SymetriColour has mystically transformed this benign plastic toy into a creepy electronic jack-o-lantern with flashing eyes and creaking theremin sounds, sure to scare away those pesky trick-or-treaters. Halloween for audio-hackers never looked (and sounded) so good.
With 1,100 lawyers in 27 offices, the law firm of Hogan & Hartson has agreed to merge with the giant British law firm Lovells. The transaction is expected to close in Mid-December and become effective in May 2010. This will create a 2,500 lawyer firm with 40 offices across the world and revenue of $2 billion.
Following is the joint press release:
Management Groups at Each Law Firm Recommend Combination to Partnerships
LONDON and WASHINGTON, D.C., October 29, 2009 – Hogan & Hartson LLP and Lovells LLP announced today the unanimous support by management of both firms to combine their partnerships. Management at Hogan & Hartson and Lovells will make unanimous recommendations to their respective partnerships to go forward with the proposed merger of equals. The proposed merger is subject to approval by both partnerships. Documents setting out the terms of the proposed merger will be sent to partners of both firms during the latter part of next week.
The plan to move forward follows meetings involving partners of Hogan & Hartson and Lovells over a period of several months. Each firm has looked closely at its strategic business objectives and the ways in which a merger would benefit their clients.
The proposed merger would create a top 10 global law firm with approximately 2,500 lawyers in 40 offices located throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Beyond the strategic business fit of Hogan & Hartson and Lovells, the combined firm would have significantly increased capabilities to handle complex, cross-border work in all key international markets.
Both firms are planning a series of partner meetings to discuss the proposal in detail over the course of the next few weeks. Each firm will need to put the merger proposal to a partnership vote, which is expected to take place around the middle of December. The effective date of the merger is expected to be May 1, 2010.
"This would be the first transatlantic merger of two top 30 global law firms, creating a unique global firm covering the U.S. and other international markets. The Hogan & Hartson/Lovells combination complements each firm's capabilities from a practice, geographic, and industry perspective," said J. Warren Gorrell, Jr., Chairman of Hogan & Hartson, "and would preserve the collegial and team-oriented cultures of each firm and our commitments to community service. This merger strengthens our ability to provide the highest quality service to our clients on their most important and challenging matters where they need us most."
David Harris, Managing Partner of Lovells, commented: "The strong similarities in the fundamental values of each firm, combined with the powerful business rationale for the merger, are a compelling proposition. Both of us are seeking to create a truly global law firm capable of delivering a top quality service across the world’s major commercial and legal markets. We have very complementary areas of legal strength, such as in corporate, M&A, finance, regulatory law, dispute resolution, and intellectual property."
About Hogan & Hartson
Hogan & Hartson is an international law firm founded in Washington, D.C. with more than 1,100 lawyers in 27 offices worldwide.
Hogan & Hartson has offices in Abu Dhabi, Baltimore, Beijing, Berlin, Boulder, Brussels, Caracas, Colorado Springs, Denver, Geneva, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Moscow, Munich, New York, Northern Virginia, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Tokyo, Warsaw, and Washington, D.C.
For more information about the firm, visit www.hhlaw.com.
With over 3,000 people operating from 28 offices in Asia, Europe and the United States, Lovells is one of the world's leading international law firms. We advise many of the world's largest corporations, financial institutions and governmental organizations. We regularly act on complex, multi jurisdictional transactions as well as some of the most high profile commercial disputes. Lovells is an international legal practice comprising Lovells LLP and its affiliated businesses. Lovells LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC323639. Registered office and principal place of business: Atlantic House, Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2FG.
For more information about the firm, visit www.lovells.com
In a perfect example of using technology for efficiency, the law firm Lane Powell has sent out emails asking subscribers to their email alerts to update their contact information.
"As more communication has shifted to electronic distribution, we believe it is important to maintain up-to-date contact information on our clients, colleagues and friends. Please review the information on the right for accuracy and completeness. If accurate, please choose "Confirm." Otherwise, please choose "Edit" and update the information," wrote Dana Tavener, Client Relations Manager.
Lane Powell has With 170 attorneys in offices located in Seattle, Wash., Portland, Ore.; Olympia, Wash.; Tacoma, Wash.; Anchorage, Alaska; and London, England. The firm offers email alerts in 22 areas of law.
