Rainmaker Peter H. Klee - Using Unbeatable Results to Generate New Business

Peter H. Klee is the biggest rainmaker at Luce Forward in San Diego, bringing in between $10 - $15 million each year, and his insurance litigation practice continues to grow at a rate of 10 percent per year.  What sets him apart as a 2008 Rainmaker of the Year, in the category of partners who are litigators, is his unbeatable record:  no client represented in court by Peter has ever been found liable for breach of insurance contract, bad faith or any other tort.

“Your work product is your best source of referrals,” Klee said.  “Most of my referrals come from people in the insurance industry referring other people in the industry.  And they refer other people to us.”

His formidable record includes:

  • He and his group have handled more than 1,500 cases over the last 20 years. They treat every single case as a life or death cause that cannot be lost under any circumstances.
  • Rainmaker award, Originate newsletter

    Peter Klee is a winner of the Originate! 2008 Rainmaker of the Year Awards, judged by the Legal Sales & Service Organization (LSSO). To find out about all 5 winners, see the latest issue online at Originate! - the business development newsletter.

    Klee has obtained defense verdicts in more than 500 cases in, including more than 50 cases in the last year alone.
  • He has eliminated 80% of lawsuits filed against his largest client, a major property and casualty insurance company that had been sued in the past nearly 200 times per year.  “We took an insurance company that had been sued repeatedly in southern California.  But now, no one has successfully sued them for 20 years, nobody’s ever gotten a dime.  The plaintiff’s bar made a decision that it just wasn’t worth it,” he said.
  • One-third of his current clients have been the results of client referrals.
  • He has expanded each client account he has worked on significantly from the original scope of work. His client list includes most of the major insurance carriers, including the Allstate Insurance, State Farm, St. Paul-Travelers Ins. Co., and the Automobile Club of Southern California.  His reputation for no losses is especially attractive to large insurance providers.

Building a winning team

“I tell the associates if they come with me, they’ll be in trial within one to two years and they’ll be running their own cases,” he said.  When he hires an associate he encourages them to develop business on their own, but he provides them with all the work they’ll need. “I don’t want the person who is in the legal profession because they can make a lot of money; I want somebody who is passionate about what they do."

See the rest the story for free in the Originate! newsletter at http://www.pbdi.org/Originate/

 

 

Rainmaker Wilton G. McDonald II - Innovating to Build a Practice

Wilton McDonald II had some special challenges in building up a small legal practice. Hired in November 2006 by a small to mid-sized firm in Grand Cayman as a senior associate, he was charged with bringing in his own work and full responsibility for the Investment Funds Department.

He couldn’t rely on a flourishing client base; billable hours for the department in January of 2007 were 43, total. Add to that challenge a clientele which is not local but global, and a daunting set of competing law firms.

Yet he built a successful business for the firm within two years, and positioned himself to surpass his goal of US$ 2 million in annual billings for the Investment Funds Department, winning him the title of Originate! 2008 Rainmaker of the Year in the category for associates. Our judges were impressed by the intelligence and commitment he brought to it, how well he took control of what he did, and how he challenged himself with rigorous goals by which he measured his progress.

Making it Work

Rainmaker award, Originate newsletter, business development, law firm marketing

Wilton McDonald II is a winner of the Originate! 2008 Rainmaker of the Year Awards, judged by the Legal Sales & Service Organization (LSSO). To find out about all 5 winners, see the latest issue online at Originate! - the business development newsletter.

In the face of all this, Mr. McDonald began with the right attitude. He found he had a zest for acting entrepreneurially. When offered the chance to leave a large firm and seize the opportunity to make something big happen, he eagerly did so. He knew he had to work hard at it, but he was open to integrating the getting of business with his practice of law and his daily life.

Even though he had full support from his new partners, and the latitude to set a marketing and work program in place, he knew he had some hard work before him. He admits that most lawyers can find this daunting: “In the profession, a lot of people expect to be given work. That’s like little birds waiting to be fed by the mother bird. But that’s not how it works in a small firm. There especially you have to feed yourself.”

As he set his course, he knew he needed four things to be successful. Let’s look at what he did...

See the rest the story for free in the Originate! newsletter at http://www.pbdi.org/Originate/

Defections & Litigation Dropoff Led to Heller Ehrman Demise

law firm marketing, law marketing firm, attorney marketing, marketing for law firms, law practice management, business development

For an update see the New York Lawyer. (Free registration required).

Heller Ehrman LLP, a 118-year-old San Francisco law firm, is shutting its doors after 118 years. Chairman Matt Larrabee broke the news to the firm's 500-plus employees on Thursday.

The firm's partnership was voting last Friday on dissolving the firm, according to many published reports. The chairman indicated that the vote is likely a formality and that dissolution is imminent.

A vote to halt the business would cap a tumultuous few weeks for the firm. A sharp slowdown in a variety of practice areas led to a recent wave of partner defections and left the firm struggling to find a viable merger partner.

