Law Firm Marketing: Facebook is Top Spot for Display

online social networking, law firm marketing, legal marketingFrom JusticeNewsFlash.com:

Facebook has clinched the top place for online advertising as the social media giant has captured 23 percent of all Internet display ads, resulting in 297 billion ad impressions, which is higher than the total of all display ads on Google, Microsoft, Fox and Yahoo sites combined.

The astounding numbers, wallet-friendly prices and Facebook’s ability to target specific audiences have catapulted Facebook to the number 1 position for display ads. Yahoo came in second with 140 billion display ad impressions, followed by Microsoft at 64 billion and Fox Interactive Media at 48 billion. Google came in last at 35 billion ad impressions, according to the ComScore third quarter report.

So what sets Facebook apart from the other Internet publishing sites? Three things: socializing, price and Facebook’s ability to target its audiences. People spend an average of 700 billion minutes a month on the social networking site, and with over 500 million active users, the potential consumer impressions can be tremendous.

“Facebook’s increasing share of the display ad market probably resulted from the company’s fast-growing audience size, an increase in the number of ads per page that Facebook delivers and an increase in the amount of time that users spend on its website. The more people in your social network that are online, the more value it creates to you as a user, the more you are likely to engage and contribute,” stated comScore’s Andrew Lipsman.

Facebook online display ads sell at a big discount when compared to sites like Yahoo and Microsoft. The CPM (cost per thousand impressions) for Facebook’s U.S. display ads runs at about $1, compared to a $3 CPM for display ads on U.S. Yahoo sites. The discounted pricing is appealing for people who are looking to make a big impression on a small budget.

Facebook also has a unique feature that allows the social network to target the exact demographic they are looking for. The age, sex and interests all factor into what ads will appear on user’s Facebook pages, which ensures your ad will be seen by the right audience.

Facebook is an ideal place for law firms who are looking to get more “bang for their advertising buck.” Not only can your law firm save a little bit of cash while still achieving a high dollar audience reach. But, remember, keep the ads engaging and “worth the look” for consumers; generation Y are heavy users of Facebook and your attorney’s potential clients.

 

What Lawyers Earn: Find Yourself on the Chart

Lawyer salaries, How much lawyers makeThe following chart is from the 2011 Salary guide published by Robert Half Legal.  Find yourself on the chart and see if you are earning as much as you should be.  Please go to http://www.roberthalflegal.com/salarycenter to use the company's salary calculator.

 

Information in the guide is derived from a wide range of sources, including:

  • Thousands of full-time and interim placements made by Robert Half across North America
  • Local insight from our staffing and recruiting professionals throughout Robert Half's branch network
  • Exclusive workplace research Robert Half conducts regularly among senior lawyers with the largest law firms and corporate legal departments in the United States and Canada
  • An analysis of the hiring environment and an extrapolation of current trends into 2011.

 

 

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Funny TV Ad by a Witty Plaintiff Law Firm

This is actually a video commercial for a real personal injury firm - essentially they are poking fun at themselves - it is pretty funny and short:

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Happy Thanksgiving

What Happens to Your Digital Assets when you Die?

Entrustet Account SummarySuppose you get hit by a bus? Read this guest post by Nathan Lustig, the co-founder of Entrustet.com, a free website that helps consumers, attorneys and websites manage digital assets.    

"So much of what we used to do offline is now online.  Our Rolodexes are now email contacts.  Our printed family photos are now digital and stored online or on a hard drive.  Instead of sending letters, we send emails. 

Yet most Americans don’t realize that they own significant digital assets or they don’t realize that they can protect their digital assets in traditional wills and trusts.

Digital Assets: A new Frontier in Estate Planning

In November 2004, a US Marine named Justin Ellsworth was killed in action in Iraq.  His parents wanted access to Justin's email account and asked Yahoo! for help.  Yahoo! said no: allowing anyone access to another person's email account is against their terms of service.  Ellsworth's parents decided to take Yahoo! to court and on April 21, 2005, a Michigan Judge ordered Yahoo! to turn over the contents of Justin's email account to his parents.

Fast forward to 2010.  The Internet has exploded onto the scene.  Facebook has over 550 million users worldwide.  There are now 150 million blogs worldwide.  Americans upload 3 billion photos to the Internet each day and send billions of emails.  And it's not just young people.  75% of the US population now uses the Internet on a daily basis and 98% of Internet users over the age of 70 use email at least once per month.  In fact, we've estimated that three Facebook users die every single minute!

