ABA Commission on Ethics is Good News for Legal Marketing

I am thrilled that the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 recommends no new restrictions on online lawyer marketing. They have caught up to 2011 and realized what we already knew -- that rules governing offline marketing also apply online.

The enlightened Commission recognized that prohibiting Internet and other forms of electronic advertising would actually impede the flow of information about legal services to the public. This is very refreshing to hear.

It appears the Commission listened to the deluge of comments they received in September 2010 regarding their initial exploration of regulating Internet based client development tools.  All the people I talked to about it took the view of “hands off the Internet.”

Their proposed revisions of the Model Rules are actually helpful. In Model Rule 1.18, the commission recommends that lawyers post warnings or cautionary statements on their websites and online communications – which most law firms do already.

Clarifying Rule 7.2 against paying others to recommend a lawyer, the Commission defined a “recommendation” as endorsing a lawyers’ credentials, abilities or qualities.  The helpful part is where the Commission says this rule does not apply to Internet ads – even those annoying pop-ups – and it does not apply to paying others to generate clients leads, such as internet-based client leads – which is a major step forward. The economy is bad enough for lawyers and they need to be able to advertise and purchase leads now.

Finally they define the ambiguous term “solicitation” in Rule 7.3 to be a targeted communication at a specific potential client.  This means that banners ads, websites and other communications to the general public do not constitute a solicitation.

This is good news indeed.


ABA Commission On Ethics Recommends No New Restrictions on Lawyer Marketing

aba commission on ethics, lawyer marketing, legal marketing, business develpmentHere's some good news: the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 recommends no new restrictions on online lawyer marketing!

The Commission on Ethics 20/20 today released its 18-page initial proposal for comment on lawyers’ use of technology-based client development tools.  While not recommending any new restrictions on lawyer advertising, the draft suggests more clarity is needed for lawyers’ obligations when they use new forms of technology to disseminate information regarding legal services and seek to develop clients. 

It appears the ABA listened to the comments that came in after ABA Commission on Ethics Seeks Ways to Regulate Online Lawyer Marketing and ABA May Destroy Internet Marketing Advantage for Solos and Small Firms and ABA Ethics Study of Online Marketing Will Stifle Online Marketing appeared.

The recommendations provide clarification in three areas:

  • Where electronic communications may inadvertently give rise to a prospective client-lawyer relationship.  The report identifies precautions that lawyers should take to prevent the inadvertent creation of such a relationship and to ensure that the public does not misunderstand the consequences of communicating electronically with a lawyer.
  • Types of Internet-based client development tools that lawyers are permitted to use, particularly related to an ambiguity regarding the prohibition against paying others for a “recommendation.”  The draft proposal clarifies that a recommendation should be deemed to exist only when someone endorses or vouches for a lawyer’s credentials, abilities, or qualities.
  • When a lawyer’s online communications constitute “solicitations.”  The draft proposal clarifies that communications directed to the general public, responsive to a request for information, and advertisements generated in response to Internet searches are not “solicitations.”

The Commission's proposals and an accompanying report can be found here.

“Though the Model Rules were written before these technologies had been invented, their prohibition of false and misleading communications apply just as well to online advertising and other forms of electronic communications that are used to attract new clients today,” said Commission Co-Chair Jamie Gorelick, a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP in Washington, D.C.  “We didn’t need to change much,” she added.


Law Firm Marketing: How Unforgettable Are You?

Barry Kurtz, practice boomers, law firm marketing, legal marketingDavid Ackert recently interviewed Barry Kurtz for Practice Boomers. The subject was “Niche Market Branding.” Kurtz is a well-known franchise attorney in Los Angeles — a brand that took him many years to establish. It all started 30 years ago when a client of his asked him if he could help them with a franchise matter.

From there, Kurtz he immersed himself in that niche until he knew more about it than his competitors. Now, his reputation attracts business. Everyone in his network knows him as “the franchise attorney.” Most of his clients find him through word-of-mouth or through his website. (If you Google “franchise lawyer,” Barry shows up midway down the first page. And his site has become a significant feeder for his practice.)

Here’s a short excerpt from the interview:

Barry Kurtz interview – excerpt

By the way, Practice Boomers offers online video training in business development. Every week you get a 5-10 minute video lesson via email, including action steps to take. The lessons cover everything from goal setting, branding & differentiation, creating a niche, networking, communities, social networking, client service strategies, to time management. I recommend it.

78%of Executives See Social Business as Critical to Future Success

social media marketing, lawmarketing, legal marketing, law firm marketing, social mediaSeventy-eight percent of the executives surveyed recognized that having a social strategy is critical to the future success of their businesses.The survey was conducted by Jive Software today  of 902 U.S.-based knowledge workers. Law firm managing partners, marketing partners and CMOs should pay heed.

The study, called the Jive Social Business Index 2011, was conducted in May 2011 and surveyed 301 executives, 301 working millennials and 300 general knowledge workers at both large (1000+ employees) and mid-size companies (500 – 999 employees) across various industries.

