LinkedIn Gives Users the Ability to Follow Companies

LinkedInLinkedIn has made it easier for users to connect with their favorites companies with the launch of “Follow Company,” a new feature that allows users to get notifications about activity happening from the companies they follow.

Now lawyers and marketers can be in the loop on new developments, potential business opportunities or even job opportunities by following companies of interest. For lawyers, the feature has many business development purposes:

  • Spotting management and executive changes at a client company.  For example, if a new in-house lawyer or HR director has been hired, it's an opportunity for the lawyer to call the person and set up a "get-to-know-you" luncheon meeting. Or if a new general counsel or CEO has been hired -- look out because the company will probably bid out all their legal work -- unless the lawyer quickly makes a pre-emptive visit to preserve the client relationship.
  • Identifying a new direction that a client company is making.  If the company is hiring people, they are clearly putting a business emphasis on what the new hire is doing. It may indicate the advent of a new product or service, or an expansion of an existing line of business. Change is good for lawyers because it ordinarily involves legal work. It's an opportunity to visit the new hire and find out what problem they were hired to solve, and for the lawyers to inquire on how they can help the new person.
  • Creating an inroad to a prospective client.  If a lawyer has been pursuing a particular company, he should send a congratulatory handwritten note to the new hire and pay a visit to the company's offices. Once the lawyer is inside the company, he or she will have a change to start a relationship with the new hire, find out how the company organization chart has changed and make inquiries about the company's business challenges and goals. With this information, a lawyer will spot opportunities to help with legal services.

Follow Company feature on LinkedInThe new feature rolled out on April 29, 2010. "Follow Company helps you be among the first to learn about developments at companies like DreamWorks, find job openings at NASA or stumble upon business development opportunities at Netflix. The new feature lets you tap into key goings-on at nearly a million companies that already have their company profiles on LinkedIn and more that are being created every day," said Ryan Roslansky, the Director of Product Management at LinkedIn in San Francisco.

LinkedIn is the de facto directory of professionals, with 65 million members who have profiles online.  By my own estimate, there are 1.3 million lawyer profiles on LinkedIn.  See More than a Million Lawyers on LinkedIn.

For further details visit the LawMarketing Portal at


Ten Ways to Boost Lateral Partner Integration

Katie Rutter, Lawmarketing PortalOver the past few months, we have seen law firms merging as well as lawyers leaving firms to join other firms. This trend is predicted to continue as the economic downturn plays out. As these lawyers integrate into new firms, there are a myriad of communications, operational, marketing and cultural issues to consider, oftentimes with everyone involved in reaction mode.

According to marketer Katie Rutter of Needham, MA, to make the transition as seamless as possible, for both the new lawyers and incumbent firm, it is key to have an “integration plan" in place with time frames as well as template documents that may be customized quickly.

Also key to a successful integration is assigning a point person or “team” of point people from various firm departments (i.e., marketing, recruiting and IT) to ensure the tasks within the plan are accomplished and to serve as liaisons for the new lawyers. Many firms have a professional dedicated to lateral hiring and integration and this person typically serves as the initial contact for the new lawyers and works in tandem with representatives from other departments. Outlined below are 10 best practices and notable components of such an integration plan.

1. Integrate laterals into your culture.

Each law firm has a distinctive culture with its own nuances such as a preferred method of communication (email vs. phone), marketing and client development processes, and compensation and billing structures. An important task of the integration team is to make the new lawyers aware of these nuances while learning about the lawyers’ past experiences and preferences. It is also important for the team to find out what types of resources and support the new lawyers are seeking to grow their practice and career. Also take care to learn from the laterals whether they served in leadership roles on internal committees, such as the marketing or technology committee, at their former firm. Adding a fresh perspective and knowledge to your committees will assist in keeping the firm dynamic. This exchange of information is a first step in fostering a collegial environment where everyone is working toward the common goal of advancing the firm.

To read Katie Rutter's 9 additional tips, please visit the LawMarketing Portal at


Fordham Law School to offer Law Firm Marketing in JD Program

Silvia HodgesWe have all been:

  • Waiting for the other shoe to drop
  • Waiting for Hell to freeze over
  • Waiting for a law school to teach marketing to students as for-credit course.

