"Martindale Connected" Social Network Grows 10X in One Year

Martindale Connected, an online social network for lawyers, has grown from 3,000 lawyers when it was launched one year ago to 30,000 members, including members from more than half of the Fortune 500, lawyers from 98 of the Am Law 100, and 10 Alliance Partners from prominent legal organizations and associations.

To date, almost 700 active groups have formed within the community, where members collaborate and share ideas on a number of legal issues, and 2,500 members have participated in community-hosted webinars.

From my own personal experience I can tell you it's a lively group of people led by energetic community leaders. LinkedIn may be 100 times bigger, but the discussions don't go anywhere.  In contrast, the discussions on the more intimate Connected are 100 times more active.

Among other things, Connected has led me to:

  • Have a live video interview using Skype with community leader Mike Mintz, who was 5,000 miles away in Jerusalem.
  • Get the opportunity to lead a live online discussion of virtual law firms on Twitter.
  • Met the wonderful people in the Virtual Law Firms group, including Richard Granat, Stephanie L. Kimbro, Joseph Walsh, Alan Wernick, whom I knew "IRL" (in real life), Donna Seyle and many others.

Martindale Connected 

How to Choose Effective Website Photos and Images

Marketer Sandra Neihaus offers four guidelines to make a graphic on your website powerful:

  1. Does it convey the right feeling?
  2. Does it add information?
  3. Is it (at least fairly) unique?
  4. Is it contextually cropped?

Not all images are created equal. The right image on a web page can capture attention, inform, and even persuade your site visitors. The right image can communicate who you and your company are more quickly and powerfully than words alone can do. The wrong image, however, can confuse, annoy, and even repel your visitors. The wrong image can give your audience a negative impression of your product, service, or company that you may never have a chance to correct.

In Broadway musicals, there are no extraneous songs - every song contributes to the storyline, moving the plot forward. They're substantive and content-rich, not just afterthoughts or embellishments.

Your web images should be the same way. They should pull their own weight on your web site, not just sit there and look pretty. When you're selecting, ask yourself: will this image merely decorate the page, or will it contribute information?

For examples of this, visit almost any news web site. These sites understand how to use images to add information to headlines and articles. A couple examples:

Which of these two images provide the most information?

This one:
Graph with single arrow pointing straight up
Or this one:
Graph with data point numbers

Okay, okay, that was an easy one. The arrow image is mere decoration. It conveys a sense of growth, which supports the headline, but nothing else. In fact, it could even be misleading -- the big bright arrow makes it look like a LOT of growth is going on.

The second image, in contrast, shows changes to the economy over the past year or so in a mini graph. Even without further detail, you can get a sense for the relative amount of the recent economic growth. You learn something from this image, even with only a glance.

For the rest of the story, visit the LawMarketing Portal at www.LawMarketing.com


Ari Kaplan at ABA Techshow: Market Your Imperfection

Ari Kaplan, ABA TechshowRazor thin, bespectacled and animated, Ari Kaplan  said the way to market yourself is to let your imperfections show. 

"You need to stop worrying about creating the perfect email or the perfect marketing campaign. The new technology allows you to be authentic. We live in a 140-character world. You don’t have to be perfect. People are more interested in getting your information than getting it perfectly."

As an example he gave the famous Liberty Bell, which is not known for its intended purpose of ringing, but is beloved for its repaired crack.

He was the keynote speaker at ABA Techshow, talking on the topic "The Convergence of Technology and Marketing."  He is a well-known speaker, interviewer, marketer, technologist, ghostwriter and author of the 2008 book The Opportunity Maker. He was an associate at McDermott Will for nine years in New York.

A whiz kid with technology, he gave examples of himself being imperfect -- such as unknowingly broadcasting a TV call-in show without sound, and presenting a webinar for 20 minutes, also without sound. "I fail a lot. It’s imperfect but it’s very authentic," he said.

"Once you let people in, they’ll see that you are a flawed kind of cool character – they relate to the flaws.  It makes them laugh and appreciate the other person. People don't want to connect based on your perfection."

He gave several marketing tips:

Getting quoted in the media. A master promoter, Kaplan used online social networking to get publicity in advance of  his talk.  He went on LinkedIn and searched for "producer" and "WGN," sent out contact emails, and was invited to appear on TV. He similarly contacted the Chicago Tribune was the lead item in Ameet Sachdev's widely read column on the law.


Continue Reading...

Elawyering Award Goes to Rosen Divorce Firm

Lee Rosen, Rosen divorce firm, 2010 Elawyering AwardKudos to Lee Rosen, founder of the Rosen divorce law firm in Raleigh, N.C. and its family law website, North Carolina Divorce, for winning the 2010 award for Excellence in Elawyering.

I was puzzled why ABA Techshow didn't give more prominence to this important award, which is named after James I. Keane, the founding Chair of the ABA Elawyering Task Force, which was created in 2000.

