King & Spalding Named as Firm with Best Law Firm Marketing Program

Kimberly Alford Rice, marketing the law firm, king & spalding, law firm marketing, legal marketing.The best law firm marketing program can be found at 800-lawyer King & Spalding, according to the new issue of the Marketing the Firm newsletter.

"Never before in the history of legal marketing have we seen such a powerful convergence of strategic marketing principles and today’s mind-blowing advancing technology. Social media, still in its infancy for most businesses (and definitely law firms), is coming into its own as a necessary component in the marketing mix. Blogging, tweeting, "linking in," and Facebooking have made their way into the law firm arena with a major blast," says an article by Kimberly Alford Rice, Wendy Stavinoha and Steven Salkin.

King & Spalding was named No. 1 in the seventh annual MLF 50 competition among law firms in marketing and business development. With the leadership of CMO Katherine D'Urso, King & Spalding has created:

  • A secure client extranet with 400 users averaging 5,000 unique log-ins per month and housing more than 1.25 terabytes of data.
  • Web-friendly URLs to optimize web pages for search engines. After a site optimization, organic search results jumped by 60%.
  • Firm events that are searchable by practice and industry, with relevant lawyer contacts. Clicking an icon adds the event to your calendar.
  • Free e-Learning webinars for clients, covering hot topics and offering CLE credit in many jurisdictions.
  • A mobile intranet accessible by BlackBerry, Android, iPad and iPhone devices.
  • QR codes in marketing materials.

Other law firms with top-listed marketing programs include:

  • McGuire Woods
  • Goulston & Storrs
  • K&L Gates
  • Goodwin Proctor

US Law Firms Earned $7 Billion from Alternative Fee Arrangements

One of the elements demonstrating that the legal profession has changed permanently in the last five years is that the 100 top-grossing US law firms earned approximately $7 billion from alternative fee arrangements (AFAs), according to a new white paper “The Evolution of the Legal Profession.”

Written by Ari Kaplan, Principal of Ari Kaplan Advisors, the paper is based on interviews with 30 lawyers, in-house counsel, law professors and other legal experts. “By relying more heavily on alternative billing arrangements than we ever have before, we were able to bring in a lot more work,” said Crowell & Moring’s chairman, Kent Gardiner. Arent Fox, Akin Gump and Skadden Arps also derived income from unconventional billing.

According to Fulbright’s 2011 Litigation Trends Survey Report, 52% of US companies are using AFAs. Companies with bigger gross revenues use them to a greater extent. Lower costs are the overwhelming reason for using AFAs, followed by their predictability.

Company use alternative fees, afas, law firm marketing, legal marketing

Law firms and corporations are still not focusing enough attention on creating efficiencies in internal processes, according to Beth Anisman, a consultant with B&Co. and former Global Chief Administrative Officer for Legal of Lehman Brothers.

Some efficiencies, such as software that reviews e-discovery, have actually eliminated the need for thousands of junior associates, who have been laid off.

To maximize their value, lawyers need to focus on prior work produce and experience as opposed to solely billing hours, according to Jeffrey W. Carr, General Counsel of FMC Technologies.

There’s no looking back, according to the report. 74% of the respondents agreed that the changes will be permanent.

 

Levenfeld Pearlstein Displays Videos in Lawyer Bios

levenfeld pearlstein, video biography, law firm marketing, legal marketingWhen you visit the home page Chicago law firm Levenfeld Pearlstein, you're in for a treat. The firm has been a trailblazer in law firm marketing for years. Personalizing the attorney-client experience has been taken to a whole new level at the 60-lawyer corporate, litigation and real estate firm.

It appears to be the first law firm to develop attorney website profiles that incorporate video vignettes of lawyers speaking forthrightly about their practices and personal viewpoints.

“By having our attorneys speak candidly about their approaches to practicing law and their personal philosophies and passions, we are able to share this experience with a wider audience and give website visitors a better idea of who we are,” said Bryan Schwartz, the firm’s chairman. “As a firm, we don’t shy away from showing a more human side and in fact, we welcome the opportunity to do so.”

Andrea Crews, the firm’s director of marketing and business development, added, “The short, unscripted clips showcase our attorneys discussing their proudest moment as an attorney, what sets them apart from other lawyers, how they collaborate with their clients, what they would do if they weren’t practicing law, and their hobbies. We feel the videos are a very accurate representation of who they are and by extension, who we are as a firm.”

Visit here to see the full series of attorney video clips. Using video in law firm marketing to generate new business is a very effective business development technique.

Take the Lexis/Vizibility Survey on Social Media and Legal Marketing

  Martindale-Hubble and Lawyers.com Join with  Vizibility Partners to Conduct  Survey on Social Media and Legal MarketingLawyers.com and Martindale-Hubbell today are teaming up with Vizibility Inc., an online identity management company, to jointly conduct a survey on the use of social media tools in legal marketing.

The new study targets the membership of the Legal Marketing Association, attorneys and marketing professionals at law firms nationwide. The purpose is to reveal the extent to which legal marketers currently use social media to build their brands online and attract new clients. It will also explore:

  • Participants’ future plans to incorporate social media elements into their marketing campaigns
  • The types of tools they plan to use
  • How they measure campaign effectiveness
  • Social media policies

To encourage widespread participation among busy professionals, the survey is brief – fewer than 10 questions – and takes only a few moments to complete.

Social media are important elements in legal business development and law firm marketing initiatives,” said Larry Bodine, (http://vizibility.com/larrybodine) Editor-in-Chief of Lawyers.com and Martindale.com. “We’re looking forward to assisting attorneys and law firm marketers in improving their results by applying the lessons learned from this survey.”

 The survey is open now and will close on November 18th. Survey participants who provide their contact information will be offered a first look at the findings. Vizibility plans to follow up with a webinar to review the results and recommend best practices to maximize social media impact. The survey can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NG88ZGL.

“We know the use of social media marketing by lawyers is growing, but there’s not much information available on the specific tools attorneys use, what they hope to gain and how they measure ROI,” said Vizibility founder and Chief Executive Officer James Alexander (http://vizibility.com/james). “We hope this survey sheds additional light on a phenomenon that is mostly understood anecdotally today.”