A full dissolution would be a rarity for the world of big law firms, which often stay relatively busy in both up and down markets. Heller, which once employed more than 600 attorneys and ranked as one of the nation's leading litigation firms, has been buffeted in part by the recent market turmoil. It has undertaken costly efforts to build a more robust corporate-transactional practice in New York and other locales. But partly because of a drop in mergers and corporate-finance work because of the credit crunch, it hasn't landed enough deal flow to support those efforts, say lawyers with knowledge of the firm.

As of Sept. 1, the firm had more than 1,200 employees and about 570 lawyers.

Heller's troubles go beyond the current market downturn. The firm had some large litigation matters settle in rapid succession last year, including its defense of two securities-fraud class actions. In total, about one-fourth of its litigation business settled last year -- a huge blow, given that litigation makes up about 60% of the firm's revenue, according to a senior Heller attorney. That revenue, he says, has been hard to make up in what has been a soft litigation market.

Meanwhile, as Heller's profit has sagged, its lawyers increasingly have been poached by competitors with more stable balance sheets. Defections by partners -- called shareholders at Heller -- have led to still more defections, with the majority of lawyers now shopping their résumés, according to attorneys and recruiters with knowledge of the firm. Heller has lost at least 15 shareholders to other firms in the past two weeks, though not all of the attorneys have departed.

Formed in 1890, Heller grew to 14 offices world-wide and developed a reputation for defending big-scale litigation matters on behalf of Microsoft Corp., Visa Inc., and Ernst & Young LLP, among many other companies.

Bruce MacEwen speculates on what went wrong at his Adam Smith blog:

  1. First of all, they should never have absorbed the Venture Law Group. It made no sense. Would it have made sense for VLG to be absorbed by another firm, perhaps Morrison & Foerster or Orrick? Perhaps, and of course we'll never know. But my instinct is that VLG was a sui generis creature that would never really fit within any law firm with a conventional legal industry business model. So Heller may have been ill-advised to take on the VLG group to begin with. Did this kill Heller? Of course not. Was it a strained fit from the beginning? Sure. And strained fits entail costs, economic and intangible.
  2. Second, the Heller story should discredit, if more evidence or argumentation were needed, the notion of term limits for managing partners. Matthew Larrabee is of course the current, and final, managing partner, and Barry Levin was his immediate predecessor. What's wrong with term limits?

 

Rainmaker Lorelei Graham - An Entrepreneur Who Gives Valued Legal Services to Entrepreneurs

Lorelei Graham, rainmaker, law firm marketing, business developmentLorelei Graham is quite clear on what it takes to bring in business: “I don’t believe in the file fairy magically delivering work to my desk. Perhaps some IP attorneys can hit a hot area and mine it for business for a long time. But, I haven’t been that fortunate.

“Since my early days, I have always seen the law as a business. I started out at a small firm. And it was always clear that we had to be thinking about where our future business was coming from – and be out there in the market finding it. Even early in my career, I put a premium on business development.”

Even though she now has joined Miller Thompson, a 450-lawyer firm in Canada, the Originate! 2008 Woman Rainmaker of the Year retains this hunger for business development. She thinks and acts like the entrepreneurial clients that she serves.

Part of this entrepreneurial zeal comes from her family roots. “My parents owned a small manufacturing company when I was growing up. So, I learned the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur at home,” she said.

Rainmaker award, Originate newsletter

Lorelei Graham is a winner of the Originate! 2008 Rainmaker of the Year Awards, judged by the Legal Sales & Service Organization (LSSO). To find out about all 5 winners, see the latest issue online at Originate! - the business development newsletter.

In particular, she learned the value of selling – including persisting in the face of disappointments and continuing to hustle for business. As Lorelei described it, “My father told me that he had to see 10 prospective customers in order to land one. The lessons that I learned at home taught me tenacity, determination and persistence. And these are the qualities that make me effective at business development today.

“I am also an extrovert and not afraid to ask for business. And this has paid off as well. But, I know this is difficult for some women attorneys to become comfortable with.”

In fact, it was this business drive that led Lorelei to go to law school rather than becoming a bio-chemist (her college field of study). But her college training paid off when she decided to focus on intellectual property law as her specialty.

These days she serves large clients, the technology transfer groups in top universities, serial entrepreneurs and wide range of start-ups.

“I basically work with entrepreneurs and inventors – who are not interested in the IP details and legal mumbo jumbo. ...

See the rest the story for free in the Originate! newsletter at http://www.pbdi.org/Originate/

Rainmaker H. Patrick Callahan -- Generating Business Via Relationship Building and Team Play

The winner of the 2008 Rainmaker of the Year award for the category “Partner – Transactions” is H. Patrick Callahan of Baker & Daniels LLP.

The annual Rainmaker awards are sponsored by Originate! - the business development newsletter, and judged by the Legal Sales and Service Organizations (LSSO).

