Rosy Outlook for Long Island Law Firms

Jeffrey Wurst, recession, law firm marketing, business developmentFrom the Long Island Business News:

Lawyers throughout the Island say that for the next year and for many to come, they will be reacting to the new presidential administration, the national recession and how it locally impacts Long Island’s businesses and homeowners.

That means company reorganizations, real estate workouts and upticks in fraud and white collar crime.

Among the practice areas expected to be busiest: bankruptcies and foreclosures.

“When the economy gets tough, we get tougher,” said Jeff Wurst, head of the financial services practice group at Uniondale’s Ruskin Moscou Faltischek. “I think 2009 is going to be just the tip of the iceberg. 2010 is going to be even busier.”

The year 2008 certainly was busy as well for Long Island’s lawyers, especially in the second half when they started dealing with the fallout from the financial crisis on Wall Street. As foreclosures and bankruptcies rose, law firms started beefing up those practice areas to prepare for more business.

Firms now say they are working with clients on real estate workouts and how to avoid the typically expensive formal bankruptcy process. That should come as no surprise.

“Economic conditions always drive the legal business,” said Jerry Sloane, partner in charge of Berdon’s Jericho office. Berdon is an accounting firm that helps law firms deal with economic issues. “They are just reacting to the needs of their clients.”

One particular area in which  Wurst said he expects to see more business is commercial foreclosures. When big-box retailers like Circuit City and Linens ‘N Things go out of business and close stores, the landlords of many Long Island strip malls can no longer collect those hefty rents. If those landlords default on their loans and banks foreclose on the properties, even more businesses could go out of business on Long Island, he said.

“If a landlord is smart, he shouldn’t hang up on a guy that needs to work out an accommodation on a lease,” Wurst said. “I think the landlords should be proactive and not as hostile.”

He said even if the landlords make less money than in the past, at least they and their tenants are still in business. They will make the money back when the economy turns around, Wurst said. “They need to be thinking down the road,” he added.

Bernard Hyman, law firm marketing, recession, business developmentBut there are also many companies that can’t pay their bills. When that happens, Bernard Hyman, managing partner with Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, said he works with them to avoid traditional, expensive reorganizations.

He said he instead expects to see banks and other loan holders try to renegotiate loans rather than default on them and lose money.

“Guys like us lawyers don’t work for nothing,” Wurst added. “The administrative expenses make recovery cost-prohibitive. You can’t get in and out of a midlevel bankruptcy for less than $1 million or $2 million. If your company has a debt of $4 million, that doesn’t make much sense.”

And the doom and gloom will only continue.

Sloane said he expects to see an increase in white-collar crime because bad economic times are when company officers tend to misrepresent financial statements and companies take a harder look at their books to discover which employees have been stealing from them.

“The forensic stuff is going to be a very busy area,” he said. “Attorneys are going to get hired to do internal investigations, to interview management, staff, vendors.”

John Bauer, a shareholder in Littler Mendelson’s Melville office, said he also expects to assist more companies with layoffs in 2009. He said as the economy worsens, businesses are going to seek ways to cut costs, especially with personnel.

“The down economy leads to more work in the labor and employment area,” Bauer said.

He said labor and employment lawyers work with clients to analyze work-force data to determine who should be laid off and to create severance agreements. With layoffs also come more discrimination lawsuits, he added.

The Obama Effect

Plus, the election of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party majority in Congress is also expected to add more work for employment firms, he said.

For example, he said he expects Congress to pass some form of the Employee Free Choice Act, which could make it easier for employees to unionize. In addition, he said the Family Medical Leave Act could be modified to include businesses with as few as 25 employees.

“A lot of companies will need new policies and advice on how to implement that,” Bauer said.

Allan Cohen, a partner in Nixon Peabody’s Jericho office, said he also anticipates the new administration will eliminate capital gains rates.

“People aren’t rushing to get deals done in 2008,” he said. “And they will not get any deals done in 2009 because they will be taxed at much higher rates.”

Morris Sabbagh, a partner with Lake Success-based Capell Vishnick, said he expects the new Congress to pass a new estate tax law, which will affect many Long Islanders. The old law is set to sunset in 2010 and a new law should be on the books next year which is expected to raise the amount exempt from estate taxes.

In addition, he said with the economy the way it is, he plans to be busy helping clients move assets to keep them away from creditors. “I expect to be steady,” he said. “There’s still plenty of work out there for an estate planner.”

And there are still some people getting business loans on Long Island, Hyman said. “We represent a number of banks,” Hyman said. “While the terms are obviously stricter than they used to be, there is money available for lending. We will continue to represent banks for lending and refinancing. We are still very active in the lending area.”

NPR Ads by Law Firms are Wasted Money

Patrick Lamb, law firm marketingI found the post  Brought To You By A Large Firm With Offices Everywhere on Patrick Lamb's blog, In Search of Perfect Client Service.  A lawyer based in Chicago, he asks the question: do you remember the name of the law firms that advertise on National Public Radio?  He doesn't, and neither do I.

