Demographics of Today's Largest Law Firms

The law firms with the most minorities, women, associates, partners and total lawyers are showing in this new infographic from ALM Legal Intelligence. You may be surprised to see that the firm with the most lawyers is not the firm with the most US lawyers.

Law Firm Demographics in Today's Legal Industry

Print is not dead, because it is more satisfying

Cool Tools catalogDefying conventional wisdom, a founding editor at Wired magazine has pinpointed the formula for succeeding with a print publication in the face competing online alternatives.

“There is something about having that large expanse of real estate in your lap, something about the [print] format, that is extremely satisfying,” says Kevin Kelly. “Having many different things you may be interested in on a page, as opposed to a single thing surrounded by ads as it is on the web, leads to the formation of different connections and leads to a different experience,” he tells the New York Times.

The Internet has demolished the business models of many print publications, ranging from encyclopedias, to newspapers to magazines. According to the NYT, advertising pages for weekly magazines fell 2% from 2012 to 2013, and biweeklies saw a 5.3% decline. More than half the magazines published fewer issues last year.

Yet the print version of the website Cool Tools sold out its first printing immediately, a second printing will go on sale next week and a larger third printing is underway.

Here is the secret to success for a print publication:

  • It is exceptionally-edited. Like the pages of Wired magazine, there are many bite-sized nuggets of interesting information to choose from on the pages. Each one contains a perfectly told story that is hewn to fit its space exactly.There are no walls of text, run-on sentences or sloppy grammar. "Americans lead poorly edited lives," the NYT notes, and it is refreshing to see organized attention to detail.
  • It is highly-designed. Each page features color and black-and-white photos, line drawings and tint blocks of differing sizes. Palettes changes from page to page. Graphic elements are juxtaposed. There is plenty for the cones in your eyes to enjoy.
  • big smile kittenThe combined effect is to make you feel good. As the NYT says of Cool Tools, "Having it in my hands made me happy." It's like savoring a multi-part dessert which you explore in minute detail. The feeling is like nestling in with a good read for as long as the coziness can hold your attention. It captures your imagination like a nice dream that makes you want to stay in bed Sunday morning.
  • It can be shared. You can give a person a book, but you can't do that with an e-book on a Kindle. Sharing means you get to talk about what you've read and enjoy comparing notes. Nothing beats getting a new insight into something you just read.
  • It is practical. People like reading something that can be put to use immediately in their own lives. "Practical" can involve showing you how to make something, demonstrating a method to get something done or giving you a tip on how to live healthier. I'm not discounting reading for entertainment, because nothing is better than doing something for fun. But a practical article will cause you to get a highlighter and start underlining sentences.

When I read that "print is dead" I think only of The Onion's article saying, "the declining medium passed away early Thursday morning. The influential means of communication was 1,803."


Infographic: How to Rank Higher in Google Search Results

Pay attention to your home page and your bio, according to BrandYourself.

  • Bad First Impression: 1.5 Billion names are searched everyday in Google but people generally don’t look great on their first page.
  • If you want to look better, you need to choose your profiles wisely: For example, LinkedIn is the best social network for rankings, while WordPress is the highest ranking personal site builder. Even more interesting, popular pages like really have trouble ranking high.

breaking down a person's Google search results

Ha Ha Ha and Ho Ho Ho from Wolf Greenfield

One of the continuing pleasures of working in law firm marketing is the annual holiday greeting from the Boston intellectual property law firm Wolf Greenfield. Not only did I get to hear from the warm and lovely Sally Crocker (only the cops call her Sara) but I also got their delightful 2014 calendar.

Of course you can read it online but I just love the physical, paper calendar with the nail hole in it so I can tack it up over my computer monitor (see below).

In years prior you could Plant Wolf Greenfield's Holiday Card and It Will Grow, get magnetized with
A Holiday Greeting with "Stickiness", or just enjoy their wackiness when Wolf Greenfield Deals Humor to Market IP Law.

Merry Christmas and Long May You Run, Sally Crocker and your merry band of colleagues.Happy 2014 from Wolf Greenfield

Get in on the 12 Days of Deals from kicks off its very first '12 Days of Deals'

Stuff your stockings with discounts and deals to grow your law practice from Each day, starting today to Tuesday, December 24th, will feature a deal of the day which will include a free gift or a popular item at a 25% savings.

For example, today's deal is a free copy of Top 10 Techniques to Law Firm Success White Paper (a $75 value). This authoritative research identifies the 10 most effective techniques that are absolutely must-do initiatives and will lead to law firm marketing success. Everything in this white paper is based on pragmatic experience and empirical data that was obtained directly via a survey of 377 marketing directors and marketing partners in a variety of capacities.

