the headlines via RSS. To download a news reader select a reader for free download through a site such as The one I use is NewsGator, available free at

The RSS feeds for Wilmer Cutler include Antitrust and Competition, Aviation, Bankruptcy and Commercial, Communications and E-Commerce, Corporate, Defense, National Security and Government Contracts, Environmental, FDA, Financial Institutions, Intellectual Property, International Arbitration, Labor and Employment, Litigation, Private Client, Public Policy and Strategy, Real Estate, Securities, Tax, and Trade.

Criminey, if the firm could get the risk-averse lawyers in Corporate and Securities to have an RSS feed, ANY firm should be able to convince ANY practice group head to do the same.

ClarkrssThis morning I discovered that Canada's Clark Wilson, up in Vancouver, British Columbia is also offering RSS feeds on their Web site for the firm's publications. By using RSS feeds, visitors with interests in specific legal subject matters will receive immediate notification as soon as alerts and articles that match their interests are posted on their Web site.

Clark Wilson LLP, with 65 lawyers, is one of the first law firms in Canada to offer publication headlines via RSS. You can subscribe with Bloglines, My Yahoo, Newsgator or XML. Their feeds cover 14 different categories of legal topics, including technology and intellectual property, real estate, securities, energy, labor & employment, higher learning, and general business issues. Clark Wilson LLP feeds are located at:


Dead Practice Area: Federal Trials

Trial The number of tort trials in federal courts has fallen by nearly 80 percent in less than two decades, a government study found.  If your firm has an active practice in Federal trials, it's time to get out.  This area is dead or dying.

Legal experts attribute the drop to Supreme Court rulings in the 1990s that made it much more difficult for people bringing lawsuits in federal courts to prevail.  "Plaintiffs have been avoiding federal courts," Aaron Twerski, dean of the Hofstra University school of law, told the Associated Press.

President Bush signed legislation in February to have federal judges take most large class action lawsuits away from state courts. In a nine-minute White House signing ceremony, Bush said a half-dozen times that the legislation was only a beginning in his drive to end "the lawsuit culture."

The number of tort trials concluded in the federal court system in 1985 was 3,600, compared with fewer than 800 in 2003, the government study said. Nine out of 10 tort trials in federal courts involve personal injuries such as product liability, car accidents and medical malpractice cases.

The total number of tort cases concluded in federal courts -- those that went to trial and those that didn't -- hit a high of 60,941 in 1999, with an influx of asbestos and breast implant litigation. The figure declined to 49,166 in 2003.

A major reason for the decline in trials: Rulings like the 1993 Supreme Court case of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals which set a very high standard for admitting expert testimony in federal courts, said Twerski.

Testimony from expert witnesses is often the vital link in convincing juries that an anti-nausea drug causes birth defects, that PCBs in industrial brake fluid accelerated a worker's lung cancer or that a defective tire was the reason for a blowout on a minivan that killed several people.

Elaborate pretrial hearings over proposed expert witnesses are driving up the costs of tort cases, Brooklyn law school professor Margaret E. Berger told the Associated Press.

Twerski also said a string of fairly conservative judicial appointments during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and both Bushes "does not look kindly to this cutting-edge-type litigation."

Bush took his campaign for lawsuit reform local early this year, visiting Madison County, Ill., which the American Tort Reform Association dubbed the nation's top "judicial hellhole." The county has a reputation for handing out big awards and allowing lawsuits that would be thrown out in other districts.

More than 1,400 asbestos cases were filed in Madison County over the last two years, and it was home to 179 class action lawsuits during that time. A Madison County judge ordered cigarette maker Philip Morris USA to pay $10.1 billion for falsely marketing light cigarettes as less harmful than other brands.

So it will pay off to promote and market your firm's trial experience in state courts instead.


How to Determine Traffic at a Competing Site

TelescopeIs there a way to know in real time how many visitors come to a specific site, without help from that website? Yes there is, according to Dr. Ralph Wilson's Web Marketing Today newsletter.