"For the past several nights as I have been driving home, I've heard the local NPR announcer say that this programming was brought to you by "Blah, Blah & Blah, a national law firm with offices in 12 cities."  Every time I hear this, I wonder whether anyone ever hears the announcement and says "wow, that is a really unique firm and I am going to hire them."  There is utterly nothing about the tag line that communicates anything of interest about the firm and it obviously does not communicate a value proposition. 

"With that personal observation as prologue, I recommend you read Seth Godin's post, "The edifice complex."  Here's the punchline:

I'd replace the expensive sponsorships and buildings with something more valuable, quicker to market and far more efficient: people. Real people, trustworthy people, honest people... people who take their time, look you in the eye, answer the phone and keep their promises. Not as easy to implement as writing a big check for the Super Bowl, but a lot more effective.

"I'm not sure Seth's answer is the best answer to the problems inherent in boasting to the world that you have offices in 12 cities.  But if you're going to spend money on marketing, perhaps having real people speak to real people at real potential clients about real value you offer might provide a better return on your investment."


The Year in Tweets: 10 Most Memorable Twitter Moments of 2008

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Doriano "Paisano" Carta writes on how Twitter has exploded into an Internet phenomenon where people sent tweets including the first news about the Mumbai attacks, the deaths of prominent figures, and the 2008 Presidential election.

Here are the 10 most memorable Twitter moments of 2008. Share your most memorable Twitter moments in the comments.

1. The Super Bowl

The Giants snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with seconds left in the game to claim the title and crush the Patriots’ dreams. All throughout Twitterland you could hear the thunderous silence from the once vocal New England fans followed by a flood of tweets from all of the joyous Giant fans.

2. The Color Army Experiment

Zefrank launched a fun experiment in March 2008 called the Color Wars which created quite a buzz across the twittersphere as everyone scrambled to join teams. It soon became web 2.0’s equivalent to dodgeball, and nobody wanted to be picked last. Several challenges were presented and the teams all battled it out, but ultimately chaos seemed to reign supreme. The interest and excitement quickly wore off as the experiment came to an end with Team Puce ranked on top. While the results were not as fulfilling as everyone had hoped, it did prove the theory that Twitter could be used to establish teams or groups with a common goal instantly and with little guidance.

3. GaryVee’s Good People Day

April 3, 2008 became “Good People Day” thanks to the ever popular Gary Vaynerchuk who came up with the idea after a conversation with Mashable’s Adam Hirsch. Gary released a video where he challenged everyone on Twitter to tell the world who they thought were the good people that rarely get noticed or acknowledged. The whole idea spread like wildfire and everyone started expressing their appreciation for those in their social networking circle. It was a great example of the power of the medium.

4. Twitter Acquires Summize


In July, Twitter finally did something about their weak search capabilities by purchasing Summize, which was the best search engine for their service. It was a brilliant move that was met with widespread applause and continues to be a very useful and popular tool for Twitter.

5. Summer Olympics

For 18 magical days in August, everyone on Twitter discussed the incredible feats they witnessed at the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. There were the record breaking 8 gold medals by Michael Phelps and the multiple world record shattering performances by Usaine Bolt in track and field, as well as many other unforgettable moments. The use of Twitter and shortened links to YouTube videos of the Olympic events were a perfect match.

6. Natural Disasters


In late August there was a great deal of coverage of Hurricane Gustav on Twitter and the havoc it wreaked. Several people in and around the danger zones reported updates on Twitter, giving others up close and personal insight to what was happening. Damon Cortesi even launched GustavTracker, a search site for Twitter updates related to Hurricane Gustav, including lists of people that were lost or found. Gustav became a blueprint for how to use social networking to report on such events, and so the same process was repeated for the natural disasters like the October 6.4 earthquake in Pakistan that followed.

7. 2008 Presidential Election

By far, the biggest event to hit the tweets was the 2008 Presidential Election, with each of the presidential candidates — Barack Obama and John McCain — gaining thousands of followers on the service. Current TV even integrated Twitter into their debate coverage, bringing political tweets to the big screen.

Throughout the election there were heated debates on Twitter, leading some to defollow over political ideas. As always, it’s dangerous to discuss politics and religion in a public forum such as Twitter. In the end, while many twitterers were thrilled with Obama’s win, many also couldn’t help but be upset that he stopped using the service.

8. Motrin Moms

During the inaugural celebration of International Baby Wearing Week this past November, Motrin launched a new ad campaign targeting the “baby wearing” demographic. Twitter moms were outraged by the campaign and felt it completely missed the mark. By the time Motrin caught wind of the situation, the situation had spiraled into a public relations disaster. However, Motrin made an effort to connect with the community and quickly apologized.

9. Mumbai

The Mumbai massacre at the end of November was another tragic event that absolutely captivated the Twitter community as well as the world. Several people near ground zero provided real-time updates of the horrifying events in India where over 170 people were killed. Unfortunately for Twitter, an inherent limitation of their service was exposed when a few members were locked out of their accounts due to excessive posts, which prevented the world from receiving their updates. One hopes Twitter can make exceptions during certain circumstances such as this one to allow members to post unlimited updates.