According to presenter Richard Granat, Esq., CEO of DirectLaw, Inc., the Rosen law firm established its website as a free resource for individuals seeking information ad advice about family law.

"It started as a small site with a few articles and it's grown into a massive resource featuring articles, calculators, forms, answers to questions, videos, audio podcasts, forums, live call-in internet radio shows and e-courses," Granat said.

Ironically, it spawned the development of Stay Happily Married in response to the need for marriage advice and assistance.

"The site is a thriving community attracting more than 500,000 North Carolinians each year," Granat said. "Visitors come to learn, grow and connect as they deal with the trials and tribulations of divorce. Visitors get the assistance they need from the content on the site, but more importantly, they connect with one another and learn from others experiencing the trauma of divorce."

I discovered Lee Rosen in 2003 when his firm began putting videos of clients on their website. See Law Firm Uses Online Video Testimonials to Attract Clients on the LawMarketing Portal.  It still is a brilliant marketing technique. Today, Rosen has a complete professional radio station booth to interact with people on a live call-in video show on the Web, plus a full-fledged video studio complete with top-of-the line cameras, mikes and a teleprompter.

"Rosen attorneys provide answers to questions on their forum, interact with folks via live video on the call-in shows, deliver divorce coaching online and communicate with clients via a private web portal," Granat recounted.

The annual Elawyering award gives recognition to law offices or legal organizations that have developed legal service innovations delivered over the Internet.  According to the Task Force, the focus of the award is the innovative delivery of personal legal services, with special attention given to firms and entities that serve both moderate income individuals and the broad middle class. 


Ross Kodner: Wait Until Your Computer Dies Before Getting Windows 7

Ross Kodner, MicrolawTech expert Ross Kodner of Microlaw gave the most dim, faint praise for Windows 7 I've heard to date.  At best he said it's "sort of" time to upgrade your Windows XP computer to Windows 7.  Basically he advised lawyers at ABA Techshow in Chicago to keep those XP computers running until they die.

Then, Kodner said, you should buy a brand new computer that has Windows 7 already on it.  There is no way to upgrade from XP to 7. Windows 7 must be installed on "bare metal" on a computer hard drive. Even worse, your new Windows 7 computer license is unique to the machine and dies with the computer.

He did think Microsoft "got it right" with Windows 7, but the new features are few and far between:

  • You can collect related documents and pictures in different folders into a "library."
  • There is a good backup and restore function.
  • You can show a mini-view of running software using a "peek" feature.
  • You can minimize other programs by grabbing the top bar of the program you want to stay maximized, and "shake it."

That's about it. There is no compelling reason to get Windows 7.

Windows 7 won't run many of your old programs, unless you computer has 8 GIGs of RAM and you download software to run a "Virtual XP" mode. But then you are running one operating system on top of another one, you must restart your computer, and you have to close most other running programs to run your old software.

IMHO, you're nuts to get Windows 7 unless your computer dies.  There is some hope because Ross said Microsoft will continue selling XP until June 2011.  By then we won't need operating systems because we'll be using cloud computing on the Web and won't need to install any software at all.  You can do this already -- you don't need Microsoft Office, because Google Apps offers email, an online calendar, Google docs, spreadsheets and slides shows for free.


Huge Crowd at ABA Techshow

ABA Techshow 2010I’m in Chicago, attending ABA Techshow. It’s a blowout this year – 1,200 attendees (way up from last year) and 100 exhibitors.

Coming up next: the keynote address by boy wonder Ari Kaplan, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise from being an associate for 9 years at McDermott Will in New York to social networking guru. His topic is “The Convergence of Technology and Marketing.”


Follow #techshow on Twitter.


When I picked up my press pass for ABA Techshow, I was told there would be "special seating" for the press, including bloggers and website publishers like me, for the keynote luncheon address.

The special seating out to be a row of chairs against the back wall of the ballroom. We were not going to be served anything. The program started at Noon as we watched everyone else eat a salad, a hot chicken entree and a dessert.

Later a representative from the ABA explained that they've given out 100 press passes -- because everyone who's sent a Tweet is claiming to be a reporter. Luncheon tickets to the program, which was expensive to stage, were sold out.  She said they're not trying to "diss" the media.

It would be nice, though, to have working wi-fi.  It's hard to believe that the wi-fi at a technology show in the Hilton Hotel doesn't function. The login -- which is username ABA and password, which is Techshow -- are an invalid login.

I'm a former Boy Scout.  Our motto was "Be Prepared."  So I brought my Verizon skycard which gets me online with a cell phone connection.  Also, I wisely packed some bran muffins and apples in my briefcase, which I offered to my hungry fellow reporters.

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Six Ways to Spark a LinkedIn Discussion

Amy Dean, Starting a LinkedIn DiscussionFrom Amy Dean of Keyword Communication:

Hundreds of discussion topics are proposed via LinkedIn groups every day. The vast majority of them fail to generate any responses. The ones that do succeed in getting a conversation started stand out like bright flowers in a field of forgotten links.