The doc says there are four ways to determine traffic. Three companies monitor traffic to websites and sell this information to their clients, though some information on the highest traffic sites is sometimes displayed for free. These companies are:

comScore Media Metrix (

Nielsen//NetRatings (

Hitwise (

You may have to purchase data from comScore or Nielsen//NetRatings. If you can't afford their data, you can get a relative idea of traffic to a site by using Alexa ( This service, owned by Amazon, ranks websites on the basis of traffic, #1 being high. They don't tell you absolute numbers of unique visitors, however. For such an estimate, find the traffic rankings (in press releases, etc.) of the sites just above and below your site of interest in the Alexa ranking, and its relative traffic will be between those numbers.


Find a Publicist the Media Loves

Joan_stewart107Joan Stewart, a/k/a the Publicity Hound has six great tips for hiring a "dream publicist."

They have a hot list of media contacts at newspapers, magazines and TV stations where you want your story to appear--or they know how to create the list.  The Number One factor in hiring a publicist is chemistry.

If you're looking for a publicist, be on the lookout for someone who:

--Can deliver a snappy, succinct telephone pitch within 15 seconds.

--Can create a clever media kit that reporters won't toss in the newsroom wastebasket along with all the others.

--Understands how to take the contents of that same media kit and put it at your website so reporters can access information about you within seconds, without you having to spend money on expensive overnight deliveries.

--Knows the target market for your product or service as well as you do and prefers to develop relationships with a short list of media contacts instead of sending blast faxes to a cast of thousands.

--Prefers to hold a magazine in her hands and inspect it before calling an editor to pitch.

--Uses accurate yet enticing email subject lines that force reporters to open email pitches.

For more info, including how to avoid a Publicist from Hell, visit her site at


How to Liven Up Boring Meetings

Matt_homann_1Matthew Homann posted some great ideas to spice up dull meetings in his blog [non] billable hour.  These are the kind of meetings I want to attend!

These great tips for making boring conference/meeting space more conducive to creative thought come from Eva Niewiadomski, founder of Catalyst Ranch (really cool conference space in Chicago).

  • Bring a small boom box and a couple of homemade CDs with an eclectic and exotically wild mix of music to set the mood for the meeting. Try to pick music that most people are not familiar with, but that is energetic.
  • Use an unusual noisemaker to get people's attention or to tell them when to start or finish an exercise (i.e. bike horn, rattle, maracas, dinner bell, gong).
  • Set up a station near the door where participants create their name tags instead of using preprinted or standard issue name tags. Provide them with different colored markers, stickers, mini-stamper markers and tell them to have some fun.
  • Have the group actually create something during the icebreaker exercise that will give the room some character.
  • Drape a few feather boas over several of the chairs.
  • Place various ties, hats and wigs around the room and on the chairs.
  • Bring small nerf guns and hoola-hoops.Pipe cleaners in cool containers

Eva also suggests a few things to place on the tables:

  • Play-Doh
  • Small etch-a-sketches
  • Funny rubber noses
  • Containers of crayons, coloring pencils and colored markers/funky colored pens
  • Small mazes, puzzles
  • Bowls of wild mixed candies and chocolates
  • Yo-Yos
  • Interesting books and magazines with lots of pictures
  • Postcards you've received over the years
  • Coloring books

Matt has just launched LexThink! Innovation Coaching, and is offering a great deal for his first 17 clients: "The coaching, conference calls, virtual assistance, and retreat (hotel and food) are all included in the price, which is $3,000.  I'm giving a $1,000.00 discount to the first seventeen clients who sign up and agree to be my "Beta Testers."  The first coaching group will start mid-September."  If you are interested, e-mail him at


Appalling: Law Firms Spend only 1.1% of Gross Revenue on Marketing and Sales

Jim_hassett135_1 Jim Hassett is appalled that law firms spend only 1.1% of gross revenue on marketing and business development.  Right on Jim, this amount is totally insuffient.  And I worked at a law firm that spent a fraction of 1% of gross revenue on marketing only. 