Pat stands out as much for his role in developing the rainmaking capabilities of his colleagues as for his individual business development efforts. He is a person for whom relationships and relationship building are central to his rainmaking. Nor does the commendation for a particular year quite capture what truly has been an ongoing lifetime achievement in serving his clients and his fellow attorneys.

Pat has been individually honored already this year by Indiana Super Lawyers in Mergers and Acquisitions, and by Best Lawyers in America for Corporate Law. However, much like the soccer matches he loves to watch his son play, Pat truly believes that business development is a team sport. His ideal is to gather his colleagues in the same room and make sparks fly by sharing experiences and discussing relationships in order to improve service value to clients.

Rainmaker award, Originate newsletter

H. Patrick Callahan is a winner of the Originate! 2008 Rainmaker of the Year Awards, judged by the Legal Sales & Service Organization (LSSO). To find out about all 5 winners, see the latest issue online at Originate! - the business development newsletter.

In the context of today’s law firm, Pat recognizes that all attorneys need to be involved in keeping existing clients and actively pursuing new ones.  Through his two guiding principles – relationship building and team play – Pat has helped make his firm truly sophisticated in its philosophy of client service and marketing strategy.
 

The Relationship Business: Are You Listening?

Pat sees himself in the relationship business: connecting people, incessantly building trust with clients, and through his mentoring helping other lawyers find their own style in doing the same.

Pat has mastered this effort so well that he appears to be a natural at it. A few years ago, he took Melanie Green, the firm’s new marketing director, to a local restaurant for lunch so they could talk about her new role. Just walking through the restaurant, Pat was greeted by many people he knew from the door to the table.

See the rest the story for free in the Originate! newsletter at http://www.pbdi.org/Originate

When is it time to bring in a law firm marketing expert?

law firm marketing, business development, marketing directorAttention do-it-yourselfers: Why did you go to law school? To be a marketer or to practice law?  I found this great post on the Grow My Law Firm blog:

"Why should I pay somebody to do my law firm’s marketing when I can just do myself?" Well, that’s a good question; and only you can decide:

  • Can you make more money practicing law than doing marketing?
  • Do you enjoy practicing law more than marketing?
  • Is your expertise in marketing or law?
  • What is the most efficient use of your time?
  • What daily activities bring the biggest payoff? Legal work or marketing planning and execution?
  • Are you willing to commit a significant amount of time to keeping abreast of contemporary marketing techniques, tactics and their application strategies?

Without the guidance of a legal marketing professional, do-it-yourself marketing is akin to the people that you shake your head about who have undertaken do-it-yourself legal work. They probably researched online, maybe bought some software, and they feel confident that they’re protecting themselves. But you know better.

Such is most do-it-yourself lawyer marketing. A successful marketing strategy starts with determining your niche and the differentiators that make you unique in your market. It then flows into developing graphics that appeal to the prospects targeted in your positioning work, including the differentiators that your prospects find valuable, and their structured and consistent use in all marketing messages. This is highly specialized work that requires the significant knowledge and discipline acquired by someone who has concentrated their career on it.

Successful marketing is an investment in your practice, not a cost, because it comes back to you in new business. If business is down, and you’ve been handling your own marketing, there is a good chance that your legal practice could greatly benefit from the focus provided by the right professional marketing assistance.

by: Christine Pilch

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Badger State Lawyers Get Clients Using LinkedIn

Michelle Friedman, marketing director, law firm marketingLawyers at the Wisconsin law firms of Davis & Kuelthau and Godfrey & Kahn are generating new business by methodically using LinkedIn, the online social network, according to a report in the Wisconsin Law Journal

In fact, 70 percent of the lawyers at the Milwaukee firm Davis & Kuelthau have joined LinkedIn, at the recommendation of Michelle M. Friedman.  She is director of marketing at the 75-lawyer firm with six offices in Wisconsin. 

One D&K lawyer who took her advice was a partner who was skeptical at first, according to the report. But, he later told her that, in response to two of his e-mails asking clients to connect, not only did they accept his invitation, but also, they contacted him, saying, “I’ve been meaning to get in touch with you about...” Two new matters landed on his plate, with very little effort on his part.

Friedman sees it as one of the newest and most effective tools available to lawyers wishing to build their books of business — for free, from the home, office or anywhere they have a computer and Internet connection, and for a fairly minimal time commitment,

Attorney Thomas N. Shorter, a shareholder in the Madison office of Godfrey & Kahn, recounted similar rainmaking success stories from using LinkedIn. The 190-lawyer firm has 7 offices in Wisconsin, Washington, DC and China.

Shorter says LinkedIn is his homepage. Every time one of his 200 or so connections adds a connection, he is notified of that. If the new connection is someone that Shorter would like to know professionally, he telephones his connection and asks him or her to make an introduction. This has happened a number of times since joining LinkedIn in February, and he’s garnered a number of new cases and clients via this method.

In my experience, LinkedIn has been a very effective and efficient network-building tool, and it can be very useful for attorneys,” Shorter told the Journal. “But it does require some effort on your part, because you have to be actively engaged in it to make the most out of it.”