The email was generated by Interaction, and it had me at the wrong company and wrong address, so I was happy to update it. I marveled at how smart the firm's marketing was -- keeping this contact database up-to-date but letting recipients do it -- as opposed to keeping staff up till midnight correcting entries.
Adding a personal touch, Dana ended her message with, "In addition, you can always reach our Firm and attorneys by accessing our website www.LanePowell.com, or by calling one of our offices [she provided her own phone number!]. Thank you in advance for providing us with your current contact information."
You can tell it's a buyer's market for legal services, because corporations are evaluating law firms on strictly internal practices, such as offering flextime. Next thing you know, corporations will be specifying what lawyers should eat for lunch and what colors to wear to work.
I can understand corporations wanting early case assessments, budgets and alternative fees. That makes good business sense. But little 7 to 10-person in-house departments are starting to specify how 500-lawyer firms conduct their internal affairs.
The micromanagement began when corporations demanded a minimum years of experience for associates working on their files. They pushed their luck by insisting that law firms use their own special billing software. They galled law firms by hiring nitpicking auditors to go over every .2 of an hour billed on a file. And the bolder they become, doesn't it seem the slower they pay their bills?
When it comes to dictating alternative working arrangements or hours, they've gone too far. Here's what the National Law Journal reported:
Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to add evaluation of a law firm's flextime policies to its list of criteria for evaluating outside firms, according to a panelist at the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC)'s annual meeting in Boston.
Joseph West, associate general counsel at Wal-Mart, said the company plans to add flextime policies to its current list of law firm measures: cost-effectiveness, performance and diversity.
West was one of eight panelists on an Oct. 20, 2009, panel covering how in-house counsel departments can get more value from the law firms they work with: "50 Ways and Counting to Drive Value into Law Firm Relationships."
West said Wal-Mart plans to require firms to have flextime policies, which are generally defined as alternative working arrangements or hours, and require that "the policies themselves be flexible." Law firms and legal departments have typically implemented flextime policies to attract and retain working mothers.
"We've found that even those firms that have flextime policies, they haven't communicated to attorneys in the firm that it's OK to use them without fear or shame," West said.
For the rest of the story, visit http://bit.ly/29e0bo
Amazingly, fewer people are using the phone anymore. I heard a general counsel at the recent ALFA conference say she was too impatient to listen through the voicemail message of the person she was calling. She would prefer send an email instead. In fact, I myself have received many emails from people asking me to call them. Use of the phone is considered a habit of "old people." It proves that the Baby Boomers are not the majority generation anymore. The majority are the Gen Xers who grew up with IM, text messaging and email.
Working on a rush project, a new associate at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges made a mistake. He didn't check his e-mail.
As a result, he missed a senior partner's instruction that he should send out a draft document for client review before calling it a day. Partner A. William Urquhart noted the mistake in an e-mail he sent the next morning to firm attorneys, which is reprinted in Above the Law:
"From: A William Urquhart.
Time: 9:21 a.m.
Re: CHECK YOU [sic] EMAILS OFTEN
Now more than ever there are many talented lawyers and law firms competing for our business. Doing really good legal work is not enough. Clients expect that and well they should given what we charge for our services You must all realize that we are in a service business. In this day and age of faxes, emails, internet, etc. clients expect you to be accessible 24\7. Of course, that is something of an exaggeration—but not much.
LESSON NUMBER ONE: You should check your emails early and often. That not only means when you are in the office, it also means after you leave the office as well. Unless you have very good reason not to (for example when you are asleep, in court or in a tunnel), you should be checking your emails every hour. One of the last things you should do before you retire for the night is to check your email. That is why we give you blackberries. I can assure you that all of our clients expect you to be checking your emails often. I am not asking you to do something we do not do ourselves. I can assure you that John Quinn, Peter Calamari, Mike Carlinsky, Faith Gay, Fred Lorig, etc. all check their emails often.