What makes these select few so irresistible that people can’t help but comment? Following are six ways to spark a discussion on Linkedin.

1. Ask for Real Help
People who are genuine in their request for help typically get it. For instance, one user posted a question asking if she should fork over a media list to a client or protect it like precious intellectual property. LinkedIn users are happy to share their experiences and show off what they know and believe, but they can also tell if someone is asking for help simply to promote themselves.

2. Dish Dirt
If you can tie your intellectual capital to the Tiger Woods scandal or whatever story is dominating the headlines, you have a hole in one. In this instance, you can provide your point of view and ask people to agree or disagree with how you would handle the situation if you were in the news maker’s shoes.

3. Invite Plugs
Inviting people to pitch their products or their skills is popular for obvious reasons. Who can resist a free plug?

4. Request Inspiring Quotes
One of the most outrageously popular discussion starters on LinkedIn simply asks people to share their favorite quote. People seem to relish the opportunity to inspire others.

5. Tap Industry Controversy
Right now there’s a debate raging (137 comments) in the “Public Relations Professionals” group about the misperception in and out of the industry that public relations and media relations are synonymous. At the same time, in a Business Intelligence group, the fact that BI has fallen down the priority list of senior executives is gaining stream.

6. Request Twitter accounts
Asking members of a group to post their Twitter addresses generates hundreds of replies, which is understandable. It’s easy to do and many people want more followers.

Just as we consider what makes a tweet retweetable and what makes a blog engaging, we should consider how to successfully ignite a LinkedIn discussion.


The key to Law Firm Marketing is Keeping in Touch With People After a Successful Introduction

Ari Kaplan, ABA TechshowFrom Ameet Sachdev, a leading business reporter for the Chicago Tribune, where he covers legal affairs and law firms:

If the recession taught lawyers anything, it is the value of business development.

Those with large books of business or long-standing relationships with clients were more admired as corporate firms faced a downturn in legal work. The cocoon that protected lawyers respected for their critical thinking but with few business contacts was shattered.

Standing out and connecting with more people inside and outside a firm is more critical in today's stagnant economy, said Ari Kaplan, 37, a McDermott Will & Emery associate turned author and consultant. He gives advice to lawyers and law students on how to be more effective networkers beyond attending cocktail parties and collecting business cards. Kaplan will be speaking Thursday at the American Bar Association's Techshow in Chicago.

The trick is keeping in touch with people after a successful introduction, Kaplan said. Technology, including social media tools, makes that a lot easier
and allows for deeper connections that may help with a job search or a promotion.

For example, if a law firm associate would like to work for a partner, Kaplan suggests setting up a Google alert for the partner. If news comes out that the partner has won a trial or advised on a big merger, drop the partner a congratulatory e-mail.

If an associate would like to work for a corporate legal department, he proposes writing an article about a legal trend that affects that company and quotes the general counsel. It's better than making a cold call to a general counsel, Kaplan said, and the in-house lawyer gets something out of the relationship too.

"People think self-promotion is about yourself," Kaplan said. "It has nothing to do with promoting yourself. It's about promoting others and let that speak for your character. That's my philosophy."


Have You Heard About AFAs? It's the latest Law Firm Marketing Buzzword

Alternative fee arrangementsAFAs are all the talk today in law firm marketing today. I especially see big firms -- like Drinker Biddle and Womble Carlyle -- offering AFAs as a point of distinction. "AFA" is the current buzzword for "alternative fee arrangements," such as flat fees, "all you can eat" concierge plans, blended rates, and conditional and contingency fees. Law firms offer them as an alternative to the billable hour.

One problem is that most lawyers in private practice are unaware of the "ACC Value Challenge," which is the principal driver for AFAs.  A majority of lawyers plan to continue billing by the hour. The the billable hour has been in use since 1955, according to Gabe Miller, GC of Sokolove Law, and it is very familiar. Also, law firms are built to bill hours and lawyers are notoriously resistant to changing their business model.

The other problem is that most clients haven't heard of AFAs either.  Speaking at the recent LMA national conference, Reed Oslan, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, said, "I do pitches all the time for clients who want me to do alternative fee; I can tell by the blank stares that they don’t understand them. They call me back and say 'let’s do this by the billable hour.'"

Yet Susan Hackett, the Association of Corporate Counsel's cheerleader-in-chief for AFAs, told Law.com that she thought there was now a window of "a year to 18 months" for firms and clients "to start figuring out how to get it right before clients start walking and talking to other firms ... and to non-lawyers" to take on their work. She said many firms don't recognize the underlying dissatisfaction felt by their clients. And their pent-up demand for a new definition of quality, namely one "defined as value, defined by results not hours."

The ACC has gotten through to the sophisticated marketing directors and CMOs of AmLaw 100 firms, but has not reached the law firms of Main Street, USA. 