10. Farewells


Twitter became a place to report the deaths and remember the lives of some of our favorite actors, politicians, and overall influences. This year some of the biggest names were: Paul Newman, Tim Russert, George Carlin, Heath Ledger, Bernie Mac and Randy Pausch, the professor that gave us all the Last Lecture.


Minneapolis Law Firm Shares Its "Secret" Connections

Parsinen, little black book, law firm marketingFrom acupuncturists and artists to underground shopping and website development, the attorneys of Parsinen Kaplan Rosberg and Gotlieb (PKR+G) in Minneapolis reveal their intimate personal and professional resources by way of their client communication for the holidays, PKR+G's Little Black Book.

Complete with attorney's actual handwriting, the odd coffee stain or ink blot and doodles in the margins, the entries in PKR+G's Little Black Book provide clients and friends of the firm with nearly 300 genuine, trusted community resources. As the fine print of the book's disclaimer states, the careful reader may experience certain side effects -- namely, insights into the personalities of PKR+G attorneys.

Props to Director of Business Development Mary Kay Ziniewicz.

According to PKR+G's managing partner, Howard Rubin, "It's an annual tradition at the firm to connect with our clients through a unique communications piece," But, Rubin says, this year's Little Black Book takes the approach to a new level. "The Little Black Book not only connects us to our clients and friends, but it also connects them with one another. It's a genuine endorsement of businesses, products and services. At the same time, our connections also reveal who we are as human beings."

The Little Black Book highlights PKR+G insider favorites, such as a Vegas bookie, local organic catering, couture, event planning, jazz, recycling, travel agents and writers, to name a few.

The publication also gives a nod to various internal and client activities that occurred during the past year, such as the PKR+G Art Experiment. In a collaboration with artist Joan Solomon (see "Experiment Artist" and "Solomon, Joan" in the Little Black Book) and the Bruley Center, a local holistic medicine practice (see "Alternative medicine," "Bruley Center," "Experiment doctor," and "Holistic medicine"), the firm studied the effect of art on attorneys' moods, energy levels and ability to relate to clients and colleagues.

Past PKR+G holiday communications - a favorite gifts catalog (2004), a lifestyle magazine (Perfectly Legal, 2005), a new and improved website (2006) and last year's magazine (Despicable Lawyer) - showcase the personal side of the firm's attorneys and staff.

Established in 1981, PKR+G is a 28-attorney law firm with established practice areas that include Personal Legal Planning, Commercial Real Estate, Corporate Law, ESOPs/ Employee & Executive Benefits, Employment Law, and Business Litigation. For more information, visit PKR+G at  


16th Annual Marketing Partner Forum Coming Up Jan. 28-30

The conference I never miss is coming up next month in Dana Point, CA: the Marketing Partner Forum.  This year's theme is "Lighting the Way: Strategies for Influencing Change."  A detailed agenda is online and includes these highlights:

WEDNESDAY January 28, 2009

  • Building and Managing Your “Platinum Accounts” with Panelists Silvia Coulter and Doug Hoover of Hildebrandt International,  and Alvidas Jasin, Director of Business Development, Thompson Hine.
  • Marketing Your Practice Groups and Industry Teams with speakers Lisa Calvo Haas, Partner, Cozen O’Connor; Wendy F. Horn, Chief Marketing Officer, McDermott Will & Emery; Richard G. Morgan, Managing Partner, Bowman and Brooke; and Herbert S. Washer, Partner, Shearman & Sterling.

THURSDAY January 29, 2009

  • What Will Drive Outside Counsel Selection, Retention and Profitability in the Future? with speakers Michael A. Gruskin, Managing Attorney, General Motors; John E. Page, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Golden State Foods; Michael Roster, Steering Committee Chair, Association of Corporate Counsel “Value Challenge Project.
  • Managing through Tough Times: An Update on the State of the Legal Profession in a Challenging Economy with speakers James W. Jones, Managing Director, Hildebrandt International, and Lucinda J. Tambourine, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor, Citi Private Bank
  • Incentivizing and Motivating Sales Professionals with speakers Richard R. Capozza, Business Development and Client Relations Partner, Hiscock & Barclay; Thomas A. Ryan, Former Vice President, Global Account Operations, Xerox Global Services Group; and James Stapleton, Chief Marketing Officer, Fenwick & West
  • Coaching the Rockin’ Rainmakers and Mistmakers with speakers Laura C. Fey, Partner, Shook, Hardy & Bacon; Paul S. Grabowski, Director of Marketing, Porter & Hedges; and Dana M. Gordon, Ph.D., Partner and Vice Chair, IP Department, Foley Hoag.
  • Excellence in Legal Marketing Awards Ceremony, naming the marketing professional of the year, marketing initiative of the year, and best use of technology to support marketing efforts. The deadline for submissions is January 9, 2009 -- so there's still time to enter.