Yesterday I was working with a relatively new associate on a project which both he and I knew was a rush. It was for a relatively new client whom we were trying to impress. The associate did a nice job under pressure. Before I left the office at about 7:30 I sent an email to this associate asking him to perform a task—fax a draft letter for review and comment. I assumed the task was done. Turns out the associate left the office and did not check his emails until this morning. I assumed the task had been completed. It had not been. In this case it was no harm no foul, but I think we can all imagine scenarios when this could be a disaster., and exhorts the troops to pick up the pace as far as electronic message review is concerned."
From the Florida Herald Tribune:
In one of the starchiest professions, lawyer David Haenel stands out like neon as the area's most innovative self-promoter.
His car glows at night with his firm's Web site, fightyourtickets.com. The lighted vehicle wrap uses cutting-edge technology that the creator says has been installed on only 30 vehicles nationwide.
Almost every night, people roll down their window in traffic and ask about the car or tell of a friend who might need their help. Haenel tosses them a key chain with his firm's phone number.
He has two Segway personal transporters displaying his firm's logo, has 30 Web sites, hired an in-house marketer focusing on blogs and registered a trademarked slogan: "Got arrested? Get us."
These are not the traditional, sedate phone book advertisements or television spots from lawyers in suits next to a Doric column. And they have drawn grumbles of criticism from some peers who say such advertising tarnishes the dignity of the profession.
But Finebloom & Haenel's marketing push has paid off. Since the effort began five years ago, the firm has expanded from one to five offices, even as the economic downturn has many law firms struggling.
Haenel's firm grew from two to six attorneys, and now he has a network of attorneys that lets the firm take traffic ticket cases statewide. Haenel wants to go nationwide.
"I never stop," Haenel said. "It's my hobby. I don't golf, I just grow my business."
For the rest of the story see http://bit.ly/BDAbJ
The Association of Corporate Counsel just launched a secret database where in-house lawyers can anonymously rank their law firms on a scale of 1 to 5.
It’s like Yelp.com, the popular restaurant-ranking website where customers post their frank and sometimes devastating comments about where they dined. Launched on October 20, 2009, the ACC Value Index has been a year in development and already has 1,000 evaluations, reviewing almost 300 law firms. The difference from Yelp.com is that the law firms have no ability to see the reviews about them. See Information for law firms on the ACC site.
So, it’s time to get friendly with your in-house counterparts, and ask them to print out what’s being said about your firm. The average overall rating is currently 3.88 with a maximum rating of 5.00 and minimum rating of 1.50, so not many law firms are getting top ratings.
The value Index “is also an instrument to help shape the thinking and dialog between firms and in-house counsel about what constitutes ‘good value’ in legal services,” according to an ACC document.
The one-page evaluation inquires into only 6 areas:
- Understands objectives/expectations
- Legal expertise
- Efficiency/process management
- Predictable cost/budgeting skills
- Results delivered/execution.
In-house lawyer can score their law firm 1=poor, 2-fair, 3-good, 4=very good and 5=excellent.
The form also asks “Good value; would use this firm again?” with the options “yes” or “no.” In-house lawyers can make and review comments online by visiting http://www.acc.com/valueindex or sending an email to accvalueindex.@acc.com.
Just beneath that in-house lawyers can publish their free-form comments, and put a caption or title on it. Commenters can choose whether to show their full contact information or remain anonymous. In some ways it resembles an easily-gamed rating system, where a profile is created about a lawyer – whether he wants one or not – and a ranking between 1 and 10 is produced.
Now with 25,000 members, the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) has become a force to be reckoned with, especially in the current buyer’s market for legal services. More than 30 law firms filled booths on the exhibit floor at the annual conference in Boston.
By far, the very best tchotchke was given out by Gowlings, a leading Canadian law firm with more than 700 lawyers in offices across the country and one in Moscow. It is a lawyer-powered recharger. The mouse-sized device has a little hand crank, which can be plugged into an adaptor to recharge your cell phone, PDA or wireless device. So if you’re ever in distress and without power, you can turn to Gowlings for a solution. Gowlings will stand behind you in your hour of powerlessness. I could go on. Thanks ever so much to Stephen A Pike of Toronto and Todd J. Burke of Ottawa.