The long wait is finally over. Fordham University School of Law in New York will begin offering a course on “Law Firm Marketing” that counts as 2 credits towards a law degree. Taught by academic pioneer Dr. Silvia Hodges, the elective course is designed to bring reality into the classroom starting in Spring 2011.

No marketing course is offered in any JD program at any other law school.

Hodges has already taught a similar master’s degree level, for-credit course on professional services/law firm marketing at Emerson College in Boston since May 2008. She also teaches the course “Law firm as a business” at Fordham Law School. In spring 2010, Hodges has moved to New York, and will continue to teach the popular courses at both Emerson as well as Fordham Law School as an adjunct professor.

"We are painfully familiar with client complaints that large law firms charge too much for new associates who know too little about the practice of law to be worth it," said Hodges. "The clients may have a broader complaint. For all their glittering academic records, these young lawyers not only don't know much about the realities of the practice, they know even less about the business world. Associate Dean Sheila Foster really understands what’s going on in the market place. Marketing is a very good thing for law students to study,” Hodges said.

A LexisNexis survey reveals that law school students are feeling the impact of the current turmoil within the legal industry. More than half of law school students surveyed (54%) say that the current state of the legal industry has made them consider career alternatives, while almost two-thirds (65%) believe law school does not teach the practical business skills needed to practice law.

“Especially in this competitive world they need to have the tools and be prepared for what they’re up against. Law graduates must understand their clients and how they choose lawyers. And they need to see the business side to hit the ground running,” Hodges said.


101 Law Firm Taglines

Curious to see whether taglines have changed much since 2002, web marketer Steve Matthews of Stem Legal decided to update the list and see if he could find more. He compiled 101 Law Firm Taglines by scoping out hundreds of US, Canadian, and international law firm websites, starting with the AmLaw 100 2009 and Lexpert’s 30 Largest Canadian Law Firms.

Taglines follow a variety of formats and styles; repetitive pairs, patterns, puns, and wordplay all figure prominently, and all with the goal of describing the firm’s philosophy succinctly and (hopefully) memorably.  Do they accomplish those goals? You be the judge!

101 Law Firm Taglines – 2010 Edition

AmLaw 100 2009:

  1. Akin Gump:Power of Collaboration
  2. Alston & Bird: Leadership. Creativity. Results.
  3. Baker Botts : Deeper Understanding. Better Solutions.
  4. Baker & Hostetler:  Counsel to Market Leaders
  5. Bingham McCutchen: Legal Insight. Business Instinct.
  6. Bryan Cave:  A Broader Perspective (SM)
  7. Crowell & Moring: Experience. Creativity. Results.
  8. Dickstein Shapiro: Experience Innovation
  9. DLA Piper: Everything Matters
  10. Faegre & Benson: More together.

For the rest of the list visit the LawMarketing Portal at

Lawyers Get Business Development Tidbits with "Marketing Minute" e-Newsletter

Marketing Minute, Smith MooreHow do you get busy lawyers to read a newsletter about marketing? You must keep it short.

Smith Moore Leatherwood started publishing the innovative “The Marketing Minute,” an internally distributed electronic newsletter focused on business development that takes no more than a minute to read. 

The firm has 180 attorneys located in six offices across the Carolinas and Georgia.

Targeted to all attorneys across the firm, the Marketing Minute was a cost effective, simple answer to a problem recognized by most attorneys: it’s easy to forget about marketing when you are immersed in work.  The Marketing Minute was intended to be a brief, useful email sent occasionally to all of our attorneys as a reminder to always be alert for marketing and practice development opportunities in everyday situations.  

Michael Lee, Chair of the firm's Marketing Committee sends out the e-newsletter, which includes advice such as:

• Relationship building is one common theme throughout all of the articles, newsletters and advice on client development.  Sure, there are other important aspects of client development but the key to true success is found in relationship building.

• Schedule a ½ hour in the next 5 days to review your Practice Plan (block it on your calendar).

• Social media is not a silver bullet to client development or relationship building.  However, it is yet another tool that you may find effective in your personal and professional relationships.

