Pendulum Swings in Favor of Mid-size Law Firms

law firm marketing, business development, recession, law firm economyIn a major shift, the economic pendulum has swung away from megafirms and in favor of regional and mid-sized firms, which can offer equally-good service at much lower rates.

True story from one of my own clients: a partner in a regional California law firm was listening to an executive from a semiconductor manufacturer complain about his current law firm.  The client beefed that his 600-lawyer firm was charging him $950 per hour to perform routine corporate work, and his lawyer didn’t answer his phone calls.  The regional firm partner mentioned that his maximum rate was $500 and that he returned all calls within 24 hours.  The client changed law firms and it was a win-win for both client and lawyer.

This anecdote illustrates a larger trend in the legal profession: lawyers in smaller and mid-size firms are successfully luring away prize clients of large law firms.

“I have read a number of articles in recent weeks predicting it will be boutiques/locals/regionals that will do best in 2009-2010. Today, one of my clients, Reilly Pozner,, a litigation boutique of 21 lawyers, told me they are hiring another seven lawyers. They have been appointed by the bankruptcy court as national coordinating counsel for loss recovery for a Wall Street investment bank,” said Bob Weiss of Alyn-Weiss & Associates, Inc. in Denver, CO.

“In 2008 small and midsize firms increased their presence on corporate ‘short lists’ from 24.5% up to 38.2%. This is a staggering change!” said Michael Rynowecer of The BTI Consulting Group in Boston, reporting on new research in BTI Premium Practices Forecast 2009: Survey of Corporate Legal Spending. “For a GC to bring one firm in is really quite easy; there is no shortage of law firms marketing to them or venues to meet law firms. But the big change is in the GC’s mindset: the corporate counsel we surveyed said, ‘I will open my pocket book to hiring small and mid-sized firm.’”  

For the rest of the story visit the LawMarketing Portal at

Foley Hoag Sweeps LMA New England Your Honor Awards

The Boston law firm of Foley Hoag collected seven Your Honor awards from the Legal Marketing Association’s New England Chapter's.  The awards recognize law firms that have demonstrated excellence in marketing and business development during the preceding year. The winners were announced at an evening ceremony held Tuesday, February 24th at the Four Seasons Hotel Boston.

“These awards demonstrate the vibrancy of the legal marketing industry in New England,” said Lisa Meyer, Director of Marketing at Preti Flaherty and President of the LMA New England Chapter. “Law firms in New England are leaders in their fields, and that is reflected in the work submitted.”

The Seventh Annual LMA New England Your Honor Award winners were as follows:

First place - Sherin and Lodgen LLP

Promotional Materials and Communications

2A. Annual Report

  • First place - Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP
  • Second place - Brown Rudnick LLP
  • Honorable mention - Preti Flaherty

2B. Announcement

  • First place - Fish & Richardson P.C.
  • Second place – Choate Hall & Stewart
  • Honorable mention – Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds

2C. Newsletter or Alert

Honorable Mention – Bingham

Internal Communications

First place - Sullivan & Worcester LLP

Advertising Campaign

  • First place - Bingham
  • Honorable mention – Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP

Exhibits/Trade Show/Novelty

  • First place - Choate Hall & Stewart
  • Second place - Preti Flaherty
  • Honorable mention - Foley Hoag LLP

Web Sites

  • First place - Wolf Greenfield
  • Second place - Sherin and Lodgen LLP
  • Honorable mention - Foley Hoag LLP blogs

Promotional Events

  • First place – Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds
  • Second place - Sherin and Lodgen LLP
  • Honorable mention - Foley Hoag LLP

Media/Public Relations

First place - Foley Hoag LLP

Community Relations

  • First place - Sullivan & Worcester LLP
  • Second place - Foley Hoag LLP


  • First place - Foley Hoag LLP
  • Second place - Sullivan & Worcester LLP

Best of Show

  • Small firm (less than 75 attorneys) Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds – Promotional Event
  • Medium firm (76 to 300 attorneys) Sullivan and Worcester LLP – Community Relations
  • Large firm (301+ attorneys) Fish & Richardson P.C. – Announcement

Gimme Award

  • First place - Foley Hoag LLP
  • Second place - Wolf Greenfield
  • Honorable mention - Sherin and Lodgen LLP

The gala event was sponsored by The Wall Street Journal and account manager John Jardin served as the master of ceremonies.