What is a digital asset?

Just like physical assets, digital assets are divided into two categories: assets that have sentimental value and assets that have economic value.  In the physical world, sentimentally valuable assets include family photos, journals, jewelery, collections and other family heirlooms.  Economically valuable physical assets include bank accounts, real estate, cars, investments and ownership in businesses.

Add digital assets to wills and trusts

It is important to add digital assets to wills and trusts.  Survivors don’t know where these valuable digital assets are stored, or that the assets exist at all.  I store all of my photos on Facebook and on Flickr, but my family and friends don't know which service I use.  Additionally, they don’t know my user name or password for either of these services, meaning that they will have trouble accessing my photos if something were to happen to me.  The two main problems for heirs are knowing where the digital assets are located as well as gaining access to these assets.

How do Attorneys Benefit from Adding Digital Assets to Estate Plans?

Attorneys benefit by adding digital assets to estate plans in three ways.  First, by adding digital assets to estate plans, attorneys are fully protecting their clients.  Leaving digital assets out of estate plans creates much more work for survivors and does not fully protect clients.  Second, attorneys can generate additional revenue.  Attorneys can call current clients and advise them to add their digital assets to their current wills, thereby generating an additional office visit.  Third, estate planners that add digital assets can create a competitive advantage locally and nationally.  There are not many firms that know what to do with digital assets and by being an early adopter, firms can be on the cutting edge and carve out a local and national reputation.

What can Attorneys do Today?

If you decide that you'd like to incorporate digital assets into your estate planning practice, you should add a digital assets section to your intake questionnaire and then decide how you are going to advise your clients to create and update their lists.  Clients can store their user names and passwords in a paper list in a safe deposit or on file in their attorney's office, but this solution is not secure and is hard to update.  Clients can also use online services like Entrustet to create their list and store their user information. 

I hope this was a good primer on digital assets and estate plans.  If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact me or check out ourblog.  Entrustet has a library of digital asset education materials, sample wills and intake forms.  Interested attorneys can contact us for more information.

I LOVE Dell's Customer Service

I love dell customer supportBased on a call I just made, I can say that Dell's customer service is excellent.

I have a Latitude D630 laptop running Windows XP which I bought at ABA Techshow 3/19/08 with a three-year warranty. It's been running really slowly, hanging up on shutdown and refushing play audio.

I called Dell reached a live human right away. He told me to run a diagnostic test and asked if the laptop was running hot.  I told him the laptop is hotter than a stovetop grill. He said the fan and motherboard were probably not working and would be replaced under the warranty.

He got my sound working by taking me to a driver download page on the Dell site. This guy knew every little detail about my computer so he could give custom answers.  The battery wouldn't hold a charge, but it's not covered by the warranty, so he sold me a new 9-cell battery for $165.

They'll send me a box with free shipping.  They said I should get it back in a week.  With a new motherboard, it'll be like having a new computer!

My next computer will definitely be a Dell. 

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GCs Offer Law Firm Marketing Tips

Three GCs speaking at the LMA New England annual conference spelled out what marketing tactics they ignore, how to get their business and how to annoy them and get fired. 

Marketers and law firms can cross the following items off their list of marketing initiatives, because in-house lawyers don’t pay attention to them:

  1. Holiday cards (mailed)
  2. E-cards (e-mailed)
  3. PowerPoint presentations at beauty contests
  4. The history of your law firm
  5. A newsletter sent out so late that it is the 5th one on the same legal topic.

That is the consensus of a trio of in-house corporate lawyers speaking at the program “The Art of the ‘Pitch’” presented yesterday at New England LMA annual conference in Boston.  However if you want to get corporate legal work, here’s what in-house counsel like:

  1. White papers that are well-researched and written directly sent to a GC facing that exact issue.
  2. Lawyers who attend trade association meetings with clients.
  3. Likeable lawyers who are easy to work with and who don’t aggravated the opposing lawyers.
  4. Client feedback surveys by telephone.
  5. Quick answers to quick questions.
  6. The first law firm newsletter on a timely legal topic.
  7. A lawyer who has specific expertise on a legal issue facing a client.