Like any marketing tool, LinkedIn has its downsides, they agree.  LinkedIn is not exactly intuitive, according to Trout. It took him several hours to become familiar with all its features and refine them for the legal market, to create his presentation.

Shorter additionally advises using caution when deciding with whom you’ll connect. For example, although he has great respect for attorneys whom he considers competitors, as a matter of strategy, he purposely hasn’t asked them to connect, because he doesn’t want them pursuing the same leads.

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Finding a $250K contract on LinkedIn Answers

Steven ShimekLinkedIn has a great case history about how Steven Shimek, Senior Vice President, Ruder Finn PR in Los Angeles used LinkedIn not only to get his job, but to bring in $250,000 in new businesses.  Attorneys and law firm marketers should take note.

His job is to find new business for the company. After using LinkedIn to get hired, he began to began answer questions on-line, which brought in $250,000 in new business.  He carefully selects questions posted on-line on LinkedIn and writes answers that share and showcase the company's abilities.

He says "knowing LinkedIn is a litmus test" for doing business for many customers. See the 1:48 minute video interview at http://blog.linkedin.com/blog/2008/09/finding-a-250k.html.

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Marketer of the Year Brings Big Results to Her Firm

law firm marketing, law marketing firm, attorney marketing, marketing for law firms, law practice management, business developmentMarketer René Stranghoner used an integrated marketing and branding approach resulting in her firm achieving a 28% increase in net revenue for fiscal year 2008, taking the firm to a record $51 million mark. Taking a 360° approach to marketing, Stranghoner simultaneously executed a variety of strategies, all with a common objective – grow the firm and build the brand. Efforts included telemarketing, public relations and direct marketing to name a few.

How did she follow up? By being named the 2008 Marketer of the Year at the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) Conference in San Diego. Judges included professionals in the advertising, public relations, professional services and marketing fields.

“René s thorough understanding of marketing and positioning strategies, her proven track record of successfully launching and expanding niches and service lines, her superior execution of marketing communications and promotion methods, as well as her strategic leadership, have allowed her to take her firm to a new level of growth and prosperity. Today she is recognized as the critical link in the firm’s growth of 162% over the past five years,” said Mitchell Reno, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer of The Rehmann Group.

The basis for 162% growth for firm

With offices in Fort Worth, Dallas and Houston, Texas, Weaver and Tidwell, L.L.P. is recognized as one of the largest certified public accounting firms in America. Practical Accountant magazine ranked the firm as the largest regional accounting firm in the Southwest. Moreover, Inside Public Accounting ranked Weaver and Tidwell among the nation’s Top 100 Accounting Firms.

Read the full story on the LawMarketing Portal at http://www.lawmarketing.com/pages/articles.asp?Action=Article&ArticleCategoryID=58&ArticleID=797.

Learn the Branding Secrets of the Top 100 Firms

Steve HoeftGet competitive intelligence on what the best law firms are doing and learn from their examples with the Legal Brand Blueprint. Business development expert Steve Hoeft shows you how branding can be your most powerful marketing strategy to win new clients. The Legal Brand Blueprint is your instruction manual to develop a competition-killer brand that is illuminating, engaging, and memorable. Click here to learn more.

Your #1 strategy for business development is a remarkable brand.

Legal Brand Blueprint™ will equip you to articulate your brand position and all brand components. You will know the “one thing” that you do better than any other law firm. It will be inspiring. It will be what you stand for. It will mean something to inquiring clients. It will tell someone in five seconds why they should talk to you and then reinforce that impression at every step as you build a relationship.

Legal Brand Blueprint™ sets the standard in branding because:

  1. 50+ World Class Brand examples help you understand “what is great branding?”
  2. 40+ Top 100 Law Firm Brand examples give you competitive intelligence on what the best of the best are doing.
  3. 5 Drill down branding exercises to develop your own brand are simple, powerful and proven for some of the world’s best known brands.

To see the table of contents, click here.

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New York Lawyer Uses Online Video to Attract New Clients

law firm marketing, law marketing firm, attorney marketing, marketing for law firms, law practice management, business developmentFrom the LawMarketing Portal:

“Welcome, and thank you for joining me. My name is Gerry Oginski, and I’m a medical malpractice & personal injury trial lawyer practicing law here in the State of New York.” This is my introduction in every one of my 100 on-line videos.  They have produced:

  • Dozens of clients per year in my practice area.
  • A tremendous number of calls and emails every day from potential clients across the country.
  • More than 50,000 views (that’s not a misprint) and counting.
  • One video alone has been watched over 8,000 times. The title? “Questions Never to Ask at a Deposition.”

In one year alone I have created over 100 free informational videos about how medical malpractice and personal injury cases work in New York. Importantly, I’ve done it all myself. No big website company, no video guy, no tech guy. Just me: a solo practitioner from New York.

Potential clients have come into my office telling me that my videos were so informative they spent days watching every one of them. By the time these people arrive in my office:

  • They know what questions to ask.
  • They know what I need to know in order to prove a medical malpractice case
  • They’ve learned how a malpractice case in New York works.
  • Importantly, they already trust me because they’ve gotten to know me through my informational videos.