 FRIDAY January 30, 2009

  • General Counsel Roundtable with Moderator Fred Krebs, President, Association of Corporate Counsel, and speakers: Ivan K. Fong, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Cardinal Health, Inc.; Michael J. Holston, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Hewlett-Packard Company; James Potter, General Counsel and Secretary, Del Monte Foods; William B. Sailer, Senior Vice President, Legal Counsel, Qualcomm Incorporated; and Laura Stein, Senior Vice President - General Counsel, The Clorox Company.
  • Rainmaking & Women Lawyers Just-Released LSSO Survey Results and Client Perspectives with Moderator Catherine Alman MacDonagh, JD, President, Legal Sales and Service Organization and speaker Sherrese M. Smith, Vice President and General Counsel, Newsweek Interactive.

Sonnenschein Loses its CMO

Late-breaking newsflash: Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal announced late Sunday that 100 lawyers, including 40 partners, from Thacher Proffitt & Wood will be joining the firm's New York office, effective January 1. The hires increase Sonnenschein's total headcount to about 800 lawyers, nearly doubling the size of its New York office. The news comes after reports on Friday that King & Spalding is no longer in the running to acquire a substantial portion of Thacher, which it had pursued in recent weeks.  Details at

Sonnenschein, a 700-lawyer firm headquartered in Chicago, has gone through two rounds of layoffs of lawyers, other timekeepers and staff. Also this year the firm had to rescind offers to law students it had hired and shortened its summer associate program, as was widely reported.

Now the firm, which has 15 offices in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East, has lost its Chief Marketing Officer Brian Lambert.  You may recall that I wrote in this blog that he was hired only 10 months ago. See "Sonnenschein Hires New CMO."

This is part of a rash of departures of CMOs from major law firms. The fault does not lie with the highly-talented marketers.  Lambert, for example has a Harvard law degree and an engineering degree, plus experience at McKinsey & Company, and Wachovia, as I reported earlier this year. 

Cutting marketing is a big mistake for law firms.  It's like dumping jet fuel while you're trying to keep an airliner aloft.

Latest Issue of ORIGINATE! Newsletter Now Available

NEW! Download a PDF of the Complete Newsletter

Subcribers can now receive each month's issue as a PDF document.

About this Issue: Usual and Customary Practice

Now, as next year beckons, it’s time to turn good ideas into action, making them your usual and customary practice. This issue offers suggestions from lawyers and experts that are put to effective use every day. Don’t wait to make them a habit for you.

Lead Article: Case Study - Young Lawyer Shows Five Ways to Build a Team of Allies to Make Your 2009 a Success
There is one trait that distinguishes the best from the average in business development, according to Michael Cummings. That’s the commitment to building relationships. And it’s not hundreds of relationships, but a core of quality ones that make the difference in a career. Here’s what one lawyer did with five types of allies, and a checklist of actions for January so you can start doing the same.
Premeditated Business Development: How it Can Work for You or Against You

Lawyers in smaller firms are successfully luring away prize clients of large law firms by using what Larry Bodine calls premeditated business development.  Especially during the recession, one enterprising way to prosper is to take advantage of weaknesses in the relationships between competing law firms and their clients. Here's how this can work for you or against you.

Rx for a Growing Practice: What Your Doctor Could Tell You about Business Development

What can a psychiatrist, the Snore Doctor, and a Wandering Surgeon tell you about business development? Quite a lot, according to Barry Schneider. Here he takes some good lessons from a few smart doctors and shows how they can better your business development – though improved contact-making, offering services so people care about them, and growing your referrals.

Get the Words Out; Get the Names In - Speaking and Writing with a Purpose

Third Stage of the 12 Step Pipeline: In his ongoing series about managing your sales pipeline, Andy Havens turns to the use of public speaking and article publishing as a means of building up a set of prospects. From a business development perspective, your aim in these activities is to build up a solid, orderly database of contacts. Here’s how to do it.

Clients at the Gate: Why You Can’t Afford to Keep Your Colleagues a Secret Anymore

Lawyers have a lot of reasons to keep from introducing their colleagues to a client. But one big reason to do all you can to cross-sell: the frustration your clients are expressing. Darryl Cross hears them complaining about gates that seem to be closed to them, limiting access to all the talent within your firm. And he explains what you should be doing instead.


Let Your Presentations Come to Life
Avoid the painful death of so many talks. Steve Hughes cautions how to perk up the impact of your speeches or presentations so you can get your message across effectively.  As reported by Janet Ellen Raasch, he explains how to get the reception you want by delivering the right content and then using these techniques so you don’t blow it.
Top Ten Networking Tips for Lawyers
Sometimes the most valuable marketing you can do is to go back to the basics. You don’t need to be told these things, like wearing your galoshes in the cold and snow, and yes, you’ve probably heard many of them before. However, admonishes Christy Burke, have you made these ten networking tips a habit yet?

Marketing Tip: Crafting the Perfect Case Study...and Why

There is no more powerful way to market yourself than through a case study of what you’ve done for a client. But you want to make sure you get the most out of it. So keep in mind why the case study carries such power, asserts Michael Cummings, and give yours this six-step structure for the greatest impact.