With more than 240 members, the New England chapter is one of the largest in the country. The New England Chapter brings law firm marketing professionals, service providers and lawyers from across the six New England states together to promote the profession. For additional information visit


Increase Your Google Ranking with More Inbound Links

The number of "inbound links" is a very important factor for Google and other search engine to decide how high your law firm website should rank, according to the Law Firm And Attorney SEO and Internet Marketing blog.

What we're talking about is links FROM other websites TO your law firm website.  The more the better, as far as search engines are concerned.  This is also referred to as "link popularity."

Here are a few great techniques to use:

1. Blog Commenting

Blog comments can be good for building "link juice" and traffic, but it also helps you expand your social network. If you’re a motorcycle attorney in New England and you come across a blog post or article that you think is relevant or interesting by a motorcycle attorney in California somewhere, comment on it! Not only will you be getting a link back to your site, but you’ll also be expanding your online social network.

Tip: Exercise good taste when using this link building method. Don’t put your practice area as your name and don’t shamelessly self-promote. READ THE BLOG POST and then comment, and add something that is relevant to the discussion and topic. Nobody likes a spammer. Use some of the resources I mentioned in my Ways to Market your Attorney Blog post like Google Blogsearch and Google Alerts to find posts relevant to your practice area(s).

2. Forum and Answer Services Participation

You, as an attorney, offer valuable information that can be relevant to everyone. And this information is trusted. You didn’t spend all of those years in law school and making a name for yourself over the years for nothing, people know that the knowledge you possess is trusted and accurate. So share it!

You might be saying to yourself, why offer advice and information for free? I’m here to get leads and clients, not trade industry secrets.

The Web 2.0 mentality is all about transparency. People (and search engine spiders) notice you taking time out of your busy day to contribute to legal forums and other informative websites. Including a link back to your site in the signature of these sites can’t hurt either. Registering and using answer sites like Yahoo! Answers, Fluther, and others can't hurt.

TIP: Again, be tasteful. Don’t use wording like “for a free consultation, visit”. And again, the forum and answer service links don’t carry a LOT of "link juice," so don’t focus too much time on these thinking it will help you reach #1 next week. The main goal of this is that search engines see you contributing to relevant conversation. Also, deep-linking (linking back to a blog post or library page) is much better than linking back to your home page when using this method.

3. Article Submission

Creating articles and submitting them to article publication sites is a common link building technique. However, two things to keep in mind:

1) Duplicate Content

You can either (a) write an article specifically to submit to these sites, and don’t publish the article on your blog or website or (b) revise the way the article is worded if you decide to include it.

2) Trusted Article Sites

Google has made it known that there are articles sites out there that are not trusted. Stick to sites like JDSupraEzineArticles, GoArticles, and iSnare.

TIP: If you have a website as well as a blog, you can link back to each through this method. And if you don’t…

4. Get a BLOG!

Many debate whether it is better to have a blog on your website or published separately (off-site). Off-site is better for link building and networking purposes.

Bloggers don’t mind linking to other blogs; in fact, they are way more likely to link to another blog than they are to your website. You can also use an off-site blog to drop links to your site pages from time to time. Take the time to build the authority of the off-site blog by

  1. Linking to useful pages and resources
  2. Submitting your blog to the resources I mentioned in Ways to Market your Attorney Blog
  3. You can even install a footer on your off-site blog that links every page to your web site. This is good, because most blogs are multiple pages, resulting in more links to your website. But, content is key, and building the blog’s authority not only improves the link juice coming to your site, but it also gives you another site that has a chance to rank well.
  4. Promoting your blog as actively as you promote your website, and take the time to come up with useful and informative content.
  5. Get a domain name that is relevant to your practice area. Google seems to be putting more and more emphasis on ranking sites with good domain names higher, so see what is available other than your or your law firm’s name.

5. Niche Directory Sites

Relevant niche (law-related) directory sites are still good to list in, if they are trusted and have a decent authority built. Look for directory sites that include content and a few articles, and not one that just links in and out.

TIP: Set up a “links page” for niche directory sites that require reciprocal linking.