John Remsen, Jr., founder of The Remsen Group in Atlanta moderated the lively discussion among:

  • John Affuso, Jr., Senior Transaction Counsel of the Massachusetts Port Authority. This quasi-governmental agency has 17 lawyers in-house, who do 60% of the authority’s legal work.  It spends $1 to $3 million per year on 25 different law firms.  
  • Steven J. Roberts, Esq., VP of Real Estate Law at Stop & Shop supermarkets, which has 750 stores. The company has 17 in-house lawyers and spends $7 to $8 million per year on 15 law firms.
  • Margaret W. Chambers, Executive VP and General Counsel, Boston Private Financial Holdings, Inc. The legal department consists of 3 people and the company uses Goodwin & Procter for almost everything. The company spends $1.5 million per year on outside counsel. She is a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

For the entire article, please go to the LawMarketing Portal at http://bit.ly/drra7b

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GCs Offer Law Firm Marketing Tips

Three GCs speaking at the LMA New England annual conference spelled out what marketing tactics they ignore, how to get their business and how to annoy them and get fired. 

Marketers and law firms can cross the following items off their list of marketing initiatives, because in-house lawyers don’t pay attention to them:

  1. Holiday cards (mailed)
  2. E-cards (e-mailed)
  3. Martindale-Hubbell and other lawyer directories
  4. PowerPoint presentations at beauty contests
  5. The history of your law firm
  6. A newsletter sent out so late that it is the 5th one on the same legal topic.

That is the consensus of a trio of in-house corporate lawyers speaking at the program “The Art of the ‘Pitch’” presented yesterday at New England LMA annual conference in Boston.  However if you want to get corporate legal work, here’s what in-house counsel like:

  1. White papers that are well-researched and written directly sent to a GC facing that exact issue.
  2. Lawyers who attend trade association meetings with clients.
  3. Likeable lawyers who are easy to work with and who don’t aggravated the opposing lawyers.
  4. Client feedback surveys by telephone.
  5. Quick answers to quick questions.
  6. The first law firm newsletter on a timely legal topic.
  7. A lawyer who has specific expertise on a legal issue facing a client.

John Remsen, Jr., founder of The Remsen Group in Atlanta moderated the lively discussion among:

  • John Affuso, Jr., Senior Transaction Counsel of the Massachusetts Port Authority. This quasi-governmental agency has 17 lawyers in-house, who do 60% of the authority’s legal work.  It spends $1 to $3 million per year on 25 different law firms.  
  • Steven J. Roberts, Esq., VP of Real Estate Law at Stop & Shop supermarkets, which has 750 stores. The company has 17 in-house lawyers and spends $7 to $8 million per year on 15 law firms.
  • Margaret W. Chambers, Executive VP and General Counsel, Boston Private Financial Holdings, Inc. The legal department consists of 3 people and the company uses Goodwin & Procter for almost everything. The company spends $1.5 million per year on outside counsel. She is a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel.For the entire article, please go to the LawMarketing Portal at http://bit.ly/drra7b

Will Your State Bar Association Regulate Your Facebook Page?

Facebook, LawMarketing BlogExcerpted from About.com:

The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 is currently reviewing whether to make new recommendations on how lawyers should be regulated in their use of the internet, such as with their Facebook accounts, personal blogs, and discussion forum activities. That's right, just when you thought that your law practice was already subject to as much regulation as a profession could impose on itself, the ABA has decided that you should be regulated some more. Of course, the ABA can't actually impose regulations directly on lawyers, but it is fairly common for their recommendations and modifications of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to work their way down to the state bar associations to become the lawyer regulations in each state.

The ABA has posted a notice on their website stating that the American Bar Association's Commission on Ethics 20/20 is "examining a number of legal ethics issues arising from lawyers' use of technology, including issues arising from Internet-based client development tools."

However, current regulations requiring basic disclaimers and not making false or misleading statements in ads seem sufficient to cover any problems.

The ABA seems not only interested in making sure lawyers are being honest in what they say on their websites, but also in what lawyers are doing on their personal Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. This is where bar association meddling is likely to go too far in repressing, or at least inhibiting, free speech.

Lawyers already face restrictions on their freedom of speech under threat of losing their law licenses. They don't need to have their freedom of speech hampered more by having the state bar reading all of their social networking posts. To the extent that bar associations could repress lawyer free speech even more than they already do, the ABA writing white papers on the subject creates a risk of causing more harm than good.