About LexisNexis®

Lawyers.com, a LexisNexis® service at www.lawyers.com, is the leading legal destination on the Web, receiving 2.5 million visitors per month. It provides consumers and small business professionals the information they need to learn about specific legal issues, understand their legal options, and find the right lawyer for their needs. Martindale.com provides a free database of more than one million attorneys and law firms nationwide and helps site visitors make a fast, informed decision when researching legal matters and choosing a lawyer. Get the latest legal news for consumers at www.lawyers.com/our-blog.

About Vizibility Inc.

Vizibility Inc. (www.vizibility.com) delivers the world's first online identity management platform for individuals and professional services firms. The Vizibility platform is being integrated into websites and businesses where it enables their users to curate, organize and share individual online identities via SearchMeTM buttons, links and QR codes. U.S. Patents 7,831,609 and 7,987,173. Other patents pending. Find us in Google at http://vizibility.com/news.

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Ten Top Tips for Law Firm Marketing Blogs

Russ Lawson, Sands Anderson, blogging tips, law firm Marketing, Legal marketingMy friend Russell Lawson, the brilliant Marketing Director of Sands Anderson in North Carolina and Virginia, has developed an excellent list of tips for his firm's lawyer-bloggers. He is generous enough to share them with the readers of the LawMarketing Blog:

  1. Post on a regular schedule. Consistent posting is what drives readers to return to blogs. Blogs should not go dormant for more than two weeks at a time. Posting first thing in the morning is a good general rule of thumb. Authors should avoid posting on historically low traffic days like Mondays, Fridays, weekends and holidays.

     

  2. Pay special attention to writing headlines. Headlines can be catchy but must be clear. They should grab the reader's attention in ten words or less. Use active verbs, and include keywords in the title of the post and the first paragraph of the post.

     

  3. Grab readers' attention immeditaely. The first paragraph of every post should be your strongest paragraph. Keep blog posts at 800 words or less.

     

  4. Invite guests to post. This a great way to freshen content and drive new readers to your blog.

     

  5. Show some personality. Let your personality and interests come through in your writing. People are drawn to the personality behind the blog.

     

  6. Consider writing short question-and-answer topical posts. These could cover a common question the author is hearing from clients and what the general answer is (with a disclaimer that one should seek counsel on all legal matters).

     

  7. Write "tips" and "lists" posts. Numbered articles historically drive traffic. List posts also work very well when you ask your readers to add to the list in the comments (and you purposefully leave the list incomplete).

     

  8. Link to other blogs sharing interesting content. If you read an article that is particularly thought-provoking, write a response to the article and detail your opinion. Link to the original article. Authors will likely repay the favor.

     

  9. Consider blogging live at conferences or relevant industry events. This is a great way to gain new readership.

     

  10. Ask questions. At the end of a post, elicit more comments by asking a direct question, i.e., "Do you agree?" or asking open-ended questions, such as, "Have you experienced this before and what happened?"

Secrets of Blogging Superstars

  1. Respond to comments within 24 hours. That way, you are showing your readers that you value their feedback and encourage dialogue.

     

  2. Encourage colleagues and friends to comment. If readers come to the blog and see that there are already a few comments, they will get the sense that there is a dialogue/ conversation going on and will be more inclined to take part.

     

  3. Regularly comment on blogs and forums in your niche. Be sure that you provide thoughtful (non-promotional) comments, not just, "Great post" or something similar.

     

  4. Thank those who link to you. Once you realize that your blog has been mentioned in another article, immediately find the mention and comment to thank them for linking to your blog. If possible, reciprocate by linking to some of their content in a future post.

     

  5. Develop a blog roll. All blogs should include a blog roll (that is regularly updated) where the author links to blogs in their same niche. This helps encourage cross-linking.

     

  6. Share the link love. Link to other bloggers' information in your blog posts and use "hat tips" or quotes to attribute accurately.
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Connect a Lawyer's Activity on Social Media to their Pay Raises

Jay Pinkert, marketing consultant, law firm marketing, Legal marketingMarketers know it's a struggle to get lawyers to becoming active on social media, even though it's for their own good. Now comes the Shatterbox blog which suggests that law firms should tie pay raises for lawyers to their activity on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and blogs.

"Having tried a voluntary approach to participation in the firm’s marketing and business development activities, one of my clients recently instituted some mandatory measures. In addition to weekly one-hour professional development meetings, firm management requires associates to log at least 72 hours of business development activities per year, which is tracked through a billing code in its ProLaw system. Research and writing time for blogs and articles count, as do networking coffees and lunches. Results will be discussed in annual reviews and factor into merit increases and bonuses," writes marketing and communications consultant Jay Pinkert of Austin, TX.

Money Motivates

  • Spiffs - Practically everyone who’s held a sales job is familiar with “spiffs” — spot awards for selling particular items. If you’re having trouble getting people to submit blog posts or newsletter articles, try periodically offering $5 Starbucks or iTunes gift cards for the next submission. You’ll be surprised at how motivating a free spiced pumpkin latte or smartphone game download can be.
  • Pay per submission – I worked with one firm that gave away $50 spot bonuses for every accepted staff blog post submission. Even the partners were eligible, and the managing partner took pride in his second income. So for only $7,800 per year — 3 posts a week, 52 weeks a year — the firm had a strong pipeline and frequency of posts.
  • Executive face time – Lunch with the managing partner is a pearl of great price. See how many JD Supra submissions you can generate by offering associates that incentive (and they’ll have something to talk about during the meal).
  • Time off – Offering extra personal days as an incentive for extraordinary contributions to your content marketing could be the most motivating compensation of all.

You can follow Jay on Twitter using the handle @FollowtheLawyer.

Personalized Lawyer Cartoons - A Perfect Gift

Top Dawg, lawyer cartoonsWith the holidays upon us, what gift do you get for your favorite law grad, partner or associate?  To bring a smile to their faces give them a funny drawing featuring the lawyer's name at www.yournameherecartoons.com.  Lawyer Laughs lets you choose the person’s name (or law firm name) to be inserted into the cartoon caption.

