Those "You've Been Sued. May I Assist You?" Messages Don't Work

law firm marketing, marketing director, junk e-mailAlmost every law firm I know subscribes to a docket alert system that notifies the firm when a company has been sued in their jurisdiction.  As a marketing technique, the firms email the defendant companies informing them that they've been sued and offering to help.

The recipient companies consider this approach to be "ambulance chasing" by the defense bar.

Tonight I was talking with the Senior Counsel and Director of Legal of a Fortune 500 company, and he told me he considered these messages to be junk mail.  "My first reaction is 'I don't know you,'" and then he forwards the email to his current law firm.  The Senior Counsel and his outside law firm joke about how many "hustle" emails they get.

"It's like a stranger saying to me, "Because you are on the New England Patriots, I wanted to notify you that you've been challenged by the New York Giants in the Superbowl in Phoenix, Arizona, in February.  I offer to be your quarterback in the game.  Let me know if you are interested."

The missing element, of course, is that the lawyer notifying the in-house lawyer has no relationship with him.  If you as the lawyer don't have a relationship with the company's lawyers, you have no chance of getting the work. It's not enough that you alerted the company about a problem they were unaware of.

The situation is very different if a lawyer who has spent the time to get to know the in-house counsel, or is recommended by a person the in-house lawyer knows.  In this case, the company will be very receptive to the offer. 

This anecdote illustrates a couple of points.  First, don't make cold-calls; they don't work and the recipient hates to get them.  Second, if you were astute enough to discover a business problem a company has, be sure to take the next step of getting an introduction.


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