Grateful Dead featured in Law Firm Podcast

Jimmy_verner_1 The law firm Verner & Brumley, a 4-lawyer divorce firm in Dallas, has posted a delightful podcast about the firm, featuring music from the Grateful Dead.  Right on, man.

Jimmy Verner is the fella who records all the podcasts.  He prosecutes and defends family law appeals and to assists other attorneys in complex cases and post-judgment matters. He's got a slew of podcasts on his blog "Family Law > News & Views."

The one you really want to hear is the welcome message, which runs 2:11 minutes.  It's at Turn up your speakers!

I played the audio during my presentation on blogs, RSS and podcasts at yesterday's Chicago LMA meeting.  Blogging has now become mainstream in legal marketing, with Chicago firms blogging, like litigator Patrick Lamb at Butler Rubin Saltarelli & Boyd blogging on "In Search of Perfect Client Service," Dennis Crouch (a 30-year old 3rd-year associate!) at McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff and his enormously popular Patently-O Blog, and Jim Pranger, a partner at Chuhak & Tecson blogging at

But podcasting is on the sharp end of the cutting edge. Except for a lil' ole firm in Texas.


Lawyers for Leadership Blog

Marke_beese My friend Mark Beese, the "Marketing Guy" at Holland and Hart in Denver, the leading law firm in the Rocky Mountain West (, has started the Leadership for Lawyers blog. "I'm interested in how to help lawyers become better leaders," he says with simplicity.

Mark is a frequent speaker and author on law firm leadership, marketing, creativity and organizational development, and is the former Marketing Director of Hodgson Russ and former Marketing Director of Kideney Architects.

His recent posts have included:

  • Lexthink
  • Game Theory, part 1
  • CRM Critical for Law Firms
  • Interview with Jeff Potter, CEO, Frontier Airlines
  • The MLF 50
  • Key Client Programs
  • Blawgosphere
  • Levine on Leadership
  • Immoral Marketing
  • Mind Mapping

You'll find his story on "Immoral Marketing and Key Client Programs" interesting.  It's full of full of violence, sex and intrigue.


Come to BlawgThink 2005

Come to Chicago to join leading legal bloggers on November 11 and 12 for BlawgThink 2005: a bold new approach to learning about legal blogging. The organizer is my friend Matt Homann, a lawyer, blogger and futurist.  He writes the excellent blog, the [non]billable hour.

This first of its kind two-day event brings together the largest group of legal bloggers ever assembled for two days of education, innovation, fellowship and fun.

The first day of BlawgThink will feature structured educational sessions led by top legal bloggers covering basic and advanced topics, including blogging how-to, blogging tools, marketing tips, content strategies, RSS and ethics. Each session will have ample time for questions, demonstrations, and hands-on practice.

The second day of BlawgThink, in true LexThink! fashion, belongs to you. Though we'll have some planned activities, much of the agenda will be determined by the attendees. By combining collaborative brainstorming techniques with small group discussion groups, we'll give you an unparalleled opportunity to meet, learn from, and interact with the best and most innovative legal bloggers in the country. 

You bring your ideas, enthusiasm, and creative energy and we'll all come up with cool ideas to improve your blog, increase your blogging "ROI" and change the legal blogging landscape.


The Seven Megatrends of Professional Services

Ross_dawson_1There are seven megatrends that are transforming professional services firms.  According to futurist and author Ross Dawson, CEO of Advanced Human Technologies in San Francisco, they include:

  1. Growing client sophistication.  This creates pressure from them to reduce professional firm fees.
  2. A focus on governance.  Sarbanes-Oxley, for example, specifically legislates how audit firms can work with their clients.
  3. Connectivity. Thanks to Blackberrys, mobile phones and instant messaging, clients expect faster responses and more informal interactive communication.
  4. Transparency.  Clients want to see what is happening while their professionals are at work and how they are doing it.
  5. Modularization. Professional services must be "unbundled," or broken down into their components.  This allows clients to choose which elements they prefer to do themselves.
  6. Globalization.  Clients are outsourcing professional work overseas to cheaper providers, and clients also expect services to be delivered globally.
  7. Commoditization. Clients believe that professionals have equivalent expertise, and as a result bid out work so that professional firms must compete on price.

Dawson says the most important megatrend is the swift advance of technology.  "The challenge for professional firms today is both to implement technologies that give them great flexibility in their business operations, and to ... create extraordinary business success."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For example, Ernst & Young has a suite of online services to help clients manage risk, including a board governance tool that identifies and analyzes risks.  The U.K. law firm Pinsent Mason offers software to determine whether a case that is worth the cost of litigation. Baker Botts has created an online club for clients, the Texas Energy Project, centered on a firm extranet.