Generating half the calls to his office

These informational videos together with my informative website have caused my phone to ring. They create inquiries by email. Currently, I average about three to eight inquiries a day. Having said that, I can tell you that 99% of the inquiries are not meritorious and I do not even invite these people in for an interview. Lawyers who handle medical malpractice cases in New York, and in other states as well, know that there is a very high threshold before you invite a potential client into the office. As a result only 1-2 % of the calls will turn out to be valid cases. In this last year alone, I have noticed that inquiries from my videos and website now comprise more than 50% of all calls to my office. That’s a tremendous increase from 2007.

For the rest of the story by Gerry Oginski, a medical malpractice and personal injury trial lawyer in Great Neck, NY, visit the LawMarketing Portal. His website oginski-law.com  consistently comes up #1 in the organic search results in a Google search for "New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer.” 

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Last Days to Register: Multiply Your Caseload with Commercial Subprime Loan Litigation

Kevin Lacroix, subprime loan litigationSPEAKERS: Kevin M. LaCroix, Esq., Larry Bodine, Esq. and Michael G. Cummings  
PROGRAM DATE: this Friday September 19, 2008

  • 10 AM to 11 AM Pacific Time
  • 11 AM to Noon Mountain Time
  • Noon to 1 PM Central Time
  • 1 PM to 2 PM Eastern Time

LOCATION: on the web, on your computer
MORE INFO: Program Director Laura Kresich; Tel: 773.966.9273 or Lkresich@lawmarketing.com
WEBSITE: http://www.PBDI.org 

Don't delay, register today.

The subprime loan crisis has created a giant wave of commercial litigation that continues to rise, and will surpass the number of cases that grew out of the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s-90s. Not only that, hundreds of cases already filed are swamping a much wider range of defendants in all aspects of the financial services industry.

  • FACT: The federal government put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship on September 8.
  • FACT: 7.33% of all mortgages are in foreclosure or past due, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
  • law firm marketing, business development, marketing directorFACT: An initial investment of $100 in January 2007 in securities backed by subprime products would be worth only $5.46 as of last May 2008, according to NERA economic consulting.

Lawyers who want a large and profitable caseload of litigation that will last for years will get smart about subprime loan litigation now. This webinar is designed to do exactly that: identify the causes of action, the plaintiffs and the defendants -- and show you the business development techniques to amass clients in this historic surge of litigation.

Lawyer Kevin M. LaCroix has been lecturing and writing a blog about subprime loan litigation since it began. Mr. LaCroix has been involved in directors’ and officers’ liability insurance issues for over 25 years. He began his career as a coverage attorney and partner at the Washington, D.C law firm of Ross, Dixon and Bell.

Contact Laura Kresich:  (773) 966-9273  

or email Lkresich@LawMarketing.com
Registration fee: $300
Sign up online at http://www.pbdi.org/pages/cceventform.asp?EventID=200 

Topics covered:

Mr. LaCroix will identify the types of cases lawyers build into a successful practice:

    • Shareholder class action litigation against publicly traded companies, which comprise nearly half of the subprime loan litigation.
    • Securities lawsuits against subprime mortgage lenders, issuers, underwriters, rating agencies, hedge funds, bond insurers and even accounting and law firms.
    • Employee ERISA cases against lenders, management firms, home builders and securities issuers alleging ERISA violations that damaged retirement plans.
    • "Credit crisis" lawsuits involving student lending, corporate debt, construction project financing and balance sheet/investment access.
    • Traditional Notions of what is a “Defense Firm” or “Plaintiff Firm” have been turned on their heads.
    • Novel choices of venue.

    Most cases are only in the earliest stages, and it is still early enough for law firms to catch the wave of the subprime loan litigation. The wave of litigation is spreading, and Mr. LaCroix will identify five new directions the tidal wave will go.  

    "The International Monetary Fund estimates that the credit crisis will cost about $945 billion. The ultimate cost of the crisis [will] certainly will exceed the costs of the last major financial crisis presented by the collapse of the savings and loan industry. This problem began in the subprime mortgage market and then quickly spilled over into other areas of the mortgage industry and the capital markets, culminating in a liquidity and credit crisis that is still unfolding. Unsurprisingly, litigation has been on the rise." -- July 2008 report by NERA Economic Consulting.

    law firm marketing, business development, marketing directorBusiness development experts Michael G. Cummings and will explain how lawyers can capture with profitable legal work.  They will describe:

    • A case study of how a law firm created a "Subprime Task Force" that brought in new clients in only three months.
    • The 4 business development priorities.
    • Capturing subprime litigation from current clients
    • Ways to become a well-known industry expert who attracts business by his or her reputation.
    • Joining organizations meet clients and referral sources.
    • Goal-oriented networking.

