Marketing Angle: Your Firm Knows E-Discovery

The courts have created a marketing opportunity for law firms with the promulgation of new guidelines for e-discovery.  Firms that have an expertise in electronically stored information have a new marketing angle, in presenting themselves as experts in this hot new area of law.

Electronic discovery is the factor that will have the greatest impact on the practice of law over the next five years, according to a survey of 300 lawyers by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing firm.  (For more on the survey click the Continue Reading... link below for a news article about the survey.)

The survey results reflect the reality that e-discovery has changed the way law is practiced. If you're looking for a smoking gun, it's going to be in someone's e-mail at a defendant company.  In the old days, you'd get boxes of papers in discovery.  Today you get a CD with millions of emails and documents -- and lawyers have to find the 1% of content that is relevant.

Two top Google search results include law firms that have put teriffic information online:

  • Jones Day, which has a 12-page PDF article online. The site announces that its laweyrs are "leading scholars in the field of e-discovery. "
  • KL Gates offers a whole webiste at that includes case summaries, e-discovery case database, events, federal rules amendments, news & updates, resources and archives
Continue Reading...

Wolf Greenfield Deals Humor to Market IP Law

There must be something in the River Charles that gives one Boston law firm a great sense of humor. Wolf Greenfield, a larger-than-life 75-lawyer intellectual property firm, has dealt a deck of holiday cards -- hilarious branded playing cards.

The deck includes their greatest hits of Christmas past including their Mad magazine fold-in card, patent bar (of candy), "Better Patents and Trademarks" magazine, gingerbread house, Advent card and advertising campaigns ("wicked smart" and "Smarts Illustrated").

The cards feature joke patents for crazy items like an alarm fork, all terrain stroller, pet petter, neck fanny pack, jet propulsion golf club, electro fishing (standing in water with a battery powered electric pole), and U.S. Patent No. 6,826,983: a light bulb changer with hundreds of moving parts.

You know the firm has a sense of humor when the Joker card features shareholders David Wolf in a Three Stooges pose with George L. Greenfield.

Sally Crocker, one-time stand-up comedienne and Director of Client Services, and her marketing team are lucky indeed to work for an inventive firm like Wolf Greenfield.  Known for her tagline, "only the cops call me Sara," she has an innate skill to create legal holiday cheer. 

The world, filled with ultra-serious legal marketing, would be a duller place without the firm's unique and festive marketing. Long may you run.





First Annual WTH ("What The Hell?") Bad Christmas Card Awards

Blogger Peter Darling has launched the First Annual WTH ("What The Hell?")  awards at his blog, Business Development.

2nd Prize
The runner-up is an intellectual property partner at a large, very prominent firm in Silicon Valley who sent him a holiday card that he did not sign. Instead, he had his secretary rubber-stamp his name at the bottom. "It wasn't even straight. Nothing conveys sincere wishes for a peaceful, happy holiday season like a Christmas card that looks like an internal California DMV memo," Darling writes.

Grand Prize
Darling received a holiday card from a very large law firm in the Midwest. They didn't sign the card. "But these guys did something extraordinary on top of it. I did a small consulting project for them, and as I sometimes do, because I like to eat, I sent them a bill. Which they just ... ignored. Yup, they just plain stiffed me. And then they sent me a Christmas card." 


Calloway and Nelson Podcasts Offer Marketing Advice

Check out the new collection of podcasts by Sharon D. Nelson and Jim Calloway, which includes Electronic Marketing: Harnessing the Web's Whizbang. It includes the following points about how lawyers can use the internet to market their law practice:

  1. Put your marketing plan in writing.
  2. On your intake form, ask if the new client visited your website.
  3. The old ways of marketing, including newspaper ads and yellow pages ads, are not working as well any more. Everything is online nowadays.
  4. Content is still king on websites -- not Flash, graphics and style.
  5. Reserve the .com, .net and .org versions of your domain names.
  6. A Flash introduction takes up a lot of bandwidth and blocks search engines from indexing your site.
  7. 2/3 to 3/4 of clients use Google to find their lawyer.

The Digital Edge is produced by the American Bar Association's Law Practice Management Section, and lists useful resources (including the blog you are reading now), blog hosting resources, blog content management and podcast resources.

