Martindale-Hubbell Connected Launches Today

With a base of 1 million lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell launches its Connected online social network today.  It's been in beta testing for several months and currently has 3,000 members.

Here's what makes it different from LinkedIn, Facebook, Legal OnRamp and the ABA's LegallyMinded:

  • It's for lawyers only, an attractive feature for attorneys.  Compare it to the success of the Texas Bar Circle, an online social and professional network exclusively for Texas lawyers, which is winning awards and new members.
  • All users are authenticated.  Unlike Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook where anyone can claim to be anyone they want, Connected users are verified.  The Connected online network doesn't allow any Gmail or Yahoo accounts -- you must have a law firm email address.  There is no anonymity nor any screen names.
  • It suggests people to connect with, based on where you went to law school, where you practiced earlier -- law firm or in-house -- and court documents you worked on with other lawyers.  You'll get 40-60 names of lawyers you can connect with at the moment you join.
  • It's got heavy media support from the ABA Journal, Law Technology News, the American Lawyer, and other media outlets. 
  • Lawyer networks like Lex Mundi, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and Terralex are hosting their own online networks on Connected.
  • 25,000 legal articles by lawyers and firms are available, similar to the material you find on Mondaq.

Martindale is late to the party with Connected, and there's been buzz that it will fail. But knowing that the John Lipsey is the brains behind the network, I think it will succeed.  Martindale has finally figured out Web 2.0.

Any lawyer can join.  You don't have to have a Martindale-Hubbell listing, but if you do, it speeds up the registration.

It's got all the basics -- a profile with privacy settings, ease of making connections, the ability to make announcements, forums, groups (that have a membership directory), blogs, RSS, news, in-mail and podcasts.  For me, the Legal Management Forum had discussions I found interesting, such as job opportunities, killing the billable hour and women lawyers struggling for pay parity.

Beyond that, you can search narrowly for a particular lawyer in a specific city, or broadly for all lawyers in a practice area in a state.  The link to Professional Resources offers links to lawyer associations, lexisONE and free case law, a list of experts and CLE courses, to name a few.

Features to be added include sending broadcast messages to all your connections, access for marketing professionals, and "preferred provider" management for in-house counsel to keep track of lawyers whom they are referring cases to.

If you are a lawyer looking for another lawyer for help with a file, a referral, local counsel, past and present colleagues, and new lawyer contacts locally or out of town, you'll find them at




Baker & Daniels' Identity Launch Takes Off with Flight 317

Melanie Green, marketing director, law firm marketingFrom the LawMarketing Portal:

After Melanie Green joined Baker & Daniels and the Director of Business Development & Marketing in Indianapolis, IN, the most frequent advice she was given when inquiring about how to achieve success was to "keep her hands off the logo." As a newcomer to the firm with a lot to learn, she listened to that advice...well, for the first year and a half that is.

But everything changed when the firm committed to be a founding partner of Lucas Oil Stadium (host of the 2012 Super Bowl). Through that partnership, the firm's visual identity was about to be featured in a first-class venue reaching local, national and international audiences.

Baker & Daniels poster, identity launch

So despite the advice given, the in-house team set out with a mission to achieve a successful identity launch. Baker & Daniels is a 370-lawyer firm with seven offices across Indiana, Chicago, Washington, DC and Beijing -- and a lot of skeptics.

With a clear outline of the task at hand and awareness of the obstacles they faced, the team elected to theme the initiative with a comedic touch. In a brainstorming session, the team got "on board" with a 70's-styled airline theme titled "Flight 317" - indicating the launch date of March 17, 2008, and also the Indianapolis telephone area code. (For the Irish, of course "luck" played into some of the strategy development!)

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

Law Firm Marketing Alert: YouTube Traffic Exceeds 100 Million Unique Visitors

From my friend Joshua Fruchter's blog LawyerCasting:

YouTube Traffic Exceeds 100 Million Unique Visitors For First Time in January 2009

Law firms and individual attorneys considering whether to start using online video as a marketing tool need look no further than research by comScore finding that more than 100 million unique US Internet users visited YouTube during January 2009. Those viewers watched an average of 62.5 videos each. While those numbers are impressive--remember they are just for YouTube--comScore's research further showed that a total of 147.3 million unique US visitors--almost half of the United States' population--viewed an average of 100.7 videos each.

eMarketer notes that much of YouTube's growth results from videos that its users post on the site, or user-generated video (UGV). eMarketer projects that in 2009, about 18.1 million US Internet users will create UGV, and the number of those UGV creators will reach 27.2 million by 2013.

Figures like these make clear that online video has become a viable marketing channel for those lawyers and law firms willing to invest in quality video production.


One in Four Law Firms Plan to Add Bankruptcy and Litigation Lawyers

law firm hiring, bankruptcy, litigationBankruptcy and Litigation Most In-Demand Specialties 

Despite a down economy and layoffs in the legal field, one-quarter (25 percent) of lawyers interviewed recently said their organizations would be adding personnel in the next 12 months. The majority (65 percent) of survey respondents forecast no change in staffing levels while one in 10 attorneys said their firms and corporations would be reducing the size of their teams in the coming year.

The two practice areas anticipated to experience the most growth, according to those polled, are bankruptcy and litigation.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a leading staffing service specializing in attorneys, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted from Feb. 11-27, 2009, by an independent research firm and includes responses from 300 attorneys among the largest law firms and corporations in the United States and Canada. All respondents have at least three years of experience in the legal field.

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



Now online: New issue of Originate! Business Development Newsletter

Originate, business development, law firm marketingThe new issue of Originate! -- the business development newsletter -- is now online.