Chicago LMA Presents Law Firm Marketing Awards to 7 Law Firms

Donna Shaft, law firm marketing, business developmentThe Chicago chapter of the Legal Marketing Association presented a dozen "Your Honor" awards for excellence in marketing at a ceremony in a classy Loop restaurant recently.  Law firms were honored with an achievement award in the following categories:

  • Advertising Campaign: Levenfeld Pearlstein LLC & Hunter Design – "Unusually Good"
  • Identity: Davis & Kuelthau – "Positive Change"
  • Promotional & Collateral Materials: Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP – "Demand Something Different"
  • Promotional Gifts: Davis & Kuelthau – "Positive Change: Lockbox"
  • Public Relations / Community Relations: Ice Miller LLP – "Indiana CEO Survey Project"
  • Public Relations / Community Relations: Mayer Brown LLP – "Global Financial Markets Initiative Teleconference Series"
  • Recruiting / Professional Development: Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP – "Demand Something Different"
  • Sales / Business Development: Levenfeld Pearlstein LLP – Rate Freeze 2009
  • Vendor Partner of the Year: Regis Marketing Group – for work with Davis & Kuelthau
  • Web Sites and Other Electronic Media: Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP – Web site Redesign Project

This year, the  judges thought two entries stood out among the others in their categories. To reward the uniqueness and ingenuity of these entries, the judges created a special "Judges' Innovation Award." This category was not available for entry. The two winners in this category were:

The highlight of the evening was the newest inductee into the LMA Chicago Hall of Fame, Donna L.G. Shaft. Shaft has dedicated more than 20 years of her time to the legal marketing profession. She was one of the early presidents of LMA and LMA Chicago, and she served on our chapter board many, many times. Shaft is a frequent volunteer, most notably as chairperson for many committees on the local and international level. As a marketing services consultant, Shaft's client list is a who's who list of professional services firms.

New Orleans Solo Lists Fixed Fees for Writing Appellate Briefs

Harvey S. (“Tad”) Bartlett III I thought this was a great idea – it’s from the From the Out-Of-The-Box Lawyering  blog:

"We’ve all heard about setting fixed fees for certain kinds of litigation. But this is the first time that I’ve seen a site in which an appellate lawyer lists his schedule of his fees for certain kinds of work.

"For instance, solo Harvey S. (“Tad”) Bartlett III the firm, The Bartlett Law Firm, APLClists its fee for writing a principal brief on appeal at $7,750 and for writing both principal and reply briefs at $11,900.  The firm lists additional fixed fees for other services. However, the site adds that the firm “will consider blending a lower flat fee with a contingent-portion of the award in certain cases.”

In line with this, there is a January 29 article in the New York Times: “Billable Hours Giving Ground at Law Firms,” which discusses how some firms are using, for instance, value billing in litigation. In one situation, the firm set a fee, but that fee was to be and indeed was increased based on how much the firm saved its client over the amount the client feared losing if it lost.

Here's his fee schedule:

The Bartlett Law Firm, APLC, will never charge for an initial consultation, so please contact Tad Bartlett directly to discuss the possibility of representation. Once you decide to retain The Bartlett Law Firm, that representation will be subject to the following fees:

Flat-rate Appeals 

The Bartlett Law Firm believes that the value of appellate representation is enhanced by instilling predictability in the cost of that representation. What the client should pay for is the value of high-quality appellate representation, not how long it takes an attorney to put that representation together. Accordingly, the Bartlett Law Firm has put together the following schedule of flat-fees for various appellate representation tasks. No matter how much time it takes, the client receives the full value of the representation at a set, predictable cost. (When retained during litigation for briefing and/or argument of summary judgment motions or motions for judgment as a matter of law, the following fees will apply analogously).



Writ application from district court; Petition for rehearing


Principal brief – brief only (appellee brief, appellant brief only, writ application to Louisiana Supreme Court)


Principal and reply brief


Reply brief only


Multiple brief discount (deducted from subsequent briefs in same matter where Bartlett Law Firm has drafted brief; e.g., for principal brief following successful writ application)


Oral argument


Multiple argument discount (deducted from subsequent oral arguments in same matter where Bartlett Law Firm has already provided oral argument)


 Wouldn't it be great if more lawyers took this approach to fees for clients?