Jim Calloway's Oklahoma accent is wonderful to listen to.  He is the Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association Management Assistance Program. Sharon Nelson is the President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., a computer forensics and legal technology corporation based in Fairfax, VA.  She was chair of ABA Techshow in 2006, a year after Jim.


Vote for This Blog

Larry Bodine blog, law firm marketingEditors of the ABA Journal selected the LawMarketing Blog as one of the top 100 best websites for lawyers.

Now lawyers are being asked to vote on their favorites in each of the Blawg 100’s 12 categories. To vote, go to  Voting ends Jan. 2, 2008.

Launched in 2002, the LawMarketing Blog has 600+ entries. It has 400+ comments and attracts thousands of unique visitors per month. The blog aims to help law firms get more clients and generate more revenue.

"Our list of the 100 best lawyer blogs is the cream of the crop from our directory of more than 1,500 blawgs," said Edward A. Adams, the Journal’s editor and publisher.  If you agree, please vote for this blog.


E-Newsletters Have Many Advantages

Electronic newsletters are a must for any marketer's toolbox, according to Lisa G. Meyer, the director of marketing and client relations at the New England law firm Preti Flaherty.

"They offer fast, direct communication with clients, prospects and customers. They are easy to forward, and can have a viral effect. They're interactive and can bring clients/customers directly to your Web site. They also reinforce your brand; a regular schedule of communication keeps your name in front of your audience," she says in her article, "E-marketing an attractive opportunity."

Advantages include:
  • They are trackable. Some programs allow you to see who is opening the e-mail and clicking through to your Web site. "Our read rates have consistently increased as we have regularly sent e-newsletters containing valuable content," she says.
  • They are cost-effective, allowing you to save on direct mailing, printing and production costs.
  • They offer fast, direct communication with clients, prospects and customers.
  • They are easy to forward, and can have a viral effect.
  • They're interactive and can bring clients/customers directly to your Web site.
  • They also reinforce your brand; a regular schedule of communication keeps your name in front of your audience.

Check out her list of tips at myMaineToday.


Historic Inventors Gather on Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds Holiday Card

You know the holiday card is from Hamilton Brook Smith Reynold, the intellectual property law firm in Concord, MA, when you see Thomas Edison serving the turkey with Mmm. Marie Curie.

The card also includes jokes about eight famous inventors. It refers to Edison's "unfortunate failures including the remote control turkey baster and the electric gravy delumpifier."  How does Marketing Director Audra Callanan  come up with this stuff? How does she get the partners to go for it?

The card shows the inventors sitting at a table lit by bunsen burners and graced with a fresh "pi."  See if you can match the caricatures with the following inventors (answers set out at bottom of post):

1. Thomas Edison (1847-1931)

Having obtained over 1500 patents, Edison's successes include the first commercially available x-ray machine, the incandescent light bulb, and the phonograph. Unfortunate failures include the remote control turkey baster and the electric gravy delumpifier. *

2. Mme. Marie Curie (1867-1934)

A pioneer in the field of radioactivity, Mme. Curie was the first female professor at the University of Paris, first twice-honored Nobel laureate, and the discoverer of Polonium which she named for her native Poland. Equally skilled in the laboratory and the kitchen, Mme. Curie was a renowned chef and is credited with inventing the Asian-influenced turkey seasoning now known as Curie Powder.*

3. Hedy Lemarr (1914-2000)

Considered "Hollywood's most beautiful woman" in the 1940's, this Austrian-born starlet learned about the interference of wartime communication during dinner conversation as atrophy wife to a powerful Hitler ally. Lemarr put her knowledge to work as co-inventor of U.S. Patent No. 2,292,387, a radio frequency technology which served as the basis for foxes, cellular phones, and other wireless communications used today.

Continue Reading...

Again, Cancel Your Yellow Pages Ad

"If you are not getting a solid ROI from your Yellow Page spend, cut back! If you’re not investing in search engine optimization for your law firm, you need to wake up! It’s the year 2007, Rip Van Winkle. People use the Internet to find lawyers," says the ilawyermarketing blog.

I totally agree. I've been telling lawyers to cancel their yellow pages ad all year. Google is the only directory to bother with.

The ilawyermarketing blog is written by Internet Lawyer Marketing, an Internet marketing company.