This issue features a host of lawyers talking about business development and three installments in a series of articles detailing valuable business development initiatives. From finding your signature style to the ins-and-outs of networking to the sales moment of truth, you'll find a lot of items to add to your marketing brief.

The Lead Article is always free.  Simply visit to see all the money-making articles:

Lead Article: The Green Marketing Mentality: Better Results from Fewer Resources

Go Green in your marketing and business development, advises Darryl Cross. No, it’s not about wasting paper or saving water; it’s about getting the most out of your valuable time and money. This article rethinks the priorities for your marketing in a time of pressure and suggests a 4Rs approach that can make a big difference for you.


A Comfortable Sales Call: The Path Less Taken

Fifth Stage of the 12 Step Pipeline: In Andy Havens’ ongoing series about managing your sales pipeline, it’s the moment of truth: when you actively aim to turn your contact into a client; when you’re on a sales call. You’ve been aiming to make the prospective client comfortable with the notion of hiring you. So keep doing that as you sell.


Making Marketing Authentic: Your Signature Style as a Mediator

In this first of a three part series of articles on how to market a mediation/ADR practice, Diana Mercer, Esq. advises finding a Signature Style for yourself to keep your marketing genuine. This involves figuring out how to be yourself in your business development and find your niche. Her specific recommendations can help any lawyer improve how they market their specialty services.


A Silver Lining in Today’s Economic Cloud: How to Convert Spare Hours to Billable Ones

Despite the fearful news in the profession and shrinking business, one of the best ways to stay positive is to take action. According to Cindy Rold, Esq., as reported by Janet Ellen Raasch, you can use the ‘gift’ of newly available time to build relationships for the future. Here are ten ways to do so.


Best Practice Tips


Think Benefits: Turning Your Bio into a Magnet for Business

In this first of two articles on making your bio more effective as a business generator, Larry Bodine, Esq. hammers home the importance of thinking benefits, not features, in your description of yourself. Add the right emphasis and some conversations starters as well, and you're on the way to attracting leads.

Marketing Tip: Build Your Reputation Using Multiplication Marketing

Work hard, but work smart in your business development advises Michael Cummings. Use the power of multiplication marketing – a focused message delivered in myriad ways – to truly grab the attention of your prospective clients, get prospects to contact you, and produce money-making results. Here's how to do the math!

Kicking Sand on the Big Guys: How to Network Your Way to Larger Corporate Clients

Now there are more opportunities than ever for lawyers in small and mid-sized firms to gain legal work from large corporations. But you need to put yourself in position to make the short lists, and that means building your network of relationships wisely. Thom Singer offers five tips for getting on large companies’ radar and taking business from the big firms.

Marketing Tip: How to Make Networking Events Work for You

Networking works best if it is done with forethought.  Larry Bodine, Esq. offers top tips for a winning game plan, so you can make your next networking event your most effective - from planning to follow-through.


Using web analytics to increase your traffic

Hat tip to Staff writer Correy E. Stephenson of Lawyers USA:

As the Internet becomes an ever-increasing source of clients, it's extremely valuable to understand how and why potential clients arrive at your website or blog.

Web analytics – the information included in the site's browser log – can provide those answers.

To access the information in a reader-friendly format, you can buy software that translates the weblog into a readable format; some Internet service providers also provide the service for a price.

"Any lawyer can do this, but in my experience, lawyers never check their web stats or web analytics because they underestimate the power of the web," explained Larry Bodine, business development advisor at Chicago-based Larry Bodine Marketing and owner of the site

Your firm's website "is your most important marketing vehicle," Bodine said, because that's how consumers search for information that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

"If you do it right, a website will generate more leads for you than anything else, but you have to check the web analytics to find out."

Here are some key items to check when evaluating your site's web analytics:


An important source of information is referrals, or how a visitor to your website found you, whether from a Google search or a link from another blog.

"Referrals are the thing I'd be looking at," said Kevin O'Keefe, president of LexBlog and author of "Real Lawyers Have Blogs."

For a blog, it's important to know where your traffic is coming from – for example, if another blogger referenced something you recently said or if people stopped by after you were on Twitter, O'Keefe said.

And "ideally, you should see that Google is your number one referrer," Bodine said. If Google isn't sending a lot of visitors your way, it's time to evaluate your search engine optimization.

Unique visitors and page views

"People talk about how many hits your website gets, but a hit is irrelevant," Bodine said. "The key measure is the number of unique visitors, which is one person coming to your site."

If the same visitor comes to your site 10 times over the course of a month, that would be one unique visitor.

However, if that visitor clicks through several pages of your website, they will generate multiple page views, another helpful measurement of how much information the visitor finds useful on your site.

The number of "page views is always going to be a much bigger number," Bodine noted. "But keep a hawk eye on unique visitors."


Analytics can tell you what pages visitors are reading the most. On a law firm website, typically the homepage gets the most visits, Bodine said, followed by the biographies of the lawyers and any discussion of the firm's practice areas.

"But chances are nobody is reading the firm history or the links page," he noted.

Most analytics programs will let you drill down to the most visited page, or in the case of a blog, the most popular post.

"I've noticed on some of the better small firm sites, they have a FAQ section with really good explanations, like 'Here is what happens in a divorce case,' or 'Here are 10 things you should not discuss with your insurance company after a personal injury,'" Bodine noted.

Analytics will also be able to tell you "what key words or key phrases bring people to particular pages," O'Keefe said, which can help you shape content accordingly.