Every personalized cartoon is reproduced with an archival process called giclée printing, which is French for "spraying of ink." This creates precise coloring and razor-sharp detailing, and has become the benchmark for fine art reproduction. The combination of HP Premium Photo Plus paper and HP Vivera dye-based inks produce exceptionally fade resistant, consistent vibrant color images, rivaling traditional photo processing of up to 100 years. Every cartoon is personally signed by the artist, Richard Stergulz.

Other cartoons include giant cats, jurors being like Olympic judges holding up "10" cards for a superb closing argument, and faces on Mt. Rushmore. The cost is $75 per drawing.

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What Law Firms Can Learn from Organized Crime

tom matte, law firm marketing, legal marketing, organized crimeI found this great blog post by Tom Matte, which is excerpted below. To see the entire post please visit The Matte Pad blog.

"I recently read an article entitled “What Business Can Learn from Organized Crime” by Marc Goodman in the Harvard Business Review that I loved so much.

Use the news to create opportunity. Crooks are not all stupid, and many are quick to jump on the latest news or trend to set up a scam. But the lesson here is watch the headlines, move quickly, and try to get out in front of developing trends. If you see a way to take the latest news trend and turn it into a blog post, do it. Has a new law passed that will affect your clients in a positive or negative way? Be the first to tell them about it and how they should respond.

Outsource to specialists. Crime rings are quite adept at finding and outsourcing tasks to specialists rather than trying to handle everything in-house. In fact, according to the article, “they are constantly networking to develop sources with the specialized skills they need.” The lesson here is don’t limit yourself by over-reliance on in-house talent. Cultivate e-lancers and other contractors who can provide the precise skills your project demands.

Cash isn’t the only incentive. For those of us who really enjoy what we do, a paycheck isn’t our only incentive. The same is true for the criminal element. While there are still thugs and “enforcers” out there, much of the criminal activity today is white collar and perpetrated by hackers who get a thrill from foiling complicated systems. The lesson: Socially-oriented businesses aren’t the only ones that can use workers’ desire for meaning as a motivating force. Find a way to tap into employees’ needs for recognition, challenge and belonging.

Exploit the long tail. While in the past criminals were looking for one big hit, say a bank robbery, they have learned that they can make a lot more in the long run by stealing small amounts from multiple sources over a longer period of time. The lesson of this is that a business model that aims for many small transactions instead of a single big hit can result in larger long-term profits and provide numerous opportunities to improve efficiency along the way.

Collaborate across borders. Former sworn enemy criminal organizations have started teaming up. They have discovered what many businesses and law firms have yet to figure out – by collaborating you can often deliver a better service and reach a broader market. The lesson from this article here is don’t look at competitors simply as rivals. Consider the mutual benefits of partnerships."

As CEO of Max Advertising, Tom focuses his endless enthusiasm on crafting creative and lasting marketing and advertising that differentiates his law firm clients,

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Half of Twitter's 100 million Active Users Login Every Day

Dick Costolo, twitter, law firm marketing, legal marketingTwitter CEO Dick Costolo said that it has more than 100 million active users and that more than 50% login every day.

The company transmits nearly 250 million tweets a day, which is up from 100 million tweets per day in January 2011. A day’s worth of tweets would be enough to write a 10-million-page book or 8,163 copies of War and Peace. Every second, 2,400 tweets are sent through Twitter’s servers, enough for 1.4 billion tweets per week.

Costolo shared these stats during an interview at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

The company’s growth amounts to about 40% quarter on quarter. But perhaps the most interesting stat is the impact of iOS 5 on Twitter. Apple’s mobile OS directly integrates Twitter, and that has resulted in a boost for the company. Costolo revealed that Twitter signups via iOS 5 devices have tripled since the launch of that iOS update.

 

Twitter Facts and Figures

  1. Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched in July of that year.
  2. Twitter’s origins lie in a “day long brainstorming session” that was held by board members of the podcasting company Odeo. While sitting in a park on a children’s slide and eating Mexican food, Dorsey introduced the idea of an individual using an SMS service to communicate with a small group.
  3. The team finally settled on the name ‘twitter‘, which means ‘chirps from birds’ in essence ‘a short burst of inconsequential information’
  4. The tipping point for Twitter’s popularity was the 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. During the event, Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000.
  5. 60% of all tweets come from third-party apps
  6. There are over 100,000 Twitter applications
  7. A Forrester report revealed  that “Twitterers are the connected of the connected, overindexing at all Social Media habits.  For example, Twitterers are three times more likely to be Creators (people who create and share content via blog posts and YouTube) as the general US population” (source Forrester report “Who Flocks to Twitter”)
  8. When Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009 there were 456 tweets per second (TPS)…a record at that time.
  9. The current TPS record is 6,939 tweets per second set 4 seconds after midnight in Japan on New Year’s Day
  10. The first unassisted off-Earth Twitter message was posted from the International Space Station by NASA astronaut T. J. Creamer on January 22, 2010
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Lawyer Disciplined for Blogging About Client Cases Without Permission

Horace Hunter, law firm marketing, blog, blogger, ethics violation, legal marketingA disciplinary committee of the Virginia State Bar on Tuesday ruled that a Richmond, VA, lawyer violated a rule requiring a lawyer to get a client's permission before blogging about their  legal cases.

The committee said that Horace Frazier Hunter violated rules by disclosing detrimental or embarrassing information about clients without their consent. He received a public admonition and was told take corrective action within 30 days.

"Although I adamantly disagree with the panel's decision, I do respect it," said Hunter at the conclusion of the nine-hour hearing. The public admonition was the lowest sanction he could have received.

He said later that he will appeal and that in the meantime he will likely comply with the 30-day order to remove offending information from his blog and post a disclaimer.

But on Tuesday, Renu Brennan, assistant bar counsel, told the eight-member committee that "the First Amendment has no bearing on this violation. … It doesn't impact journalists, it doesn't impact bloggers, it doesn't impact the general public."

"The bar does not seek to ban his speech," she said. It simply wants a disclaimer putting the blog information in proper perspective. The intent, she said, is to protect the public from deception.

Brennan said his disclosure of information about his clients on his website and the ensuing bar's disciplinary proceedings is not analogous to censorship of the press covering criminal trials.