Specific findings include:

  • 66% of executives believe that social applications for business represent a fundamental shift in how work will get done and how companies will engage with customers.
  • 53% of executives believe they must adopt Social Business or risk falling behind competitors.
  • 62% of executives cite the potential to achieve "better customer loyalty and service levels."
  • 57% anticipate "increased revenue or sales" as a result of implementing a Social Business strategy.
  • 54% of millennials said that they are more likely to rely on and make purchase decisions from information shared via personal contacts in online communities versus 33 percent more likely to use information from "official" company sources.
  • 83% of executives leverage at least one social network for work use.

Click the link more details on the Jive Social Business Index Survey


Cleveland's Tucker Ellis Named Top Workplace

Joe Morford, legal marketing, law firm marketing, Tucker Ellis WestHere's a marketing distinction that resonates with clients: the Cleveland Plain Dealer named Tucker Ellis & West as the #1 Top Workplace 2011 for midsize companies. Clients like to work with happy law firms.

The firm arose from the ashes of Arter & Hadden, which closed in 2003. The survivors threw out some hidebound law firm conventions to do so.

Employees say the solidarity and bold thinking at the birth of their firm set the stage for why they give it high marks today. Tucker employees' job assessment led the firm to the No. 1 spot among medium-size employers in the Top Workplaces survey.

Here are examples of what working at the firm is like:

  • Billable hours are not be the measure of attorney performance. Instead, employees are judged on the "significant value" they add -- anything from mentoring to community volunteering to logging time on client matters.The firm has extensive training programs for people to advance in their careers.
  • Community service. Every July the firm closes for a day. Instead of reporting to work, lawyers, secretaries, paralegals, IT workers and staff accountants volunteer to paint classrooms at St. Martin de Porres High School, pick up litter along Lake Erie or perform some other community service. An evening party for employees and spouses is thrown at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, Wendy Park or, this year, the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.
  • Transparency. When the firm moved in 2008 it held firmwide meetings to answer questions. What would parking cost? Would every office have a window?
  • Getting internal feedback. Joe Morford, the managing partner, hosts breakfast for about 20 employees at a time at Sammy's Metropolitan Restaurant, where staff across all departments can air their thoughts.
  • Wellness program. The firm pushes wellness with in-house yoga, fresh fruit at the front desk and Vitamin D screenings.
  • Flexible work schedules accommodate the uncertainties of family life.
  • Personal touch. When the firm relaunched partner Robert Tucker stood outside the firm's office suite, by the elevators on the 11th floor of the Huntington Building, handing out white coffee mugs with the firm's logo in blue.

"We have really terrific people who genuinely care about each other," Morford said.


The Sources of New Business in Law Firm Marketing

In this newly-updated video, you'll discover the three sources of new business for lawyers, which must be based on face-to-face meetings. You can't build a relationship by email.

The best thing about selling legal services is it's not selling, and there's no downside. This is because the proper approach is to conduct an interview and ask a lot of questions. Whatever you do, don't make any cold calls -- you'll hate making them and the person getting your call hates it.

It's important in business development by doing what you're comfortable with -- whether it's meeting people one-on-one or giving speeches, which is the best way for a lawyer to establish credibility.

Take the Survey of Legal Marketers and Lawyers about use of QR codes

Larry bodine qr codeWhether you know what a QR code is or not (see mine at right), I recommend you take the survey of legal marketers and attorneys to learn about the adoption and use of QR codes.

It takes 5 minutes and participating means you get to find out the results.

A QR code can hold any kind of information - a bio, a v-card, or in my case, a custom Google search. You read them by using your smart phone, starting a QR code app, and taking a picture of the code. The app reveals the information.

I got my free QR code at Vizbility.com. Not only did I choose the search terms that the Google search uses about, but I got the QR graphic that I've printed on my business cards. I also use the QR code on my website.

Lawyers are putting QR codes on their business cards at the following firms -- to name a few:

  • Odin, Feldman & Pittleman in Fairfax, VA
  • Sherin and Lodgen in Boston
  • Duane Morris in Philadelphia
  • Novak Druce in Houston

Tully Rinckey of Albany, NY, and Goulston & Storrs of Boston are putting QR codes in their advertisements.

Get your own free QR code at http://vizibility.com/P/bb004ba6dc464d2ab518704fc6702ac7  And don't forget to take the survey.


David Ackert's "Silent Close"

David Ackert, law firm marketing, legal marketing, lawmarketing, Practice BoomersFrom David Ackert's blog:

Sometimes talking becomes our crutch, and our need to sound smart makes us do dumb things. Take the sales process for example. When we’re sitting down with a prospective client, we’re much better off when we talk less.

In fact, one of the fundamental techniques for closing a prospective client is the practice of being “interested” rather than “interesting.” This means you ask open-ended questions that invite them to describe every little detail about their situation so that your solution is tailored.