"If you’re advertising on the Yellow Pages, the Internet, TV or Radio (or any other form of avertising), do you know what sources are generating leads for your law firm? If you’re like most law firms the answer is “NO," the blog states.  The solution is to put a unique phone number in your advertising and track the calls made to it.

"Many attorneys are still heavy believers in the yellow pages but the amount of people that use the yellow pages has steadily declined over the past few years. Today, over 70% of Americans use the Internet. When it comes to making important decisions (like choosing a lawyer), you can bet that most people will use the Internet to help them choose which lawyer to call."

Top Four Reasons to use Presentations as a Marketing Tool

Joseph Sommerville, law firm marketingLawyers should utilize speaking engagements as a subtle form of marketing, according to marketing consultant Joseph Sommerville. By making in-house presentations and teaching educational classes you will definitely obtain new clients.

Did you ever wonder what your most effective business development tool is? Stand in front of the nearest mirror to find out. No one can sell you or your practice better than you. Today, many law practices are reaping the benefits of developing active speaker programs and expanding their public relations objectives through speaking engagements.

Whether you realize it or not, you’re already presenting yourself and your practice on a daily basis by speaking at meetings, client presentations, community groups, bar functions and seminars. Presentations are a sophisticated form of marketing and they are particularly suited to marketing legal services. They often result in generating new clients while providing increased awareness of the firm and its specialty areas.

Here are the top four reasons to use presentations as a marketing tool...

For the rest of the story, visit the LawMarketing Portal at


New: Despicable Lawyer Magazine

Despicable Lawyer, law firm marketingThe new magazine Despicable Lawyer has been launched, depicting David Gotlieb, a partner at Parsinen Kaplan Rosberg + Gotlieb in Minneapolis, on the cover. Click to see the full-size cover.

If you look closely, you'll see that the title is preceded with "Not Just Another."  And the law firm itself published the 34-page magazine.

The 28 lawyers at the firm "are well aware of the general public's perception of the distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the bar." And by way of their client communication for the holidays, they address the issue head-on. In its magazine, PKR+G poses the question: perception or reality? "The reader is left to decide just how despicable lawyers -- at least PKR+G lawyers -- really are," the firm says in an announcement.

Inside are highlights of pro bono activities by firm personnel:

  • "Work + Play = Howard Rubin" -- about the lawyer's work with the Alzheimer's Association.
  • "Unlikely Alliance with a Cow" -- about secretary Deb Tanner's church mission trip to Guatemala.
  • "Connections That Make the World Smaller" -- a briefing by the Global Citizens Network.
  • "The Sensitive Side of Steve Katz" -- about his travel to Kenya with his family.
  • A center spread with photos of firm personnel who were givers, connected by lines to pictures of people who are receivers.

PKR+G's annual tradition is to connect with its clients via a unique communications vehicle -- a favorite gift catalog, a lifestyle magazine, or a newly launched web site that showcases the personal side of attorneys and staff.

"We don't think of ourselves as money-grabbing, conflict-instigating lawyers, which is a common public perception," Rubin said. The goal of the publication is to connect with clients on a more meaningful level. "We don't have a problem with revealing who we are as human beings," he said. "Clients want a relationship with real people. So here we are, warts and all."

Kudos to PKR+G for their superb marketing and for making the world a better place.


12 Steps for Law Firm Marketers

Law firm marketers are a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problems and help others to recover from frustration. Many thanks to Bruce Allen, author of the Marketing Catalyst blog, for posting this sage advice:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over all people/principles/partners — that our work-days had become an unmanageable struggle to control or fight even when reason is not present.
  2. We came to believe in our knowledge of marketing and a belief in ourselves that could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to return our will and our lives to what we believe we are capable of accomplishing without giving in to our inner voice of fear in face of external challenges.
  4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of our real capabilities as marketers and our ability to deal with differing opinions.
  5. Admitted to ourselves, and to another marketing professional the exact nature of our weakness.
  6. Were entirely ready to seek mentoring and training to improve our skills or capabilities.
  7. Humbly ask for help when we cannot be our own resource.
  8. Made a list of all persons we have struggled with by standing on principle and habit, and became willing to work with them with self-empowered energy and understanding.
  9. Made direct diplomatic effort with such people wherever possible, except when to do so would be incorrect or without benefit to either party (when future actions are more effective).
  10. Continued to take a personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through self-improvement and mentoring to increase our understanding of sound marketing and business capabilities.
  12. Having had an awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other marketers, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

How Associates Become Rainmakers

Monica Goebel, law firm marketingThere is no single right way for becoming a rainmaker, according to marketing consultant Monica Goebel. Successful rainmakers draw on their own personal strengths. Associates seeking to make the transition from worker bee to rainmaker must identify their own unique skills, cultivate relationships and write personal business development plans.