Nicky Mukerji, global director of LegalBill, a consultancy that provides help to clients structuring AFAs, told Inside Counsel that only about 2 percent of total legal billings currently are being done on an alternative basis.

"If it continues, I’d expect that almost 20 percent of all billings would be on alternative billing in eight to 10 years—that’s really a lot of money," he says. "The question for in-house counsel and law firms is, are you ready for this?"

I have been encouraging law firms to get off the hourly bill and begin to offer AFAs in webinars, speeches and articles.  See Get on the Winning Side of the Alternative Fee Transition. But if we have to wait a decade or two for the billable hour to be replaced, we'll all be retired and playing with our grandchildren.

Do Chambers Ratings Matter? NO

Chambers USA lawyer directory`Now law firm marketers can toss the vaunted Chambers directory on the heap with the soggy yellow pages dumped on their driveways, Superlawyers  and the 950 other surveys and rankings of law firms.  Statistically significant evidence proves that all of them generate little to no new business for law firms.

Researchers at Acritas recently surveyed 500 leading general counsel — arguably the main target market for the directories — and found that only 5 per cent considered the directories relevant in making decisions on instructing external lawyers for specific pieces of work. Only 3 per cent said that they have been influenced significantly by information in the directories, according to Acritas, which is based in London and New York. (See chart below).

Acrtias Research on Use of Legal DirectoriesAcritas has been making its findings public since 2007 -- see Only 3% of Legal Work is Influenced by Directories -- but law firms still continue throw away money on directories. Everyone knows that directories are published as profit-making ventures that prey on lawyer egos.  Clients hear about lawyers by word of mouth and recommendations, profile law firms using Google, and hire attorneys with whom they have a relationship. Lawyer directories and rankings do not factor into the hiring decision.

Somehow, Chambers attained a self-importance that exempted it in the minds of law firm marketers, from the reality that it doesn't make any more difference than other directories. The Times of London skewered Chambers and the nail-biting of marketers trying to get listed by Chambers.


Here's an excerpt of the Times' article, Law directories: a benchmark of success or simply nice to have?



Mark Your Calendar for LSSO's RainDance on June 9-10

Tom McCarty, LawMarketing BlogKeynote Speaker:  
Tom McCarty, Author and Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Managing Director, Six Sigma Practice Leader, Jones Lang LaSalle

2010 Faculty

Joseph B. Altonji, Vice President, Law Firm Strategy and Structure Practice, Hildebrandt Baker Robbins

Will Auther, Litigation Partner, Bowman and Brooke 

Dan Currell, Senior Director, Content Delivery at Corporate Executive Board and Managing Director, General Counsel Roundtable

Laura J. Colcord, Process Improvement Expert, Legal Lean Sigma Master Black Belt, Co-Developer and Lead Instructor, LSSO's Legal Lean Sigma™ Programs and Courses

Eric Dewey, MBA, Chief Marketing Officer, Frost Brown & Todd

Lucy Ann Galioto, Director of Client Service, Gordon Rees

Tea Hoffman, Esq., Chief Business Development Officer, Baker Donelson

Alvidas Jasin, Principal of The BTI Consulting Group in Boston, and Master of Ceremonies; Presenter of the Academy of Hiney Awards

Catherine Alman MacDonagh, Esq. Co-Developer and Lead Instructor, LSSO's Legal Lean Sigma™ Programs and Courses

Peter B. McGlynn, Litigation Partner, Bernkopf, Goodman & Baseman

Andrew B. Serwin, Esq. Partner, Foley & Lardner


In my experience, the ultimate meeting focusing on business development in the legal profession is the annual RainDance conference sponsored by LSSO, the Legal Sales and Service Organization. ("Rain" Dance is what rainmakers at law firms do.)

This is the conference conceived and designed for senior leaders in law firms and legal departments. I'll be there and I highly recommend you attend too.  This year it's on June 9 and 10 in Chicago.

The conference is about sales, not folding napkins at cocktail parties.
Here's the Agenda:

  • Pre-conference workshop: Legal Lean Sigma Leadership Orientation: $295 (LSSO members $225)
  • Day One: 1 - 5:30; RainDance Reception 5:30 to 7:00 pm
  • Day Two: 8 to 9 Breakfast; Programming 9 - 5.

Please click here for RainDance program details and full agenda.

The registration fees are:
LSSO members: $825; $725 early registration; combined early registration and LSSO annual membership: $1120. All others: $995, early registration: $895.

You can contact LSSO at 617.726.1500 or click here to register.

Business Development with Online Social Networking

Online social networkingJoin me at the Phoenix, Arizona, chapter of the Legal Marketing Association where I'll be speaking on "Business Development with Online Social Networking."

The meeting takes place on Thursday March 18 beginning at 11:30 AM at the offices of Perkins Coie Brown & Bain at 2901 N. Central Avenue in Phoenix. To register, call Kim Fowee at 480.280.6002.