Another area where the ABA may create complications is in the realm of blogging. While a blog on a law firm's website fairly easily falls under the standard ethics rules, a lawyer's personal blog or writing the lawyer does for other websites can create more complications. Just because a lawyer writes an article or story to be published online does not mean that it is a form of advertising.

Must every article written by a lawyer contain disclaimers, qualifiers, and professional niceties to avoid inadvertently violating the myriad of lawyer advertising regulations? If the ABA adopts a position on this, their position needs to be one that recognizes that lawyers have the right to a personal life beyond the regulatory reach of the bar. Lawyers don't have to tattoo disclaimers on their foreheads, and they shouldn't have to do the equivalent of that whenever they venture into an Internet forum either.

Please go to http://bit.ly/9je3Ne for the full article.

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Join Me at the Marketing Partner Forum in Phoenix in January

LawMarketing Blog, Marketing Partner Forum, law firm marketingMark your calendar for January 19-21 to attend the Marketing Partner Forum at the Intercontinental Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Speaking as a Chicagoan, wouldn't you rather be in Arizona in January than anywhere else?)

I've been attending these programs for 10 years and frankly, it is the best business development program of the year. If you're wondering which meeting all the CMOs and marketing partners go to -- this is it.

Topics to be addressed at next year's Forum include:

  • Creating customer experience in a service business
  • Partnering from a corporate counsel's perspective
  • Alternative fee arrangements—what firms are doing now and what effect they have on firm brand
  • RFPs and the rise of the procurement function
  • Successful approaches for negotiating prices and services

I've already marked off the workshops and breakout I plan to attend -- on how to win an RFP, the corporate counsel panel, social and electronic media, industry marketing and best practices in business development.

Plus the networking is fantastic. I love talking to really smart people who have actually accomplished major initiatives.  If you plan to go, email me and let's make plans to talk.

It ain't cheap, but some things are worth the money. Find out more and register at http://bit.ly/dbmFAg and call the hotel at 888.627.3010 for a reservation, because the MPF rate of $255 is just about sold out.

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Hilarious Video: Getting Marketing Help at the ABA Annual Meeting

This is from David Ward's Attorney Marketing Center blog:

"Last week, I found out from Larry Bodine that the ABA wants to regulate marketing on the Internet. Big Brother wants to control just about everything we do online. According to Larry, the proposal would have a chilling affect on every aspect of attorney marketingTom Kane echoed Bodine's concerns and I do too.

We have enough rules. Too many rules. Unnecessary rules. We are regulated, micro-managed, watched, and warned, by the very organization that is supposed to represent our interests. True, the ABA has no direct jurisdiction over us but they wield tremendous influence over the bar associations that do.

Enough is enough! I decided to do something about it. This film, "The Convention," is an urgent message to all attorneys to rise up and tell the ABA, "we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore!"

And now, David Ward presents, uncensored and uncut, "The Convention" 

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New White Paper: "Alternative Fee Arrangements: New and Better Ways To Price Legal Services"

Hugh TottenIn this white paper, Hugh Totten, co-founder of the pioneering Valorem Law Firm in Chicago, describes how lawyers can attract new business and keep current clients by offering them "AFAs" or value billing. Nearly every law firm offers alternative fees, and this program will show you how to set them successfully.

It was in 1958 that billing by the hour was widely adopted by the legal profession, when the American Bar Association's Special Committee on Economics of Law Practice recommended the approach.

Flash forward to 2010 when unrelenting abuse is heaped upon the billable hour.Some 94.5% of law firms now offer some kind of alternative fee arrangements, and all firms with 150 lawyer or more do so, according to new research. Lawyer, entrepreneur and visionary Hugh Totten of Chicago explains what, how and why this happened.
 

Purchasers will get a PDF file of the white paper "Alternative Fee Arrangements: New and Better Ways To Price Legal Services" via email.  For more info and to order, please go to http://bit.ly/9fW9lp

In this white paper, based on the original live program, Hugh removes the cloud of mystery around alternate fees, offers many how-to techniques, and offers case histories. If your law firm wants to give clients the "value fees" that they want, this program is for you.