The Dental Appliance that Sues the Dentist

From "goofs, glitches, gotchas" on the inside back cover of Consumer Reportes:


Best Practices of Personal Marketing for Women Attorneys

Bobbi LiebenbergMichael Cummings wrote this article on the LawMarketing Portal:

Last week, I saw a headline in the New York Times only 20-23% percent of partners at major law firms nationwide were women – despite that the fact that women account for roughly 50% of practicing attorneys in the US. And this number hasn’t changed significantly for the past couple of decades. I guess that I was a bit surprised by how low this number was.

Lots of firms and practice groups are looking for ways to support the career ambitions of their women attorneys. What are the best ways to help women attorneys?  To get guidance, we interviewed the current Chair of The ABA Commission On Women In the Profession: Roberta (Bobbi) D. Liebenberg, Esq. of Fine Kaplan and Black, Philadelphia.

What is the bottom line? Bobbi believes that women attorneys need to embrace and excel at business development – and find ways to help other women attorneys to succeed.

Attend the live webinar Feb. 26:

Business Development Advice from the new Chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession

Michael G. Cummings, law firm marketingFeaturing Roberta "Bobbi" Liebenberg , who joins business development experts Michael G. Cummings and Larry Bodine to reveal what really works in business development as well as how women can thrive and advance their legal careers.

Click here to register today!

Why? Because the future belongs to the attorneys who can market and sell. If you can grow your practice and create economic value for your firm, then you put your success under your own control. This fact is made even more apparent by the current economic pressures that are impacting the legal profession.

Bobbi speaks from her own experience. 1992 was the year of the year and I always had an entrepreneurial bent. So, I decided to start my own firm along with 2 other woman attorneys. We decided to target organizations and government agencies who desired to do more business with women owned businesses. We also targeted women owned business and women general counsel

By choosing to become an entrepreneur, Bobbi had to develop business – or fail. My basic motivation to develop business was based on my fear of starving. This caused me to both become very active in terms of business development and build the skills and habits I need to be effective.

Bobbi ultimately joined a boutique litigation firm. However, she still employs the hard-earned lessons she learned as an entrepreneur. And you should do the same

So what lessons did Bobbi learn that she wants to pass along to her women colleagues in the profession?  For the rest of the article, visit the LawMarketing Portal at


Using Twitter for Business - Perhaps!

john jantsch, law firm marketing, marketing director

Maybe the siren’s call of Twitter - (everybody’s doing it) has become too much and you’ve jumped in, according to John Jantsch, a marketing and digital technology coach based in Kansas City, MO.Or, maybe you have no clue what it is or why you would care. He has created a practical guide about this mircoblogging tool found on the LawMarketing Portal at 

What is it?

In simplest terms, twitter is a free service that allows anyone to say almost anything to anybody in 140 characters or less – it’s the “what are you doing right now” kind of micro-blogging that permeates online social communication.

So, now the question is – is that all? Well, no, not exactly. While people are using it to tell no one in particular what they had for lunch, millions are leaning on twitter pretty hard as a way to network and communicate with contacts new and old. twitter is outfitted, like most social media tools, with the ability to subscribe, share, friend or follow as many twitter feeds as you like. In addition, developers are swiftly creating tools that allow users to bend and twist the feeds in creative ways.

He offers six good reasons why marketers and lawyers should use Twitter -- see




March 17-18: Economist Conferences' Seventh Annual Marketing Forum

I plan on attending this conference. If you are going, let me know at Lbodine [at] 

Economist marketing forum

Chief marketing officers have been hit with a double whammy in the current financial turbulence: the slowing economy is forcing most of them to become cost-cutters just at the time they are being asked by their CEOs to take more responsibility for building brands and increasing revenue. At the same time, media consumption habits are changing significantly, leading CMOs to struggle with how to build brands in the digital age. They need to use their marketing dollars more effectively, decide on the proper mix of online and offline spending, take advantage of new technology and learn to reach and engage customers in new ways that underline two-way dialogues rather than simply pushing out one-way marketing messages.