Can newspapers report on criminal trials? she asked. "Yes, absolutely, they can. Can (Hunter) then go back and report on his own cases? No, he cannot — absolutely not. Not without his client's consent."

"It doesn't matter if the information (he) reports is already in the public domain," said Brennan.

Hunter's lawyer, Michael L. Rigsby, argued for dismissal for exceptional circumstances: "He's passionate. He's bright. He's enthusiastic. … He had a good-faith belief that what he was doing was right."

Hunter testified Tuesday that he did not want to publish the disclaimer because "it's not what I want to say. It cheapens the speech when I have to put in front of it, 'Oh, by the way, this is for advertising.'"

Hunter conceded on cross-examination that one purpose of the blog was marketing and that he had not sought the consent of his clients before posting information about the cases — cases he had won, not lost.

Brennan presented evidence that at least two people represented by Brennan said they did not want their cases posted on his blog after learning they were there.

2011Trends Survey: Less Litigation but More Regulation

fulbright jaworski, litigation trends, law firm marketing, legal marketingBusinesses in the United States initiated and faced slightly less litigation in 2011 than in 2010. But regulatory actions and internal investigations are climbing, according to the 2011 Fulbright Litigation Trends Survey

As the financial crisis began to reach its fever pitch in 2008, litigation spending climbed with it: in-house lawyers reported a median spend the following year that reached $1.6 million at U.S. companies. In 2010, spending fell to a median of $1 million in the U.S. However, spending has risen this year, with U.S. companies reporting a median spend of $1.4 million.

E-discovery tops the budget list, with nearly one-fifth of all respondents—and one-quarter of large-caps—expecting budget increases in that area. While respondents, as they have in years past, are planning for budget increases in labor and employment, contracts, and regulatory litigation, a new area of budget increases surfaced in this year's report: intellectual property, specifically patents. While 16% of U.S. respondents are increasing intellectual property budgets, the retail and technology sectors are particularly prone to do so—38% of retail and 30% of tech respondents expect to budget more for intellectual property in the year ahead.

Corporate counsel want to keep costs low, but they also want to keep them predictable. Last year, the percentage of respondents who reported using alternative fee arrangements for at least some of their work reached a majority—51%. This year, the number jumped again, to 62%. The trend is expected to continue: 44% of respondents this year predict a rise in alternative fee arrangements during the next 12 months compared to 37% of respondents last year who predicted an increase.

Looking ahead, 91% of all respondents expect the number of internal investigations involving their companies to increase or stay the same, while 90% of those surveyed expect the number of regulatory proceedings their companies face will increase or remain the same.  

For more than one-quarter of all respondents, regulatory concerns are high on the radar when it comes to legal disputes. That is especially the case for large-caps, one-third of which cite them as a main concern versus only one-fifth of small-caps. 

Whistleblowers remain a concern going into 2012, with one-quarter of respondents anticipating an increase in the number of claims or lawsuits brought by whistleblowers within their industries in the coming year. 

More respondents this year answered "yes" when asked whether their organizations have been more likely to be the subject of a whistleblower allegation in the past three years. Overall, 22% of respondents compared to 19% last year said their organizations were subjected to a whistleblower allegation.

You can download a copy of the report here. The survey is based on responses from 405 in-house counsel in the US and UK.

Virginia Ethics Police Hassle Blogger with Advertising Charge

Horace Hunter, Virginia State Bar, ethics, blog, law firm marketingLawyer Horace Hunter, who blogs about cases he’s worked on at Richmond Criminal Defense News, has been charged with misconduct by the Virginia State Bar. His crime? He is blogging to get new business.

The case is scheduled for a hearing today. This is the stupidest waste of time by a legal organization that I've seen in a long time. The Virginia State Bar has been taken over by troglodytes, Luddites or the Amish -- it's hard to tell. This incident makes it painfully clear that the Bar should stay out of areas where it has no knowledge, such as the Internet.

You have to love Hunter, a criminal defense lawyer in Richmond. According to the charge, the Bar demanded Hunter run a disclaimer "to ensure that Respondent's discussion of the case results on his website does not mislead the public." Hunter responded, "This Week in Richmond Criminal Defense is not an advertisement, it is a blog."

That gave the Bar a hissy fit, and they threw the ethics rulebook against him, citing Rules 1.6, 7.1, 7.2 and 7.5. Renu Mago Brennan, Assistant Bar Counsel, signed the charge. I hereby award her the Poindexter Pointy-Headed Cassandra Trophy of the Year. It appears the Bar has no serious matters to pursue, and has time on its hands to hassle bloggers.

LexBlog’s Kevin O’Keefe says that new reports about the ethics case, not the actions of the State Bar, that could have a chilling effect on lawyer-bloggers who do a service to the profession by making the law more accessible to consumers and businesspeople.

“There there is no record of disciplinary action against Virginia attorneys regarding blogging dating back to 1999,” O’Keefe wrote in a separate Real Lawyers Have Blogs post. “Not a big risk here with lawyers who blog.”

Three Common LinkedIn Mistakes in Law Firm Marketing

Kristsin Jaramillo, LinkedIn, law firm marketing, legal marketingI found a great post titled "Does Your LinkedIn Profile Summary Stink Like a Pair of Old Gym Socks?" by LinkedIn marketing expert Kristina Jaramillo. Here's an excerpt:

"To see if your LinkedIn profile summary stinks – answer the questions below honestly!

  • How much time did you spend creating your LinkedIn profile including your LinkedIn summary? Now, let’s put this into perspective – it takes our team 7 to 10 hours to do a LinkedIn profile makeover- and we’re experts.
  • Did you fill your LinkedIn profile (including the summary) with fluff and put it together real fast without adding real substance to it – then leave your profile alone so it does nothing for you but rot away and stink like a pair of old gym socks left in your locker when you were back in high school?

Are you beginning to smell that stench? Don’t get that Febreze out yet – the stink is about to get worse as here are 3 more reasons why Your LinkedIn Profile Summary Stinks.

Reason #1 - Your summary is too short.

Reason #2 - Your summary is all about you and not what you can do for your clients.

LinkedIn Profile Mistake #3 – Failing to funnel your prospects to different areas of your website.

For the details, read on.