The exhibit hall was a shopping center of law firms at the Hynes Convention Center, and an endless cornucopia of roast beef, chocolate and free alcohol. To see the list of law firms that exhibited, visit the LawMarketing Portal at http://bit.ly/aLZKV
Fulbright & Jaworski released its annual litigation survey, which is considered a good barometer of activity in the legal profession.
The good news for litigators is that many companies expect bankruptcy, class actions, personal injury and regulatory actions to rise in the year to come; regulatory work is up, as are foreign bribery investigations.
The survey polled 408 in-house counsel at public and private companies, Here's a link to a page where you can download the F&J report.
Some other points:
- 35% of the respondents to the Fulbright survey say the economic crisis has led to an increase in their use of alternative fees, with their rate of use particularly high in the UK.
- Contradicting other surveys, the Fulbright survey found that corporations were extremely satisfied with their outside law firms.
- Corporations preferred litigation over arbitration by a wide margin.
In her 30 years in law practice Holly J. Fujie, immediate past president of California Bar Association and a Shareholder at Buchalter Nemer, learned business development These rainmakers have learned the hard way. Now an accomplished woman rainmaker, she reveals what lawyers can do now in business development to advance their legal careers.
The bottom line is that you can put your success under your own control ONLY through simple economics. First, if you make money for your firm, then your value is clear – if you don’t make money for your firm, then your value is open to debate.
Secondly, your success is up to you. Think and act like an entrepreneur. Get your firm to invest in you and recognize/reward the contributions you make. Learn how to market, network, sell and manage relationships.
Here is a final and somewhat provocative suggestion. Don’t put too much confidence in any diversity initiatives that don’t make a difference in your business development capabilities. Get training and coaching. Find a mentor who is committed to your success and willing to invest their time and business contacts to make you successful.
Avoid relying on good intentions and vague promises. If the program doesn’t help you to get new clients, expand your client relationships, cross-sell with your partners or build your network or business relationships, then it isn’t really helping you in any meaningful way.
Diversity programs should be like business incubators – by funding, training and supporting the efforts of these attorneys to grow their own practice. But, don’t take my word for it. Let’s hear from a true success story.
Lessons From Holly Fujie, President of the State Bar Of California
Holly J. Fujie is a shareholder in Buchalter Nemer’s Insurance Industry and Litigation Practice Groups in Los Angeles, where she focuses on complex litigation, with an emphasis on insurance and surety industry related litigation....
Latest Issue of Originate! Online -- Featuring the Definitive Associate Law Firm Marketing Checklist
The newest issue of Originate! -- the newsletter devoted to lawyer business development and law firm marketing -- is online at www.pbdi.org/Originate. Most lawyers who aim to build a strong, vital career realize there’s no alternative to bringing in business. But to do so you have alternatives. Our writers this month deal with different aspects of this idea that have been bothering them, and consider some of your options.
Free Lead Article: Be Prepared - The Associate Marketing Checklist - this article is open to all visitors.
Do you wonder what you should be doing at different stages of your early career as a lawyer to prepare yourself for business development and then to bring in business? Larry Bodine offers this checklist for Associates – from first year up to owner/shareholder – with the minimum you should be doing. Plus the 4Ps you should observe in high quality client service.
Tenth Stage of the 12 Step Pipeline: Group social situations have the potential to solidify your image and relationship with long-term clients, argues Andy Havens. However, they work best when you have a mature relationship, with multiple points of contact between the client and firm lawyers. And they can go badly awry if you initiate them too soon in the sales process - or without the right care.
You can learn a lot from rainmakers within your firm about success in business development. Michael Cummings himself admits what clients have shown him recently about the success that comes from treating marketing like work: scheduling priorities, keeping track of results, but above all keeping at it.
|The Trifecta: What You Need to Know about Clients to Succeed in Business|
|Why do you need to understand about how clients choose lawyers? It’s another vital sales trifecta, according to Darryl Cross: getting the timing right, recognizing true needs from lower priorities and gauging your appropriateness to the matter. With his suggestions, you can start shining in the trifecta of your clients and prospects.|
Adverse Possession: Turning Conflicts into Opportunities
|Attorneys are often conditioned to see everyone as adversaries. However, Thom Singer reminds us, more often success comes from a partnering attitude. So keep the right mindset when dealing with colleagues and other business associates in difficult situations: look for what’s beneficial to all parties, and don’t cook your golden geese.|
Increase Your Billings with Alternative Fees
|More and more clients are pressuring their lawyers on alternative fee arrangments. Fast moving firms and lawyers are increasingly gaining advantage from offering them to clients. Larry Bodine, Esq. explains the why and the how of seizing this opportunity for yourself.|
In a milestone for our community, the first Ph.D. in legal marketing has been awarded. This fact brings the recognition and respect of academia to our noble profession.