Then, once you’ve incorporated all their information into your proposed solution, stop talking altogether. Allow several seconds of silence to hang in the room. And let the prospect be the one to speak next. This is called “the silent close” and it gives the prospective client an opportunity to make their buying decision. It also communicates your confidence—that you don’t have to talk so much just to prove yourself.

David offers a free trial to his excellent online video training program called Practice Boomers.

Every week you'll get a video lesson including a recommended action step. It has modules including goal-setting, branding, creating a niche, networking, communities, social networking, client service, and time management. It answers the questions "What do I do?" What do I say?" "Who do I say it to?"

For info, watch the descriptive video.


Client Turn-Offs in Legal Marketing

Ken Hardison, PILMMA, personal injury law, legal marketing, law marketingI found these great marketing tips in Ken Hardison's excellent book How to Effectively Market Your Personal Injury Law Practice (Copyright 2009, all rights reserved). Ken is a personal injury lawyer based in Dunn, North Carolina and is the chairman of PILMMA, the Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association.


Client turn-offs arise when employees (and I mean both lawyers and non-lawyers) fail to communicate well, both verbally and non-verbally. Some examples of client turn-offs are:

  1. Failure to greet or even smile at a client.
  2. Failure to see the client on time.
  3. Inaccurate information given or lack of knowledge conveyed.
  4. Failure to give full attention to the client either while on the phone or when meeting them in person.
  5. Rude or uncaring attitude.
  6. Inappropriate, dirty, or sloppy appearance at the workplace.
  7. Any communicative message that causes the client to feel uncomfortable.

Surveys completed by the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs revealed these interesting facts:

  1. One client in four is dissatisfied with some aspect of a typical transaction.
  2. Only 5% of dissatisfied clients complain to the company. The vast silent majority would rather switch than fight. They simply take their business elsewhere.
  3. A dissatisfied client will tell 10 to 20 people (12 is the average) about a company that provided poor service. Some people will tell hundreds or even thousands.

How does this affect our business?

Continue Reading...

3-Lawyer Firm's $50,000 Marketing Makeover Gets a Thumbs Up

Lexis Nexis Marketing Makeover, Case Rajnoha Boudreau, law firm marketing, legal marketing, lawmarketingI was just on a webinar about the $50,000 Marketing Makeover that LexisNexis awarded to the 3-lawyer St. Louis firm of Case Rajnoha & Boudreau.  I was also a judge in the competition that named the winner in January. Work was still proceeding in March and now the wraps are finally off of the website.

And it's a beaut. By several measures, LexisNexis did a great job:

  • The site features people and faces (including the ever-cute blond Meg Boudreau). There's not a trite gavel, column or blind justice in sight.
  • The phone number is right at the top of the page, where it should be. Websites are supposed to generate leads.
  • The site says callers get a free consultation. It's important to make this statement or else callers will think otherwise.
  • I'm not a big fan of Flash, but theirs is pretty cool. The pictures of Sally Rajnoha, Joel Case and Meg remain stationary, while the blue background swishes by and changes. When you visit a lawyer bio, the picture of the person in question lights up brightly.
  • The navigation is obvious, and you can immediately see what the firms three primary practices are.
  • The site has videos, including one on divorce right on the home page. Videos help with search engine optimization and are one of the first things visitors look for. The video depicts typical clients, not the lawyers -- a smart move.
  • The home page has a quick contact form, again, making it easy for visitors to contact the firm.
  • There are social media links to Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • The site has an FAQ page. This is always good, because you should answer common questions that your visitors have, so that all they need to do is call you. The info for clients continues in the "newsletters" section, which is actually a collection of articles.
  • The firm has a blog, and clicking on the link to it brings up the latest posts on the home page.
  • It has testimonials. A third-party endorsement is powerful marketing.
  • The practice descriptions are written in plain English, not legalese, and explain the process involved in a criminal, divorce or other case.
  • There's a sitemap, which also helps with search engines.
  • As part of the makeover, Joel got his AV rating and Sally got her BV rating, and the site has a link to their Martindale-Hubbell bios.
  • There are unique <title> and <meta> tags for each page, which helps with search engines.

And the site definitely works. During the webinar, Meg mentioned that she's been overwhelmed with all the leads the site produces. That's a problem every lawyer would love to have.

Barry Solomon, Esq. is New CMO at Sidley Austin

barry solomon, sidley, cmo, legal marketing, law firm marketing, lawmarketingThe new chief marketing officer of global megafirm Sidley Austin is my friend Barry Solomon of Chicago, who was an associate at the firm 20 years ago. The firm has been without a real CMO for 11 years.

Currently, Barry is Chief Marketing Officer for Microsystems in Downers Grove, IL, a document lifecycle software and services provider to the legal and life sciences industries. As CMO, Barry is responsible for developing “03 for Marketing,” the company's automated pitch and proposal process for law firms. He can be reached at barrys@microsystems.com.

