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Stand Out from the Competition with Google Authorship

Google authorship, law firm marketing, legal marketingHave you noticed that when you search with the terms "divorce lawyer Los Angeles" or "Chicago personal injury lawyer" on Google, that several of the lawyers' pictures are displayed?

This is because they've implemented Google Authorship and studies show that it increases the person's click rate by 150 percent.

Not only that, but next to the lawyer's name is a 25-word summary and the number of times the lawyer is included in Google+ circles — a ranking of the lawyer's importance. Google Authorship has become an essential law firm SEO technique.

Google Authorship is a process that includes setting up a profile on Google+ to verify your identity as an author. It helps clients differentiate between trusted, reputable authors, and Web spammers.

There are two simple steps:

  1. Create a Google+ profile. Be sure to upload a high-quality headshot and fill out some profile information such as hometown. If you have a Google+ profile you'll be more visible in search results than if you don't have one.
  2. Go to, sign up with your email and click on the verification link Google sends you.

The benefits of Google Authorship also include establishing your authority on the Web and building trust online. Not only that, it keeps your identity — if you have a common name like "Jim Smith," you'll be able to put the name with a face — and it defeats plagiarism, ensuring that you get credit for your own writing.

It’s great for SEO purposes," says Bill Wallis writing on Business 2 Business. "As you develop more original quality content and post it on your website and Google + page, the more “AuthorRank” you receive and the more credit you build with Google. When you couple this with your domain ranking, social shares, inbound links, comments and engagement on Google + and a few other factors, your articles have a much higher degree of certainty of being found on the first page."

Here's how I turn up in Google when you search on my name. Notice that Google adds how many other people have me in the Google+ circles.

law firm marketing, legl marketing


Bloggers Have Same First Amendment Rights as the Press

free speech, first amendment, free press, bloggers are journalists, law firm marketingIn a major free-speech ruling, the Ninth Circuit decreed that bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as the institutional, commercial press. The ruling demolishes the argument that in the eyes of the law, bloggers are not journalists.

The case involved a scurrilous blogger, Crystal Cox of Oregon writing on her blog She was held liable in 2011 for defamation for her attacks on a bankruptcy trustee -- see Lying Blogger Must Pay $2.5 Mil for Defamation.

  • The posts accuse trustee Kevin Padrick of engaging in “illegal activity, “including “corruption,” “fraud,” “deceit on the government,” “money laundering,” “defamation,” “harassment,” “tax crimes,” and “fraud against the government.” Cox also claimed that Obsidian paid off “media” and “politicians” and may have hired a hit man to kill her.

    But the Ninth Circuit said, "Cox’s consistent use of extreme language negates the impression that the blog posts assert objective facts." Because the posts were so hyperbolic, the court said they were unbelievable as facts -- and that she was not liable for writing them.
  • However she was held liable for writing that the trustee committed tax fraud while administering the assets of a company in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and calling for the IRS and the Oregon Department of Revenue to investigate the matter.

    The Ninth Circuit said this charge is a matter of public concern, and that the trustee had to prove negligence to win a defamation suit against her. This is the standard applied to institutional corporate TV, newspaper and radio news operations. "This court has held that even consumer complaints of non-criminal conduct by a business can constitute matters of public concern," the court said.

The Ninth circuit added that the blogger could not be held liable for "presumed damages" without a showing of "actual malice" -- that she knew the post was false or acted with reckless disregard of its truth or falsity.

"The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media . . . the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.” Citizens United , 558 U .S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue—not the identity of the speaker—provide the First Amendment touchstones," the Ninth Circuit said.

The case is Obsidian Finance Group and Kevin Padrick v. Crystal Cox, case No. 12-35238.




7 Steps to Setup a Social, Search-Optimized WordPress Blog

wordpress blogThanks to Ness Aquino for this practical guest post.

Setting up a basic WordPress blog can be extremely easy, but most people are looking to set up a blog that is search engine optimized and is social media friendly. So if you are new to WordPress and need step by step instructions on how to get this done, then take a look at these 7 steps it will take.

Step 1: Get a Domain Name & Hosting Provider

First and foremost, you will need to get your own domain name and then host it. You can usually get both of these things done with the same company if you are using a reputable business. The whole process can take a few minutes, but it is important that you put a lot of thought into what your domain name is going to be. It should be relevant to the niche you are blogging about and also appealing to your target audience. Choosing the right host should also be a priority. It is an important factor that contributes a lot to the success of a website.