Dramatic new research shows that:

  • More than 70 percent of lawyers are members of an online social network.  Are you?
  • Identifying, evaluating and selecting outside counsel was among the top three reasons for corporate counsel participation in online networking. Can they find you?

Business development with online social networking is the most in-demand topic I speak about. The topic is perplexing to some and frightening to others. 

Most lawyers realize that online networks are a great business development tool, but they don't know where to begin. This program will sort through all the choices -- Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Martindale Connected, Legal OnRamp, MySpace, Plaxo, Spoke and others. I will also demonstrate that .

Attendees will learn:

  • Which sites to focus your efforts on for the best business development results
  • Creating a profile that generates leads
  • How to use a network so that it generates new-business leads
  • Avoiding the downsides and dangers of online social networking
  • Online "netiquette" and mistakes to avoid
  • A model policy on blogging, social networking, and electronic communications and media

See you in Phoenix.  Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, because it's going to be hot!


Webinar today: Why You Really Need Video to Market Your Law Firm

Video to Market Your Law FirmHappy St. Patrick's Day! Celebrate by attending Gerry Oginski's webinar "Why You Really Need Video to Market Your Law Firm presented at NOON Eastern time today, March 17.  Just click on the lucky four-leaf clover to register, or visit http://www.pbdi.org/pages/events.asp?Action=View&EventID=237

New York Attorney Gerry Oginski is the uncontested master of using video to generate new business for lawyers. Register Now for the incredible low price of only $30. 


Lawyers in firms large and small who want to use modern web technology to give prospective clients what they're looking for: a video of the lawyer they're going to retain.


  • Putting video on your law firm website can result in dramatic traffic increases and conversions of website viewers to callers.
  • How and why video is so important to attorneys in today’s legal climate.
  • Gerry’s 10 Commandments for using attorney video.
  • Why video is the best way to communicate with your online visitors.
  • Why video is the best return on investment you can make with your marketing dollars

Register Now


Tuesday: Live Twitter Discussion ("Value Tweet") on Virtual Law Firms

TwitterPlease join me for a LIVE Twitter discussion on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 (tomorrow) from Noon to 2pm EST.  I'll be joined by and Martindale-Hubbell Connected Community Manager Mike Mintz.

Follow all the action by searching for and using the hash tag #MHVT.  The discussion will focus on the following questions:

  • Impact of Virtual Firms on the Large Law Firm model.
  • What clients are buying?
  • The trend for major (Fortune 500) companies to abandon the AmLaw 100 and 200 firms for the top firm in a second-tier market, like Milwaukee, Omaha or Cleveland.
  • Where law firms are putting their marketing dollars in 2010?
  • Trend of the legal profession in light of virtual law firms and alternative fee models?

Check out our Event Page for even more information about the upcoming offerings including a webinar with Carolyn Elefant, Stephanie Kimbro and others.  If you are not yet a member of Connected, registration is free and easy.


Associate Rainmaker Elizabeth L. Gunn - A Woman with Drive

The associate Rainmaker of the Year is Elizabeth L. Gunn, a bankruptcy lawyer serving closely-held businesses, their owners and executives. She works DurretteBradshaw PLC, an 18 lawyer boutique firm based in Richmond, Virginia. In 2009 – just her third year at the firm – she could point to originations worth a third of her billings, and 10-15 new clients for the firm, including several substantial ongoing clients.

But she faced two big disadvantages when she moved to Richmond: “I was young, just 23, and looked it. And I knew no one in the law.”

She handled the first issue by distinguishing herself as capable and someone who could be valuable to a client. Especially in early meetings, she worked a bit harder to show clients and other lawyers she could take responsibility and work competently.

As for the second, she took action zealously. According to Elizabeth, “Knowing no one meant I had to make new contacts and connect with the right people in the bar. I couldn’t just wait; I was forced to get out and meet people.”

These two solutions – distinguishing herself through valuable contributions for clients and others, and zealous building of her network – formed the core of her marketing success, a “machine for bringing in new business” according to her peers in Richmond.

Or maybe it was...for the rest of the story, please click here.


LMA Your Honor First-Place Winners

Your Honor AwardHere is the list of LMA Your Honor first-place winners::

  • Practice Development -- Sutherland Asbill & Brennan: Sutherland Business Development curriculum
  • Media Relations: Mayer Brown
  • Community Relations: Middleton Reutlinger – kindess public service advertising campaign
  • Recruiting: Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft: recruiting microsite
  • Chapter of the year (of 18 LMA chapters) - LMA Vancouver: “Changing the Rules”
  • Marketing on a Shoestring: (maximum expenditure of $500) -- Morrison Foerster: Regulatory Innovation Award
  • Best in show: (an entry that stood out from the rest, where a law firm took something and did everything they could possibly do to maximize it) -- Event by Fredrickson Bryon: “Lawyers & the Louvre” Campaign