The Seven Megatrends white paper can be downloaded at for free.


New and Improved Podcast

I got constructive comments about the podcast I published yesterday:
  • I shouldn't use an announcer to read my text.  People want the real deal, and I'll do the talking in my own podcasts from now on.
  • The podcast covered too much.  It identified 10 points and ran for 11 minutes, which is too long for most people to sit through.  In the future I'll limit the length to 3 minutes, and perhaps cover one point at a time in a podcast.
  • The announcer spoke too fast.  He had perfect diction and was an excellent reader, but needed to slow down and include some pauses.  This will allow listeners to take in the points and reflect on what was said.

Podcasts are like radio shows and must contain an element of entertainment.  To that end eLawMarketing re-created the podcasst with a Flash presentation that matches the text.

Click on the link and tell me what you think:

Wait a few seconds for the Flash file to load and then click the play button.

The firm that set up my podcast is eLawMarketing. They are really good at creating podcasts and I recommend them to any law, accounting or consulting firm that wants a dynamic new way to market firm experts. Check them out at:


Podcast: Top Marketing Mistakes That Law Firms Make

Today I present my first podcast, through the help of eLawMarketing. Click on the Pointer arrow graphic below to hear the most common ways that law firms mess up marketing. The list includes hiring a marketing director without defining the job. Or setting up an expensive Web site without listing the industries that the firm serves.

In this podcast we'll run through the top 10 marketing mistakes that law firms make that stand out time and time again. (Wait 5 seconds for the sound to begin and you'll hear the narrator.)

Please give me your opinion of this podcast -- email me at  I'm open to constructive criticism.

The firm that set up my podcast is eLawMarketing. It was a pleasure - within minutes my broadcast was online and posted to my blog - eLawMarketing now offers podcasting services to law firms and individual attorneys - check them out at:


2006 Lawyer Salary Guide

Dollarsign100 The Law is still a great profession worth joining, according to the Robert Half Legal staffing service, especially when it comes to the money.  The average salary for a lawyer in private practice with 4-9+ years' experience is $118,000-$184,250 at a large law firm. (Based on my own knowledge of the top 100 firms, the average salary can be as high as $500,000+).

Based in Menlo Park, CA, the recruiting firm has published a 2006 Lawyer Salary Guide for the U.S. that's free for the asking. Several hiring and management trends are listed as well:

  • "In their roles as advisors, lawyers are becoming more adept at helping their clients address business and legal matters.  In many instances this has led to the creation of additional practice areas and specialties for firms."
  • " Traditional attorney roles are evolving.  Not only are lawyers serving as legal counselors, they are also addressing a clients or company's larger business goals and objectives.  Law firms are requiring attorneys to become familiar with the activities and capabilities of all practice groups -- not just their own -- to better serve clients and generate cross-selling opportunities."

See the LegalMarketing Blog for all the details at


E-Newsletter Basics Still Work

Newsboy Kevin O'Keefe, whom I admire and respect, has raised doubts about my Oct. 4 post "Who Says E-Newsletters Don't Work?" Kevin, for one, apparently thinks they don't work.

Kevin's comments are marked in brackets.

>>Larry, I am surprised you would inflate the open rate on your email newsletters as a way to show their effectiveness. <<

I didn't "inflate" the open rate on the newsletter. I just reported what the counter code recorded. I would have no reason to exaggerate my stats.  That would be dishonest.

>>Open rates for email newsletters can be bogus. The open rate is generally tracked through the use of a tiny invisible graphic that sits on the publisher's server. When a recipient opens the publisher's email, the tiny invisible graphic is downloaded, and each download is detected and marked as an open.<<

The hidden counter code in the Professional Marketing e-newsletter is actually contained on a Web page -- so that a recipient must actually click on a link, taking them to the Web page, before the visit is counted. It is very common for people to forward my e-newsletter, otherwise why would there be more unique visitors than I have subscribers? The total visits are even higher, because after people read one article, they click on a second link on the Web page to read another article.<<

>>Email recipients generally use use the preview feature of their email client. In preview mode, the email will go ahead and grab the invisible tracking graphic and therefore register as having been "opened." The recipient, however, might never have really opened your email, or even glanced at it. The same thing happens when the email newsletter is forwarded.<<

I doubt that the open rates are bogus. Most people have the preview feature of their email turned off as a security measure, because they don't want to inadvertently accept a virus. Based on the responses I get to the newsletter, I'm certain that the numbers are genuine.