How does this work?

Top 10 Techniques to Law Firm Success White Paper - FREE Copy ($75 valueSimply visit and enter your details in the online form. A new deal will be delivered to your inbox at 8 AM.  If you like the deal, click through on the email to claim it. 

All deals will be available for the duration of the 12 Days of Deals event. If a deal doesn't interest you, you'll get the new deal in your inbox the following day.

¡Feliz Navidad! Fröhliche Weihnachten メリークリスマス
Veselé vánoce, С Рождеством, Vrolijk kerstfeest and Mutlu Noeller

Expect a Call from the Bully in the GC's Office

overbearing client taking advantage of law firmThe overbearing client who has been trying to chisel down your rates will be calling you soon, acting on reports that law firms are facing flat profits in 2014. Industry consultants are advising GCs to press their unfair advantage on struggling law firms.

"There has never been a more perfect time for in-house counsel to solidify the level of service they can count upon and to have their law firm(s) formally present to them what they feel that they can do for them in the new year," says an article in the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, a publication for in-house lawyers.

The grim news about law firm profits is propaganda. The drumbeat about the tough law firm economy smacks of a concerted PR effort. Two reports in particular are being bandied about by gleeful in-house counsel:

  • It began last summer with a report that "Demand is down and affecting rates, revenue and profits." It was a good headline, but the underlying Citi-Hildebrandt research was more wishy-washy and even said, "low single-digit profit growth is good!"
  • There are bulletins about a dramatic downturn in the attitudes of managing partners regarding price competition, commoditized legal work and more non-hourly billing. This is based on an Altman Weil report, which also said that billing rates are going up and that economic performance was up for 62.8% of law firms in 2012.

The GCs and their stalking horses are ignoring contrary news that the average rates they pay to lawyers are going up, and surveys of GCs saying that they will have more litigation files in 2014.

My advice: when the call comes, be prepared to talk about alternative fee arrangements, lean staffing and prompt status reports. Be ready to offer value-added benefits like free CLE and regular visits to talk about business priorities.

But there's no good reason to give a discount.

Half of All Law Firm Mergers Fail

law firm mergers, car crashIn the third quarter alone, there were 19 law firm mergers and acquisitions announced in the United States, according to Altman Weil MergerLine. There have been a total of 58 law firm combinations announced this year – up 41% compared to the first three quarters of 2012, and the total may top out at 70. According to Altman Weil:

  • Stinson Morrison Hecker, a Midwestern law firm headquartered in Kansas City, announced it would merge with Minneapolis-based Leonard Street and Deinard.
  • Lewis and Roca, a 175-lawyer firm based in Phoenix, merged with Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons, a 75-lawyer Denver-based law firm.
  • Ballard Spahr and Schiff Hardin both picked up small New York City firms in July. 
  • Blank Rome acquired a Houston maritime boutique in August, and Thompson Coburn planted its flag in Los Angeles in September

"Yet a look at history reveals that about 50% of all mergers subsequently fail," says the contrarian voice of Robert Denney in his November RDA Communique. He first raised this point in 2011. "In many cases thereason(s) for the eventual failures were issues that were evident beforehand and should have raised red flags about proceeding with the merger."

Denney identifies 15 red flags that are often issues that can never be resolved. They include post-merger client departures, wide differences in partner incomes, and contrasting work ethics. The list goes on to include one firm having substantial debt or an unfunded pension liability, practices that do not fit and conflicts that cause a major rainmaker to leave.

For further reading, Denney recommends his article A Primer on Law Firm Mergers.

Average U.S. law firm partner rate increases to $381 per hour

In terms of billed hourly rates paid by clients, the average hourly billing rate of a partner in a U.S. law firm is $381 per hour, according to the Enterprise Legal Management Trends Report published by LexisNexis.

Of course, a partner’s practice area has a dramatic impact on the hourly billing rate. For example, advice and counsel for mergers and acquisitions commands a higher-than-average billing rate of $630 (see chart below).

What's interesting is that the research shows an increase in rates starting in 2010. The research says that partners rates increased 2.7% over the previous year, on top of an increase of 2.5% during the previous 12 month period.

Average law firm partner rate increases

The findings run counter to other reports about clients taking discounts, legal work being commoditized, pressure from overseas legal process outsourcing, and a decline in demand for legal services. Reports this year from Citi Hildebrandt and Altman Weil painted a grim portrait of the profession.