Congratulations to Silvia Hodges, who has taught for three years at Emerson University in Boston, and who successfully defended her Ph.D. on the topic of “Marketing Legal Services to Medium-Sized Companies” at Nottingham Law School, England, with Prof. Stephen Mayson.
Making this even more impressive is that Harvard Law School has invited her to make a presentation next Wednesday, Oct. 14, on the topic “Uncovering the Minds of Clients - Do They Choose Law Firms Brands or the Individual Lawyer?” summarizing her thesis. I knew the answer, and she jokingly says you have to attend her presentation at Pound 202 from 12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M. to find out what it is.
Dr. Hodges has pioneered formal instruction on legal marketing with her annual for-credit post-graduate course in professional services marketing, which she will again teach in May, 2010. If that weren’t enough, she is also teaching “"Law Firm as a Business: Managing Lawyers, Clients & Career" at Fordham University School of Law in New York this coming spring.
Dr. Hodges is specializes in international legal marketing and founded Legal Marketing Italia. For her bio and research, please visit www.silviahodges.com.
There is mounting pressure from clients – led by the American Corporate Counsel Association – to get law firms off the billable hour, and it’s an opportunity for entrepreneurial lawyers.
Lawyers and marketers can learn how to capitalize on this trend by registering for the Webinar, “Alternate Fees -- Current Best Practices and Likely Trends” on October 29, 2009, at http://bit.ly/nqyKK. The all-star panel of speakers includes:
- Paul Lippe, Esq., Founder of Legal OnRamp
- Jeffrey Carr, General Counsel of FMC Technologies
- Dan Currell, Managing Director, General Counsel Roundtable.
Early adopters are reaping the benefits of alternative fees, including firms large and small. Particularly during challenging times, clients want to pay for results, not time. They want predictable fees, not surprises. This has never been more important than today, when every dollar counts, and requires justification.
Law firms can win new business and keep current clients if they master the ability to give a price quote for a legal assignment. Attendees of this LIVE webcast will learn how to wean themselves from the billable hour and explore blended rates, capped fees, fixed fees, retainers and success fees.
Who Should Attend
- Marketing and managing partners.
- Lawyers who want to grow their book of business.
- Associates who want to be ahead of the game when they become partner.
- Chief Marketing Officers and Marketing Directors.
A groundswell of dread and opposition is growing among law firms against the ongoing joint survey by Best Lawyers and US News. Current online discussions are calling for a total boycott.
There are 950 surveys and rankings of law firms already, which have an imperceptible impact on business development. Since my days as an in-house marketer in the 1990s, the survey questionnaires were despised. US News plans to survey 3,000 law firms encompassing 40,000 lawyers and 20,000 clients.
A well-known Cleveland marketer wrote:
"Reasons why NOT to participate (if you need the ammunition)...
1 - We already have well-established, reputable mechanisms for this through CHAMBERS, BTI, ACC and other sources (for best law firms) and the Annual AmLaw Associate Survey, Vault and other sources (for best law firms to work for).
2 - This takes a great deal of lawyer, client and staff time to participate (check out all of the online forms--they want info from the firm, from clients, and from associates).
3 - MOST IMPORTANT: How many times do you really want to reach out to YOUR BEST CLIENTS to have them hounded by a third-party for a rating? If you participate in Chambers or other programs, you will likely be going to the same clients."
In email messages back and forth, leading CMOs also expressed anger at the American Lawyer profits-per-partner reports. "IMHO it's one of the most harmful lists/metrics out there, driving 1000s of crappy business decisions at law firms across the U.S," one CMO wrote.
A marketer from California added, "How about boycotting any organization that emails a request which is the equivalent of “if-you-don’t-respond-to-our-survey-request,-we-will-use-statistics-from-other-nonrelated-sources.”