Steve Matthews, founder and principal of Stem Legal, a web marketing company for lawyers based in British Columbia, Canada, noted that it's important to monitor which search terms are effective because they may change and you could get a different ranking for "PI lawyer in Louisiana" versus "Louisiana PI attorney."

And be sure to update your website frequently, Matthews said, as fresh content is a key component in maintaining a good search engine ranking.


Keep an eye out for your website's usage trends from month to month, Bodine suggested.

If traffic is going up or down, try to figure out why. Likewise, if a certain blog post or news item gets high numbers, try to figure out why so you can duplicate the results – maybe readers are interested in a certain topic that you should cover more frequently, Matthews said.

"If you check the analytics and see that 150 people visited the site just for one particular item, then you should expand your presence on that topic and create the opportunity for more visitors," he said.

Alternatively, "if you check the list of the top 25 most visited pages on your site and if certain pages consistently don't make the list, get rid of them," Bodine said. "You've created space that bores people."


Despite recession, McGuireWoods expands into London

Mcguire woods, law firm marketing, business developmentThe recession isn't affecting 900-lawyer McGuireWoods, which just entered the London market by acquiring a firm there.

McGuireWoods has announced plans to acquire the law firm Grundberg Mocatta Rakison (GMR) in London.  The combined firm will be called McGuireWoods. The merger becomes effectiveg on May 1, 2009, marking McGuire’s first foray into the London market. The firm has existing international offices in Kazakhstan and Brussels.
Grundberg Mocatta has 36 lawyers, who will become the 18th office of McGuireWoods.

The acquisition will allow the McGuireWoods to offer GMR’s existing international client base its capabilities to handle matters in the US where McGuireWoods has offices. McGuireWoods’ clients will also have access to GMR’s international network.

Anders Grundberg, senior partner and founder of GMR, will assume the title of managing partner of the McGuireWoods London office, and under the terms of the agreement, McGuireWoods will expand its Board of Partners to include Robert Rakison, a partner with GMR. In addition, select partners in London will become part of McGuireWoods’ committee structure. Former McGuireWoods managing partner Bill Strickland will divide his time between the London and Brussels offices; and Peter Covington, vice chairman of McGuireWoods, will relocate to London. In addition, Walter White, Jr. of GMR will head the emerging markets practice and maintain offices in London and Washington, D.C. 
Richard Cullen, Chairman of McGuireWoods, said, “We have sought to expand our overseas reach with a London office for some time. We are very fortunate not only to gain as partners such a talented group of internationally respected attorneys, but also to join forces with a firm that shares our values.”

“We are delighted to partner with a strong and well-respected firm like McGuireWoods,” said Grundberg. “We already work with lawyers at the firm on a number of matters. ... We feel that this is the ideal time to combine our prepare the groundwork for when the financial markets return to strength.”

285-lawyer Wolf Block decides to dissolve

Excerpted from the Philadelphia Business Journal:

The partners of Wolf Block voted Monday to dissolve the 106-year-old law firm due to a combination of effects of the recession on the firm’s core real estate practice, the constriction of credit and the anticipated departures of significant partners and practices. The firm said it would remain in business for several months to protect the interests of its clients, employees and creditors.

“The partners concluded that continued efforts to finance the firm’s operations in the face of these obstacles was unwise and could risk greater harm later to firm clients and employees than if the situation were to be managed now in an orderly and responsible manner,” the firm said in a statement.

wolf block, dissolution, out of businessWolf Block Chairman Mark L. Alderman said the firm was “deeply saddened by the decision to unwind, but we intend to conduct ourselves during this difficult time with the pride, focus, humility and determination that have characterized Wolf Block lawyers for more than a century. This result is ironic given that many of our practices and offices continue to perform at a high level despite our difficulties.”

Wolf Block was once one of Philadelphia’s elite law firms. But two failed mergers with larger firms over the past two years combined with the economic recession’s effect on its bread-and-butter real estate practice has left Wolf Block in a precarious position.

According to information provided by Wolf Block for the upcoming Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Business Lists, the firm has 287 lawyers and 400 support staff, with 156 local lawyers and 255 local staff. The firm has roughly half of its lawyer count in Philadelphia with about 60 lawyers in Roseland, N.J., and more than 40 in New York and smaller sites in Cherry Hill, N.J., Harrisburg, Pa, Boston and Wilmington.

Alderman addressed the firm’s associates Monday afternoon.

Wolf Block was still among the region’s elite firms until the recession of the early 1990s, when some of its top lawyers such as Alan Davis, Steve Goodman and Sy Kurland left for rival firms. A group of 13 partners left for Cozen O’Connor in 1995. Those familiar with the firm have said it never fully recovered from that series of defections. As other firms grew dramatically in size and geographic scope in the past decade, Wolf Block remained largely a mid-Atlantic law firm that was viewed as a mid-sized firm by current standards.

Proposed mergers with two 500-lawyer firms — Philadelphia’s Cozen O’Connor in 2007 and Florida’s Akerman Senterfitt in 2008 — fell through after lengthy, public negotiations.

Soon after the end of the fiscal year, when partners collect their year-end compensation, some of the firm’s partners began peeling off. Two labor and employment partners joined Littler Mendelson last week, a litigation partner in Cherry Hill left for Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel and Wolf Block’s 10-lawyer Wilmington, Del., office will reportedly migrate to Drinker Biddle & Reath this week.

A former Wolf Block partner said the year-end distribution of partner profits was “almost non-existent,” creating a loss of confidence in the current management team, which then moved to get the firm back on track with its credit line. Firms need to take a line of credit out with banks to pay operating expenses at the start of each fiscal year until receivables come in from clients.