Awards given on previous days of the convention, which ended today, are:

  • Advertising (single ad): Bennet Jones – The Pink Ad
  • Advertising campaign: McInnes Cooper – signal flag branding campaign.
  • Events: Miller & Chevalier – inauguration invitation and website
  • Website: Gesmer Updegrove -- www.gesmer.com
  • Niche web site: Bingham McCutchen – Bingham Information Gateway
  • Online Interactive Marketing Tools: Morris, Manning & Martin – MMM Social Media
  • Electronic Media: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman for New Faces of Energy: Insights from the Energy Revolution
  • Identity: (logo and stationery)  Baker & McKenzie with zünpartners – branding a firm for growth
  • Firmwide brochure: Bingham McCutchen – inSecurities practice brochure
  • Annual report: Blank Rome “A Year Marked by Change”
  • Announcements: Bingham McCutchen – Bingham-McKee Nelson Announcement
  • Newsletter or Alert: Stikeman Elliott – Registration reform

 You can find the entire list of first, second and third-place winners by clicking here.

Howrey Plans to Axe Up to 10% of Its Partners

Job losses, unemployement, legal professionHowrey is planning to oust up to 10 percent of its partners, a move that follows a year of disappointing revenue numbers.

Howrey is expected to cut between 25 and 30 partners, most of them in the United States, Legal Week reports. The decision to make the cuts was made before Christmas, according to the story. Both equity and nonequity partners will be let go.

Last month the law firm laid off 29 associates and 65 staffers from its 10 U.S. offices.

The move comes after Howrey saw a 35 percent drop last year in profits per equity partner and a 16 percent drop in revenue.Further evidence that the legal profession  is in a recovery economy arrives in a new report that layoffs at law firms are nearing zero.

Meanwhile, Darby & Darby, a 62-lawyer IP firm in New York, announced it would close. The decision follows a series of departures, as partners left to join general practice firms and failed attempts to merge with another law firm.

Legal Job Losses Drop Off Sharply

Howrey and Darby are the outliers in a major trend in the opposite direction.  As the national unemployment rate remained steady in February, the number of legal industry jobs lost dropped to one-tenth of what it had been in January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly jobs report.

The legal profession shed only 100 jobs in February — substantially fewer than the 1,100 jobs that it lost in January — according to the report, released Friday.

Those numbers represented the second significant monthly decline for the industry. The sector lost 2,100 jobs in December and 2,900 in November — a steep difference compared to the 5,800 lost in October. The industry has shed 37,100 positions over the past year, according to BLS statistics, which tally net job losses.

For further details, see Law360.

Coulter, Durham & McMurdo Inducted into LMA Hall of Fame

The LMA today inducted 3 people into its Hall of Fame:

1.       Silvia Coulter of Hildebrandt Baker Robbins in Boston – she is a former CMO of three AmLaw 100 law firms, founder of LSSO. She has a book coming out this fall: Client Relationship Management for Associates, published by the ABA.

2.       Jim Durham, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer of McGuireWoods in Richmond, VA -- he was a former practicing lawyer, worked for Major League Baseball, former marketing director for Mintz Levin and later Ropes & Gray, was a marketing consultant, author of 3 books.

3.       Kevin McMurdo, CMO at Perkins Coie in Seattle – he was the 7th president of LMA, a non-practicing lawyer and a former marketing consultant.


An LMA committee reviews hall of fame candidates and looks for people who must be a thought leader in advancing the legal profession, must be a mentors and must have served the LMA on the local or national level.


The LMA is continuing to issue Your Honor awards a few at a time. Here's the latest:


First Place Your Honor Winners


  • Advertising (single ad): Bennet Jones – The Pink Ad
  • Advertising campaign: McInnes Cooper – signal flag branding campaign.
  • Events: Miller & Chevalier – inauguration invitation and website
  • Website: Gesmer Updegrove -- www.gesmer.com
  • Niche web site: Bingham McCutchen – Bingham Information Gateway
  • Online Interactive Marketing Tools: Morris, Manning & Martin – MMM Social Media
  • Electronic Media: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman for New Faces of Energy: Insights from the Energy Revolution

800 Attendees at LMA National Conference

Legal Marketing AssociationI haven’t been to an LMA meeting in 5 years, and this one in Denver is a very pleasant surprise.  Many longtime and senior members of the marketing profession were there. There is great networking – I barely made it 30 feet into the Hyatt Regency lobby when I immediately ran into people I knew.

There are 800 attendees at the LMA conference, according to conference co-chair Despina Kartson.  This is up from 530 last year. There are 190 CMOs and Marketing Directors here.