 

"Clients are necessarily becoming more assertive in their fee discussions with their law firms and demanding alternative fee arrangements. Firms must face up to the fact that some clients will simply not work on the basis of billable hours any more," Totten says.

Hugh is co-founder of the Valorem Law Firm in Chicago, which has offered value billing to clients since the day it was formed. He is an experienced and well-recognized trial lawyer. His successes include many multi-million dollar settlements, judgments and awards, including one for $165 million. Hugh has built a successful practice in complex commercial litigation, construction and design law, appraisal and valuation disputes and insurance coverage.

Get your copy today at http://bit.ly/9fW9lp. It's only $75.

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ABA Commission on Ethics Seeks Ways to Regulate Online Lawyer Marketing

LawMarketing Blog, Conrad SaamBy Conrad Saam on the AVVO Blog:

“The State Bars should get out of the business of regulating marketing because it is something they know nothing about.” – Larry Bodine

That jolted me out of my seat at the MyLegal Case for Social Media Conference last month.  It’s no secret that some state bars have struggled to understand new technology and Avvo has run into this on more than one occasion.  But, this quote came from Larry Bodine, the venerable law firm marketing consultant who has spent the past few decades working with Big Law Firms on foundational business development concepts.  It seems that both Larry and Avvo have run into similar concerns with the regulation of marketing from state bars and are experiencing first hand how that regulation is damaging an industry already hurting from the economic crunch. 

Across the legal industry there is a growing consensus that the regulation of marketing is causing much more harm than good.  While it was appropriate (and brave) to include a counterpoint to social media at the MyLegal conference by including a presentation from a state bar regulator; but I was aghast by the fear mongering put forth including:

  • Your competitors surf social media looking for opportunities to turn you in to the State Bar.
  • You can have your law license suspended for blogging.
  • All content you put on Facebook is saved on your computer and State Bars can get to it.
  • State bars spend lawyer dues proactively trolling social media looking for ethics violations.

The room drew a collective breath, sat up in fear and started scribbling notes madly.  A few, including Carolyn Elefant, the esteemed author of Solo By Choice, challenged openly – “you are putting your own constituents at a competitive disadvantage.” Marketing opportunities brought about by online marketing can level the playing field, helping small firms compete with the deep pockets of Big Law.  After all, it only costs $9.95 a month to host a blog if you are Wilson Sonsini or Ross-Johnson-I-Just-Got-Out-Of-Law-School.  Limiting small practices’ ability to engage with consumers on Facebook, Twitter or Avvo is curtailing their ability to build their business.  The connection some have drawn is that these anti-technology social media rules being pushed by the bar are protectionist for the Big Law firms trying to defend their turf.

Frequently, ethics rules are brought about in the name of the (apparently extremely stupid) purchaser of legal services.  Do consumers really need to be protected from the opinions of other consumers about the quality of service?  Are they really so stupid that they think an online rating saying “Bill is the best lawyer” means that Bill is absolutely the best lawyer? As Carolyn writes:  “I am not aware of a single complaint by a consumer alleging that he or she was mislead or deceived about a lawyer’s quality due to customer rating sites.” Why does the legal industry, that already has an image trouble among the general populace, quash that same populace from saying nice (even great, wonderful, awesome, stupendous) things about the legal industry?

False or misleading advertising doesn’t belong in the legal profession.  That simple standard should apply to lawyers on Facebook or Avvo just as it does to lawyers at a cocktail party or golfcourse.  The FTC has repeatedly pushed the bars to be less specific around lawyer advertising rules and regulations and we can see why when considering the Florida bar’s latest directive.  All Florida attorney websites may soon need to be redesigned to require every page beyond the homepage to be accessed only after affirmatively clicking on a disclaimer.  We call this the Florida Website Developers Employment Act.  Can you imagine only accessing a book on Amazon or a trip on Expedia after reading an interstitial legal warning off the home page?  Limiting access to information about lawyers and the law by these types of firewalls hurts both lawyers and consumers.  Larry Bodine is absolutely right – most bars don’t understand marketing (let alone technology marketing).

For more viewpoitns:

ABA, Social Media and a time to panic? by Adrian Dayton

Is the ABA Trying to Kill Lawyer Blogs, Facebook Profiles, Twitter Updates, Forum Posts and Lawyer Websites? by Enrico Schaefer

ABA’s Rules on Social Media and Social Networking Necessary Guidance or Big Brother? by Heather Morse-Milligan

Carolyn Elefant has some great insights on the commission and has been reporting on it since before the paper was issued.