But more concerns arose on March 1, when former partners said Wolf Block partners did not receive their monthy stipend, called a draw, electronically that day. Instead, it was delivered manually as a check a few days later, indicating the firm might have had some financial problems.

Last fall, Wolf Block announced it was delaying the start dates for its first-year associates from September to November. And in December, the firm laid off 15 lawyers and staff and then made more cuts earlier this year.

Wolf Block has engaged the Hildebrandt consulting firm and Leslie D. Corwin, a partner with the Greenberg Traurig law firm, to work with firm leadership “to relocate as many people as possible, as promptly as possible, while liquidating the firm’s obligations.”

Law Firms Continue to Expand Despite Poor Economy

Excerpted from the Legal Intelligencer: A tough economy doesn't necessarily mean expansion-minded firms are putting their plans on hold.

Blank Rome and K&L Gates each announced recently  the opening of an office in markets far from their respective home bases of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

For Blank Rome, the expansion means a presence away from its largely East Coast roots. The firm has offices mainly up and down the coast with the exception of Cincinnati and Hong Kong. It can now add Los Angeles to the list, bridging the gap between its mid-Atlantic base and a growing Hong Kong presence.

K&L Gates' foray into Singapore makes for the firm's fifth office in Asia and puts the firm at more than 70 legal professionals across those five offices. There are now about 200 attorneys in the firmwide Asia practice. The announcement comes just one day after K&L Gates' merger with Chicago-based Bell Boyd & Lloyd became official on March 1.

Firm managing partner Peter Kalis has often cited the firm's lack of debt as a reason for its ability to capitalize on opportunities in a down market.

Blank Rome managing partner Carl Buchholz said his firm's approach to growth has been a conservative one regardless of the market. When it opened the Hong Kong office about two years ago, it did so with only four attorneys focusing almost solely on maritime law. That office has now grown to 18 attorneys with a full-service practice, he said.

While it's expanding in one area, Blank Rome, like many firms, has done some trimming of staff and attorneys across a number of practices given the economy and anticipated client demand in 2009. Buchholz said that hasn't stopped the firm from looking at its overall strategic goals for the next few years. And California has been a big part of that strategy.

"We've done some trimming as well and are continuing to focus on what I call the 'daily blocking and tackling,'" Buchholz said. "At the same time, we're not taking our eye off the prize" by looking at where the firm needs to be "three, five or seven years from now."

Frank D'Amore of Attorney Career Catalysts said he is seeing firms split into two, distinct camps --

  • Those that are retrenching, looking to be cost sensitive and bulk up revenues.
  •  Those who are capitalizing on opportunities created by the down economy.

He said there is a great divide between the two and even firms who are looking to be opportunistic are doing so more in existing markets rather than looking to enter new ones.

There are opportunities for firms looking to grow, D'Amore said, particularly via acquisition of a smaller firm. He said many smaller firms are more receptive to merger talks in this economic climate than they may have been a few years ago.

All of the Blank Rom'es offices work together, but Buchholz said he sees an obvious connection between the Hong Kong and Los Angeles offices. The new office will also be a benefit to the firm's existing West Coast clients.

"California is one of the most dynamic markets in the country," Buchholz said in a statement. "Our Los Angeles office will provide the initial launch for our West Coast growth strategy, as well as natural synergy with our growing office in Hong Kong, as we continue to build our national and international platform. Blank Rome is already serving more than 200 clients with a California presence."

K&L Gates opened its Singapore office with the addition of DLA Piper partner Kevin J. Murphy. He will lead the office's corporate and restructuring practice and will be assisted by several of the firm's existing attorneys in other Asian offices as well as in London.

Murphy represents Asian and foreign clients on inbound and outbound cross-border matters, including investments and acquisitions, debt restructurings and public and private financings.

"The launch of our Singapore office during this major global economic correction is reflective of K&L Gates' strong commitment to Asia and our confidence in the continuing growth and development in the region," David K.Y. Tang, K&L Gates' managing partner, Asia, said in a statement. "Singapore is a recognized world-class financial center and we look forward to capitalizing on the opportunities an expanded Asia presence will bring our global clients."

K&L Gates first entered Asia in 1996 with the launch of its Hong Kong office, followed by offices in Beijing, Taipei and, in April 2008, Shanghai.


ABA President-Elect to Speak at Best Lawyers 25th Anniversary Event

Best Lawyers, one of the country’s few legitimate lawyer-rating services, will mark its 25th anniversary in 2009 by honoring the 1,397 lawyers from throughout the U.S. who have been listed in its publication since it began rating lawyers in 1983.

More than 250 lawyers are expected to attend the CLE-charity conference.  "This as a terrific business development opportunity for the lawyers that attend to rub shoulders and meet some of the most senior and successful lawyers within our industry that they might otherwise never have the opportunity to meet," said Jeffrey Morgan, Executive Vice President of Best Lawyers.

The event, to be held in Atlanta, GA, April 23-25, will open with a gala at the Georgia Aquarium on Thursday April 23rd, with remarks by Carolyn Lamm, President-Elect of the American Bar Association. On Friday, April 24th at the Four Seasons hotel, attendees will engage in panel discussions about changes in the legal profession and legal education over the last 25 years. David Boies, one of the country’s most prominent attorneys, will speak at a luncheon.


Registration is $1,195 and and all are welcome to attend, even those who may not be listed in Best LawyersWhat is cool is that all proceeds generated by the event will go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "We are so pleased to be celebrating this milestone and to honor those lawyers who have been with us from the start," said Steven Naifeh, President and founder of Best Lawyers. "We are proud to be donating all proceeds to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, one of the worthiest institutions in the world."