• How would you like the opportunity to hang out for an hour or two a week, every week, with the City Executive for a major bank, the CFO of a multinational corporation, health care professionals, a commercial loan officer, and an import/export entrepreneur?  Meet my oldest son’s soccer team parents. 

• Set reasonable goals that fit into your practice and your life.  Make it a point to call a law school friend to have lunch and find out where other friends are working. 

To read the whole story, visit the LawMarketing Portal at 


Sutherland's Business Development Curriculum Trains 549 attendees in a Year

Felice Wagner, CMO, Sutherland, law firm business developmentA year ago Sutherland CMO Felice Wagner established a firmwide in-house Business Development Curriculum. As a result, the firm was able to:

  • Present 22 business development training courses to 549 attendees in one calendar year. The firm has 425 attorneys so many attorneys attended more than one program.
  • 86% of Sutherland attorneys rated their satisfaction with The Curriculum programs as either “very high” or “high.”
  • Because The Curriculum showcased the Client & Practice Development Department as presenters and experts, it has raised the staff’s level of influence within the firm.

By taking a do-it-yourself approach the firm estimates it saved $150,000 to boot.

Sutherland’s Curriculum is designed to support attorneys in successfully developing, generating, and sustaining client relationships. The scope of Sutherland’s Curriculum includes 27 courses which are divided into four core competencies:

  1. Building relationships to build business
  2. Building your profile
  3. Communicating effectively
  4. Serving clients

In each of the four competencies there are three types of courses:

  • Fundamental Seminars help the attorneys understand the philosophies and guiding principals behind each learning track and give them context for future programs. Course examples include: “Communicating Success” from the Communicating Effectively core competency and “Client Service the Sutherland Way” from the Serving Clients core competency.
  • Skill Building Workshops help the attorneys take the fundamentals from theory and principle into active practice. Course examples include: “Winning Pitches and RFPs” from the Building Relationships to Build Business core competency and “Why You, Why Now? Identifying and Building Your Niche” from the Building Your Profile core competency.
  • Customized Training and Coaching Courses are provided when attorneys need to prepare for specific opportunities. Course examples include “Speech Preparation and Practice” from the Building Your Profile core competency and “Conducting Client Satisfaction Interviews” from the Serving Clients core competency.

To read all the details, visit the LawMarketing Portal at

Law Firm Marketing Tip: How to Make Networking Events Work for You

Lawyer networking, law firm marketingNetworking works best if it is done with “marketing aforethought.”  Here’s your game plan for an effective networking event.

Where to Go

The best meetings for networking are the ones your clients and referral sources go to.  Every person in business belongs to a trade association.  Simply ask your clients what meetings they go to and suggest you join them.  At the meeting, have your client introduce you to others (who are prospective clients).  If anyone asks what you’re doing there, tell them you want to learn the industry better, to meet people and to ask questions. 

Bar association meetings can be a great source for referrals – if you’re a litigator and you attend bar meetings to meet transactional lawyers, or you can meet out-of-state lawyers who may call you when they have a matter in your city. 

Making a Plan of Action

Most lawyers erroneously think networking is shaking as many hands as possible and spreading out as many business cards as possible at an event.  This is incorrect.  You should go to an event with the aim of having one or two meaningful conversations – that’s it. 

A premeditated networker going to an event checks the membership or attendee list ahead of time, and highlights 3-5 people to meet.  That way he’s not walking into a huge room full of people he doesn’t know.  At the event, the networker asks the president to introduce him to a few of these targets.

Additional tips:

  • Come early to meetings and stand by the table where name tags are handed out.  Let everyone at the meeting see you are there. Say hello to everyone you know.
  • Have the staff working the desk identify the people you are looking for.
  • Pick out whom you’re going to sit with and put your purse/jacket across the chairs at the table.
  • Introduce yourself to the speakers and get their business cards; briefly chat them up about the topic they’re speaking on.  Do this at the front of the room so everybody can see you attended the meeting.   
  • If possible, bring a second person from your law firm to the meeting and have them do the same thing; be certain that you split up from the second person and sit at separate tables and talk to different people.