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You Need a Core Story for Successful Legal Marketing

Alex Nottingham, PILMMA, law firm marketing, legal marketingTo win new clients and build your clientele, you need a "core story," according to Alex Nottingham, a business consultant, executive coach, lawyer and author. He spoke at the PILMMA national marketing summit in Las Vegas today.

The three most dangerous trends facing personal injury lawyers.

Marketplace Clutter: in 1992 consumers received an average of 3,000 commercial messages per day. Today it's 30,000. Therefore, differentiation is a must.

Competition: 18% of attorneys are in plaintiff personal injury practices - some 240,000 lawyers -- and it's a $51 billion industry.  Media choices have skyrocketed: in the 1960s people watched on three networks but today viewers can choose from hundreds of channels. In 2004, lawyers spent $250 million on TV advertising. In 2008 it jumped to $500 million. It will soon be $1 billion, according to Nottingham.

Consolidation: 89% of law firms have fewer than 20 employees. Smaller firms are terminating employees to reduce their cost costs. With fewer hands on deck, law firms need to find a new form of marketing that involves a systematic approach.

Four Reasons why clients don't hire you.

  1. Clients don't have access to you. They can't find you on the web, their friends haven't heard of you and they haven't seen your marketing.
  2. They need to be educated about you. Potential clients are scared and need information to before making a buying decision.
  3. Negative buying criteria. Clients have a negative perception as plaintiff PI lawyers as ambulance chasers. The more lawyers can educate potential clients about the results you bring them, the more confidence they have in you.
  4. Clients don't see you as special. They see you the same as any other lawyer.

Nottingham said lawyers need a core story, which an education-based marketing system designed to systemically accelerate business growth. You will attract more buyers if you teach them something. Only about 3% of your audience is ready to buy now, and you're competing for them against the entire phone book.

A core builds trust and includes:

A stadium pitch to capture their attention. Imagine you could make a presentation in a stadium filled with every potential client you could have. "What would you say to grab people's attention and make them hire you? The typical person's attention span is only 8 seconds," he said. A bad pitch would be, "Let us tell you about how our law firm has been around for 30 years." This is self-focused and 90% of listeners will walk out. A good pitch would be, "Here are the four tricks creditors use to keep you in debt."

Wow data. Include a gripping statistic about a client problem in your story. Problems are 5 times more persuasive than pleasure, according to Nottingham. For example, the headline for your core story can be "54 million Americas are unable to work from a disability that changed their lives" or "The average person will get into 6 car accidents in their lifetime." Present the data on your website and in your ads. Get the data from the US Census Bureau, and CNN.com.

Solutions. Give them a way to solve their problem -- something practical they can put to use right away. For example, give potential clients an accident notebook to put in their car's glove box. Advise them to see a doctor even though you don't feel hurt.

Differentiation. Talk about how you are different -- for example, that you have a client hotline or that you return phone calls the same day. Set forth a case study that shows how you took a person from a terrible situation and improved their lives.

Then lawyers should deploy their core story, using newsletters, referrals, radio, TV, partnerships and the Internet. "By putting a client's pain points on your web site, you can overcome the reasons that potential clients don't buy," he said.

 

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Six Secrets of Law Firm Advertising and Marketing

Eric Rogell, law firm marketing, legal marketingEric Rogell, a marketing, social media and sales consultant, offered six secrets for effective TV, online, radio or print advertising. He addressed the marketing summit of PILMMA, a national trial lawyer marketing organization meeting in Las Vegas.

"The little things that you don't see coming are the things that get you. Have you been bitten by a mosquito? Yes. Have you been bitten by an elephant? No. You saw the elephant coming," he said.

1. Use targeted instead of broad advertising. Don't cast a wide net and try to reach everyone possible. If you target everyone, you get no one. Of course, this means you will need more than one ad.

2. Send potential clients to a targeted page. You'll get more business if visitors come to a web page for motorcycle riders, for example, than if the page is designed for all drivers. Don't worry what the page looks like, worry about what traffic it pulls in. Let go of how pretty the page is and focus on how effective it is. Drive visitors to a site that gives them nothing but what they want.

3. Think like a fish. Don't think like a fisherman. Don't think like a lawyer, instead think like a client. Study your target client's activities, habits and concerns. If there is no problem, there is no sale. Make your ad all about your potential clients. Think about your perfect client, for example someone who's been injured at work, and focus on what their typical day is like, what pressure they're under and what they are doing for money. This makes it easier to write an ad and focus on a reader's pain points.

 4. Offer Value, namely, information. When people have a problem, they are search for the solution and not the solution provider. They want information, so your advertising should be educational, not salesy.  For example, no one will give you your email address in an online form unless they get something of value. Lawyers should present themselves as an expert who provides information and an advocate who looks out for their clients' best interests. Don't say "Find out if you have a case," instead say, "Click here to download your free report."

5. Build a database. It should include potential clients, current clients and past clients -- a list of people you can sell to. It takes 8 "touches" from you before a person buys your services, and a mailing list allows you to make many touches. It also allows you to cross-sell new services to your clients.

6. Offer proof. Lawyers must have a "unique selling proposition" that explains why a person should hire you. You must explain why you are different from other lawyers. Offering a free consultation is not enough. Instead of saying you have "lawyers," say you have "local lawyers who fight for your rights and protect your liberties." Listing case histories, displaying FAQ files about client problems and featuring testimonials are very effective.

Insulting Speech Describes E-Myth for Attorneys

Michael Gerber, law firm marketing, legal marketingI can save you from spending $16 and reading 178 pages. I just heard Michael Gerber speak about his book The E-Myth Attorney: Why Most Legal Practices Don't Work and What to Do About It. He addressed the Las Vegas Marketing Summit of PILMMA, the Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association, this afternoon.

Here's Gerber's thesis: most lawyers are technicians who focus only on their work, and end up spending thousands of hours taking appointments and practicing law. The smarter approach is to systematize what you do and hire other people to operate the system.

Duh. Isn't that why law firms hire associates? His formula sounds like a plan to create a legal mill. We know how much fun it is to work at an attorney mill.

Gerber wore a silly white hat, insulted the audience and called attendees "stupid," ordered attendees to write down what he just said, yelled at the top of his lungs, didn't finish his points, repeated catchphrases in triplicate and freely used obscenities. Other than that he's a great speaker.