Step 2: Install WordPress

Most Hosting companies will just do this step for you. You will first need to request it and then go through all of their prompts to set up your user names and password. You will also get some information regarding your database. Record everything down just in case you need it in the future. Once that is all complete, the hosting company will take a little while and then your WordPress site will be ready.

Step 3: Find a Good Theme, Then Customize It

So once you are finally into your site, you need to make it unique and appealing to your audience. There are thousands of themes to choose from, so find one that best fits your needs. Install the theme, then start making new changes to it. You can design it anyway you want. Upload images, backgrounds, use different fonts, add and delete pages, and anything else you can think of.

This process should not be rushed because a bad looking blog won't really retain a big readership. The more time and effort you put into your website design, the better impression it will give your new visitors.

Step 4: Add All the Social Media Widgets to Your Pages and Link Your Blog to Your Profiles

To make your blog social friendly, you will need to add all of the major social media widgets to your pages. Most blogs will just place them on the side or top of any post, but you can add them to your home page or any other area in your site. This allows people to like your content directly though your site and shares the content with their friends and family. This helps bring you more traffic and gives people a better experience.

You will also want to link any social media profiles you may have to your website so people have easy access to and from your site from social media sites.

Step 5: Add SEO Plugins to Help Get Ranked Higher

Now that you have a good looking website that is social media friendly, we just need to get you search engine optimized and then you are good to go. There are plenty of plugins that assists you with almost every aspect of SEO, and installing them is pretty simple. Some great ones to start out with are: WordPress SEO by Yoast, Google Analytics for WordPress, SEO Content Control, Lazy Load, and All in One SEO Pack. These are just a few example of plugins that will help you on many different SEO levels and can get your site ranked much higher. There are thousands of different SEO plugins, so go through some of them and then use them to your advantage.

Step 6: Start Creating Posts

Once everything is installed and ready to go, starting creating your posts. You always have to remember that your content should always be your number one priority when it comes to your blog. Everything else is secondary because if you can't come up with valuable and appealing content, then your blog won't succeed. So take your time and plan out your posts.

Step 7: Promote the Blog

Congratulations, you officially have a blog that high a lot of potential. It looks great, is social media friendly, and search engine optimized. Now the hard part about blogging is usually the beginning when you don't have many people looking at your content. So to help out, you should promote it as much as possible. There are plenty of effective ways to get your blog more visible. The best place to start would be to post links to your blog on each of your social media profiles.

About the Author:

Ness Aquino is an SEO and an internet marketer who loves to share her knowledge on various blogs through her writings. She also loves to connect on social media and would really appreciate it if you’d have her on your Google+ circles.


Lawyers Have a First Amendment Right to Blog about their Cases

Los Angeles lawyer Simona Farrise
Simona Farris

Lawyers have a first amendment right of free speech to publish blog posts about cases they have won, according to a California appeals court ruling in favor of a plaintiff’s lawyer.


A trial court acted unconstitutionally when it forced Los Angeles lawyer Simona Farrise to remove two pages from her law firm website touting her recent successes against Ford in asbestos cases – while she was litigating an asbestos lawsuit against Ford and Volkswagen.

The case is Christie Steiner et al. v. The Superior Court of Santa Barbara County et al., case number B235347, in the Court of Appeal for the State of California, Second Appellate Division.

Unconstitutional prior restraint

The court order was an illegal prior restraint, “the most serious, and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights,” the appeals court said. It was sufficient for the trial court to admonish the jurors not to Google the attorneys or to conduct independent research. “We accept that jurors will obey such admonitions,” the appeals court said.         

Farrise represented a man who contracted lung cancer and alleged that it was caused by exposure to asbestos. After a jury was empaneled, defendant Volkswagen moved for an order requiring her during the trial to remove a page on her website discussing a $1.6 million verdict against Ford and others, stating that “at least one jury managed to successfully navigate defendants’’ courtroom confusion and find these companies at fault.” A second page described a $4.3 million jury verdict against Ford.

Provocative and prejudicial

Volkswagen argued that the information was provocative and prejudicial and should not be displayed online during the trial because it “will obviously prejudice the jury process during the trial and deliberations in this case, if it is encounter by a juror.” It argued that juror admonishments are no longer effective in today’s world of 24-hour news, Google, Twitter and the Internet.

The trial court granted the motion and Farrise took the two pages down. The judge also admonished the jurors, “During the trial, do not read, listen to, or watch any news reports about this case. … This prohibition extends to the use of the Internet in any way…”

Farrise restored the two pages to her firm website when the trial ended and filed the appeal.

The appeals court sided with her, saying “it must be assumed that a jury does its duty, abides by cautionary instructions, and finds facts only because of those facts are proved.” It added that the trial judge did not have authority to impose, as a prophylactic measure, an order requiring Farrise to remove pages from her website.