Comments should be sent to: Natalia Vera, Senior Research Paralegal, Commission on Ethics 20/20 ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, 321 North Clark Street, 15th Floor, Chicago, IL 60654-7598. Phone: 312/988-5328, fax: 312/988-5280 and email: veran@staff.abanet.org.

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Intelligent Video Solutions and Citrin Cooperman Create First Mobile Tag Advertising Campaign

Intelligent Video Solutions and Citrin Cooperman Print Push-to-Video Advertisements, a First for Professional Services Firms

Intelligent Video Solutions ("IVS"), a company that produces videos and consults on visual solutions to help businesses market their services and people, announced a first of its kind campaign developed with accounting firm, Citrin Cooperman (CC), to help with their re-branding efforts.

Citrin Cooperman employed IVS to create a corporate video that would help introduce their new brand and reflect CC’s client service philosophy. The accounting firm decided to take the “re-brand” strategy one step further and uniquely market this video through advertising. The result is a series of print advertisements featuring mobile tags. When the unique barcode is scanned by an iPhone or Android, it will launch CC’s new corporate video developed by Intelligent Video Solutions. The video has received great traffic in its first week on the web.

Citrin Cooperman initiated a re-branding effort for the first time in 30 years to better reflect the innovative and creative firm culture. In order to do this, they retained IVS to develop a video that would show the results of their client surveys, the philosophy of the firm, and the perspectives of their employees. The video itself is unique within the professional services industry and this mobile tag tool is just one more way that CC shows that they are forward-thinking and creative, especially in the accounting world, to the entrepreneurs they work with.

“The idea of re-branding and communicating through video is and always has been incredibly powerful,” says Linda Orton, CEO of Intelligent Video Solutions. “However, by incorporating mobile tags in advertisements, readers are pushed to watch the videos through their phones or computers. Videos can be a stronger tool than a print ad alone and as such, you are increasing the value of both your print campaign and your corporate videos by creating a bridge between the two mediums. It’s also a great way to drive traffic to your videos. It’s very exciting to be the first to do this within the professional services sector.”

Lastly, the use of video in CC’s re-branding efforts enabled their managing partner and co-founder, Joel Cooperman, to communicate his passion more effectively than through a traditional text page. Potential clients can see and hear the passion and excitement about their client research and the work they do.

About Intelligent Video Solutions. Founded in 2009, as a division of the nationally known Intelligent Marketing Solutions, Inc., Intelligent Video Solutions creates cutting-edge videos and provides visual strategy consulting. They help firms and companies uniquely market themselves, and create powerful recruitment campaigns. From idea to finished piece, IVS' approach is to produce videos that are dynamic, entertaining and accurately reflect their clients’ business goals. Video is the most powerful marketing and branding tool to emerge in decades and IVS allows companies to maximize this tool.For more information visit Intelligent Video Solutions

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ABA May Destroy Internet Marketing Advantage for Solos and Small Firms

LawMarketing Blog, Tom KaneThis is from Tom Kane's Legal Marketing Blog:

I too have some concerns about the ABA getting involved in more regulation (to feed their bureaucracy, justify more staff, higher membership fees, etc. etc.), that also generally screws up legitimate marketing efforts.  In this case, the value to the public gained by legal marketing on the Internet; but I also have concerns about unethical lawyers (and marketers) that spew out lies and misrepresentations about lawyer capabilities and experiences that too find their way to the Web.

But, let’s not overlook the fact that the current ethics rules already prohibit such behavior. Do we need more regulation or better enforcement of existing rules? The point is that I don’t trust the ABA to make new rules that will only in all probability muck up the advantage that solos, and small and medium-sized firms have on the Internet. By that I mean, the digital world provides some help in leveling the playing field for those lawyers who are just as good, but do not have the marketing budgets available to the BigLaw community.

So, if you are a solo, or a small law firm – and you blog, or take part in social media, or pay-per-click, or just have a website – you may want to read and comment on this issue paper. You have, according to the ABA until December 15, 2010 to submit your views on any or all of it. I don’t think that anyone really believes the ABA won’t regulate in this area. The question is will it be to your advantage or not.

If you don’t respond, you really don’t have a lot to complain about.