Jim says: "Did you see the recent survey of business development spending on the cover of Law Firm, Inc.?  The writer seemed encouraged by the upward trends, but I was appalled.

"When ALM and Brand Research surveyed large firms for this article, they found annual spending of $1.8 million on marketing (defined as communication to groups of buyers) and $1.3 million on business development (defined as selling to individual buyers).

"The combined figures were about 1.1% of gross revenue -- so ridiculously low that I don't even want to talk about it.  Today, I need to rant about the fact that the average law firm spends more on marketing than on sales.  What a waste.

"Let's see, which is more important:  communicating with groups or selling to individuals?  Which is more likely to bring in new revenue next month:  a better web page, or sitting down to talk with people who have legal needs and budgets?

His advice: Select a few partners who like people, and turn them loose.  Better yet, spend 5% or 10% of your money on marketing to figure out who these rainmakers should talk to and what they should say.  Then turn them loose. 


E-Newsletters Still Excellent for Marketing

My friend Tom Kane posts on his blog, "Legal marketing efforts using e-mail give me great concern. Particularly, I worry about the amount of e-mail these days that inundates you, me and, most importantly, clients. I am just not convinced that it is a viable form of lawyer marketing. However, others may disagree."

While Tom and I agree on most other things, the facts show that e-newsletters still work great.  I sent out the August 12 edition of the Professional Marketing e-newsletter to 4,000 subscribers.  A counter I put on the newsletter showed that 4,980 unique readers opened the email.  How can this be?  Simple: nearly 1,000 people forwarded the newsletter and gave it a whopping 124% "open" rate.

Email newsletters have survived as one of the most potent electronic marketing weapons in a law firm's arsenal, even though everyone seems to be talking about other e-marketing tactics du jour --- blogs, podcasts and news aggregators.  That's because the basic and original e-marketing methods still work:

  • An e-newsletter is still the fastest and most personal way to deliver a marketing message to clients and prospects.

  • They easily show return-on-investment, by measuring number of messages opened, what elements the recipient read and whether the destination address was correct.  Web sites and blogs come close, but can't match this detailed measurability.

  • E-newsletters still take advantage of viral marketing in that they are easily forwarded.

  • They are still the best way to find out exactly who is visiting your Web site.  The Web site log will reveal the machine numbers of visitors, but a newsletter sign-up form on a firm Web site can record the person's name, email address and demographic information.

  • E-newsletters do manage to get through the recipient's firewall, spam filters and technical roadblocks because they come from a trusted source or have been "whitelisted" by recipients to be certain they get the e-mail.

  • They are the most cost-effective form of "push" marketing.  A newsletter that must be printed and mailed not only is more expensive but also takes longer to reproduce and mail.

  • They can offer the colorful beauty and design of Web sites and magazines by using HTML coding.

To be sure, the glory days of colorful HMTL email newsletters is over.  Three years ago a marketer could blast out a newsletter and be assured of a 90% open rate.  But the spammers, criminal hackers, and virus writers put an end to that.  Many people complain about email overload and unwanted messages, which are hurdles that e-newsletters can and do overcome.

Law Office Computing will publish a lengthy article I wrote about the advantages of e-newsletters for law firms.  Keep your eye out for upcoming issues of the magazine.


Tech & Marketing Tips Galore at ABA Meeting

Ross_kodner When I saw the little fan plugged into the USB port of Ross Kodner's laptop, I knew I was at the right place: on the speakers' platform for the program "Technology for the Rest of Us: 2005 Edition" presented on August 5 at the ABA Annual Meeting in ChicagoNerino Petro, who was sitting next to me, wore an atomic wrist watch, so that confirmed I was in techno-heaven.