Starting a Conversation

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Christopher Marston of Exemplar Law - Revenues up 48% and "absolutely no billing by the hour"

Christopher MartsonBuild 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.   By offering soup-to-nuts service to entrepreneurs and startup businesses, the revenues of his Boston law firm – Exemplar Law – saw its revenues shoot up 48% in 2009, when the rest of the legal profession stagnated in the Great Recession.

The 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.”The law firm is one of several businesses under the Exemplar brand, which also includes...

For the rest of the story, please visit Originate!, the business development magazine at


Half of Americans have a Profile on an Online Social Network

Tom Webster, online social networking, lawmarketing portalNearly half -- 48% -- of Americans age 12 and older are now members of at least one social network, according to a new national survey from Arbitron and Edison Research. This is about double the level from two years ago (24 percent in 2008), according to the survey titled “The Infinite Dial 2010: Digital Platforms and the Future of Radio.”

"Social networking has become a part of mainstream media behavior," said Tom Webster, VP of strategy and marketing at Edison Research.

And it's not just the kids who have personal profile pages.  Almost two-thirds of those in the 25 to 34 age group -- 65% -- and half of those 35 to 44 -- 51% -- also now have personal profile pages.

The study also shows that 30% of Americans age 12 and older who have a profile on at least one social networking Web site use those sites "several times a day," compared with only 18% one year ago.

"The use of social networking sites has expanded beyond younger consumers, with substantial numbers of Americans over the age of 35 now using social media," said Bill Rose, SVP of marketing at Arbitron.

From late January, Arbitron conducted telephone interviews with 1,753 persons to investigate Americans' use of digital platforms and new media.

For more details visit the LawMarketing Portal at

Create Your Own Marketing Video in Five Minutes

Google just launched a new feature called the “Search Stories Video Creator“ It's a fun way to create a quick marketing message. The new feature prompts you to input up to seven search queries spread across Google’s search features (including Images, Maps, and standard web search) and choose a soundtrack.  It generates a video in the same style as Google’s other Search Stories.

The whole process only takes a few minutes (the tool automatically uploads your video to YouTube when you’re ready).Here’s a test video I threw together – “30 Second Business Development Plan”

At the end you can spread the word about your video on Twitter, Facebook, email and additional methods. There are plenty of parodies already out there (a spoof of Google’s Superbowl ad), we can expect a whole lot more of them to pop up in the next few days.


More than a Quarter of Law Firms are Hiring Again

Curtis LinderMore than a quarter of the lawyers questioned in a recent survey expect to hire full-time staff members within the next three months.

The lawyers were asked in a survey developed by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing company, if the law firm or company plans to increase or decrease the number of full-time legal personnel on their staff for 2010's second quarter, which runs through June 30.


Those employees are lawyers, paralegals and support staff, said Billie Watkins, branch manager for Robert Half Legal's Chicago office.


Curtis A. Linder, president and co-owner of Linder Legal Staffing Inc. in Chicago, said that within about the past year while some corporations with legal departments have had hiring freezes, they were robust users of contract lawyers and paralegals.


"Now what we're seeing is that with the hiring freezes being lifted at some of the area's corporations, those contractors have been hired directly by our clients," Linder said. He added that law firms that had deferred start dates to October for new associates are reversing themselves and starting the associates immediately.


A total of:

  • 26 percent of the respondents replied that there would be increased hiring
  • 67 percent indicated there would be no change
  • 7 percent replied that they did not know, according to Robert Half.

Of course, there's always an exception. Mayer Brown LLP has reportedly decided to cut close to 30 attorneys. After “careful consideration” the firm decided to let go 28 associates and 47 staff members, according to an e-mail leaked from a Mayer Brown attorney to legal blog Above the Law.“Despite this necessary action, we see encouraging signs for 2010,” the e-mail reportedly said.


None of the Robert Half respondents indicated there would be a decrease in the number of full-time legal personnel on their staff during the next three months.


"Law firms that cut deeply during the downturn are planning to add staff to meet existing client demands and prepare for new business," Charles Volkert, Robert Half Legal's executive director.