Sidley has a warm spot in my heart, because I was the Director of Communications there from 1991 to 2000. Sidley is an amazing place to work, with approximately 1,700 lawyers in 17 offices, including its own building at Clark and Madison in the heart of the Chicago loop. A total of 171 of their lawyers are listed in Chambers, and was named by BTI Consulting as the number one law firm for overall client service for three years, and was named to The BTI Client Service Hall of Fame.

Barry left his practice to help found Interface Software, makers of InterAction, where he was the Executive Vice President. After Interface Software was acquired by LexisNexis in 2004, Barry served LexisNexis as Vice President of Client Development through 2008. From there he went to Microsystems.

He is one of those rare guys who have combination of having computer-smarts and legal acumen, plus being a truly nice guy.  My friends on the Sidley marketing staff told me they're thrilled with his arrival.

Legal Marketers See Next Big Trend in Mobile and Social Web

A survey of senior marketers and business attendees at the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) Annual Conference confirmed what many of us know:

  • 64% cited websites as the top priority for investment in 2011
  • Social media ranked as the second key area of investment (59%)
  • E-mail marketing ranked 3rd (47%).
Where do you plan to invest in applying technology to further impact the success of marketing and business development efforts in 2011?
law firm marketing business development priorities hubbard one

Hubbard One conducted the poll. One of the more interesting findings coming out of the survey is technology-based collaborative tools – such as SharePoint – ranked very high as an emerging trend for the future, cited by 20% of respondents.  Respondents noted they worked most regularly with IT (66%) and finance departments (58%) to maximize effectiveness and ROI on projects and initiatives.


“The growing importance placed on technology-based collaboration tools like SharePoint highlights an interesting new trend within marketing and BD teams,” says Timothy Corcoran, VP at Hubbard One. “Whereas previously SharePoint has not been high on marketers’ wish-lists, as firms continue to grow and expand their international presence, systems that allow them to effectively share information across borders and departments will become increasingly valuable.”


Nolo to Change from Directory to Lead Generation Format

Nolo, legal marketing, law marketing, lawmarketing, ExperthubMost of us missed the news that Nolo, which has been a consumer-focused online lawyer directory since 2006, has been sold to the media company Internet Brands.  Nolo will be combined with ExpertHub, and will sell leads from consumer clients to attorneys.

ExpertHub generates leads from a network of legal, financial, accountant, plastic surgeon, chiropractic, or dental websites that consumers find when they research their particular problem. 

According to a 2009 LawFirms.com user poll, 50% of consumers who responded spent more than 2 hours researching their legal issue before submitting a case inquiry.  16% of consumers spent 1~2 hours, 17% spent less than an hour, while only 18% did not research their legal issue before talking to a lawyer.

Experthub screens the inquiries and emails the leads to attorneys who have reserved geographic areas. The lawyers pay per lead or a flat rate.

Nolo has changed dramatically since it was launched 40 years ago as a counterculture publisher of do-it-yourself legal books. Nolo claims its books, software, online legal tools and legal forms have saved Americans more than $1 billion in legal fees since then. Nolo introduced Quicken WillMaker, which sells online for about $35.

Internet Brands owns and operates more than 200 principal websites in seven categories. The company
currently attracts, on average, more than 79 million unique visitors per month viewing 715 million pages,
with 97% of the network's audience originating from organic, non-paid sources.

Google is Back to No. 1 on the Internet

google, legal marketing, lawmarketing, law firm marketingAs I've long maintained, there is only one directory, one video network, one email resource to be truly concerned with: Google.  Confirming this, Google’s websites had more than one billion unique visitors in May, the first time an Internet company has hit that benchmark, according to comScore.

Since then, Google’s search engine and Gmail email service have grabbed market share and the company bought video site YouTube, among other moves that led to its rise. Here's how they stack up:

Google: 1,000,000,000+ unique visitors, up by 8.4%
google, facebook, microsoft, yahoo, legal marketing, law marketing, lawmarketingMicrosoft: 905,000,000, up by 15%
Facebook: 714,000,000, up by 30%
Yahoo: 689,000,000, up by 10.8%

Marketers are increasingly focused on the amount of time Internet users spend on a site. By that measure,  Facebook leads the pack. The social network surpassed Google in November and Microsoft earlier this year in terms of the time users spent on its site, according to comScore. In May, Internet users spent 250 billion minutes on Facebook, up about 66.6% from a year earlier. Users spent 204 billion minutes on Microsoft sites, down 13.6%. Google was up 13% to about 200 billion minutes per month.

Protect Your Law Firm Name or Suffer the Consequences

copyright, icann, domain names, legal marketing, law marketingYes, it has become necessary to copyright or trademark your law firm name and register your service mark (aka tagline). You'd think you already have a possessory interest or right of privacy in your own name. But that's not true on the Internet, as two law firms found out the hard way in recent copyright litigation.

What prompted my attention is Icann's creation of a universe of new web suffixes, or top-level domain names. Icann, which oversees the Internet address system, will approve new domain names like .law, .legal and .attorney, along with specific names like .sidleyaustin, .skadden and .mayerbrown, for example.