By the time most law firm associates have reached the senior level (six to nine years out of law school), they have developed the technical skills and proficiency necessary to be good lawyers. The associates who are able to use these qualities to bring in new business, as opposed to simply completing the work assigned by partners, are much more likely to become partners themselves one day. So, how does one make the transition?

Business development usually revolves around expertise/track record, interpersonal relationships or a combination of the two. An attorney with a highly specialized, hard-to-find expertise (such as enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) or a highly publicized record of success in a unique area (such as defending chief executive officers in white-collar crime litigation) will receive new business without spending much time developing interpersonal relationships. On the other hand, an attorney with a general commercial litigation background will need to diligently pursue and manage relationships with clients and referral sources to develop a steady stream of business.

There is no single right way or magic formula for becoming a rainmaker. Successful rainmakers draw on their own personal strengths. It follows, then, that associates seeking to make the transition from worker bee to rainmaker must identify and capitalize on their own unique skills and assets to create a business development plan. Of course, all associate marketing efforts should be consistent with the goals and plans for the firm or practice group.

Creating a niche

A senior associate who does not already have a niche should create one -- and update marketing materials to reflect it. In some situations...

For the rest of the story, visit the LawMarketing Portal at


Want a $500,000 Job? Big Law Firms are Desperate to Hire CMOs

According to the December issue of the American Lawyer, Am Law 200 firms like Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Morrison & Foerster; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal; Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll; and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan are all in the market for a CMO.

"The chief marketing officer market is hotter than it's ever been," Sonnenschein chairman Elliott Portnoy told AmLaw. He may be one of the lucky ones, expecting to announce a new marketing chief this month after a five-month search. Firms such as MoFo have been looking for almost a year to no avail. "We're picky, and we're looking for the perfect candidate," says Morrison & Foerster chair Keith Wetmore.

Today the job encompasses branding, client targeting, competitive analysis, and strategic business development. Fifty-seven Am Law 100 firms now have CMOs, compared to 40 in 2005, according to Wisnik Career Enterprises, Inc.

But the supply of marketing professionals with legal experience hasn't kept up, say consultants and headhunters. "There aren't enough people to go around," says Jennifer Johnson, a vice president of recruitment and strategy at Wisnik. "Those 40 people didn't just multiply." The upshot: high turnover and even higher pay packages. The average tenure of a law firm CMO is three years, and Am Law 100 firms can find themselves offering upward of $500,000 to attract top-level candidates. 

As partners and CMOs report, both sides frequently harbor unrealistic expectations that are only fueled by the outsize pay packages. "The biggest challenge is earning the respect and credibility of the lawyers for yourself and your profession," says Debbie Mandelker, chief marketing officer at Arnold & Porter, who joined from Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.

If you're looking for a CMO job, contact my friend Curtis Linder in Chicago at (312) 236-6400.  He is actively placing such candidates and conducting contingency fee searches.


Tenure Is Short For Legal Marketers

The Hartford Business Journal has a good article, "Like Ad Campaigns, Tenure Is Short For Legal Marketers," on the revolving-door scenario for law firm marketers.

"Turnover is quick for legal marketers. Average tenures are hard to specify, but most marketing professionals say the usual job span is a mere two years. Audra Callanan, president of the New England chapter of the Legal Marketing Association, put the tenure track at between one and two years.

Some examples: "DayPitney marketing officer Roberta Montafia left after little more than two years. Shipman & Goodwin’s marketing chief, Tom Diascro, didn’t even make that mark — and that was after leaving a similar post at Tyler Cooper & Alcorn after less than a year. Robinson & Cole’s long-time marketing queen, Linda O’Connell, also left within the last year."

The problem is that law firms don't know what they want. When I applied for a legal marketing job in 1981, my prospective employer asked me to write out what my job description was. They didn’t know what they wanted — I had to tell them.

The situation is worsened by regular changes in leadership in law firms. As a result, a lot of chief marketing officers go from being a movie star to being deadwood in one day.