The survey was based on telephone interviews with 100 lawyers at law firms with 20 or more employees, and 100 lawyers at companies with 1,000 or more employees. A total of 41 percent of the survey respondents indicated that it's difficult to locate skilled legal professionals in the U.S.

Business Development in a Recovering Economy

Legal Profession Enters a RecoveryAt last there is good news: The legal profession has entered a recovering economy. The grinding downturn that brought layoffs of 5,259 lawyers – 4.3 percent of the lawyer workforce nationwide, according to the Nov. 9, 2009 National Law Journal – is ending. Four separate research studies support this conclusion:

  • The 2010 Client Advisory by Hildebrandt Baker Robbins. The legal market finally “bottomed out” at the end of 2009.
  • The Law Firm Group at Citi Private Bank. “We believe the worst is over,” said Dan DiPietro, advisory head of Citi, an arm of Citigroup.
  • The BTI Consulting Group in its “Premium Practices Forecast 2010.” It predicts corporate legal spending by large companies will grow nearly 5 percent.
  • The February 2010 Robert Half Legal survey of 300 attorneys from among the largest law firms and corporations.

But there’s a catch. Relations between lawyers and business clients have changed permanently. The research studies cited above agree that law practice will not go back to pre-recession business as usual. Some of the changes include the following: ...

To read the rest of the article, please visit the LawMarketing Portal at



Special Rainmaker Issue of Originate! Magazine

About this Issue: Winners of the 2009 Rainmaker of the Year Awards

In this issue, we feature the business development excellence demonstrated by three of the winners of our 2009 Rainmaker of the Year awards. The featured articles recognize what our winners have accomplished, and offer case studies of how you can turn 2010 into your best rainmaking year. [Click About this Issue for more details.]

Featured Articles -- Learn More About Subscribing to ORIGINATE!

Mary Ann Dunham – Seizing Opportunities with Strength and Wisdom

The winner in the category "Woman Lawyer" is Mary Ann Dunham, who works in the Pittsburgh office of the 450-lawyer firm, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC.  Highly active in the city’s business organizations, whether they gather women or are predominantly male, she efficiently seeks out and capitalizes on opportunities to connect with business executives - not just for her own benefit, but also for the good of others around her.

Christopher Marston - Putting His Firm Where the Market Will Be

The winner in the category "Small Firm Lawyer" is Christopher Marston of Exemplar, a law firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. By offering soup-to-nuts service to entrepreneurs and startup businesses – and staying on the leading edge of client service in ways highly desirable to clients plus applying business development that truly works – his firm raised revenues 48% last year while others stagnated.

Elizabeth L. Gunn - A Woman with Drive

The winner in the category "Associate" is Elizabeth L. Gunn of DurretteBradshaw PLC, an 18 lawyer boutique firm based in Richmond, Virginia. Though she started off with two big disadvantages, she has demonstrated that commitment and laser-like attention in three areas - client service, key associations and peer networking - can overcome obstacles and power a business development machine.

Best Practice Tips -- Learn More About Subscribing to ORIGINATE!
Looking Up: Managing ALL Dimensions of Your Bottom Line to Keep Your Firm Strong

Here’s the challenge, according to Darryl Cross. How do you manage profitability in times of turmoil, while maintaining the promise of quality and better outcomes for your clients? The only choice for firms is to manage their bottom line from ALL directions, including the middle and top lines too.  

Umbrellas Needed: Elements of a Heavy Rain Maker

No lawyer would suggest a client worry about business development only when they have free time, yet many lawyers treat their client development as an after-thought. That won’t make sprinkles, affirms Thom Singer. Instead, whatever the size of your firm, every attorney must take the actions necessary to be a rainmaker, and here are some elemental ones that can make the clouds burst for you.

Taking the Measure: Gain from Knowing Your Market Share

You’re a business, not just a law firm, contends Andy Havens, so it’s important to measure how well you’re doing objectively. One powerful way is market share, the portion of business your firm controls out of the total business for which you compete. Here’s the why, the how – and what to do about it.

10 Simple Google Search Tricks

Simon MackieFrom WebWorkerDaily, blogger Simon Mackie says he's always amazed that more people don’t know the little tricks you can use to get more out of a simple Google search. Here are 10 of his  favorites.