We delivered as many tech and marketing tips as we could in 90 minutes.  My fellow panelists were: Ross Kodner of MicroLaw in Milwaukee; David Bilinsky, Esq., Law Practice Management Advisor, Law Society of British Columbia in Vancouver; Jim Calloway, Esq., Law Practice Management Advisor, Oklahoma Bar Association; Debbie Foster, President of Intouch Business Consultants in Tampa, Florida; Tom O'Connor, Director, Legal Electronic Documents Institute, Seattle, Washington; and Nerino Petro, Jr., President of Cencom in Loves Park, Illinois.  Here are the best:

  • Best office PC to buy today: Speed: 2.8 to 3.4ghz Pentium 4 or Athlon 64 Series; RAM: 1 GB (inexpensive!), Monitors: 17" or 19" LCD flat panel, CD-ROM: CD-Writer/DVD reader , Hard Drive: 40/80 GB if LAN station, 120-300 GB if standalone system, Operating System: Windows XP Pro (no Windows XP Home - Mac is possible too!), Price: $900-$1500, Brand: Whatever works for you!  Generic PCs have no price advantage any longer.
  • "All-in-One" office Printers: Laser printer (black & white) is better than color inkjet for office use and much less costly to operate; RAM: 64 Mb preferred (more is better); Speed: At least 15 pages per minute (faster is better!); Networking: If not shared, USB 2.0 connection is best.  If shared, Internal or External 10/100 Ethernet print server (preferably same brand as the printer; Faxing:  Don't considers these PC fax units - they don't work well in that role; Scanning:  Get an automatic feeder and also look at included software to see if PaperPort and/or text recognition software is included; Copying: Consider it a "backup" to your main copiers; Brand:  HP or Brother are safest choices; Model Suggestions:  HP Laserjet 3380, Brother MFC-9800; Price:  $550-$700 without 2nd paper tray or networking.
  • Listserv_footerlogoSubscribe to the LawMarketing Listserv at  This online email discussion group lets you get answers to marketing questions from experts.  It operates 24 hours a day and is independent of any trade association.  You'll get news accounts of marketing conferences, and invitations to write articles and review books.
  • Handheld wireless PDAs: Types: Blackberry, Smartphones (Palm), Smartphones (Pocket PC); Differences: Blackberry syncs with Outlook, but to check more than e-mail, you need the Blackberry Enterprise Server software and Exchange Server, Real-time always on email. Palm Smartphones - 100% Palm devices - maximum syncability with legal apps - real-time email with software like SnapperMail. Pocket PC Smartphones sync with Outlook and Microsoft apps primarily -more limited when it comes to legal apps like case managers.
  • Digital camera: Point-and-Shoot models are quite adequate. Resolution: At least 4 megapixels - 5 or 6 is better if budget permits. Digital Film Type:  SD cards are the overwhelming standard today -and the least costly to purchase - get 512 Mb (under $100); be sure to get an SD Digital Film reader for a PC in your office for easiest photo transfers ($15-$40). Battery:  Lithium-ion rechargeable is good, but you want AA or AAA capability as well for emergencies. Docking:  "One Touch" docking units for simplifying photo transfer make sense, but SD card readers are easier to use. Brands:  Kodak, Nikon, Canon, Panasonic (Sony uses less standard Memory Sticks for digital film, Fujitsu and Olympus use odd WxD cards). Price:  $250-$600.
  • AppleGet a Macintosh computer.  They are not subject to hacking, viruses and spyware.  Apple doesn't even offer programs for them, becuase they are not an issue for Macs.  The ranks of Mac-using lawyers are steadily increasing. For Mac lawyers, their systems are their "secret weapons," allowing them to spend more time practicing law and less time babysitting uncooperative technology.Today, with 100% file compatibility and Virtual PC 7 from Microsoft to run Windows applications, Macs can make real economic and functional sense for lawyers, especially in smaller practices. The Mac Mini is a perfect example of a low-cost network station - from $499.  Powerbooks could be the ultimate Legal Road Warrior platform. So explore, subscribe to MacLaw and MacAttorney and consider making the switch at
  • Convert long Web addresses into short ones with Use Are you sick of posting long URLs in emails only to have it break when sent causing the recipient to have to cut and paste it back together? Then use TinyUrl. This Web site will create a tiny URL that will not break in email postings and never expires. 
  • Get client feedback without paying client feedback without paying big bucks. 