Boston Law Firm's Thanksgiving Card Does Abe Lincoln Proud

Thanksgiving card, law firm marketingAudra Callanan has done it again. Following in her tradition of creating Mad magazine holiday cards and prescription-style candy pills to comprehend a Boston accent, she convinced her firm to send out wicked funny Thanksgiving cards featuring Abraham Lincoln holding a chunk of pumpkin pie on a gigantic fork.  Kudos to Audra, the Marketing Director of Hamilton Brook Smith & Reynolds in Concord, MA, for using humor and creativity to break out from the clutter of holiday greeting cards.

The firm engaged C.F. Payne, who has been called America's best-known contemporary illustrator, to create the jocular knockoff of Grant Wood's famous 1930 painting, "American Gothic."  HBS&R has 50 attorneys, patent agents and technology specialists who represent independent inventors, start-up companies and Fortune 500 companies, as well as academic and research institutions.  The firm is fully equipped with a sense of humor, a refreshing quality in these hard times.

How much of the symbolism can you figure out? Can you identity of the lamb-holding wife, comprehend the meaning of the house address "9" (right above the giant piece of pie), or know why a goggle-eyed Abe Lincoln is in the picture? What is the meaning of the giant windmills on the hills? Where is the firm logo?

For the answers, visit the LawMarketing Portal at


NJ Supreme Court Allows Advertising in Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled today that it is ethical for lawyers to advertise in Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers listings -- striking a blow for lawyer's freedom of speech.

Visit to read the 22-page ruling.

The ruling vacates the notoritious Opinon 39 of the committee on Attorney Advertising, which ruled in ruled in July 2006 that advertising by lawyers with designation “Super Lawyers” or “Best Lawyers” is prohibited as a form of unethical comparative advertising that is also likely to create an unjustified expectation about the results the lawyer can achieve. See “Super Lawyers” and “Best Lawyers” Designations Banned in New Jersey.

The high court ruling reverses on of the most asinine ethics rulings ever issued by the troglodyte Committee on Attorney Advertising. As I stated on July 23, 2006, this committee should be disbanded, or given the duty of counting toothpicks in a box or rolling string into balls.

The Supreme Court backed the findings of a Special Master who reported on June 18, 2008 that “advertising by attorneys [is] a form of commercial speech protected by the First Amendment and may not be subjected to blanket suppression.”

Janet Raasch's Constant Content Blog Launches

What hunter can see in the dark, makes no sound when it moves and can listen better than a sonar station? 

An owl, which is the anchor graphic for writer Janet Ellen Raasch's new blog, Constant Content  The capabilities of the owl translated directly into good business development skills:

  • Foresee client needs.
  • Get out to see clients and prospects privately, in face-to-face meetings. Forget the advertising and brochures.
  • Ask questions and listen.  If the other person is talking, you are selling.

Janet is a columnist for Originate! -- the business development newsletter -- and a frequent writer for the LawMarketing Portal 

Janet is an experienced writer and ghostwriter who works closely with professional services providers – especially lawyers, law firms and consultants to the legal industry. She helps these professionals enhance their online reputations and get new business through publication of keyword-rich content for the Internet as well as copy for traditional print media.

Check out her posts "When all else is frozen solid, robins (like clients) will visit your bird bath (practice area)" and "Putting relaxation back into firm retreats: Loosening up the lawyer mind."

Kudos, Janet, to another job well done.


Survey Finds Only 25% of B-to-B Marketers Plan to Cut Budget in 2009

marketing budget, law firm marketing, business developmentDespite the recession, nearly one-third of business-to-business ("b-to-b") marketers plan to increase their marketing budgets next year, according to BtoB's "2009 Marketing Priorities and Plans" survey.

The recent survey found that 31.1% of b-to-b marketers plan to boost their marketing budgets next year while 43.5% plan to keep budgets flat and 25.4% plan to decrease budgets.

Significantly, of those planning increases, one-quarter intend to raise them by more than 20% and nearly 9% plan increases between 15% and 19%.

Customer acquisition is the top marketing goal for 2009, cited by 62.2% of respondents. Customer retention was cited as the top marketing goal by 20.6%, brand awareness by 12.4% and other marketing goals by 4.8%.

Of the various media platforms b-to-b marketers will use next year, online is a clear winner, with 66.5% of marketers planning to increase their online spending. E-mail tops the list of tactics marketers plan to spend more on, cited by 68.3% of respondents, followed closely by Web
site development (66.3%).

Some traditional media platforms will also see increased spending next year, including direct mail (36.9%), events (31.0%) telemarketing (21.8%) and print (20.6%).

However, while some marketers plan to increase spending on these media, others plan to cut spending. The survey found that 33.2% of marketers plan to cut spending on print; 30.5% will cut spending on events; 25.6% will cut direct mail spending; and 21.3% will cut outdoor advertising

The complete story, titled "Exclusive survey finds only 25% plan to cut budgets," is available at


On the Bright Side of the Road

"Won't you help me sing my song, from the dark end of the street, to the bright side of the road" -- Lyrics by Van Morrison.