Suppose someone registers your law firm name? Icann says they'll have safeguards to prevent squatters and opportunists from using trademarked and copyrighted names. One thing is certain: today the protections you have without a copyright are slim to none.

Right now any competitor can use your name or the name of your firm as a keyword in their Google adwords campaign. This can cause the competitor's ad to appear above and on top of your own organic search listing. Google doesn't care if a competitor is being a parasite on your Internet leads by using your name -- unless the name is copyrighted. This actually happened to a prominent Milwaukee law firm, when a smaller competitor used the partner's personal names as keywords.  It's a common, sleazy tactic, but it's not illegal.

Similarly, a Raleigh, NC, law firm discovered that a competitor had copied its website -- including their tagline, client testimonials, marketing text, design and images. The imposter website caused an immediate and measurable drop in the leads to the law firm's website. The brazen audacity of the imposter was over-the-top, and the law firm sued and settled the case in their favor.

I served as an expert witness in both cases, so it's not my place to go into detail. My point is that your competitors will stoop to tactics that are so low, you won't believe it. If you haven't copyrighted and trademarked your law firm, do it now or suffer the consequences.

Copyright 2011 Larry Bodine, all rights reserved.

New Solos Succeed by Using Social Media in Legal Marketing

damon chetson, social media, legal marketing, law firm marketingThe number of recent law graduates going solo jumped from 3.5% in 2008 to 5.5% in 2009 -- the biggest one-year jump in two decades, according to the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). The loss of 54,000 legal services jobs in the last three years is a driving force.

Many new solos are prospering, thanks to their savvy use of websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, according to an article on msnbc.com. Nearly 50% of all lawyers in private practice are solos, according to the ABA.

Criminal defense lawyer Damon Chetson publishes a website, where he still attracts the majority of his clients, according to msnbc. Meanwhile he actively writes the Raleigh Criminal Lawyer blog and is active on LinkedIn. He said he earned more last year than the $150,000 a mid-level associate makes at a big law firm.

New solo Rachel Rodgers of Phoenix bills herself as "online legal counsel for Generation Y Entrepreneurs." Her online office lets clients check the status of their case, receive legal documents, provide a contract to review and even pay their invoice.

She's on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, where she belongs to the Legal Blogging group.

She told msnbc, "“There have been times when I’ve woken up in the morning and I have new clients,” she said. “They’ve found me online somehow and I’ve never had any interaction with them, but now they’re my clients. It’s pretty sweet.”

Tectonic Shifts in Law Firm Marketing

Dan Toombs


I was delighted to be interviewed by Australian marketer Dan Toombs in the inaugural Law Firm Marketing Podcast. We discussed the tectonic shifts in law firm marketing that lawyers and legal marketers are facing today.

Competition is forcing lawyers to develop social interactive skills, get out of the office and meet people. The good news is that lawyers are smart people and -- once they understand that business development is a learnable set of techniques -- they can become skilled at it.

Dan and I also covered:

  • Individual marketing strategies, based on the four sources of new business for lawyers.
  • The three things to put on a law firm website that will attract business clients.
  • Where to find content to update your law firm website and blog.
  • Finding clients with social media. Depending on whether you use LinkedIn, Facebook or a blog, you can attract consumer clients, businesses or a combination of both.
  • How to make the most of Twitter.
  • The M-Dot revolution and focusing on mobile marketing.
  • How lawyers can differentiate themselves.  Hint: it's not by reciting your credentials and legal skills.
  • How I trained 20 lawyers at Chuhak & Tecson, a 65-lawyer Chicago law firm, to generate $1.7 million in new incremental revenue in only nine months.
  • How Tully Rinckey, a 30-lawyer Albany, NY, firm created a YouTube channel with 160+ videos that is so effective, the lawyers don't need to conduct business development. The lawyers are furnished potential clients to meet, and I trained them on how to close them into paying clients.

Grab a cup of coffee and have a listen to the podcast at http://s3.amazonaws.com/LawMarketing/Final+Law+Firm+Marketing+Podcast+Episode1.mp3

Or you can read an edited transcript of the podcast on the LawMarketing Channel.


What's Hot and What's Not in Business Development

To see the full text of what's hot and what's not in business development please see here. I thank marketer Bob Denney for use of the title, based on his excellent "“What’s Hot and What’s Not”" communiques. Here are the highlights:


  • LinkedIn
  • Internet marketing to generate leads.
  • Video marketing.
  • QR codes.
  • Winning legal business from medium size companies.
  • Put a Twitter “Follow” button on your blog, website or email signature.
  • Mobile marketing – or the M-Dot Revolution.
  • Free CLE. 
  • Lawyers using webinars as a lead generation tool.

Not hot.

  • Yellow Pages.
  • Using money to motivate lawyers to market. 
  • Bankruptcy.
  • 50 separate sets of state lawyer regulations.
  • Lone wolves.
  • Women Lawyers Having Lower Billing Rates than Men.
  • Stupid SEO mistakes. 
  • Marketing online at the wrong time of day. 
  • Zombie marketing. 