LMA is issuing the Your Honor Awards in batches.  Here’s the first batch of first place winners (like the early awards given out in the Oscars):

  • Identity: (logo and stationery)  Baker & McKenzie with zünpartners – branding a firm for growth
  • Firmwide brochure: Bingham McCutchen – inSecurities practice brochure
  • Annual report: Blank Rome “A Year Marked by Change”
  • Announcements: Bingham McCutchen – Bingham-McKee Nelson Announcement
  • Newsletter or Alert: Stikeman Elliott – Registration reform

The new conference company is a great improvement.  Before the conference I got an email with a bar code in it.  I printed it out and scanned it upon registering at the hotel.  Instantly my information was prepared for me at a counter 10 feet away. The whole thing took 60 seconds.  Very innovative.


I think that a higher-level crowd is at this conference – I see more CMOs and Marketing Directors than in past conferences. One factor is that the full member registration fee is $1195, and it’s $1645 for non-member – so attending the conference has reached an expense level where attendance is not given out as a perk to marketing assistants, for example. With law firm cuts in budgets, it’s become a destination that only the CMO can justify.


Yesterday was the first ever pre-conference session for lawyers.  About 25 people attended, with the crowd growing to 40 by lunchtime.  The best received speakers were Alvidas Jasin (soon to leave Thompson Hine for a job at BTI Consulting), Jim Durham, CMO of McGuireWoods, and Rick Klau of Google.


Attendees were grumbling that there is no Wi-Fi at the conference, but I anticipated this and brought my plug in "skycard" that gets me online using a cell-phone connection.


The programs have better speakers this year too—more CMOs and marketing directors and fewer consultants at the podium.  I want to hear from the in-house marketers, because they’re the ones on the firing line.  Tomorrow is broken into 4 tracks: business of law, client service, business development, and public relations. 

Small Firm Rainmaker Christopher Marston - Putting His Firm Where the Market Will Be

Christopher Marston, Exemplar Law

Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door, as 2010 Small Firm Rainmaker of the Year Christopher Marston knows well. He offers soup-to-nuts service to entrepreneurs and startup businesses. Originate! newsletter selected him because the revenues of his Boston law firm – Exemplar – saw its revenues shoot up 48% last year, when the rest of the legal profession stagnated in the Great Recession.

His business has succeeded by being different in a way that is highly desirable to clients. The 22-lawyer firm, led by four partners including Marston, who is still just in his early 30s, was founded in 2005 with the aim that it would “absolutely not bill by the hour.”  The firm was ahead of its time by offering value billing and a service guarantee from the start.  This approach plays very well in the current times of client rebellion, as exemplified by the Association of Corporate Counsel Value Challenge.

“We’re not a vendor, we’re a partner with a client,” Marston said. “And we call clients customers.”

In contrast, most large law firms charge by the hour and are built as legal silos.  Business advice and financing is something that is offered elsewhere.   “We practice at the intersection of law and business,” Marston said.  “We’re looking for clients like us.  We’re revolutionaries and we’re looking for revolutionaries.”

The target client of Exemplar law is...For the rest of the story please click here.


Why You Really Need Video to Market Your Law Firm

Join the video lawyer expert, New York Attorney Gerry Oginski together with me on Wednesday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day at Noon for an important look at how video marketing can differentiate you and prompt new clients to call you. Research has shown that you're 53 times more likely to get on the first page of Google's search results if you have video on your website.

Click here to sign up for this event

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Lawyers in firms large and small who want to use modern web technology to give prospective clients what they're looking for: a video of the lawyer they're going to retain.


  • Putting video on your law firm website can result in dramatic traffic increases and conversions of website viewers to callers.
  • How and why video is so important to attorneys in today’s legal climate.
  • Gerry’s 10 Commandments for using attorney video.
  • Why video is the best way to communicate with your online visitors.
  • Why video is the best return on investment you can make with your marketing dollars
  • Learn how video develops trust with a non-trusting public.
  • Learn why video is the best way to communicate with your online visitors.
  • For more info visit http://www.pbdi.org/pages/events.asp?Action=View&EventID=237

In this one-hour webinar we guarantee you will learn how video makes you the logical choice for a viewer to call. Your goal is to make the phone ring and get more clients. Learn how using video.

Learn the 5 critical things you need to know when searching for a video production company. Also, learn why video is the best return on investment you can make with your marketing dollars.

"In this one-hour webinar I guarantee you will learn things you didn’t know about why creating video is so helpful to your potential clients and importantly, makes the phone ring." -- Gerry Oginski.

Register Now!

Register Now for the incredible low price of only $30.  You can't afford to miss this program!


Law Firm Mergers Continue Apace as Benesch Merges with Indiana Firm

I can tell the economy for the legal industry is getting better when research shows that law firms are merging with each other without any slowdown.  Hildebrandt Baker Robbins reports that there were 57 completed law firm mergers in 2009.

The newest one is the merger of Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP, with headquarters in Cleveland (plus offices in Columbus, Philadelphia, White Plains, Wilmington and Shanghai) with Dann Pecar Newman & Kleiman of Indianapolis, IN, effective March 1, 2010.  Because Benesch has 145 lawyers and Dann Pecar has 26, it's really an acquisition.