"When Ray Kroc started McDonald's, he didn’t make hamburgers, fries or malts. Mr. Walton who created Wal-Mart didn’t run a store. Michael Dell didn’t personally sell computers. The owner of the store was in the corporate headquarters, where they managed the store. They had a system that worked," Gerber said. "The business didn't depend on their work." He didn't explain what a lawyer's system should look like, but you can find out by attending his upcoming workshop.

"You’ve got to operate your business as a franchise. If you don’t treat it that way you can’t scale it and you can’t grow it, because you can’t scale yourself. The people run the system, and the system runs the business," he said. I'm not convinced that selling legal services is like selling hamburgers.

He makes sense at some level, and I may use this approach if I ever restart my sales training business. It's a great thesis for people who enjoy managing other people and not actually doing the interesting work. But who likes managing people? It's a lot of performance reviews, settling fights between employees and attending long meetings. Most lawyers enjoy trying cases and drafting deals instead.

Gerber said you could follow his advice or shoot yourself in the head. Wowee, that's salesmanship. I expect some audience members were already considering slashing their wrists during the speech.

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40 Million Google Plus Users Can't All Be Wrong

There's been lots of chatter that Google dropped the ball with its new Plus social network. There was the story that Google management wasn't using it. There was a 60% drop in use after a 1200% surge in users after opening up to the public in mid-September.

Even my esteemed friend, social media maven Nancy Myrland, mused, "Google let too much time slip by, perhaps missing a window that stayed open for several weeks. Enthusiasm from potential users was diminished...because people are very busy, and somewhat overwhelmed with the other tools they are still using and learning.”

Then cGoogle plus, law firm marketing, legal marketingame Google's earnings report stating that Google+ is up to 40 million members. Well shut my mouth. That's a monster increase. It appears that people do have the bandwidth for a new social network. I personally made room in my life for Google+ by deleting my Facebook page. It was a complete waste of time.

I like Google+ because it's easy to post an update, my stream is tidily narrowed down to the 54 people I want to follow, and 269 people follow me. It's got a good signal to noise ratio. Check me out in Google+.

Each post has more information than Twitter. I've met interesting people I haven't encountered before. You don't need an invitation to join any more. Kevin O'Keefe uses it. What's not to like?

I mean, look what happened when a notorious dictator learned about Google+.

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Baker & Daniels Issues Video News Release About Merger

I know that video news releases are not new in the corporate world, but I enjoy seeing law firms issue them. Allen Matkins regularly sends out VNRs (video news releases). Today I found the VNR about Baker & Daniels merging with Faegre & Benson. This will create a 770-lawyer enterprise concentrated largely in the Midwest. The video medium takes something that is already interesting and increases the impact.

Video is smart marketing. According to comScore, a total of 180 million Americans viewed online video content in August, marking the second straight month of growth.  Americans logged about 6.9 billion online video viewing sessions in August, tying the all-time record set earlier this year.

 

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Personal Injury Lawyer Marketing Brings Prescription Drug Awareness Through Lawyer TV Ads

It’s easy to be critical of lawyer TV commercials. But when done right TV advertising can actually alert the public to unknown dangers. For example, a new lawyer advertising campaign by the personal injury firm Douglas & London of New York warns viewers about the bladder cancer risks of taking the diabetes drug Actos.

There are many doctors giving Actos prescriptions and patients taking Actos who do not know that there are possible serious side effects,” said John Heller, Producer/Director with iCreative Network of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, which produced the commercial. “It will also bring many cost-effective leads to the law firm with the goal of generating new clients.”

“Just putting TV commercials on air and hoping for results is not cost effective,” he added. “But creating a media buying plan will give the advertiser in-depth analytics of viewer behavior. TV analytics have finally caught up with the Internet. Direct response media buyers in particular do not need to wait for the caller information their advertising generates. Media buying plans can now be adjusted quickly to focus on viewer trends,” Heller said.

“The Actos commercial will run on 13 channels that will produce caller-to-lead results. Additional information can be gathered to give insights into who is calling, from where and at what time. This information is very valuable for the personal injury lawyer marketing on television,” he said.

FDA findings show that the prescription drug Actos increased the risk of bladder cancer 40% in men who have taken it for over a year. “This is a very dramatic finding -- a fact that most people with diabetes are unaware of. Without personal injury attorney marketing on television, both doctors and patients would have a harder time learning the facts. Not only are there thousands of diabetes patients now taking the drug without understanding the risk there are also many doctors who do not understand the risks in writing prescriptions for Actos,” he said.

iCreative Network has produced more than 300 PI spots over the past six years in several states. 

Lawyer Advertising, Produced by iCreative Network

Redwood Analytics Shows Client Profitability at a Glance

Struggling with reams of reports from the finance department, partners in law firms have difficulty making smart business development decisions. Too much information is little better than no information. Redwood Analytics of Mt. Laurel, NJ, now offers a executive dashboard that displays key data like:

  • The direct margin (profit) for an individual client
  • The progression of client cross-sell
  • Patterns in a partner’s book of business
  • The relationship between client age and client life cycle

"Lawyers are not trained to be business people, and firms have a hard time determining profitability. So the key is to present them information at a glance, so they can easily see the elements that hurt or improve profitability," said Brian Glauser, Business Development Manager for Redwood. "Once they become familiar with the data, they’ll start to think more like business people."

Billing attorney, Redwood, law firm marketing, legal marketing

Redwood is owned by LexisNexis, the parent company of Lawyers.com, where I work. Redwood started in 1999 with 10 employees, and today has 100 employees supporting law firms across the globe.

The "billing partner view" displays hours worked, the dollar value of the hours at the standard rate, the billed amount and the collected amount in one screen, with colored pie charts showing the account balance by date. Importantly, it calculates the billing realization and the direct margin for an individual client.

"You can also see the number of days a client is past the expected payment date, and compare it to the number of days the client pays historically," Glauser said. "You can notify the billing lawyer to find out what's going on. They can inquire: Are they happy? Did they get the bill? It changes from a collection call to a customer service call," he said.

The display can be customized to show a summary by lawyer, by office and firm-wide.