CMOs also are being asked to take the lead role in "greening" their companies, as sustainability has become a smart way to do business and win customers rather than a simple buzzword. Plus, given the flattening of the world, they need to expand the reach of their brands globally. All this occurs as the average tenure of a CMO continues to decline and they have to fight influence in the executive suite. These and many other paradigm shifting changes in marketing will be discussed at Economist Conferences' Seventh Annual Marketing Forum.

For more information or to reserve your place, please contact:
Rosemary Didomizio
Customer Relations Executive
TEL: (1.212) 554-0627

For Attendees: The Economist has established a LinkedIn group for all people who will be attending the event (speakers, attendees, among others). I encourage you to join the group where you can talk shop with your peers or just send out a friendly meet and greet email.  To join the group, please click:

Details: Register here

The registration fee for corporate executives is $1,695. The fee for executives outside the marketing function and representatives from business service companies and solution providers is $2,595. If you have a discount code, please enter when registering.



Credit Crisis Litigation -- The Hottest Practice area

Kevin Lacroix, hot law practice, law firm marketing, marketing directoWEBINAR PRESENTED BY: Apollo Business Development 
SPEAKER: Kevin M. LaCroix, Esq. 
DATE: March 12, 2009; 1PM - 2:15 PM Eastern
LOCATION: on the web, on your computer
CONTACT: Laura Kresich, Program Director; (Tel) (773) 966-9273 or
Save $50 by registering on or before February 27, 2009.  

The subprime loan crisis created a giant wave of commercial litigation that will surpass the number of cases that grew out of the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s. Since we last presented this program in September 2008, the economy has worsened significantly, creating multiple new opportunities for legal work.

Lawyers who want a large and profitable caseload of litigation that will last for years will get smart about credit crisis 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 credit crisis 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.

"I’ve gotten a lot of calls, especially in the last six weeks from lawyers who are not active in the sector and want to become active, but they don’t know how to get into it – how to get up to speed and how to attract clients, what areas to focus on," LaCroix says. "There’s more litigation and it’s evolved."



Save $50 by registering on or before February 27, 2009.
Contact Laura Kresich: (773) 966-9273

or email
Registration fee: $300
Sign up online at 

For general information, please visit 


Valorem's Law Firm Marketing says "We killed the billable hour."

If you’re going to create a brochure, it’s best if you make it distinctive.  My latest favorite is the Valorem law group’s brochure.  They show a clock (from their building in Chicago) shot through with bullet holes.  You open it up and it says, “we killed the billable hour.” 

Not only is it memorable and different but it expresses a powerful unique selling proposition.  It contains no lawyer bios or practice descriptions, and is designed to prompt readers to visit their website:

I love their selling points inside the brochure:

  • Every invoice contains a "Value Adjustment Line" where a client can mark up or down the firm's fee.  "If you don't believe the value we deliver is worth our proposed fee, you adjust the bill," the brochure says.
  • A page that says "We listened. (Carefully). Client complaints: Hourly billing only. Annual rate increases. Unpredictable fees. valorem, billable hour, law firm marketing, marketing directorBoiling the ocean to make a cup of tea."
  • "We created a new business model: You define success, we achieve it, you know exactly what it will cost."
  • A reprint of a letter to the firm, addressed to "Cool Law Firm."

They also show their sense of humor, saying, "We take our work seriously. Ourselves, not so much."  They have a picture of their boardroom, with "Bored Room" etched into the glass. There's a picture of a hallway sign that warns, "Beware of Brainstorms." And the fine print on the back says "In creating this brochure, no real clocks were injured or killed."


The brochure designer is Jon Heiniger in Chicago. For more info call Nicole Nehama Auerbach at 312.676.5469,

YouTube has Replaced Yahoo as the No. 2 Search Engine

Torys law firm marketing videoFrom the Online Business Newspaper:

"For many adults, their research quite often begins with a web search.  Long gone are the days of visiting the library to review the most recent versions of your favorite encyclopedia or the card catalog.  Although most of us opt for Google or Yahoo as a starting point, for some, the search begins with video."

In fact, as reported by the New York Times, YouTube replaced Yahoo as the number two search engine.

So what does this mean for law firm marketing and for attorneys marketing their firms on the web?  Will the low cost of cameras and the ease of uploading video content to the web somehow reduce text-based searches to a redheaded stepchild?  Will content no longer be King?