Best Lawyers compiles its listings of outstanding attorneys through exhaustive peer-review surveys. Every year, thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers and Best Lawyers tabulates more than 2.5 million votes. Its annual publication, The Best Lawyers in America, which continues to be the only advertisement-free referral guide to the legal profession, now includes 36,126 attorneys in 78 specialties, covering all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 


For information about the 25th Anniversary Event or to attend, contact Steven Naifeh at 803-644-1661 or, or visit 

Many Firms are Profiting in this Economy

Robert Denny is right on the money in his March Legal Communique, excerpted here:

"Don’t believe all the gloom and doom. Many firms are profiting in this economy. And that is certainly true today in most parts of our economy including the legal profession.  Yet legendary investor Warren Buffett sees this downturn as providing opportunities.  And, despite the dissolution of some firms and lawyer and staff layoffs in a number of others, many firms – particularly mid-size and smaller – are doing more than just surviving.  Some are even doing well. 

For the most part, their practices were not dependent on major clients in the financial, automotive and real estate industries among others.  But, like Buffett, they have also identified opportunities to not only survive but, now or in the future, to thrive.  This is what these firms, many of which are our clients, are doing to capitalize on these opportunities.

• Practice area focus.  As part of their planning they are focusing, not just on counter-cyclical practice areas such as Bankruptcy, but also on other areas including Litigation, Intellectual Property (particularly litigation and patent prosecution), Employment and Environmental.  They are also re-emphasizing and expanding their expertise in traditional Labor Relations.

• Industry & geographic focus.  In addition, many firms are focusing on certain industries such as Health Care, Energy and Technology.  Surprising as it may seem, some of the mid-size firms are also expanding geographically by opening offices in other cities.

• Client relationships.  They are devoting time, usually non-billable, to strengthening them.  One of the principal strategies is by initiating or accelerating Client Audit programs, even outsourcing them to qualified consultants.  As a result, they are identifying their clients’ problems and concerns and, in many cases, also finding new opportunities to serve these clients.

• Marketing. They are increasing, not decreasing, productive marketing activities such as electronic bulletins and client alerts to keep clients, as well as target prospects, promptly updated on important legal and business developments that may affect them.

• Business Development.  Their lawyers aren’t sitting in their offices waiting for new business.  They are out in the marketplace meeting with clients, referral sources and prospective clients.

• Pricing.  They are not indulging in the annual habit of raising hourly rates – but neither are they cutting rates (a foolish step).  What they are doing is finding ways to reduce the cost of their services by offering alternative fee arrangements including, where appropriate, fixed fees. 

• Commodity work.  Some firms are phasing out commodity practice areas where price is the only factor.

•  Fee advantage.  Having recognized that large corporations are vigorously trying to reduce their legal expenses, mid-size and smaller firms are seeking – and obtaining – work from these corporations by emphasizing that their cost structure, and therefore their fees, are lower than those of the large firms.

• Training & development.  While some firms are cutting their training budgets, these firms are maintaining and even increasing theirs.  In addition to improving the legal, management and client development skills of their younger lawyers, they are finding this also is giving them an advantage in recruiting.

• Recruiting.  They are strengthening key practice areas, and even developing new ones, by successfully recruiting skilled lateral entry partners and associates who have been laid off by other, usually larger, firms.

• Firing clients.  A growing number of firms are recognizing that many slow-paying clients are really costing the firm money and are not worth keeping.  Therefore, they are advising these clients that they will no longer represent them.

So, despite all the doom and gloom that is reflected in the legal press, particularly about large firms, there are many firms that are profiting right now.  Of course we don’t know how long this will continue but, for the time being, there is a quote that applies to these firms: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”  -- Mark Twain 

45% of Law Firms Block Access to Social Networking Sites

According to Doug Cornelius, who writes the Compliance Building blog, nearly half of all law firms block access from work computers to Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. These are three of the top 10 most visited sites on the web.

He and Steve Matthews conducted an informal survey of 231 law firms, large and small, in January 2009 on  Here's the key question:

Does your firm block access to any of these sites?
Facebook 85%
MySpace 77%
Twitter 26%
LinkedIn 14%
YouTube 55%
Blogs 22%

A number of law firms block access to social networking sites because they believe it translates to social "not-working" in the office, according to Cornelius. Yet one has to wonder how valid that concern is—especially when weighed against the advantages that these sites can bring.

The main reasons for blocking, they reported, were concerns about the following:

  • Loss of productivity
  • Viruses
  • Confidentiality
  • Bandwidth consumption

In an article in Law Practice Magazine, Matthews showed that all four concerns were bogus.

Cornelius added: "I fear that many firms use blockage as their policy. That may have worked 10 years ago, but not today. You can just as easily access these sites from iPhone or blackberry as you can from a firm computer. Blocking does not stop the bad behavior that it is trying to prevent. Blocking merely changes the access method.

There is a fair amount of research, the most prominent of which are two reports from McKinsey, showing that access to social networks at work, coupled with a good policy results in a more engaged, more motivated and potentially more innovative workplace. You should set sensible policies and set reasonable expectations for your employees. Social networking sites at their core are communications platform. You should be able to adapt your policies on email, confidentiality, marketing and similar policies to easily include social networking sites. If not, those other policies probably need updating anyhow."


Recession will Forever Change the Legal Profession

law firm recession, marketing, business developmentNew York Times columnist and author Thomas L. Friedman recently posed this question: "What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall — when Mother Nature and the market both said: “No more.”  