The dashboard displays profit drivers individually -- standard rate, hours worked, percent of fee discount, percent of hours billed and collected, percent of writeoff -- and calculates the direct margin. This is useful because a law firm's largest clients, as measured by revenue, are often its least profitable.

By knowing which clients are most profitable, partners can tailor their business development efforts to seek out similar clients. By seeing what percent of a firm's services a client is using, partners can identify hot prospects for cross-selling. "This gives lawyers way more information that they may currently be seeing," Glauser said.

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Study: Lawyers Should Focus on CEO in Law Firm Marketing

Richard Chaplin, PM Forum, legal marketing, law firm marketingMost business law firms devote their efforts to cultivating the General Counsel in their efforts to win corporate business. However, a new study by the British Managing Partners' Forum and Financial Times indicates that this is a mistake, and law firms should be focusing more on the CEO.

75% of CEOs are primarily responsible for selecting legal advisers, yet managing partners believe this to be in the range of 5% to 15% according to the survey. The FT and MPF organized a survey of client CEOs and 118 responded, and the results are published in the September issue of the members-only Professional Marketing magazine.

Other findings show a disconnect between clients and law firms:

  • 30% of clients see relationships between "C" suites (CEO, COO, CMO, etc.) as a top attribute for a healthy client/adviser relationship, yet only 2% of law firm leaders believe this to be the case.
  • 50% of clients perceive law firms to be ineffective in using digital channels.
  • 60% of clients are looking for quick solutions but only 20% of firms believe this to be a top client priority.

An article by Richard Chaplin illustrated many of these points. In one case, a bank was under pressure form their CEO to get more legal services for less, get pertinent advice promptly and take a firm grip on risk issues. The bank invited its law firms to present their ideas at a meeting. The client observed a stark contrast between:

  • One firm where the partner had only read the email in a taxi on the way to the meeting and, after frantic action on a Blackberry, persuaded a team member to take the project. The client was unimpressed, describing this large firm as being full of sole operators.
  • Another firm where the partner shared the request internally. Two sets of touch points were analyzed: law firm to in-house team, and in-house team to CEO. The managing partner had raised the matter with the client CEO to get a better understanding of the commercial pressures. A range of innovations were put forward that resulted in increased income for the firm.  The client was most impressed, telling others about this well-managed firm.
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More Time is Spent on Facebook than Any Other Website

Facebook, Google, Youtube, video, legal marketing, law firm marketingThe average Facebook user spent 7 hours and 45 minutes on the site during August 2011 according to The Nielsen Company.

It's a marketing gold nugget to know just how closely people attend to Facebook -- because where there are users, there are consumer clients. Facebook beat out AOL, the second-place website, whose users averaged only 2 hours and 52 minutes per month -- less than half of the time spent on Facebook.

In other news, Google got more visitors (as distinct from time spent) than any other website, with 176 million unique US visitors.  Overall a stunning 215 million Americans were active on the Internet in August 2011. On average, Americans spent more than 30 hours online in August and visited 99 unique domains, according to Nielsen.  Accordingly, optimizing your law firm website to be found in Google is a top-priority marketing function. Click the link to download 10 Internet Marketing Tips.

Importantly, the number of Americans viewing online video is growing. According to comScore, a total of 180 million Americans viewed online video content in August, marking the second straight month of growth.  Americans logged about 6.9 billion online video viewing sessions in August, tying the all-time record set earlier this year.

I believe video is the future of law firm marketing. The key to winning new business is for a lawyer to be someone a client knows, trusts and likes. Video accomplishes all three.

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Law Firm Marketing Lessons from Steve #Jobs

Steve Jobs, law firm marketing, legal marketing, ipod, iphone, apple computer, The death of Steve Jobs is a huge loss for America, especially in a world where we have billions of competitors in China and India. We need more innovators like Steve Jobs. We need more lawyers who are like Steve Jobs. 

I see several law firm marketing lessons from his work:

·        Develop a niche. It doesn't matter that Apple’s market share of computers is only 9%. His customers are fanatically loyal. The moment a new product was announced, his loyal base would immediately buy it. He developed a niche in computers, cell phones and table computers that no one could rival.

·        They way you do something is more important than what you do. Jobs personally designed the iPhone. They are renowned for their beauty and style. Sure, it has a “death grip” problem that causes the phone to disconnect a call and Consumer Reports recommended people shouldn’t buy it. But it didn’t matter. Customers forgave the technical flaw because they love its look and feel. People even pay a premium price for an iPhone. Lawyers should learn from the corporate world: present or package what you do in a new way.

·        Personalize the brand. A lawyer must realize that he or she is a brand. Clients don’t hire law firms – they hire lawyers. Every time Apple introduced something new, it was Steve Jobs presenting it on a big stage. Similarly, lawyers should get in front of audiences, make presentations on webinars and talk to news reporters. Clients want to find a lawyer they know, trust and like, and lawyers must be easily found by being in the public eye.

·        Don’t just compete, strive to make your competition obsolete. Steve Jobs never played catch-up; instead he was the guy to beat. When he introduced the Apple 1 computer in 1976, there was nothing else like it. Jobs instantly made the typewriter and typesetting obsolete. When he introduced the iPhone in 2007, it made the Blackberry and every other cell phone obsolete. When jobs released the first iPad in April 2010, it created an entire new category. Lawyers should similarly look for new ways to provide service and charge for it that leapfrog ahead of what other law firms are doing.

·        Constantly adapt. Jobs competed with some of the largest corporations on the planet, just as small-firm lawyers compete with the AmLaw 100. Being small gave Jobs the advantage of being nimble. While Microsoft slavishly kept releasing clunky new versions of Windows, which copied features from the Apple OS, Jobs pioneered cloud computing. This year more people will access the Web with a smart phone than with a computer, thanks to Steve Jobs’ ability to change ahead of the times. Lawyers should similarly look over the horizon and give clients today what they hope to have next year.

·        Make a donation right now to a charity that fights cancer. America has the ability to wage war remotely with drones, sent satellites to Jupiter and the technology to watch a movie on demand on a computer – but we haven’t beaten the disease that kills our loved ones and leaders. It’s time we put our treasure where our heart is. Don’t just write a big check to an anti-cancer charity, make it a big check.