"The answer is that social media sites and web videos will continue to gain momentum," writes Rene Perrasof West Palm Beach, FL.  "As the quality of the videos improve, so that they provide more definitive answers to our searches, it will become more important to include web videos and social media in law firm web-marketing plans.  There are qualities inherent in text and video based content that bode well for both to retain a strong presence on the web. Some topics work better when covered in text and some perform better when shown as a demonstration.

"While many experts believe that text and video searches complement each other by providing different sides of the same coin, as the younger web searchers become consumers video will become more and more prevalent.  While we might be able to predict that content will remain King, we may not be able to predict how the definition of content will evolve.  By incorporating web video marketing into your media mix your law firm can stay ahead of the curve."


Six Ways to Address Crises So You and Your Clients Win

Joey Smith, Williams MullenFrom the new February issue of Originate, at in an article by Barry M. Schneider: 

During the last few months of 2008, crises were threatening very quickly. Banks were failing as their write-down of mortgage backed assets triggered liquidity problems. The Fed and the Treasury Department formed a crisis management team that seemed to meet non-stop, with new initiatives and actions every day, while even slow-moving Congress was stirred to pass the bailout package even with minimal controls and protections.

So what were you doing for your clients during all this? What were you doing to let others know how you could help?

For there were a few lawyers and firms that acted quickly and alertly to the potential risks or troubles of their clients. They didn’t just wait for the call, but took the initiative to give their clients and their market a resource they might not have considered.

One of these was Williams Mullen, a firm of over 300 attorneys based in the mid-Atlantic states. In September 2008, attorneys there formed a Financial Crisis Task Force which, according to the firm, was “formed to study the [bailout] legislation as it evolves, and to assist and advise our clients, keeping them informed on a timely basis utilizing our various industry and client teams and our government group.”

The chairman Joey Smith said, “We know our clients and their industries very well. We are anticipating the effect the government bailout and the rollout of conditions that will come with that bailout can have on our clients’ businesses and industries. Our attorneys will be on top of this crisis and armed with information that will allow them to be highly effective on behalf of our clients.”

Pro-active, informed and ever alert, armed with the capabilities of helping their clients take action and protect themselves…is this not the kind of firm you would want? But without action on their part – addressing the situation, leading the way for their clients, and getting the word out – who would know what they could do?

To see the rest of the article visit


Foam Marketing: the Latest Guerilla Marketing Tactic

law firm marketing, guerilla marketing, advertisingThe idea of guerilla marketing is to insert your promotion in a clever way that buyers least expect.  Most often, guerilla marketing is fun.  Here's a law firm marketing idea: foam marketing.

ROM is the regional airport code for Rome. It's an airfare in a European-style coffee.

From the PSFK blog: This newest invasion, neatly packaged as a guerilla marketing innovation, is called CoffeeMedia, a way for advertisers to have their catchy slogans tapped out in chocolate powder and broadcast to an unsuspecting audience - in this case customers enjoying the relative solace of a quiet cafe.

The very reason that non-traditional marketing is effective - it places ads in locations we wouldn’t normally expect, often creating a memorable experience that will be talked about later on - also points to why it can be so problematic. In its quest to seek out consumers anywhere and everywhere they might be and capture their attention in the process, this guerilla mindset loudly proclaims everything to be fair game, even if it means treading on or crossing the fine line that separates our public and private space.

When anything goes, all press is good press and proof of a successful campaign. But this attitudes seems to view customers as expendable - “you win some, you lose some” - when these are the very relationships you’re trying to foster. With that being said, is the intrusion on our milk froth really that important?

Sure, we’ve already gladly given away our to-go coffee cups and sleeves, but we’re not paying for those things anyway, we’re spending money for what’s inside, so doesn’t that somehow entitle us to have our beverages commercial-free or at the very least collect rent on the supposedly valuable real estate? Charge us a dollar less and see how many more of your messages we’re willing to collectively sip. Until then, leave our suds alone, unless of course your tag line comes in a low fat version.

Is the CMO Position in Jeopardy? NO.

CMO, chief marketing officer, law firm marketingThe Marketing Consigliere blog highlighted a couple posts from a Q&A on LinkedIn, where several top executives shared their thoughts on the role of the chief marketing officer and whether or not the role of the CMO will become obsolete.