Maybe it's the holidays, or maybe it's a coincidence, but I've noticed several positive things in life:

  • The death rate for cancer dropped for the first time ever, according to the American Cancer Society.  For the first time since such statistics were released in 1998, the number of men and women in the United States getting and dying from cancer has dropped. Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, director of the American Cancer Society's Cancer Occurrence Office, said, "There is a decrease in incidence and death rate for all cancers combined in both men and women and in almost all racial and ethnic groups."  This story should be all over the front pages.
  • Economists say the recession will end in six months.  Buried in a Wall Street Journal article was a forecasting survey of economists. "On average, economists expect June 2009 to mark the end of the recession, which began in December 2007," the article stated.  Who knows if they're right, but I'll take the good news any day.  
  • The protest of the 240 laid-off workers occupying a Chicago window and door company succeeded. The employees who were entitled under law to 60 days severance pay and vacation, but had been given only 3 days notice that the company was shutting down and stiffing them.  The employees occupied the factory for eight days when two banks lent the company money to give the workers what was owed to them.
  • An increase in corporate litigation, regulatory law, IP litigation, class actions and bet-the-company cases will lift the legal profession out of its recession in 2009, according to the BTI Premium Practices Forecast. Litigation involving corporations is by far the largest market opportunity. (More on this soon.)
  • I trained  a remarkable young lawyer, who began his education in the seminary.  New to the law, he considers himself a secular priest: a lawyer who enjoys public speaking, writing and listening empathically. He says his matrimonial practice is similar to social work and counseling. He enjoys being in court and he’s active in the church community. He wants to select one or two philanthropic organizations to become active in.  I knew in my heart that such lawyers existed.

One week left to register: What General Counsels Want from Their Lawyers

WEBINAR DATE: December 18, 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

Only $300. Any number can attend in the room where you connect to the site and the call — at the same low price.
To register, click the button: Register Now!

Guest speaker and client interview expert Martha Cusick Eddy joins Apollo Business Development experts Michael G. Cummings of and me for this LIVE Web Seminar. Ms. Cusick Eddy is a partner with Marketing Evolutions, where she regularly conducts client interviews and surveys. In this program, she presents powerful research direct from the mouths of more than 100 General Counsels on what they like and don't like about their lawyers.

Business downturns can make or break your most important client relationships. A mistake can cost you a client’s business when you can least afford it. Even more is at stake now when your clients' needs are shifting rapidly in the turmoil and uncertainty of a recession. In this web seminar, you will be prepared to meet the challenges of managing client relationships in a downturn.

Topics Covered:

 1: How General Counsel View Their Relationships with Their Law Firms
 2: How the Downturn Is Changing the Relationship
 3: Why Attorneys Are Not Seen as Valued Business Advisors
 4: Dealing with Fee and Billing Flash Points
 5: Why Miscommunication Is the #1 Cause Of Lost Relationships
 6: Questions To Ask Every Client
 7: How To Add Value in Down Times
 8: The Critical Need To Build Personal relationships Across the Client  Organization
 9: Finding New Opportunities to Add Value
10: Keeping Competitors from Making In-Roads at the Client

Don't Miss Out. Register today!

Only $300. To register, click here: Register Now! 


CMO Moves at Large Law Firms

Arrivals and departures of CMOs at large law firms are making the news lately.

  • Karen Braun, the longtime CMO of Kirkland & Ellis, will join New York's Sullivan & Cromwell in New York as CMO.
  • Bob Gero has left Milbank Tweed to start a consulting practice in Philadelphia area.  He can be reached at 610-818-4619 and
  • Susan Klein departed as the chief marketing officer at Morrison & Foerster after eight months.
  • John Hodder, current CMO at Orrick, will start as CMO at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
  • Chris Matthews, who joined Orrick this year as Chief Marketing Strategy and Business Development Officer, has left the firm.
  • Tim Corcoran departed as Director of Practice Development of White & Case, several months before the firm laid off 70 associates last month.

The average tenure of a Chief Marketing officers at a large law firm is only 3 3/4 years, according to Catherine MacDonagh, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of the Legal Sales & Service Organization.

CMO from Non-Legal Background Didn't Work Out

I was stunned when I heard the news: the CMO of a global law firm with 1,000+ lawyers was let go after only four months.  I made calls to verify the news, and it turned out CMO's fatal flaw was that he had never worked in the legal profession before.  He had worked in marketing at a bank and a Fortune 500 corporation -- but never a law firm.

My contact told me that the departed CMO never made the adjustment from the corporate world -- where what Marketing says is what happens -- to the legal profession, where a CMO has to build support for an idea before he presents it.

I like working with lawyers, because I have learned to work with their unique personalities:

  • If the CMO has a great idea, the lawyer will look at the downside and see if the CMO can defend the idea with data and precedent.  Most lawyers will not be interested in being the first firm to try something untested.  The way I sold new ideas when I was at Sidley & Austin was to identify other firms that had tried the idea and to point out that there was no downside.
  • Lawyers want facts and data to back up a new idea.  If there isn't solid research or empirical data, then a CMO's great idea is just an assertion to be challenged.  Most lawyers are not persuaded by the upside of an idea, however they cannot argue with facts.
  • Lawyers are detail-oriented.  So if a CMO is trying to sell a lawyer on a concept, he will fail.  The lawyer will want to know the details of how an idea will work and what steps are involved. If they don't hear this, the lawyers will reject to the idea as one that is not fully thought out.
  • A CMO has to build consensus for an idea before he presents it. This means that before the CMO presents the idea to the executive committee, he must have lobbied and gotten support from each member in advance.  It is essential to eliminate objections in advance; a single "no" vote on the executive committee will kill the idea.  The presentation of the idea is a pro forma appearance to ratify a plan that is already approved.  This is very different from the corporate world, where Marketing can decree how the new fall schedule will be promoted.