To read the list in detail please see here.

New Data: Law Firms Must Create Mobile-Friendly Websites

smartphone, texting, email, facebook, website, law firm marketing, legal marketingHalf of smartphone owners say "It's My Life!" A majority of smartphone users are fully integrating their devices into every aspect of their daily lives, according to a new smartphone survey conducted by Prosper Mobile Insights.


The survey found that 52.9% say they utilize all of the functions of their smartphones, 30.4% say they use the basic functions of their smartphones and 16.7% only use their smartphones for calling, texting and emailing.

Calling features, GPS, and Facebook are also necessities to some. Despite privacy concerns - such as someone tracking their location - 55.9% of smartphone users say they prefer using their smartphone to access the Internet over using a computer (35.3% prefer to use a computer while 8.8% aren't sure).

smartphone, lawmarketing channel, law firm marketing, legal marketing, mobile webThe vast majority of smartphone users say they use their smartphone to browse for products or services. Three quarters use their smartphone to locate stores or look for store hours. Reading reviews and researching specific products are also top smartphone activities, and half say they have made a purchase via their smartphone device

Law Firm Marketing Takeaways

If your law firm website can't be viewed well on a 2-1/2 inch screen, you are missing a lot of online traffic. It's time to put a mobile marketing plan in place.

82% of businesses plan to increase their spending on mobile phone marketing over the next year, as I reported in May. In response, 33% of businesses currently have a mobile strategy in place, a

The LawMarketing Channel, which I operate, has had a mobile-friendly version for two years. I took a cue from my own personal habit, which is to view websites on my Samsung Droid Charge with 4G capability whenever I have even two minutes of downtime.

Call me compulsive, but law firm clients are just like me. For further evidence, read The M-dot Revolution is here. Has Your Law Firm Marketing Joined It?

Free "Ultimate Law Firm Marketing Makeover" Webinar

Margaret Boudreau, marketing makeover, lexisnexis, website, law firm marketing, legal marketingJoin us as we check in with the $50,000 marketing makeover contest winner, Case, Rajnoha and Boudreau in St. Louis to examine their new site and learn about developing an effective online legal marketing presence.

LexisNexis will host the free “ultimate law firm marketing makeover” webinar Tuesday June 23rd from 12:00pm – 1:00pm EST, featuring a discussion of best practices for online legal marketing and mid-year progress report on the firm. The three-lawyer firm won the contest in January and work has proceeded behind the scenes since then.

I was one of the judges who picked the winner and will give you my online marketing perspective during the webinar.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Online marketing versus print
  • Could you use an online marketing makeover?
  • What does a good online marketing plan look like?
  • How did LexisNexis incorporate best practices into Case, Rajnoha, and Boudreau LLP’s marketing makeover?
  • Challenges and successes in online marketing

If you are interested in attending this free webinar, please register here.. .

Web experts working with Case, Rajnoha and Boudreau, LLP will review progress made to the new site as they implement a customized online marketing program for the contest winner. Margaret Boudreau, a partner from the winning law firm, will also offer perspective on her firm’s marketing progress since winning the makeover.

The $50,000 makeover grand prize delivered a suite of services ranging from web design, video production, search engine optimization (SEO), development of a robust profile on Lawyers.com, martindale.com and more.

Free Internet Marketing Webinar in Philadelphia

Generate new business with the internet, free marketing programJoin me in Philadelphia this Wednesday, June 15 where I'll present a free law firm marketing program, "Generate new Business with the Web & Social Media."

Scores of attorneys have already seen this program in Chicago and San Francisco.  In Philadelphia we'll be at the Pyramid Club at 1735 Market Street starting at Noon. A luncheon will be served and space is limited, so register today.

Robyn RaybouldAttendees have been most interested on which of the social media is the most effective: Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube. Each is effective in its own way, depending on the kind of clients and legal work you want. I'll go into detail about this question at the program.

I'll also cover how clients search for lawyers, how to be found online and how make your website generate new clients.

Joining me will be blogging expert Robyn Raybould Schmidt, Director of Product Management at LexisNexis. She'll explain how blogging produces leads at the lowest cost, where to get ideas for your blog and even how to use Twitter. You've probably heard her speak on a webinar, because she knows what she's talking about.

According to Robyn, when in-house counsel were asked where they turn for business-related news and information, 43% cited blogs and 26 percent cited social media Web sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) among their top “go-to” sources.

Catch our presentation at www.lexisnexis.com/larrybodineseminar


LinkedIn Seen as Most Important Social Network

The highest percentage of online consumers think having a LinkedIn account is important, according to an April 2011 study from ROI Research and Performics. Data from “S-Net: A Study in Social Media Usage and Behavior” indicates 59% of online consumers rate having a LinkedIn account 4 or 5 on a five-point importance scale, compared to 53% giving this level of importance to having a Facebook account.


linkedin, social media, internet marketing, law firm marketing, legal marketingTwitter and YouTube also beat Facebook.Twitter (58%) and YouTube (55%) also had a higher percentage of online consumers ranking them as important.