Mark Chmiel, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer at Denny’s:

I think quite the opposite–the CMO is becoming more important and influential. The key is to have a very strong working relationship with the CEO, EC and Board. If so, the CMO is not just the marketing leader, but the brand and company leader—again with and through the CEO. Obviously, some CEO’s have their “own vision”, however the opportunity is to drive your (or the brand’s vision) through the power and influence of the CEO and Board. The question is do CMO’s have vision, and do they know how to share that vision so that others (mainly CEO) can accept and embrace it and actually think of it as their own.

Ann Casey, who served as Chief Marketing Officer at law firm Cozen & O’Connor:

Certainly true in services marketing and B2B, less true in product and B2C marketing where SKUs can be counted. Services marketing is successful when it retains the organization’s competitive equity, unless the pockets are very deep and then you can blow competition off the map. Marketing has to be viewed as an investment - with all appropriate ROI tracking in place - and not a drain on expenses (until we become heroes with the famed 4th quarter give-back we’re all so familiar with). We need more CEOs with marketing experience for this pradigm shift to occur.

"The Marketing Consigliere’s belief is that in many instances CEOs will continue lose faith in CMOs who fail to adopt solid, measurable network-centric marketing tactics that align and meet the revenue objectives of the firm.  Unfortunately, many bright and hardworking CMOs who are trying to positively transform their organizations with network-centric marketing will still be sacrificed on the corporate altar due to ignorance on the part of the other C-level leadership who do not give the CMO the latitude they need but are impatient for the results."

Twitosphere Drawing in a Steady Stream of Twittering Lawyers

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

A steady stream of lawyers is using -- on their computers and on their Blackberrys -- to network with peers, post industry news and drum up business.  

How to tweet

Twitter is a free social networking service that allows users to post and receive messages.

Updates from others appear on or on sites connected to Twitter accounts, such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

(A user of is known as a "tweeter" or "twitterer." The message posted is called a "tweet." When you post tweets, you're "tweeting.")

Messages must be under 140 characters in length. They can be sent to an individual as a direct message or to your entire network.

A key feature is the ability to "follow" other Tweeters. By visiting the Twitter account pages of other users and clicking on the "follow" button, their postings start appearing on your home screen.

But you don't have to open your Web browser to link in to Twitter. Downloading programs such as Twitterific will send Tweets to cellphones as text messages. Other programs such as PocketTweets and Tweetie are used with the iPhone.

Wayne Serra spends his workday immersed in the rarefied world of intellectual property law.

He prepares software patent applications, defends infringement claims and advises clients on medical research developments. But every once in a while, the Cleveland lawyer sticks his toe into the broad conversational river known as Twitter.

It's like microblogging crossed with instant messaging. The initial appeal appeared to be mostly among tech-heads and teenyboppers who had an urge to relay real-time bulletins to their friends about any and everything. 

Reasons to tweet

• Expand your network.

• Drive traffic to a blog.

• Simulate the water cooler

Message colleagues.

Monitor the buzz.

• Keep up with a local court.

• Track activity at a conference.

• Promote an event or seminar.

SOURCE: Robert J. Ambrogi, Law Technology News

Now the Twitosphere, as it's known, is drawing in a steady stream of lawyers and other professionals who are networking with peers, posting industry news and drumming up business.

"It's a very powerful tool, a way to get discreet bits of information in front of people," said Serra, a partner at Ulmer & Berne.

Serra, 41, has Twittered about:

  • Interesting patent cases in court
  • Novel interpretations of intellectual property law
  • Issues at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • New computer technology.

He's also kept touch with other patent lawyers and with IT leaders such as Apple's chief design technician, Jonathan Ive, and a top program manager at Google, Chris DiBona. He follows 61 other Twitterers and has 118 following him.

Serra's goal is to build a community of like-minded professionals who exchange ideas. Ambrogi calls it a virtual water cooler. The Boston attorney at first doubted Twitter's usefulness because of its "high noise ratio." Now he views it as an interesting way to keep his finger on the pulse of what lawyers are talking about.

Lawyers can use Twitter to monitor what's being said about their firm, a client or a business, Ambrogi said. Twitter also can play into the "ubiquity factor" of marketing -- repeatedly getting your name in front of potential clients.