I think the recession will change the legal profession forever.  It's the end of the law as we know it.

I remember hearing a sound in August 2007, just as the recession began, when I first heard about lawyers charging $1,000 per hour. It was the sound of a bubble popping. I’m sorry, but no lawyer who cannot shoot laser beams out of their eyes is worth that much money.

In the following months the Association of Corporate Counsel launched its “ACC Value Challenge” specifically to rein in out-of-control legal costs. Clients are in an organized revolt. 


Then came the massive layoffs of law firms, as tracked by the Layoff List, which has grown rapidly from 55 law firms in January 2009 to 84 law firms by March 11. As of March 6, 2009, there have been over 7,241 layoffs (3,045 lawyers / 4,196 staff) since January 1, 2008, according to Law Shucks.


The handwriting on the walls turning into headlines in the news. Major corporations are actively seeking smaller law firms to get lower rates. Clients want cost-efficiency and an end to the billable hour.


The firms that survive the recession will:

  • Have “customers” not “clients.”
  • Offer flat fees per project or per procedure.
  • Have rates that are markedly lower than in 2008.
  • Will routinely produce budgets for all legal work.
  • Be run like real businesses, which know their costs, can calculate a profit margin, and offer customers “just in time” services at the best price possible.
  • Realize that customers are fickle and expect personalized service.
  • Have lawyers that fly coach and stay at cheap hotels near the client’s offices, instead of the Four Seasons 5 miles away.
  • Have lawyers that know their clients business, their goals, strategies and objectives, and work to help the client make more money or cut their costs.

Google becomes a monopoly with +70% market share, raising antitrust pushback

According to Hitwise, Google has a 72% market share of online search, putting it over the 70% benchmark for having market power to raise prices unilaterally.  This arguably makes Google a monopoly.  This status has deservedly brought Google antitrust challenges from the US Government.

Percentage of U.S. searches among leading search engine providers
Domain November 2007 October 2008 November 2008 63.15% 71.70% 71.97% 21.62% 17.74% 17.70% 9.80%* 5.40%* 5.45%* 3.72% 3.53% 3.35%

Google, online search, law firm marketing, business developmentAs the data shows, hardly anyone uses, or Yahoo!  No wonder is advertising on TV for users.

"Google maintains that its lead in the Web search market is tenuous, saying that with a simple click of a mouse, a user’s loyalty could evaporate at any moment," writes Randall Stross in Everyone Loves Google, Until It’s Too Big in the New York Times.

But I don't believe it.  Google has been the top search engine for three years running. "Certainly, antitrust scrutiny is a growing worry at the Googleplex. Last year, the company abandoned a proposed advertising pact with Yahoo when the Justice Department said it would file an antitrust lawsuit to block the deal. Last week, a small Web site operator,, filed an antitrust suit against Google, accusing it of unfairly manipulating its advertising system to harm a potential competitor," the Times states

Many Web site owners who track where their visitors come from report that Google’s search engine now refers 80 to 90 percent of their visitors.

I rely on Google myself to generate web traffic and recommend that law firms optimize their websites to be found by Google. But it will be a dark day when Google, which keeps its algorithms secret, becomes the only search choice. It reminds me of the Standard Oil Trust, which monopolist John D. Rockefeller used to control 90% of the nation's oil supply in 1900, until trust-buster President Theodore Roosevelt broke it up using antitrust laws.


A New Magazine for Women Litigators

Sue magazine, law firm marketingThere's a new online magazine for "women in litigation" called "Sue" (get it?)

The technology is very slick: you can turn the pages online just like a real magazine. You can "zoom" to enlarge the copy 400%, making it easily readable. Further, you can print out one or all of its 76 pages as PDF files.

The bi-monthly magazine has search, print and thumbnail view functions. Feature articles include:

  • If Women Wrote the Laws
  • Girls Just Wanna Have Funds
  • Walking the Thin Pink Line
  • Articles on legal costs, discovery, Federal Rule of Evidence 502 and litigating in China.

The content looks good, except for "Brains Before Beauty, about flirting, the oldest trick in the book."  This undermines the lofty editorial focus.

The publisher is Estrin Education Inc. in Studio City, CA, and Chere Estrin is the Editor-in-Chief. She writes, "SUE is not about a competition between men and women. It has been created to promote a new generation of professionals making a significant impact on the world through your work and your lives-while being true to yourselves. Sue’s readers are part of the growing coterie of influential women redefining what constitutes success in the legal field in the 21st century."

Kudos to the editors, writers, publisher and advertisers.  It's long overdue for women to have a strong voice in the male-dominated locker room known as the legal profession.  Half of all law students are women, but only 17 percent of partners at major law firms nationwide were women.

To get your own free subscription just go to or call 888.803.8807

Why Finding a Lawyer in the Yellow Pages is a Mistake

yelllow pages advertising, law firm marketingI found the following on the lawyerahead blog.  I've long  held the view that the Yellow Pages are a waste of money for lawyers -- it just attracts bottom-feeders, illiterates and shoppers.  This piece points out that the yellow pages are also bad for the client.

Open the Yellow Pages and you’ll find page after page after page of legal advertisements. They are generally categorized by ’specialty,’ but all of them seem to be specialists in multiple areas of the law. The sheer number of ads is astonishing.

“Well, here’s a nice advertisement. Big letters, toll-free phone number, a nice picture of a classy office and a distinguished gentleman.” Guess what? You’ve just figured out which law firm is good at advertising. You have, in effect, selected the best ad writer, not the best lawyer for your circumstances. And pages of ads, all offering the same ‘free consultation’ doesn’t help either.