How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age

Dale carnegie, how to win friends and influence people, legal marketing, law marketingI read the 75-year old book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" when I was in junior high, and it changed my life. I tried to adopt every recommendation Dale Carnegie made -- be a good listener, admit mistakes promptly and smile more often. His book is where lawyers should start when building their own clientele.

The new version How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age is written in corporate-speak with none of Carnegie's original charm -- but a book like this is definitely needed in the age of Facebook and Twitter.

The problem with e-mail and texting is that you can't see the other person, and thus can't apply the in-person techniques that Carnegie prescribed.  But there are workarounds:

  • Take note of your friend's postings on Facebook and leave a comment.
  • Thank people for re-tweeting your messages.
  • Don't be a troll and attack or criticize people in public discussion forums.
  • Take an interest in others' interests.
  • Appeal to people's noble motives.
  • Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

"Digital communications have made it possible to reach more people in faster and cheaper ways," the book quotes Guy Kawasaki saying. "You could make the case that technology has made it possible to blow one's reputation faster and easier than ever."

That's why this is the right book at the right time.

 

See You at the PILMMA Legal Marketing Summit in Vegas

Michael Gerberg, PILMMA, legal marketing, law firm marketingFor practical, hands-on business development tips, you should attend the Marketing Summit of the Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association (PILMMA) coming up in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace October 14th and 15th, 2011.

Be sure to catch the panel discussion "The Future of Internet Marketing" including Josh King, of Avvo.com, Dale Tincher of Consultwebs.com and Barrett Sharpe of LegalHub.com and me.

I love working with personal injury lawyers because they innately understand the importance of marketing and business development. You don't have to convince them that marketing can bring in new business. They also know that a lawyer has to spend money on marketing, and they typically budget 5% of gross revenues for it (well above the profession's average of 2% for marketing).

You can expect me to be blogging live from the conference. Here are some of the programs I've got an eye on:

  • Keynote speaker Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth Attorney: Why Most Legal Practices Don't Work and What to Do About It
  • Stunningly Simple Insider Secrets That Will Generate Massive Leads for Your Practice
  • How Attorneys Can Easily Get Media Attention
  • How to Transform Your Law Practice Using Testimonials (Even if your State Bar doesn’t allow them)
  • Evolved Brand Management  (Keeping Your Law Firm Brand Relevant)
  • How to get the Most Out of Your Marketing/Advertising Agency

You can join and register at http://bit.ly/qrIcRl

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Finding Legal Marketing Happiness with a Portable Book of Business

Michael Downey, portable book of business, legal marketing, law firm marketingI found an excellent article in the St. Louis Bar Journal by lawyer Michael Downey, an ethics lawyer and litigation partner at Armstrong Teasdale. He makes a point I've been stressing for a decade: happiness in law practice is found through business development. Here is an excerpt:

"As a litigation partner at a large firm and a law school professor who teaches law firm practice, let me share a secret I’ve found for law firm happiness. Happy lawyers normally have a portable book of good clients or client-referrers who continue to refer legal work.

For most lawyers in private practice, a portable book of good clients or referral sources is crucial to long-term happiness. Lawyers who can generate their own work will have the relationships that allow direct communication with the clients. This will allow the lawyer to learn not only what the client needs but why. It provides an opportunity for the attorney to understand the client as well as their business. These lawyer client relationships give meaning to the lawyer’s practice.

Further, lawyers often work long hours, particularly when the client comes to see the lawyer as an important ally and source of guidance. During those long hours, some good lawyer-client relationships grow into professional and personal friendships that can nourish the lawyer’s soul.

A portable book of good clients also gives lawyers control over their own workplace and career. Although law firms are often compared to pyramids, perhaps a better image would be a Viking longship. Lawyers who have business, and thus their own longships, can decide who crews the ship and where the ship will go. Lawyers without business are usually left to pull an oar on someone else’s ship.

Experience has convinced me that a lawyer with freedom to go – or not – is usually much happier than someone who lacks that freedom. Plus, law firms can more readily dispose of a mere oarsman, an action that the firm believes is necessitated by the economic slowdown and other factors, than for a firm to dispose of a lawyer who will take client work to the new firm.

Further, having a good book of portable business ensures that a lawyer can protect their turf if the lawyer feels he or she isbeing mistreated or slighted. If necessary, that book allows the lawyer to take their clients to more verdant pastures. Law firms are often difficult places to work. Having portable clients who will follow a lawyer helps ensure that a lawyer will be able to command respect. After all, if such respect is not forthcoming with reasonable effort, the lawyer can leave. The portable book of business ensures the lawyer will never be trapped."

Finding Your Online Voice for Law Firm Marketing

social media voice, law firm marketing, legal marketingI recently got an email from a law firm asking, "Can you provide guidance for a group of 20 lawyers who wish to develop a unified style of expression in our status updates, tweets, posts, etc?"

Here's what I recommended.

  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. A funny answer is a good answer. Be informal: use informal language like “You rock!” or “That’s awesome” or “LOL.”
  • Be informative by spotting a business issue and factually starting a discussion on LinkedIn, or sending a Tweet and including a link, such as “NLRB alleges Target violated labor laws – see http://bit.ly/qzXbfx
  • Pose questions to stimulate comments, such as “Have you been affected by the new rules regarding employees vs. contractors?” or “We see businesses offering offer comp time instead of paid overtime. How has this worked for you?”
  • Strive to engage in conversations. The interaction with people who send messages on social media is what generates new business.  (It is a remote, attenuated risk that you’ll inadvertently create an attorney-client relationship. You can discuss current events and state what the law is without any danger, IMHO. Just don’t express opinions on a specific set of facts.)
  • The best use of social media is to lead to a face-to-face meeting with a prospective client. Get to know people online and strive to meet them IRL (in real life).
  • Turn on the commenting function on your blog, but set it so that you can approve comments. If a commenter asks a question, give them a succinct answer.
  • A blog post should be short, address a business need affecting clients, stick to one point, and link to further information (preferably on your website).
  • Other sources for you are The 4 Steps to Finding Your Voice and Finding Your Voice For Your Legal Blogging Efforts

What ideas would you add?

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