Twitter is indeed full of banal chatter, maybe because it's free, easy and instant. It's biggest drawback, users say, is the sheer onslaught of words. For lawyers operating under information overload already, it can be a prodigious distraction.

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Ambrogi handles it through software called a Tweetdeck that scrolls in-coming tweets on a screen separate from his computer, much like a Times Square ticker tape. Even so, it's a time-eater, and Ambrogi frequently shuts off the tweets.

Kevin O'Keefe, chief executive of LexBlog, also was a Twitter skeptic. "I couldn't see the benefit of it, someone saying 'My cat just rolled over,' " O'Keefe recounted in a call from Seattle, where he runs his Internet marketing company for lawyers.

He changed his mind after last year's devastating earthquake in China, when Twitter broke the news before the mainstream media. Twitterers also got the jump on the terrorist attack in Mumbai and the Continental Airlines jet that slid off a runway in Denver last month. "Holy &* %%, I was just in a plane crash," passenger Mike Wilson messaged seconds after the accident.

Convinced that Twitter had impact, O'Keefe signed up and began weaving it into his legal work.

He now pronounces it the single biggest branding tool he's ever used. It allows lawyers to network on steroids, he said, making it a far more efficient tool than joining a country club and playing golf.


Six Hot Areas of Law Practice for Regional and Mid-sized firms


hot areas of law practice, law firm marketing, business development1. Employment law. President Obama just signed a law making it easier to bring employment discrimination cases. See "Law Firm Marketing Should Focus on Employment Law" at

2. Commercial leases.  There is a downturn in retail shopping, and people are not going to the mall as much as in the past.  Retail store owners will need legal help to negotiate cheaper leases, free utilities, rent holidays, etc. See "Recession Has Landlords of Retail Tenants Extending Discounts of Their Own" at

3. Bankruptcy. See "4,946 Reasons to Enter the Hottest Practice: Personal Bankruptcies" at

4. Litigation of all kinds. See "Litigation Will Lead the Legal Profession Out of the Recession in 2009" at

5. Government contracts.  Soon there will be billions flowing to government agencies to rebuild roads and bridges.  Contractors and builders will need help negotiating with the government.

6. Estate Planning. The Baby Boomers, born from 1946 to 1964, are now 77 million strong and they compose 23% of the population. They are in the age range of 45 to 63, and 4 million will hit age 60 each year. Estate planning is top-of-mind as they face empty nests, physical aging and end of life issues. Their retirement savings just got a 25% to 40% haircut, presuming they have any savings, and they want to get their affairs in order. The key motivating event: a fall. When a Boomer has a serious injury or illness, they and their kids want them to talk to a lawyer. Now is the time for lawyers to set up referral arrangements with urologists, cancer doctors and elder care counselors. Lawyers should be giving speeches at assisted living homes and senior clubs.


I see six hot areas of law practice for regional and midsized firms.  Now is the time to step up law firm marketing in the following areas:


Top Ten Law Firm Billing Mistakes that Clients Hate

Ivan Fong, law firm marketing, billing, business development, marketing directorI heard this Top Ten list of billing grievances at the Marketing Partner Forum program, “General Counsel Roundtable.”  It’s from Ivan K. Fong, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Cardinal Health, Inc. in Dublin, OH, (and nominee as Homeland Security General Counsel).

10. Who is the new guy on the bill and why is he spending my money?


9.  What is this 20 page memo I’ve never seen?


8. Why am I paying for another client’s work – it’s a mistake that the law firm misbilled.


7. Did anyone add up all the time spent on this motion?


6. What exactly is this attorney doing, there is no specific description of the lawyer’s activity.


5. Did anyone bother to read our outside counsel policy? E.g., how much we’ll pay for travel, copying, secretarial services, etc.


4. Did anyone proofread this bill?


3. What does it mean to “analyze” or “strategize” or “attend to” a motion for 2 hours?  What did you really do?


2. How did we get so off budget? – This is a grievance that you can solve by communicating.


1. One of our lawyers is a woman, Ms. Mayer, and she gets a number of bills addressed to “Mister Mayer.” You should know how to spell the names of your clients.