    You'll come away from this live online presentation with a collection of eight articles:

    1. “Subprime Litigation: A Glimpse of the Endgame?”
    2. “Credit Crisis Litigation Wave Rolls On”
    3. “Bad Economic Vibe Means More Securities Litigation?”
    4. “Subprime Litigation Players and Trends”
    5. Subprime Investors Sue Rating Agency”
    6. “A Slew of New Subprime Lawsuits”
    7. “The Credit Crunch Effects Yet to Come”
    8. “‘Subprime’ Litigation? More Like Credit Crisis Litigation”

    Don't delay, register today.

    Contact Laura Kresich:  (773) 966-9273 or email Lkresich@LawMarketing.com

    Sign up online at http://www.pbdi.org/pages/cceventform.asp?EventID=200 
    Registration fee: $300
     

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LSSO Launches 2008 Women Lawyers Study

The Legal Sales and Service Organization has launched a new online survey that focuses on the work lives of women lawyers.  This survey is intended to assess the professional experiences and working lives of female attorneys, with specific focus on business development practices and performance.  

Click on the link to take the survey now.

"LSSO pays attention to important issues faced by women lawyers. Our prior study, conducted in 2003, was the first to explore sales and business development issues for women lawyers. It allowed LSSO to identify keys to business development success for them," said Catherine Alman MacDonagh, JD, President & Co Founder of LSSO. 

 

Catherine MacDonagh

"We anticipate that this current study will produce new and valuable insights that empower women lawyers and their firms and organizations, to make positive changes and better decisions," she added.

 

The survey should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Your participation is completely voluntary.  Your responses will be anonymous and are therefore strictly confidential.  

 

If you participate in the study LSSO will sharing the results with you. For more details, contact Catherine at 617.726.1500 and cam@legalsales.org

Five Outstanding Lawyers Win 2008 Rainmaker Of The Year Awards

law firm marketing, law marketing firm, attorney marketing, marketing for law firms, law practice management, business development

Five attorneys who have generated millions of dollars in new business for their law firms won the Originate! 2008 Rainmaker of the Year Awards to honor their outstanding business-development skills.

The winners are profiled in the September 2008 issue of Originate! -- the attorney business development newsletter at http://www.pbdi.org/Originate, to mark its first year of publication. The awards are sponsored by Originate! and nominees were judged by a panel of experts fielded by the Legal Sales and Services Organization (LSSO).

The winners – from Canada, the Cayman Islands and the U.S. -- demonstrated different approaches to business development, from marketing to a specific industry like high tech to concerted relationship building:

  • Partner – Transactions: H. Patrick Callahan, Baker & Daniels in Indianapolis. 
  • Partner – Litigator: Peter H. Klee, Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps in San Diego.
  • Woman Lawyer: Lorelei Graham, Miller Thomson in Ontario, Canada.
  • Small Firm Lawyer: Wilton G. McDonald II, Truman Bodden & Co. in Grand Cayman.
  • Associate: Peter J. Bilfield, Withers Bergman in New York.

“The winners personify the strongest models of effective business development and marketing,” said Originate! Editor Larry Bodine. “We aim to recognize and celebrate those lawyers who’ve put extraordinary thought, initiative and effort into their business-building programs.”

“The judges' job was difficult because we had to pick just one winner in each category, even though all the entrants demonstrated qualities that deserved recognition,” said Catherine Alman MacDonagh, J.D., President and Co-Founder of LSSO. “While a lawyer’s effort certainly was one consideration, those we selected as the best stood out for providing evidence of their clearly measured, tracked and demonstrated results.”

Originate! issued a call for entries in June, and LSSO selected the winners in August. Judges included a distinguished panel including Catherine Alman MacDonagh; Martha Fay Africa, Managing Director of search consultants Major, Lindsey & Africa in San Francisco; and Gabriel Miller, General Counsel of The Law Offices of James Sokolove in Newton, MA.

Rainmaker Awards, Originate, law firm marketingWinners will receive a striking “star” award.

Originate! is a subscription newsletter, but in celebration of its first anniversary, the articles in the September issue are free to all visitors. During September readers can save $50 off the regular price of a full 12 month subscription at http://www.pbdi.org/Originate/special.asp. Contact Larry Bodine at 630.942.0977 for free reprint permission (with conditions).

ABOUT ORIGINATE: Originate! is the premier on-line newsletter for lawyers who are serious about boosting their business development results. Each issue includes articles, tips and tactics on generating new clients and revenue, written by experts within the legal profession. Edited by Barry Schneider, Larry Bodine, Esq., and Michael G. Cummings, an annual subscription is $397.

ABOUT LSSO – The Legal Sales and Service Organization, based in Boston and found at www.legalsales.org, is the legal industry's only organization exclusively focused on sales, service and process improvement in law firms and legal departments. Founded in 2003, LSSO delivers the education and resources that lawyers need to improve their sales and client service skills with a searchable library, exclusive research, tools, LSSO's RainDance Conference, LSSO’s 2008 Women Lawyers Study, LSSO's Process Improvement Certification Programs and the Thomas H. Lee Award for Service Excellence.