P.S. Also if you are a member of GP/Solo Section of the ABA (which supposedly is trying harder to serve the solo and small firm community better), you might just want to make sure they get your message as well.


Send your comments to:

Natalia Vera
Senior Research Paralegal,
Commission on Ethics 20/20
ABA Center for Professional Responsibility
321 North Clark Street
15th Floor
Chicago, IL 60654-7598
Phone: 312/988-5328
Fax: 312/988-5280
Email: veran@staff.abanet.org
 

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Make Your Nomination in the Excellence in Legal Marketing Awards

LawMarketing Blog, Excellenct in Marketing AwardsHubbard One and The Hildebrandt Institute are looking for the most innovative marketing professionals and projects in law firms and corporate law departments for The Excellence in Legal Marketing Awards.

The Excellence in Legal Marketing Awards program was developed to support and recognize achievement in the legal marketing industry. Entrants are judged on innovation, effectiveness, creativity, leadership, proven results and above all, excellence within marketing.

Awards will be presented January 20, 2011 at The Hildebrandt Institute's 18th Annual Marketing Partner Forum taking place in Scottsdale, Ariz. at the InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa.

2011 Award Categories

        Marketing Professional of the Year

        Marketing Initiative of the Year

        Best Use of Technology to Support Marketing Efforts

Please go here for more information on the awards

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LexisNexis Offers Small Law Firms an Opportunity to Win the "Ultimate Law Firm Marketing Makeover"

online marketingLexisNexis has launched the “LexisNexis Ultimate Law Firm Marketing Makeover” contest — an opportunity for small law firms across the United States to expand and enhance their online presence for greater visibility and drive more prospects to their firm. Contest entries are now being accepted online at www.legalmarketingmakeover.com.

The contest grand prize winner to receive $50,000 worth of online marketing products and services from LexisNexis to fuel growth.

“Building a strong online presence is critical for smaller law firms since most consumers begin their search for a lawyer or firm on the Internet using online tools such as search engines and Lawyers.com,” said Philip Livingston, senior vice president, LexisNexis Marketing and Business Solutions and CEO for Martindale-Hubbell. “We believe the ‘Ultimate Law Firm Marketing Makeover’ contest is a fun and visible way to demonstrate how law firms can attract more prospective clients by implementing a comprehensive suite of online marketing solutions from LexisNexis.” 

The grand prize winner will receive a suite of services, ranging from web design, video production, search engine optimization, robust profiles on leading legal sites Lawyers.comSM and martindale.com®, and more. The prize package is estimated to be worth more than $50,000.

Panel of Judges:

The esteemed judging panel of legal marketing experts and LexisNexis personnel includes David Lat, founder and managing editor of Above the Law (abovethelaw.com); Larry Bodine, business development advisor and editor of LawMarketing Blog (blog.larrybodine.com); Carolyn Elefant, attorney and editor of MyShingle.com; and David Palmieri and Carol Everson, both vice presidents at LexisNexis.

To enter the contest, representatives from law firms with up to 21 practicing lawyers may visit www.legalmarketingmakeover.com until 5:00 P.M. ET on December 13, 2010, to complete an online submission form and submit a short essay that describes how winning a suite of online law firm marketing services from LexisNexis will help achieve the firm’s marketing goals for the next six to 12 months. After the online entry period closes, the judging panel will review and, based on criteria outlined in the official rules, select five law firm finalists to compete for the grand prize.

The five finalists will be announced on January 5, 2011 and shortly thereafter, taped online interviews with each of the finalist firms will be available on the contest website. These short interviews will show the finalists making “oral arguments” supporting their case for why their law firm should win the contest grand prize. After reviewing the videotaped submissions, contest judges will choose the grand prize winner, based on criteria outlined in the official rules. The grand prize winner will be unveiled on January 30, 2011.

Each finalist firm will receive complimentary LexisNexis products and services, including help from the LexisNexis Online Marketing Makeover Team to enhance its online presence.  