And fittingly, if you check her website now, you can see that Farrise even has a blurb about winning this free-speech case.



Fall Blog Topic Ideas for Attorneys

Amy Kovar, writing on the LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Blog provided an interesting list of blogging ideas for October and November in many different areas of law.  Check it out and give one a try.

Each month, we highlight upcoming events, anniversaries, holidays and observances that have a legal connection. These occasions may help inspire blogging topics. And because relevant online searches can spike in the days leading up to these events, topical blog posts may yield higher-than-normal traffic, while also improving your website's search engine rankings.

The second half of October and early November are full of occasions with legal tie-ins. Because there are so many events, we've categorized them by practice area.

Of possible interest to Civil Rights Attorneys:

  • October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
  • October is Gay and Lesbian History Month
  • Oct. 14: Native American Day
  • Oct. 17: United Nations' International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
  • Oct. 20-26: Freedom from Bullies Week
  • Oct. 21-27: Freedom of Speech Week
  • November is National American Indian Heritage Month

Of possible interest to Corporate Law Attorneys:

  • October is National Crime Prevention Month
  • October is National Cyber Security Month
  • October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
  • Oct. 16: National Boss's Day
  • Oct. 16: Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Day
  • Nov. 3-9: International Fraud Awareness Week

Of possible interest to Education Law Attorneys:

  • October is National Bullying Prevention Month
  • Oct. 20-26: Freedom from Bullies Week
  • Oct. 21-25: National School Bus Safety Week

Of possible interest to Elder Law Attorneys:

  • October is Health Literacy Month
  • October is Long-Term Care Planning Month
  • October is National Organize Your Medical Information Month
  • Oct. 15: Medicare open enrollment begins
  • Oct. 20-26: National Save for Retirement Week
  • November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month
  • November is National Family Caregivers Month
  • November is National Home Care and Hospice Month
  • November is National Long-Term Care Awareness Month
  • Nov. 1-7: National Patient Accessibility Week

Of possible interest to Environmental Law Attorneys:

  • Oct. 18: Forty-first anniversary of the passing of the Water Pollution Control Act

Of possible interest to Estate Planning lawyers:

  • October is Long-Term Care Planning Month
  • Oct. 20-26: National Save for Retirement Week
  • November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

Of possible interest to Family Law Attorneys

  • October is Antidepressant Death Awareness Month
  • October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • October is Gay and Lesbian History Month
  • October is National Bullying Prevention Month
  • October is National Organize Your Medical Information Month
  • Oct. 17: Get Smart About Credit Day
  • November is Military Family Appreciation Month
  • November is National Adoption Month
  • November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month
  • November is National Family Caregivers Month
  • Nov. 1: National Family Literacy Day

Of possible interest to Health Care Law Attorneys:

  • October is Antidepressant Death Awareness Month
  • October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • October is Health Literacy Month
  • October is Long-Term Care Planning Month
  • October is National Organize Your Medical Information Month
  • Oct. 15: Medicare open enrollment begins
  • Oct. 17-24: Food and Drug Interaction Education and Awareness Week
  • Oct. 24-31: Prescription Errors Education and Awareness Week
  • November is National Home Care and Hospice Month
  • November is National Long-Term Care Awareness Month
  • Nov. 1-7: National Patient Accessibility Week

Of possible interest to Insurance Law Attorneys:

  • October is National Crime Prevention Month

Of possible interest to Intellectual Property Law Attorneys:

  • Oct. 29: Forty-fourth anniversary of the creation of the Internet

Of possible interest to Labor Law Attorneys:

  • October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
  • Oct. 16: National Boss's Day

Of possible interest to Personal Injury Lawyers:

  • October is Antidepressant Death Awareness Month
  • Oct. 21-25: National School Bus Safety Week
  • Oct. 24-31: Prescription Errors Education and Awareness Week

Of possible interest to Real Estate Law Attorneys:

  • October is National Crime Prevention Month




FordHarrison Launches "EntertainHR" Popular Culture Blog and Marks End of The Office-Themed Blog

 A press release dated August 8, 2013:

Atlanta –  The show must go on.  For seven years, attorneys at FordHarrison have amused and enlightened weekly readers of their employment blog, “That’s What She Said,” through recaps of NBC’s The Office.  While the series finale of The Office marked an end to “That’s What She Said,” FordHarrison is adopting the entertainment-industry maxim and launching “EntertainHR.”