The inference that I draw is that for most law firms, it's smarter to hire a marketing professional with a law or accounting background -- at least a CMO who has experience with partnerships.


Recession-Proof Marketing in 4 Steps

recession, economic downturnIn tough economic times, marketing is often one of the first items to be slashed. That's a mistake, as I've maintained consistently. The time to be marketing is in a severe economic downturn. But regrettably, a lot of law firms will dump jet fuel while their firm is going into a tailspin.

Lawyers USA has a good article pinpointing the 4 steps a law firm must take in this horrendous economy.

• Focus on top clients.

Those are your crown jewel clients, which generate 50% to 80% of firm revenue. Visit them, spend time with them, find out what's going on at their companies and if you can help them.

Susan Van Dyke, a legal marketing and communications consultant in Vancouver, British Columbia, suggests setting up small working groups for each of your top 10 clients. Then, launch a series of non-billable, quarterly lunch meetings between the clients' executives and the legal teams to discuss new issues or resolve problems. 

• Follow the revenue pipelines.

Determine your high-margin practice areas, and focus on them to increase your pipelines of revenue. For instance, Van Dyke says, the lending industry needs foreclosure help; real estate developers may have contract issues or employment disputes.

"Package a suite of services that demonstrates your understanding and ability to assist them swiftly," she suggests.

• Communicate your expertise.

Trey Ryder, a legal marketing consultant in Payson, Ariz., recommends mailing out educational letters to referral sources, as well as current and former clients, explaining the economic problems they face and what you can do to help them.

For example, "in this particular economy, a lot of people want to protect their assets, they want to do estate planning," he notes.

• Get a plan.

Make all the lawyers in your firm develop a business development plan, listing the clients they're going to call on, the people they'll build into a referral network and at least one organization they will join.

And don't just join a random organization. Ask your best clients which organizations they belong to and then ask if you can attend a meeting of that group with them. If you go to a Rotary Club meeting with a client, for example, not only will you be introduced to potential clients, but you'll have the opportunity to deepen your relationship with the existing client. 


State of AmLaw 200 Blogosphere

LexBlog's 3rd report on the State of AmLaw 200 Blogosphere highlights of significant growth in blogging the 8 months since the last report:

  • Over 35% of AmLaw 200 law firms have blogs.
  • 12% of AmLaw 200 law firms have more than one blog.
  • 32% growth in last 8 months in the number of AmLaw 200 law firms publishing blogs.
  • 39% growth in last 8 months in total number of blogs being published by AmLaw 200 law firms (some firms have more than one blog).

A complete copy of the report, including a listing of each of the AmLaw 200 law firms as well as their blogs is available here: .


Lawyers Can Find Referrals on ABA Online Social Network

News Alert: the ABA has launched an online social networking site – Legally Minded – at

ABA Legallyminded, law firm marketing, business development 



Benefits include:

  • It offers ways for lawyers to generate referrals by making connections online.
  • One twist is that it has a “people map” that displays other members who have similar interests, or are looking for what a lawyer has to offer.
  • It’s free.
  • No ABA membership required. It’s public.
  • You can view most of the site without having to register.
  • There’s less “noise” than you’ll find on LinkedIn and Facebook.

It’s a “public beta” site, so the ABA is aware it’s not perfect. Full details are now available on the LawMarketing Portal at

Light at the End of the Tunnel for Residential Real Estate

residential real estate, law firm marketingSuddenly things are looking up for the hundreds of thousands of lawyers who have a residential real estate practice. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

1. Mortgage rates dropped below 6% last week, a significant market threshold. For a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, rates can be found as low as 5.5%, according to Mortgage News Daily. This has caused the largest increase in refinance applications in the last 18 years.  More importantly, it will encourage investors and individuals to buy homes -- and increase the number of closings that lawyers do.

2. Home sales are up in the bleakest area for real estate closings: Los Banos, CA.  It is the hardest hit city where home prices are down 66% from their peak. Local sales are now up five times from a year ago, as investors snapped up foreclosed homes. Lower rates are also getting families to buy houses.

3. The federal government is working on pushing mortgage rates as low as 4.5%.  The Treasury Department is planning to use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to encourage banks to lend at this super-low rate. The rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage hasn't been that low since the 1960s.  I predict that this will unleash a surge in home-buying as long-waiting families and investors will see the low rate as a green light to buy -- and get real estate lawyers busy again.


Vote for This Blog

LawMarketing Blog

The ABA Journal just notified me that this blog has been selected as one of the 100 best websites primarily written by lawyers, for lawyers. This blog is one of several in the Practice / Career Management category.