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The Death of Voicemail in Law Firm Marketing

law firm marketing, business developmentAsk anybody in business who is age 30 or younger: which will you answer first:

  1. A voice mail?
  2. A text message?

The answer, my fellow silverbacks, is No. 2.  I couldn't believe it when I read it in the New York Times, because I'll answer my phone and check voice mail before anything else.  If someone went to the trouble of actually wanting to speak with me, I'll respond to them first.  I'm also insulted when someone e-mails me to call them.  Pick up the phone yourself, dammit.

Oh, how I learned from the Young Grasshopper, just how ancient my voice mail ways were. I was playing golf with my son Ted, struggling to keep up with someone 30 years my junior. Ted's a real businessman: he's an actuary for Fidelity Investments.  He has all the communications tools of the 21st century office.  He is part of an up-and-coming generation that accounts for 1/3 of the population.

So I asked him which came first: voice mail or text message.  "Text," he shot back instantly. Recalling that he sees me as a frailer, older version of himself, I asked: "why?"

Because with voice mail, you have to take these steps:

  1. Call the voice mail number
  2. To hear prompts in English, press 1
  3. If you have a mailbox on the system, press #.
  4. Then you have to dial your 10-digit phone number
  5. Next enter your password.
  6. Long pause.
  7. Press 1 to hear your messages.

For a generation that has a cell phone as their primary phone, this way waaaay too much trouble.  To send a text message, he simply selects "Messaging," clicks "New," enters the first few letters of the person's name (the cell phone completes it) and types the message with his thumbs.  Much easier.

"I let my voice mails pile up for three days or so, and check them all at once," Ted said. "This way I save on my cell phone minutes too."  This explained why he rarely responded to my voice mails on his cell phone, his office phone or his landlady's answering machine.  He also ignored my voice mail harangues about not calling me back.

So I left him a voice mail on his office number that he was late on a car payment and the bank had mailed me a nastygram.  I waited a while, and then texted him.  My cell phone began ringing immediately. It was Ted with an explanation.

The marketing point, my antediluvian colleagues, is that things have changed on us again. In a year when a presidential candidate announces his running mate via text message, we must learn from the Young Grasshoppers.

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Google Slaps FindLaw In Effort to Crack Down On 'Link Juice'

The Web's No. 1 search engine has caught FindLaw using the illegitimate tactic of selling Web links -- a.k.a. selling "link juice," which contrives to boost a Web site's search engine rankings -- such as the law firms that are FindLaw customers.  See the article on CNN Money.

Shortly after Google discovered FindLaw's shenanigans, Google briefly punished FindLaw by lowering its so-called PageRank from 7 to 5, a move that Steve Matthews, founder of the search engine optimization firm Stem Legal, says is equal to two notches on the Richter scale.  "That basically pulls the rug out from under FindLaw in terms of the value they can deliver to clients by selling links," said Matthews.

Law firms pay FindLaw $1,600 to $2,000 per month for FindLaw's "SEM Advantage" program, billed as a "high-octane" way to double or even triple traffic on their websites. One of the ways Google determines where a law firm website will rank for a specific search is the number and quality of inbound links to a website. The logic is that very interesting pages will be linked to by many other websites and blogs, and get a high PageRank (Google measures on a 1-10 scale called PageRank, with 10=high, 0=low).

FindLaw caught the attention of Matt Cutts, the head of Google's Webspam team, when he saw  an email sent out by FindLaw's sales team to prospective clients. The sales pitch offered "up to three hard coded links" for $1,000 per month as part of its new SEM program designed to "leverage FindLaw's authoritative position as the top online destination" for lawyers.

When a highly ranked site like FindLaw pays for and resells links from another website, that's viewed as an artificial attempt to boost a customer law firm's PageRank and search results. Buying or selling links to boost a site's PageRank violates Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results.  John Shaughnessy, a FindLaw spokesman, said the email was an "unauthorized communication" about a new corporate advertising product called SEM-Corporate, aimed at corporate customers, not law firms.

"In cases in which we feel that sites are attempting to use links to manipulate rankings, which includes the buying and selling of links for the clear purpose of passing PageRank, we make adjustments to counterbalance and also discourage those efforts," Google spokesman Eitan Bencuya told CNN.

Todd Friesen blogged about the debacle in a post entitled 'Shame Shame Shame Findlaw.'  Kevin O'Keefe followed up with FindLaw gaming Google, and possibly scamming lawyer customers? , saying "FindLaw appears to have been caught gaming Google by selling links to lawyer websites and, in the words of one blogger, possibly scamming their lawyer customers

New Business in 99 Days - Law Marketing

Beth Seabright, marketing director, law firm marketingBeth O. Seabright, Director of Marketing at Tucker Arensberg, PC in Pittsburgh, PA, has been swamped with calls and emails about her article, Associates Develop New Business in '99 Days' Program, first published on the LawMarketing Portal.