Like any smart Hollywood executive, in designing “EntertainHR” the FordHarrison team has borrowed shamelessly from the winning formula that made “That’s What She Said” appointment reading for thousands of HR and business professionals each week, and a perennial member of the ABA Law Journal’s Blawg 100, a list of the 100-best legal blogs.  Just as “That’s What She Said” analyzed the labor and employment issues raised by the antics of the Dunder Mifflin staff, “EntertainHR” will do so on a larger scale.  The blog will offer a lighthearted but informative look across the landscape of television, movies, and celebrity culture from an employment-law perspective.

Should Arrested Development’s Michael Bluth have taken more precautions in selling shares of the family business?  What are the Family and Medical Leave Act issues surrounding Robin Roberts’s absence from Good Morning America?  And what are the best ways to handle a worker directing Charlie-Sheen levels of public rage at their employer?

Questions like these will be the stuff of “EntertainHR,” a fun read for HR professionals and employers who can indulge their taste for entertainment news and gossip while absorbing important professional insights.

“EntertainHR” can be found at New postings appear weekly beginning July 8, 2013.

About FordHarrison LLP

FordHarrison is a U.S. labor & employment law firm with more than 200 attorneys in 25 offices, including five affiliate firms. The firm is committed to providing clients with the "right response at the right time" in managing their workforce. FordHarrison attorneys represent employers in labor, employment, immigration and employee benefits matters, including litigation. Through its membership in the global employment law firm alliance, Ius Laboris, FordHarrison provides clients that have multinational operations with a broad range of services related to labor and employment law in 43 countries throughout the world. For more information on FordHarrison, visit To learn more about Ius Laboris, visit

Cast Your Vote for, the business side of lawIn my opinion, is one of the best legal blogs online today. Since we first began in 1997, has been the premier resource attorneys and legal marketers turn to for information on the business of law.

The ABA Journal just announced that they are working on their annual list of the 100 best legal blogs - compiled by votes of readers.  As one of the principals behind, I'm thrilled to have a chance at being considered for this list and would appreciate your help.

If you enjoy what provides to the legal community and you think other lawyers should know about it too, please take a few moments to visit the Blawg 100 Amici page and nominate us before the August 9th deadline.

Cindy Greenway, editor in chief,
Cindy Greenway

Please follow this link to submit your nomination:

Cindy Greenway is the Editor in Chief of and does an awesome job with interviews and articles. Check out her latest stories:

How to Use QR Codes In Legal Marketing

Reputation Management for Lawyers - 5 Tips Recycle, Reduce and Reuse—

Finding Multiple Uses for Valuable Legal Content

Pushing Forward in the New Normal of Legal Marketing: Basics to Survive and Thrive in 2013 and Beyond


Web Content By the Numbers [Infographic]

I found this infographic on the No2Pen blog.

Web Content By The Numbers


4 Guest Blogging Tips for Lawyers

Here is a guest post by Joy Gendusa about the topic of – writing guest posts on other peoples’ blogs.

Guest posting on established blogs is a great opportunity to get exposure in front of quality prospects, but you need to get it right to make the most of it. 

Here are 4 tips to consider before submitting your guest post...

#1: Look for a Win-Win Exchange

When you are looking for a guest blogging opportunity, always look for a blog with more of a following than your own. However, guest blogging should be a win-win exchange. You offer quality content on a niche topic in your specialty. In return, you get exposure to a more prominent blog’s followers, which can help you build your own online following.

#2: Deliver the Goods

Guest posting is a great opportunity. Never take it for granted. Always give it your best. Before submitting, make sure your post does three things: 1) matches the quality of the blog’s other posts, 2) brings a fresh angle or insight into a niche topic, 3) is good enough to post on your own blog.

#3: Communication is Key

The key to building a healthy relationship with another blogger is outlining all the expectations, then meeting (and exceeding!) those expectations. Post length, deadline, topic, etc; make sure you are clear on every aspect of your guest post before agreeing to it.

#4: Don’t Be a Hit and Run

A guest post isn’t like a letter to Santa. You don’t stick it in the mailbox and hope you get what you want from it. Even on someone else’s blog, it’s still your post. Establish how you can interact with readers and commenters with the blog host. Connecting with their followers is the whole point. So, don’t just post and hope it works; connect and convert.

Joy Gendusa is the owner and CEO of direct mail marketing firm, PostcardMania. It is a full-service postcard marketing company helping clients create turn-key marketing campaigns with graphic design, printing, mailing list acquisition and mailing services, website and landing page design and development, email marketing and full marketing evaluations. Please visit for more information. Find Joy on Google+, or call 1-800-628-1804 to speak with a PostcardMania marketing consultant.