You shouldn’t choose a lawyer like you would choose a plumber. Rather, finding a lawyer to take on your case is more like finding a doctor to treat your illness. You are going to develop a long-term relationship with your attorney – a relationship built on trust and communication. The Yellow Pages will not help you here. In fact, they can hurt you.

  • The advertisements will not tell you how much a lawyer charges.
  • They will not tell you who pays the law firm if you lose your case. Did you know that you might be responsible for paying the attorney fees if your case doesn’t result in a collection?
  • What about expenses related to investigating and pursuing your case? Who pays for those?

All of these questions and more can only be answered in person. You will need more than a phone call, you will need to interview a few lawyers to find one that you trust to handle your matter. Someone you can be confident in and a firm you can rely on.

Put the Yellow Pages away. Take some time to investigate both your type of case and local attorneys on the Internet. [Google is the only directly to bother with.]

Remember, what you want is someone who can guide you through the legal minefield, someone with expertise and someone you trust who you can communicate well with. Leave the Yellow Pages for when you need lawn service or snow removal.


Expert says Twitter can be a "goldmine" for marketers

As a business-to-business marketing platform, Twitter has legs. About 56% of Twitter users say they use the online social communication site for business purposes, according to Rodney Rumford, a social media guru and one of the keynote speakers at the inaugural Gravity Summit on Social Media in Los Angeles.

The statistic, based on a survey of 700 Twitter users, suggests the service's value as a business-to-business marketing platform, alongside its emerging utility for consumer marketing.

"Twitter is a goldmine," Rumford said, adding that a number of big consumer brands are already on the site--including Starbucks, which currently boasts about 6 million followers.

Rumford also noted that small businesses are using Twitter to advertise, citing the example of a gourmet Korean taco truck business in Los Angeles which since its launch in November has built a following through Twitter: "The driver tweets where the truck will be 20 minutes ahead of time, and literally hundreds of people show up," one conference attendee confirmed.

Marketers can use Twitter actively or passively, Rumford says--in the first case by reaching out with promotional messages, and in the second by setting up a "listening engine" that allows them to track consumer sentiment in public postings on the site. Any active marketing must be handled carefully to avoid alienating consumers with the appearance of dishonesty or inauthentic, impersonal messages: "It's not a campaign, it's a conversation," he said.

Companies are still mishandling this kind of functionality, however: Rumford cited the example of Motrin, which reacted slowly to widespread criticism on Twitter of an ad about pregnant women that was perceived as misogynist. Rumford added that efforts to drive people to particular online destinations can be tracked and measured by Google Analytics; Google also crawls and indexes all the conversation streams on the site.

Justin Goldsborough, social media manager for Sprint, said the company uses Twitter to track consumer sentiment as well as for customer service.  Meanwhile, politicians are also on Twitter. According to conference organizer Beverly Macy, the Republican Party is using the site to hold discussions about re-branding the party.


Time Can't Stop Valorem's Law Firm Marketing

Valorem Group, law firm marketingHow do you follow up a law firm marketing brochure that features a clock shot through with bullet holes, and an inside page that says, "We killed the billable hour" ?  Valorem Group had to top its own marketing coup.

So they issued a CD entitled, "It's About Time (But We're Not)" with songs from various artists that included "time" in the title -- ranging from "The Times They Are A-Changing" to "Let the Good Times Roll."

The marketing technique was so clever, it won a special Your Honor award from the Chicago LMA chapter. The CD technique is good in so many ways -- it reiterates the firm's theme, it repeats the primary graphic (a giant clock outside their building) and it shows a sense of humor.  Here's the playlist:

Track 1: The Times They Are A-Changin' / Bob Dylan 3:11

Track 2: Time Like These (Live) / Foo Fighters 5:25

Track 3: Time Keeps On Ticking (Fly Like an Eagle) Steve Miller Band 4:47

Track 4: Time of Your Life (Good Riddance) / Green Day 2:34

Track 5: Time is a Thief / Solomon Burke 2:46

Track 6: Tick Tock / Raphael Saadiq 4:28

Track 7: Big Time (Acoustic Mix) Electrokingdom and Peter Gabriel 4:40

Track 8: Clocks / Coldplay 5:02

Track 9: Time After Time / Sarah Mclaughlin & Cyndi Lauper

Track 10: Every Time We Say Goodbye / Sarah Vaughan 2:27

Track 11: Time Will Tell/Bob Marley and the Wailers 3:30

Track 12: Let the Good Times Roll / Patrick Lamb (not our own) 2:32

The CD jacket notes that all the songs were "Legally purchased and copied. (Just ask Nathan at iTunes)


RainDance Conference set for June 3-5 in Chicago

LSSO RainDance, law firm marketing, business development

LSSO's RainDance Conference, scheduled for June 3-5 in Chicago is the conference conceived and designed for senior leaders in law firms and legal departments. It's the place where sophisticated professionals and industry thought leaders turn for their own professional development.

Register for RainDance '09

From LSSO: We know this is a tough year and that budgets are tight – so, we’ve lowered registration fees, developed great team pricing, rolled back sponsorship pricing to 2004 rates, elevated the conference agenda (have you seen who's on the 2009 faculty?!), and negotiated favorable rates at the fabulous Hotel Sax too. Our goal, as always, is that you realize a substantial return on your registration investment. Visit us at for more information and to see 5 reasons it makes good sense to attend RainDance this year. Here’s one:

RainDance is the only conference in the legal industry that gives you critical sales, service and process improvement education and tools that you and your firm need to compete. With this focus on specific content, RainDance is geared to provide the skills and education that help you be in the know about how to survive in these challenging times and address important initiatives, such as the ACC Value Challenge, that are now hitting the legal industry.