    Go to and set up online survey questionnaires on the fly with Zoomerang.  The annual subscriptioin is $600.
  • Lawmarketing_avantgo_channel_2 Get free fonts and Powerpoint templates at You can enhance your presentations by getting icons, bullets, dingbats, business quotations and some very useful tips and tricks about design and more at Brainybetty. You can also take the advanced graphics tutorial here and learn how to make your own special templates or learn about using PowerPoint with Macromedia Breeze here.
  • Start an Avantgo Channel.  You can broadcast Web content -- such as news, weather, sports, entertainment and law firm sites, that you can read on your PDA, Blackberry or Palm device.  There are 7 million subscribers to  As a channel content provider you can break throughthe clutter.  There are 2,500 content offerings, but only 1 for law.  The typical AvantGo reader is an executive with income of $75,000+, a health care professional, an IT professional or a sales representative.
  • Broadcast a Web Seminar. You attended Webinars, now you can give added value to your clients, increase contact with them and get more exposure for your firm.  Emailing invitations to your Webinar helps expand your mailing list.  Everyone benefits because everyone saves travel expenses and time with a Webinar.  Attendees can ask live questions during the broadcast, increasing the live quality of the proram.  You can record them for later playback and Webinars are now Cheap: $400 for 90 minutes.
  • Use a business card scanner. It will help eliminate the thick wad of business cards you bring back from conferences by scanning them directly into Outlook fields.  You can also retrieve your information on the Web on  The scanner allows you to add meetings notes and personal details and sync with your PDA. The Cardscan Personal is USB Powered, needs no power cord and costs only $149.

One Lawyer Per Billion in Revenue

This just in from Patrick Lamb's blog: What is Up with the Auto Industry?

Corporate Legal Times reports on the 200 largest legal departments.  At the end of the report is a breakdown by industry of the number of attorneys in a company per billion dollars in revenue.  For example, in the Aerospace and Defense category, the listed companies average 4 lawyers per billion dollars in revenue.  Here are some others:

          Commercial Banks                   6 lawyers

           Forest and Paper Products       4

           Pharmaceuticals                      6

            Tobacco                                 3

             Industrial Manufacturing        3

             Automobile                          1

One lawyer per billion dollars!  Far and away the worst ratio in the group.   What is going on with the auto industry? 


Pat, I couldn't agree more.  No wonder Detroit is in the doldrums -- they are are underlawyered!  Compare this to thriving cities like New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles -- their economies are on fire and they are also ankle-to-neck in lawyers.   The auto industry should be hiring more lawyers, and it's up to us marketers to get them to see the sense in doing so. :)


Using Offline Marketing to Promote Online Medium

Jim_hassett135I was surprised when I opened my snail mail to get a printed flyer promoting a blog -- using 18th century technology to promite the newest online medium.  It came from Jim Hassett, president of The Advertraining Group, Inc.  "How ironic," was my first thought.  "I'll check out his blog now," was my second thought.

It is quite good, and quoted a survey stating that large law firms spend on marketing and business development only "1.1% of gross revenue -- so ridiculously low that I don't even want to talk about it."  I couldn't agree more, Jim.  So I've added Jim's blog to my RSS feeds to which I subscribe in Newsgator.

So the schoolyard prank "made you look!" still works.  You can promote new technology with old technology.  I'm reminded that once again, never forget the basics. They still work.