In 2010, only 41% of online consumers gave LinkedIn a four- or five-point importance rating, meaning. Twitter has grown from 40% to 58%.

Meanwhile, the percentage of consumers rating Facebook as important dropped from 56% to 53%.

When it comes to engagement, Facebook is the unquestioned leader. 97% of online consumers visit Facebook at least weekly and 70% visit at least daily. These figures are close to double those of LinkedIn in terms of weekly visitation (50%) 3.5 times higher in terms of daily visitation (20%).

In 2010, 67% of online consumers visited LinkedIn at least weekly, a figure that dropped 25%. Daily visits dropped 10%, from 22% to 20%.

Facebook continued its momentum as it amassed millions of new users and people spent more time on the site during 2010, according to a February 2011 white paper from comScore. “The 2010 US Digital Year in Review” indicates that Facebook accounted for 10% of US page views in 2010, while three out of every 10 US Internet sessions included a visit to the site.

Law Firm Marketing Takeaways

  • If you are a lawyer, you need to create a LinkedIn profile immediately. Stop reading this and do it now. 1,475,000 lawyers have a Linkedin Profile.
  • Twitter is becoming surprisingly important. I recommend that lawyers hire somebody to manage their Tweets and use it to monitor what's being said about their law firm and its clients.
  • It can't hurt to have a Facebook business page (note: people have profiles, businesses have pages.) People love to visit Facebook and if you offer useful information, you can make that visit important to them.

Getting Business From a Client Who is Already Using a Competitor

Darry Cross, lexisnexis, law firm marketing, legal marketing, sales pitchDarryl Cross, VP of Vice Client Profitability for LexisNexis, has an excellent post on his Rainmaker Fitness Blog called "Fire them. Hire me."

He adroitly mixes fitness with rainmaking in a scenario that fits most "pitches/beauty contests/dog and pony shows/etc." Here's a snippet:

You must differentiate yourself to a point where they don’t want to just hire you. They want to fire their current provider (in a nice way, I am sure). When trying to unseat or take a share away from the incumbent, you have a few choices:

  1. Say we are great and wait for the incumbent to fumble one day

  2. Do the same work and charge discount prices (at little profit) to buy their business

  3. Offer a new approach or new services that makes them think they are doing something NEW

Ideas? OK, here are a few:

  • Cross sell in advance. Don’t sell mergers & acquisition services without employment, real estate and IP protection bundled in. When these issues are ignored in favor of “doing the deal,” mergers always seem to disappoint.

  • Follow the client. Is the client going somewhere new? Expanding in China? New Jersey? Go there for the first time with them. By the way, you need to know this BEFORE their current firm does, so do your research and go ask them questions. Often.

  • Alternative Fee Arrangements. What would happen if you walked in and proposed a flat fee for all their services? You would need to investigate and control your costs, but so does every business. Can you offer transparency and predictability in addition to your services?

It may very noble to perform the charge down the “we are great and will charge less” hill like a scene out of Braveheart and take the enemy head on. It is just not very smart.

Figure out a new approach that makes it easier for them to have that difficult conversation with their present provider instead of you.

OK. Now give me 30 push-ups and 10 pull-ups.


QR codes can add websites, bios, PowerPoints to your business cards

QR code, law firm marketing, legal marketing, lawmarketingFrom my article in Law Technology News:

A lawyer hands her business card to a potential client at an industry conference. The prospective client, the CEO of a technology company, notices a square block of code on the back of her card. Impressed, he pulls out his smart phone and taps an app to take a picture of the code. The screen reveals all the information on the business card plus a detailed bio.

He'll be calling soon with an assignment for the lawyer.

The hottest trend in law firm marketing technology is Quick Response (QR) codes — digital records that can contain entire web pages, v-cards and marketing information. QR codes are a bridge from something on paper to digital information about lawyers and their services...

Click to read the entire article, Be Square.

San Francisco Does Lawyers a Favor and Bans Yellow Pages Distribution

yellow pages dumpters, law firm marketing, legal marketing, lawmarketing"Mass over-distribution of Yellow Pages has degraded our environment and blighted our neighborhoods," said San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, the lead sponsor of a law banning the unsolicited distribution of Yellow Pages.

For years I've been annoyed with the dumping of various yellow pages on my lawn, like so much trash. The delivery people don't even both to hang it on my door knob.  I use Google instead as does the rest of the world, and I use the yellow pages only for seat cushions and door stops.

For years I've advised lawyers not to advertise in the money-wasting yellow pages. I think the San Francisco mayor and the Board did lawyers a favor, by demonstrating that the yellow pages are considered to be composting matter. Under the law, which won't go into effect for a year, companies cannot leave the directories at the front doors of residences and businesses without prior permission.