Now readers are being asked to vote on their favorites in each of the Blawg 100’s 10 categories. I encourage you to vote for blogs in all of the categories. To vote, click here. Voting ends Jan. 2, 2009. Winners in each category will receive free admission to the annual ABA TechShow from April 2-4 in Chicago.

Look for this graphic about 8 choices down the list.

Larry Bodine LawMarketing Blog


Larry Bodine LawMarketing Blog

Law firm marketing consultant (and onetime ABA Journal editor and publisher) Bodine posts early and often about ways law firms can get and retain clients. Bodine’s blog spotlights what’s in the news, sometimes training a critical eye on law firm marketing successes and failures.

Then when you see this box, simply click on the little box above "Vote!"

Optimism in the Face of the Recession

I  got this on Monday: 

-----Original Message-----
From: CNN Breaking News

-- The U.S. entered a recession in December 2007, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Leave it to the government to tell us something we've known for a year. On the bright side, a new ALM Law Firm Leaders Survey 2008 shows glimmers of optimism: 

Looking ahead to 2009, with respect to your law firm, you are: Percentage
Optimistic 38%

How do you expect the deal flow in 2009 to compare with 2008? Percentage
Increase 29%

In which practice area do you expect to see the most revenue growth in 2009? Percentage
Litigation 42%

What will you do with billing rates for 2009? Percentage
Increase them by more than 5 percent 35%

In light of forecasts of flat or reduced profits per partner for the Am Law 200, how would you characterize the morale among the partners at your firm? Percentage
Somewhat optimistic 41%

My friend Bob Weiss of Alyn-Weiss & Associates, Inc.® in Denver, CO, just wrote me, "We tend to represent regional-local firms of less than 100 lawyers— all of our clients of this size, while concerned about next year, will have record revenue-profitability in 2008. More than half are hiring and actively seeking laterals, particularly for IP disputes, to lesser degree for IP prosecution/registration. The more you get to the middle of the country, it seems, the better the results for 2008."


Last Day to Register for Webinar: Business Development in a Severe Downturn

For law firms planning to be in business in 2009, don't miss this Webinar: Business Development in a Severe Downturn -- How CMOs Can Train Partners to be Rainmakers.

Incisive Media

Iris Jones, Chadbourne & Parke;  Larry Bodine, Esq., Apollo Business Development; and Darryl Cross, LexisNexis


Wednesday, December 3, 2008; 12PM - 1PM Eastern

LOCATION: Over the Web, on your computer
MORE INFO: CONTACT: Laura Kresich; (Tel) 773.966.9273 or

It's now official: The U.S. entered a recession in December 2007, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.  The law firms that survive and indeed, thrive, will be those that attend this not-to-be-missed program addresses several perennial challenges facing law firm CMOs and marketing partners, including:

Motivating the attorneys to conduct business development.

Demonstrating the marketer’s value to the management committee.

You will learn what the key business development tactics to use to get your lawyers into face-to-face meetings that generate new business. This program is also designed to get marketers off the dreaded “overhead” category of a law firm’s ledger, and solidly onto the “revenue” side. In today’s increasingly competitive law firm environment, Chief Marketing Officers and law firm business development professionals need a new strategy for competitive advantage.

"This will no doubt be the most challenging year the legal industry has seen since 2001" -- Dan Dipietro, of the Citi Private Bank, writing in the Oct. 2008 American Lawyer magazine.

Click here to register now.  The registration fee is $300.

Darryl CrossThe program draws on the collective experience of Iris Jones, the Chief Business Development and Marketing Officer of Chadbourne & Parke -- an AmLaw 100 law firm with $281,000,000 in gross revenues -- and Apollo Business Development expert Larry Bodine, Esq. plus Darryl Cross, Vice President of Client Profitability at LexisNexis.  Together, they have helped dozens of law firms generate millions of dollars.


  • The law firm recession is here, and how to beat it.
  • How the federal bailout bill will increase spending on law firms.
  • The top practice (of 5) that will lead the profession out of the recession.
  • Industries with the strongest fee growth rates.
  • "Don’t be caught selling smoke detectors to someone whose house is on fire. Sell fire extinguishers."
  • The three results that make lawyers support business development.
  • Treating relationships like currency.
  • Turning seminars and sports events into moneymakers.
  • Using competitive intelligence not only to find answers, but to develop selling questions.
  • The duty to cross-sell clients.

You'll also see the methods that 480-lawyer Chadbourne actually uses to activate their lawyers to bring in new files:

  • Larry Bodine, apollo business developmentA strategy for business development training
  • Creating a training calendar and what to put on it.
  • Providing tools to simplify tracking contacts.
  • Using competitive intelligence -- to look for the relationship, not just the name of the competing firm.
  • Creating a "Client Service Team Information Kit."
  • Offering in-house business development planning -- with action plans and progress reports.
  • Cultivating rainmaking programs with internal roundtables and team presentations.
  • Establishing a proposal center.
  • Demonstrating accountability.

Join us for this live Web seminar and learn how to jump start your firm's business development program and increase profits.

Click here to register instantly with a credit card.