In an announcement, the firms say the merger would strengthen several of Benesch's core practice areas, particularly real estate, commercial litigation, bankruptcy, and their transportation/logistics and construction industry groups. Dann Pecar has promoted itself as a local leader in real estate, litigation, employment law, business and bankruptcy law.

The firm will do business as Benesch/Dann Pecar in the Indianapolis market as part of a national expansion plan by Benesch.

Interestingly, the consultant at Altman Weil who worked on the merger quoted statistics from AW's year-end MergerLine report, that the number of law firm mergers dropped by a significant 24 percent in 2009.  This is the opposite of what their arch-competitor Hildebrandt is saying in it's latest client advisory (see below):

Hildebrandt 2009 law firm mergers

Mary Ann Dunham - 2010 Woman Rainmaker of the Year

Mary Ann Dunham, Originate! 2010 Woman Rainmaker of the YearThe applause was enthusiastic when lawyer Mary Ann Dunham of Pittsburgh, PA, was named the 2009 Greater Pittsburgh Athena Award recipient.  An energetic community leader, she was acclaimed for creativity in the profession, serving the community and assisting other women to reach their leadership potential.

She is also a wife, mother of two and chair of the firm's Women's Business Development Committee at 450-lawyer Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC – and the Originate! Woman Rainmaker of 2010. (see http://www.pbdi.org/Originate)

The techniques I use in business development are really just finding opportunities to get to know business owners and to do it in an informal setting where I can get to know them as individuals while learning about their business,” Dunham said. 

“Sometimes that can be done by joining boards of organizations and getting involved in something that they do in the community.  I’ve been involved in nonprofit events, such as golf outings, charitable sponsorships and fundraisers. It's a win-win to make a difference in the community while building relationships with clients and business contacts.”

A shareholder, she is chair of the firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions Practice Group and advises clients in the advanced manufacturing, technology and service industries on a variety of transactions, including acquisitions, divestitures, mergers, financings and joint ventures. She also focuses on advising foreign clients on their U.S. investments.

Being a mentor

The Athena award — named after the Greek goddess of strength and wisdom — is unique among other regional honors for women in business because of its focus on mentorship.  It is Dunham’s willingness to be helpful to others that plays a key role in her business development efforts.  In addition to the Athena award, she has been:

  • Selected to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® list in 2007.
  • Selected as a 2005 Fast Tracker by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The program recognizes 50 talented individuals under the age of 45 who are having a significant impact on the business and social climate of the region.
  • Named a Pennsylvania Rising Star by Philadelphia Magazine, based on the recognition of her peers, in 2005.
  • Named one of the 40 Under 40 by Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP, the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project, in 2004. The "40 Under 40" are young leaders honored for their ceaseless work to make Western Pennsylvania a better place.

Being visible in organizations with potential clients is another business development technique she has mastered.  “I’ve been pretty lucky as far as getting exposure – and that came from community involvement.  Being involved with organizations that people value is important.”

Please visit http://bit.ly/c8sWJg  to see the entire article.


Amazing Stats on the State of the Internet

Amazing stats like Facebook passing  the 400 million user mark, Twitter hitting 50 million tweets per day, and YouTube viewers watching 1 billion videos per day are impressive on their own, but what if we looked at Internet-related stats collectively?

Jesse Thomas looked at Internet-related stats collectively in his video State of the Internet (see below).

The video highlights some remarkable figures and visually depicts the Internet as we know it today. It’s a must-watch video for anyone trying to wrap their minds around just how immersed web technologies have become in our everyday lives, according to Mashable.com.  For example:

- There are 1.73 billion Internet users worldwide as of September 2009.

- There are 1.4 billion e-mail users worldwide, and on average we collectively send 247 billion e-mails per day. Unfortunately 200 billion of those are spam e-mails.

- As of December 2009, there are 234 million websites.

- Facebook gets 260 billion page views per month, which equals 6 million page views per minute and 37.4 trillion page views in a year.


Social Media Not Preferred Recommendation Resource

word of mouth advertisingAlthough I love online social media, it turns out that nothing beats a word-of-mouth recommendation to get new business, according to a new study by ARAnet.

Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends or family remain the most influential resource on advice for those looking to purchase products and services, but overall, search engines are also becoming a trusted source.

Young and highly educated consumers say online sources influence their buying decisions at a higher rate compared with the rest of the population, but social media resides down at the bottom of the list, according to a recent survey. Overall, consumers rely less on resources in social sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace, according to a survey from Opinion Research Co., sponsored by ARAnet.

Scott Severson, president of survey sponsor ARAnet, believes companies need to have more than one way to reach consumers online because not all will want to have contact via email or social sites. Companies will need search engine optimization (SEO) and paid-search campaign strategies, too. In other words, one campaign message will not resonate with all consumers the same way.

For more details, read "Social Media Not Preferred Recommendation Resource."