Overall U.S. yellow pages revenue declined 11.8% in 2010.  The industry’s revenue slide continued in 2010 as the transition from print to digital products continued, according to Simba Information. This marks another year of continuous, multiyear double-digit losses in revenue from the major publishers.

National yellow pages spending is projected to decline an additional 12% to $1.47 billion in 2011. Simba believes that the current environmental challenges are a “ticking time bomb” threatening the industry with increased government-imposed controls and “do not deliver” lists scattered around the 50 states.

As I wrote in 2007:

Cancel that #*$%! expensive yellow pages ad.  This was the clear advice I gave to attendees at our conference "Developing Your Personal Marketing Plan" in Chicago.  I repeated the advice at the Chicago Bar Association technology conference.  You now have permission to save yourself a small fortune.

Fewer people are reading the Yellow Pages every day. It's last century's marketing. Instead, they are using the Web to find attorneys. Take the money you save and plow it into your online presence.  People now use Google to look up phone numbers, addresses and law firms.

Ask yourself -- when was the last time you personally opened that thick, hard-to-read yellow directory?  It's been a long time, hasn't it? There are multiple yellow page directories anyway -- which one did you use?

By advertising in the yellow pages, you are doing what thousands of other lawyers are doing.  You are simply making yourself more like the competition, not distinguishing yourself. There's no way to break from the clutter -- there are hundreds of lawyer yellow page listings.

Besides, most yellow pages ads are written by their salesmen.  That's why they all look the same. Save your budget while you still can. Get out now.

Winning Legal Business from Mid-Cap Companies

Silvia Hodges, law firm marketing, legal marketing, lawmarketingDid you know that advertising, unsolicited newsletters and the legal press are irrelevant in getting legal work from a medium sized business? 

However, there are several sure-fire ways to reach decision-makers at these companies, and we'll discuss them during our Webinar next Thursday June 9, "Winning Legal Business from Mid-Cap Companies."


Our featured guest is Silvia Hodges, Ph.D. Professor of Marketing and Management at Fordham Law School. She spent 4 years studying how mid-sized companies find and select law firms and just published a book on the topic: Winning legal Business from Medium-Sized Companies.

In the webinar, I will interview her on how to communicate, market and sell to these excellent, paying clients. 

But medium-sized companies are different -- they don't have an internal legal department and typically lack legal expertise. They don't issue RFPs and will consider one or two law firms before making a choice. Often the CEO or the HR director will search for and choose the company law firm - not the purchasing or procurement department.

Among the topics Dr. Hodges will cover are:

  • The unique two-stage process that mid-size companies use to find a law firm and then select a lawyer.
  • Why many standard types of marketing - like branding and advertising - are a waste of money to reach mid-size companies.
  • The communications, marketing and selling techniques that are proven to work to reach the CEO or company executive who makes the hiring decision. A tip: they don't have to justify their decision so being a brand-name firm doesn't matter.
  • How to position yourself as a lawyer so that mid-cap companies will find you.
  • How modern Internet applications like blogs, Facebook and Twitter have become important. 85% of executives consider law firm websites important sources of information in their search for lawyers.

winning new business, law firm marketing, webinar, legal marketing, Register Now

Please see the description of Winning Legal Business from Mid-Cap Companies to find out more.
MORE INFO: Program Director Laura Kresich; (Tel) (773) 966-9273 or Lkresich@LawMarketing.com
WEBSITE: http://bit.ly/ilfrRh

Facebook "Likes" Important to Increase Traffic to Your Website

The number of Facebook "Likes" pointing to your website can boost its rankings in search engines. When a person clicks on the familiar thumbs-up Like button, it posts an update on their Facebook page and creates an inbound link to your website. Inbound links will increase your search engine rankings.

Now that Facebook has 500 million users, including half of the US population, it has become a force to be reckoned with. Even though Facebook is a source of consumer clients -- not business clients -- the Facebook Like is now an important factor in search engine optimization.

While you're reading this, please click on the Like button below.


A Facebook Like works as a “vote” for a page. Facebook itself uses the number of Likes on a Facebook page to measure both page popularity and relevancy to each separate user. The more people Like your Page, the more links there are pointing from public profiles to it -- and thus the more ways search engines have to crawl it, according to Ann Smarty, who blogs on search marketing and social media.

Hubspot predicts that Likes will be as important as inbound links for SEO purposes. "In 2011 the Facebook Like button has become indispensable for promoting web content," says Mark Spangler, Director of Client Services at Stuzo | Dachis Group."Likes also allow third-party publishers to
send future updates to those who have Liked their content. This gives content owners the opportunity to increase engagement levels, targeted referrals and recurring traffic. 

Law Firm Marketing Takeaway

Get the HTML code to plug a Like button into your website or blog post. Simply visit developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like where Facebook maintains an easy to use tool to create the necessary HTML to be pasted into the Web page.

This is a one-by-one solution. If you want to automate it, you'll have to call in your IT department and have them read http://developers.facebook.com/docs/opengraph to add Open Graph protocol <meta> tags to your website.