View the RainDance Program Agenda

How to Market a Small Law Firm for Less than $500

Dave Lorenzo, law firm marketing, business developmentWhenever a client walks into marketing consultant Dave Lorenzo's office to discuss marketing for a small law firm, the conversation invariably starts with: “I don’t have enough money,” or “Where can I get the money to market my services?” 

The reality is that money is not a big problem when it comes to small law firm marketing. You can bootstrap a law practice exactly the same way an entrepreneur bootstraps any other start-up.

Here is a starter list of things that you can do today (and over the next six months) to jump-start your solo law practice. 

1.  Focus on Your Natural Network First

Each of us has a network of people we know, like, and trust (to varying degrees). Leverage this network to the hilt. Call everyone—your friends, relatives, and business associates—past and present. Let them know that you are on your own and explain to them the value you provide.  

The purpose of these calls is not just to get business in your specialty area; it is also to convince them to come to you first with any legal work. If you cannot handle the work, you can refer them to another attorney, who will (hopefully) return the favor with a referral to you in the near future.

2. Seize All Opportunities for Free Media with a News Hook

Every day, there are news items in the newspaper and on television and radio that fall into your area of expertise. Your local newspaper editor is always looking for expert commentary on these topics. A news story without a quote is not a true news story.

Fax and mail a press release every month to the local editors and reporters who cover relevant stories. Include a business card or two with your full contact information—including your home and mobile telephone numbers.

To read his additional tips, please visit the LawMarketing Portal at


Goodwin Procter's Cross-practice Integration Leads to Marketing Success

Anne Malloy Tucker, Goodwin ProcterCross-selling is a key to success in business development strategies. While true, simply making introductions between partners in different practice areas is not enough.  As Goodwin Procter found, the most successful cross-selling initiatives are aligned with the business strategies of clients and prospective clients to showcase depth, not just as a way to generate business, but as a way of helping clients to run their businesses better.  

Goodwin Procter is one of the nation's leading law firms, with a team of 900 attorneys serving clients through offices in Boston and 8 other cities. Anne Malloy Tucker is the firm CMO.

One way in which Goodwin Procter has differentiated itself is by focusing its business development efforts around key industry-facing practice groups where the firm can best promote a national presence. Referred to as Major Practice Groups (MPGs), these groups largely focus on their own industry-based clients, and as a result, are positioned to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by these industries.  

The firm's MPGs -- Private Equity and Financial Services -- recently developed a cross-selling initiative based on research showing that banking institutions would soon be looking for private sources of capital.  The premise was that the  groups' comparative advantage in the marketplace would increase exponentially, as few firms have both strong private equity and financial services practices.  

“This joint platform began to crystallize as the national financial crisis began to unfold,” said Gregory J. Lyons, co-chair of the firm’s Financial Services Group. “Our intention was to create awareness across the firm, and then capitalize on spokes of opportunity. The goal was to present Goodwin’s rare combination of financial services and private equity expertise.”

Because the tentacles of regulation and government oversight of the banking industry can extend to significant investors in the sector, historically private funds have not typically invested in banks or thrifts, despite the healthy returns such banks historically delivered to their investors.  As a result, it became clear that successfully driving the initiative would involve raising the profile with both private fund investors and banks about this novel approach to raising funds.

The initiative brought the law firm new leads, new business and a national marketing award.  For the rest of the story, please visit the LawMarketing Portal at


Top Reasons for Using Twitter

From the Online Social Networking blog: These are the top reasons to use Twitter, according to Larry Brauner:

  1. Simplicity - Twitter is easier for people to understand than many other social media sites. There are only a few Twitter concepts to learn: how to create a profile, follow, update, reply, search, retweet, send direct messages and use hashtags. See Brand Yourself and Market on Twitter.
  2. Networking - With hundreds of thousand of people using Twitter, you’re bound to find, as I have, people with common interests to connect with. Advice I gave in Get More Personal applies here to networking on Twitter. Speak on the phone or meet in person, but don’t hide behind your computer.
  3. Traffic - Twitter is a blogger’s dream. Last week 328 people from Twitter visited my blog a total of 390 times and viewed a total of 651 pages. In case you’re wondering whether all this traffic was targeted, 6.4% of the visitors from Twitter subscribed to my my RSS feed or blogcast.
  4. List Building - Twitter is a great tool to cultivate a following in your niche. I presently have more than 5,000 followers on Twitter. What will I do with these followers?
  5. Branding - I use Twitter to brand and market myself to my followers. Through Twitter many people are getting to know me who would otherwise not have had this opportunity. Even people who choose not to follow me can still learn about me. Keep this in mind: It’s not what you know or whom you know, but who knows, likes, trusts and respects you.
  6. Communicating - I can send direct messages or use hashtags to communicate with my friends.
  7. Research - Twitter is an excellent tool for research and keeping up with world developments. You don’t necessarily need to follow people or for them to follow you to read their tweets and click on their links.
  8. Discovery - We can learn new things on Twitter, even when we’re not looking per se.
  9. Mobility - Wherever you are or wherever I am, we’re only a tweet away. As more and more people use cell phones and text messaging, the compact 140 character format makes Twitter easy to access.
  10. Fun - Twitter is a blast! It’s a giant party, and the black tie is definitely optional.