  1. Use the “site:” operator to limit searches to a particular site. I use this one all the time, and it’s particularly handy because many site’s built-in search tools don’t return the results you’re looking for (and some sites don’t even have a search feature). If I’m looking for WWD ("Web Worker Daily") posts about GTD ("geting things done"), for example, I could try this search: GTD
  2. Use Google as a spelling aid. Entering a word into Google is a quick way to see if you have the right spelling. If it’s incorrect, Google will suggest the correct spelling instead.
  3. Additionally, if you want to get a definition of a word, you can use the “define:” operator to return definitions from various dictionaries (for example, define: parasympathetic).
  4. Use Google as a calculator. Google has a built-in calculator — try entering a calculation like 110 * (654/8 + 3). Yes, your computer also has a calculator, but if you spend most of your day inside a browser, typing your calculation into the browser’s search box is quicker than firing up your calculator app.
  5. Find out what time it is anywhere in the world. This one’s really handy if you want to make sure that you’re not phoning someone in the middle of the night. Just search for “time” and then the name of the city. For example, try: time San Francisco
  6. Get quick currency conversions. Google can also do currency conversion, for example: 100 pounds in dollars. It only has the more mainstream currencies, though — if you’re trying to see how many Peruvian nuevos soles your dollars might buy, you’ll be out of luck.
  7. Use the OR operator. This can be useful if you’re looking at researching a topic but you’re not sure which keywords will return the information you need. It can be particularly handy in conjunction with the “site:” operator. For example, you could try this search: GTD or “getting things done”
  8. Exclude specific terms with the – operator. You can narrow your searches using this operator. For example, if you’re looking for information about American Idol but don’t want anything about Simon Cowell, you could try: “american idol” -cowell
  9. Search for specific document types. Google can search the web for specific types of files using the “filetype:” operator. If you’re looking for PowerPoint files about GTD, for example, you could try: GTD filetype:ppt
  10. Search within numerical ranges using the .. operator. Say, for example, you want to look for information about Olympic events that took place in the 1950’s, you could use this search: Olympics 1950..1960
  11. Area code lookup. Need to know where a phone number is located? Google will let you know where it is, and show you a map of the area, too. For example: 415

What are your favorite Google search tricks?


83% of Websites Influence Lead Generation for Service Providers

Website Influence in Business DevelopmentFrom Hubspot: When it comes to lead generation for your services, your website may impact your ability to generate new leads more than you think. Of the more than 200 buyers surveyed—from companies of all sizes—83% report that a service provider’s website holds at least “some influence” over their decision to engage in initial discussions.

According to the survey, this is a significant increase compared to 2005, when 69% of buyers assigned websites at least “some influence” over this decision. Furthermore, the number of people who say websites have "a great deal of influence" rose to 28% compared with 16% in 2005.

Think of your website as the hub for your marketing and thought leadership activities. No matter what lead generation tactics you employ, a prospective client is going to visit your website during the decision-making process to retain you. It is the place they go to learn about your services, register for events, read articles, watch videos, sign up for a newsletter, download a white paper, etc. It is where they go to form an initial impression of you.

Remember to put the three things on your site that executive and general counsel look for:

  1. Industries.  List the industries in which your firm has most of its clients, and describe your familiarity with those industries.
  2. Representative clients. Yes, you must email them to ask for permission, but a longtime, happy client will most certainly agree.  Do not worry that your competitors will "poach" these clients.  You are the one with the close relationship.  Meanwhile, prospective clients will want to know "whom you swim with" -- a Fortune 500 company or the corner 7-11.
  3. Case histories.  You do need to prove that you've actually settled a lawsuit or closed a deal. Jones Day has built their site around short vignettes of their experience -- and it's very effective. Simply tell a short business story about your client: (a) the name of the company (b) the business obstacle or dispute they faced (c) the dollars at stake (d) and what business result you achieved. 

The survey was conducted by and included more than 200 buyers responsible for more than $1.7 billion in professional services purchased, such as accounting and financial services; architecture, engineering, and construction services; human resources consulting; IT consulting and services; legal services; management consulting; marketing, advertising, and public relations; and training services.