A Boston marketing consultant wrote, "For those firms that use client surveys, you might try asking your clients (or even some prospects if you survey them in focus groups) how much weight these "best in show" pieces carry with them. I suspect not much."
Research by Acritas shows that only 3% of legal work is influenced by legal directories and rankings.
Www.LegalOnRamp.com has picked their third law firm -- Goulston & Storrs of Boston -- to provide its 14,000 in-house counsel members with articles and FAQs on attorney-client privilege and work product protection.
This is a coup for the 200-lawyer firm, because of the 400+ law firms participating in Legal OnRamp, the only other law firms that were chosen to provide content are megafirms -- Allen & Overy with 5,000 staff, including over 450 partners in 31 cities worldwide, and Latham & Watkins, which has 2,000 attorneys in 27 offices.
Goulston & Storrs attorneys will provide attorney-client privilege and work product protection information in the form of blogs, discussion forums, collaboration, and pertinent news and related key cases.
Started by general counsel, Legal OnRamp is a leading online social network for law, helping legal departments reduce costs and improve quality through collaboration.
CEO of Legal OnRamp, Paul Lippe, said, “Goulston & Storrs combines expertise together with a commitment to innovation that led it to focus on the inter-connected OnRamp platform as a way to engage in-house lawyers. Ethics issues are an ongoing area of interest for in-house lawyers, and PrivilegeRamp will be their first ‘port of call’ for information in this key area.”
Bruce MacEwen, a well-known legal blogger, added ‘We’ve long predicted that initiatives like Legal OnRamp and now Goulston’s ethics-focused offering would have to be part of the practice of law sooner or later. But with this announcement and others like it, it’s increasingly clear that future expectation is turning into present reality.”
Goulston’s co-managing director, Marty Fantozzi, commented, “We are thrilled that Legal OnRamp invited us to participate in the FirmRamp program from its inception. This opportunity recognizes the thought leadership our attorneys bring to in-house counsel. We look forward to providing valuable information through this medium and continuing to find ways to deliver superior value to clients.”
For your info, I just recorded 'Creating a Business Development Action Plan' on Blog Talk Radio at http://bit.ly/PMsbM
Get a cup of coffee during the first 5 minutes of the program and come back to listen to:
- The element and mentality that rainmakers have that enables them to bring in business.
- How to identify an attorney who will be a good business developer.
- Rainmaking is not a dark art or inborn trait. It’s a learnable skill. Everything that makes a person a good lawyer makes them a good rainmaker.
- Role play: how to handle a new-business meeting.
- When the other person is talking, you are selling.
- A great question you can ask anybody to get a business conversation started.
- The low-hanging fruit in business development.
- Where most law firms get all their business.
- Nobody likes being sold. So lawyers shouldn’t do it.
- Be curious. When you’ve learned the names of your prospects’ kids and pets, you’ve gone deep enough.
- The best way to find a trade association to join.
Many thanks to Kevin Chern, President, and Ed Scanlan, Founder & CEO of Total Attorneys for inviting me on the show.
A brand new online social network launched today: Total Practice Management Association (Total PMA) at www.totalpma.org. Total PMA is dedicated to the advancement of attorneys, paralegals and other legal support staff in their struggle to build and manage a profitable practice without sacrificing their personal life. The online network is a natural follow-on to their "Get A Life" Conference held last May in Chicago, where I spoke on business development.
Members get Total Balance Magazine - which you can read by turning the pages online, The Get a Life.™ Conference 2009 Video Series (including yours truly. See below), and the Blog Talk Radio Show, on which I just appeared with Kevin Chern and Ed Scanlan, talking about Creating a Business Development Action Plan
It's got member communities where you can join a discussion on work-life balance, law office technology, women attorneys, solo practitioners and young lawyers. The site displays a hall-of-fame of experts from Allison C. Shields, Esq., Owner, Legal Ease Consulting to Ed Adams, Editor & Publisher, The ABA Journal. It also links to the "Practice Makes Perfect Blog."
I recommend the site because I know many of the people behind it, who are among the smartest, most energetic entrepreneurs I've met. Visit the site and you can learn something from it.