>>Email newsletters still play some role in law firm marketing but their role is declining. Large firms using blogs & RSS say the blogs cost less and are having far greater impact than their previous email newsletters.<<

To the contrary, there are articles that say that email newsletters are better than blogs as a marketing technique. See "Why Ezines Still Beat Blogs" dated June 6, 2005 by Christopher Knight at .

>>...when was the last time you saw people writing articles on the net referencing someones newsletters?<<

This month's cover story of Law Office Computing is "Read All About It - Effective e-newsletters take  the marketing lead." So e-newsletters are still a hot topic.  Besides, I still use Listserv technology, one of the oldest communications tools on the Internet, and it is incredibly effective. Just because tool isn't new doesn't mean it doesn't work. Often, just doing the basics is the best approach.


Learn your "share of wallet" of your clients

WalletLexisNexis® has upgraded its online research and business intelligence service, LexisNexis Market Intelligence, so you can tell how much of your client's business your firm has.

Market Intelligence was introduced in February, according to Mike Walsh, senior vice president of large law and national law at LexisNexis. LexisNexis Market Intelligence is introducing a new Client Share tab that provides marketers with a quick analysis of the firm's "share of a client's business." It pinpoints which firms have the remaining share and provides a tool to monitor client share over time to help assess the ROI of marketing efforts.

"In today's fast-changing legal environment, marketers need to understand how their firms stack up against the competition and the ROI resulting from their client development initiatives," said Walsh.  "Market Intelligence's new Client Share tab delivers this competitive intelligence in seconds instead of the hours, days or even weeks it would otherwise take to obtain."

LexisNexis has a complicated pricing structure, but marketing director friends of mine have told me the company charges $5,000 a seat per month for Market Intelligence. However, a company spokesman says that this information is incorrect and that the company doesn't discuss pricing with the media.

LexisNexis Market Intelligence provides dossiers on more than 35 million public and private companies and 1,200 industries as well as news from leading sources that, as of today, include The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Dow Jones and Reuters newswires and other news content from Factiva, a Dow Jones & Reuters Company. For more information go to:


Who Says E-Newsletters Don't Work?

There's a widespread and mistaken belief that e-mail newsletters don't work any more. Doubters say that spam filters have rendered them ineffective. Don't you believe it.

On Wednesday I'll publish the October 5, 2005 Professional Marketing Newsletter to 4,100 opt-in subscribers. Sure, some of the newsletters will get blocked by SpamAssassin or Postini. Others will go out to bad email addresses. But I'll still get more readers than I have subscribers.

How is this possible? On August 23 I broadcast out 4,100 newsletters. A counter I put in the code showed it was read by 5,904 readers. It's the magic of forwarding -- the passalong rate. 

I made this point in this month's cover story of Law Office Computing, "Read All About It - Effective e-newsletters take  the marketing lead ."  If you're a subscriber and have this month's password, just Read All About It to read the article,

E-newsletters still work and often are superior marketing and value-added vehicles because:

  • An e-newsletter still is the fastest and most personal way to deliver a marketing message to clients and prospects.
  • 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 produce and mail.
  • They easily show return on investment by measuring the number of messages opened, what elements the recipient read and whether the destination address was correct. Web sites and blog traffic reports come close, but can't match this detailed measurability.
  • Corporate general counsel list e-newsletters as one of the top 10 things they want to see on a law firm Web site, according to TouchPoint Metrics of San Rafael, Calif.
  • E-newsletters still take advantage of viral marketing in that they are easy to forward. The Professional Marketing e-Newsletter (which I publish) has an open rate of 126 percent, meaning more people read it than actually subscribe to it because it's passed along to others.
  • E-newsletters are the best way to find out exactly who visits your Web site. The Web site log will reveal the Internet Protocol addresses of visitors, but a newsletter sign-up form on a firm Web site can capture the person's name, e-mail address and demographic information.
  • By following best practices, e-newsletters manage to get through the recipients' firewalls, spam filters and technical roadblocks because they come from a trusted source or have been whitelisted by recipients.
  • E-newsletters offer the colorful beauty and design of Web sites and magazines by using HTML coding.

Don't Blog About the Office

Dilbert2_2If you're thinking about blogging about what's going on in the office, post this Dilbert cartoon on the edge of your screen. Unless the firm has a blogging policy and you're complying with it, you are risking your livelihood.

I'm reminded of the term DOOCED, which means to lose one's job because of one's blog. The term was coined when Heather Armstrong, a Web designer in L.A. ( blogged about the firm's holiday party. She recounted what intoxicated people said, called one co-worker "Supher Human Puker," and made a comment about the Asian database administrator who had passed out."

She got Dooced.