Grand Prize:

The grand prize winner will receive a suite of online marketing services from LexisNexis valued at $50,000 and personalized service directed by the appropriate experts from the makeover team. This package includes up to four major components as described below:

  • Website & Personal Video Production Services: The makeover team will work to put a website in place that reflects the firm’s personality, is engaging and informative, and employs web design best practices to make it easy for potential clients to find and contact the firm. The team will also shoot, produce and host a custom video designed to drive more prospective clients to the winning firm’s website, while also providing prospective clients with greater insight into the essence of the firm.
  • Online Optimization: The winner will benefit from an appropriate mix of online optimization services designed to enhance search engine relevancy rankings and drive more visitors to its site. The makeover team will also leverage placements on relevant legal, business, networking, social media and consumer-facing sites to further enhance the winning firm’s online visibility.
  • Profile Services on Leading Legal Sites Lawyers.com and martindale.com: The winning firm will receive assistance from the makeover team to utilize all the features available to represent the firm and its credentials effectively — from practice descriptions to articles and more.
  • Martindale-Hubbell® Lawyer Ratings: The makeover team will help lawyers engage in the Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review RatingsTM and Client Review ratings programs. The team will also provide lawyers with an opportunity to highlight credible, independent assessments of the winning lawyers’ experience, ethical standing and legal abilities from peers as well as clients, to supplement their profile information and display their hard-earned ratings in creative ways.

To learn more about the contest and read the official rules, visit www.legalmarketingmakeover.com.

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ABA Ethics Study of Online Marketing Will Stifle Online Marketing

Jamie Gorelick, BigLaw representativeFrom Law.com:

The American Bar Association is examining the ethics of online client development tools such as blogs and Facebook, and some marketers are none too happy about it.

The ABA's Commission on Ethics 20/20 has submitted a paper that discusses potential ethics concerns over internet-based lawyer advertising. The commission is asking for feedback on whether or not it should pursue further research and regulation of that area over the next two years.

"There is no agenda," said commission co-chair and WilmerHale partner Jamie Gorelick. " The paper is designed to reflect some of the questions that have been posed to us."

But legal marketing consultant Larry Bodine said the paper is the first step down the wrong path for the ABA, which should be concentrating its ethics effort on lawyers who steal from their clients, not lawyers who use Twitter. "The ethics police should be chasing after lawyers who steal, mislead, lie and user the sleazy competitor keyword tactic," Bodine said.

"This is how it all starts, he said. "With an innocuous document that says, 'We're just collecting information.' I think the ethics authorities have gotten in way over their head when it comes to lawyer advertising and marketing. They don't understand it."

The internet is a major way clients find attorneys these days, and regulations that would prompt lawyers to shy away from that arena would only hurt the public, Bodine said. He is rallying other marketers and bloggers to vocally oppose further ABA involvement in online client development.

The paper, which was submitted by the committee's Working Group on the Implications of New Technologies, highlights four specific areas of possible research and regulation: internet-based client development tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter; blogging; pay-per-click advertising; and lawyer websites.

Client development tools such as Facebook might create inadvertent lawyer-client relationships or blur the line between personal and professional communications and advertising, it notes.

"Because lawyers frequently use these Web sites and services for both personal and professional reasons, the legal ethics issues in this context are more complicated than they have been for more traditional client development tools," the paper reads. "For example, a lawyer might create a Facebook profile that is accessible to family and prospective clients at the same time."

Regulating Facebook

Lawyers and judges who are "friends" on Facebook may also be ethically problematic, according to the paper.

The paper poses the question of whether or not lawyer-penned blogs constitute advertising and are subject to the applicable rules. The issue is trickier because some blogs mix business and personal issues, while some are strictly law-related and serve a marketing function.

"The commission is considering what, if any, guidance it should offer to lawyers who operate or participate in blogs, discussion boards, and other sites (like JD Supra) when their intent is, at least in part, to develop clients," the paper reads. JD Supra is a website that allows lawyers to post articles or examples of their work product for potential clients to see.

Finally, lawyer websites themselves may be problematic if they contain false or misleading information, create an inadvertent attorney-client relationship, give legal advice or reveal confidential information and current or former clients.

"In the old days, when advertising was in a paper medium, you could very readily take it and look at the rules and understand what you could and couldn't do," Gorelick said. "Under these new circumstance, the question is, 'What is an advertisement?' "

Bodine thinks the ABA's newfound interest in internet-based client development will have a major chilling effect on attorneys, however.

"Lawyers are very ginger when it comes to marketing online, and this is just going to frighten the daylights out of them if it becomes an ethics rule," he said.

The commission is seeking comments on the paper by Dec. 15

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