The blog Quiver & Quill followed up with Beth in an interview by Zachary Braiker of Boston, MA:

1. Did you provide your team with additional resources to point them in the right direction? For example, did you create a list of possible speaking engagements for them to attend, or were they expected to research this on their own? 

I did provide additional resources for them.  I suggested publications for articles, speaking engagements, networking events and occasionally set up lunches with my contacts that I wanted my attorneys to get to know.   I coached them through phone calls when they were reaching out to contacts for the first time and walked them through various business development scenarios.  I helped the Associates to get to their goal in any way that I could.

2. Did you post people’s point score continuously and publicly?

I sent out the results every two weeks to our Associates and occasionally included our Managing Shareholder.

3. Did that create a competitive or a collaborative environment?

I would say more motivating than competitive.  A few Associates that were not making the time for the program initially saw that other Associates were making progress toward the goal and were inspired to meet with me to put together a plan to catch up with their colleagues.

4. What was the logic behind assigning which point values to which activities? 

The more difficult the task, the higher the point value.  I made a list of all of the activities included in the program and ranked them from simple to challenging.  For instance, meetings with me: easy - Associates received 2 points/meeting.  New clients were worth 10 points.

5. And lastly, have you been able to correlate a dollar amount to the biz dev challenge–ROI?

To be honest, I did not go back and correlate dollar values to the challenge, simply because a lot of the value in the program was planting the business developing seeds with the Associates.  While our more senior associates brought in new matters and clients, which I could easily correlate with a dollar value, our younger associates were setting up meetings and writing articles for the first time, activities that were not going to create instant new business.

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Thriving in a Recession

recession, economic downturnRecently First Alert - Bowman's Accounting Report, published by Bowman Communications, Inc. focused on as "Thought leadership for your challenges ahead" with mini-articles by 14 experts, including yours truly.

Here's what I had to say:

The Big Trend

The law firm recession is here, with firms laying off lawyers and staff, a decline in M&A and transaction work, a drop-off in litigation, particularly in Texas and California and work once thought to be complex, like project finance, is now viewed as routine and is priced accordingly. Corporate procurement departments are getting involved in hiring law firms, and demanding rate freezes or discounts.

The Unconventional Wisdom

Look past the real estate, airline and construction downturn, and target companies in thriving industries, like technology, energy and telecommunications. Strategy: emphasize cross selling. Defense: Protect your “crown jewel” clients with frequent visits. Offense: Pick off top talent from competitors whose profits per partner are dropping.

The Misplaced Assumption

Law firms are cutting marketing, which is like dumping jet fuel while trying to keep an airplane aloft. Instead, law firms should fire low-margin, low fee, non-strategic clients, include business development activity and results in every lawyer’s performance review, shut down unprofitable practice areas, even if they generate revenue and close unproductive offices.

The Watch List

Emulate the firms that are best at balancing a thriving business with their obligations to the profession: Debevoise & Plimpton; Weil, Gotshal; Munger, Tolles; Latham & Watkins; Patterson Belknap; Paul, Weiss: Cleary Gottlieb; Wilmer Cutler; Gibson, Dunn; and Orrick.

The Bold Prediction

The recession will be intense, but short. Everyone wants to get back to normal. Short term, the backlog of real estate will be sold as owners accept losses; banks will end the credit crunch; layoffs will make companies more efficient. Long term: end of the Bush disaster will be replaced with a new optimism when a Democrat is elected president.

For more excerpts from the First Alert special issue visit the LawMarketing Portal.

Law Firm Marketing Mistakes When Dealing with Editors

Monica Bay, law firm marketing, business developmentMembers of the LawMarketing Listserv were discussing how best to pitch a news story to an editor.  That's when the redoubtable Monica Bay, Editor-in-Chief, Law Technology News, chimed in with 20+ mistakes to avoid:  (See below for info on joining the LawMarketing Listserv).

Monica Bay wrote Re: pitching (and delivering) stories, here are some of my pet peeves:

  1. Being pitched by someone who obviously has not read my magazine — and pitches me for the type of article we don’t run. (e.g., profiles of CEOs). Don’t pitch a story unless you KNOW it’s a fit for the publication.
  2. Firms that put me on their mailing list for every single thing that happens at their firm when 95% of the releases have nothing to do with legal technology.
  3. Flaks that flag their routine email as high priority.
  4. Sending a copy of a press release to everybody on my staff including the last 12 associate editors who have been gone for more than 5 years.
  5. Not reading our guidelines before pitching us.
  6. The PR person who earnestly tells me that they know what I need because they are a former journalist, or worked on their college newspaper. (This one is REALLY annoying)
  7. Vendor flaks who cannot control their clients
  8. Calling my private line 5 minutes after they emailed a pitch asking if I received it and if I’m interested and want to run the story. This is why I try not to publish my private line.
  9. Callers who do not identify who they are and who they represent and expect me to know or remember.
  10. Marketing folks who don’t identify themselves as such.

To read the additional 13 mistakes to avoid, visit the LawMarketing Portal.


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