"As an amalgam of different law firm sizes, practice areas and locations, it’s a reasonable indicator of how hourly rates are trending. Hourly rates continue to climb, even if growth has slowed. However, these growth rates are well below the high single-digit growth the industry garnered during peak periods prior to 2008," the LexisNexis report states.

The $381 hourly rate is mathematical calculation for a wide range, where partner fees range from $170/hour for insurance defense work, to $392 to employment and labor, and $527 for IP and trademark work.

Median Partner Hourly Rates

The report adds that alternative fee arrangements were used in 10% of matters and 6% of billings in the past year. They are most commonly found in three practice areas: finance, loans and investments; employment and labor; and litigation.

Larry Bodine, journalist, lawyer, law firm marketerLarry Bodine is a journalist, lawyer and business development advisor to law firms. He is currently pursuing a project to publish legal news for consumers in newspapers, TV stations and web sites. For more information, you can reach him at 520.577.9759 and

For a related story, see New Statistics Illustrate the Decline of Biglaw

Improve Your Professional Reputation by Dispelling These Common Stereotypes Waged Against Lawyers

Some good tips from Amanda Green to dispel common stereotyping of attorneys:

All professions face stereotypes--all humans, in fact. The following are common stereotypes waged at lawyers. These stereotypes are, obviously, not true of every lawyer, but have spurned countless jokes and harmed many reputations. If you’re a lawyer losing business or self-esteem to these problematic notions, check out our suggestions for dispelling the myths and ending the jokes.


There are No Good Lawyers

A popular joke starts with the question, “Why won’t sharks attack lawyers?”

The answer is, “Professional courtesy.”

Lawyers are perceived as sharks, willing to go after what they want, no matter who gets victimized in the process. The common misconception about attorneys is that they’d represent the devil if it would earn them more money.


How to Dispel the Stereotype

Of course, it can’t be true that all lawyers are evil, because there are over a million lawyers in the United States alone. Attorneys are people too and they have human feelings, thus leading to emotional decision making, honesty, trust – and all of the other human emotions considered to be good. The best way to dispel this stereotype is, simply, to be emotionally invested in your work and clients.


All Lawyers Lie

Despite so much evidence to the contrary, people still like to apply the “liar” stereotype to lawyers. An article titled, “Why Lawyers Are Liars,” published by the Washington Post, pinpoints some legitimate reasons and sources as to why lawyers lie, but it doesn’t state the very obvious:

Despite widespread belief, not all lawyers are dishonest.


How to Dispel the Stereotype

It may be necessary to provide potential clients and the general public with proof of attorney honesty. Show them cases you won through ethical arguments. Or, you can provide proof of honesty by offering low minimums on billable hours. You can quickly dispel this stereotype by providing evidence of lawyers rising above the call of duty to be honest. Tell them Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer and he may very well be history’s most honest man.


Personal Injury Lawyers are all Ambulance Chasers

People have this notion that personal injury attorneys hang around emergency rooms, waiting for ambulances to pull in with the perfect client. This stereotype is laughable at best, but it’s all too common and can really be detrimental to an attorney’s professional reputation. After so many years of college and hard work, a personal injury attorney is reduced to the punch line in a joke about chasing ambulances.  


How to Dispel the Stereotype

You can dispel this stereotype simply by asking, “When was the last time you ran into a lawyer in the emergency room?” Most people never have, because personal injury attorneys don’t rely on hospitals to garner their business. They rely on smart advertising and their reputations for providing help to those in need.

If you’re still unable to convince a person that a personal injury lawyer isn’t a slime ball, remind them of the service these lawyers do.

Imagine a person is drunk driving and side-swipes an 18-wheeler, killing the driver and injuring many others. Accidents involving tractor-trailers tend to be very serious and costly, so a lawyer is sought after by the victims who can't afford their medical bills. Ask them how this can be perceived as bad, when these people so desperately needed--and received--service.


Keep Fighting the Good Fight

If you’re a good, honest and ethical lawyer, you simply need to continue practicing law to provide proof to the world that you exist. If someone begins telling lawyer jokes or being inappropriate, you have two choices. You can politely listen to the joke. Or, you can kindly explain that those types of jokes hurt and promote stereotypes. Do the latter and you’re doing your part to help dispel stereotypes.   


Author Bio: Amanda Green is a freelance writer who loves to write on legailty, marketing and personal finance. In her spare time she loves to try new dishes in the kitchen and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

All-State Legal Acquires Vizibility

Joe Fuzak, President of ALL-STATE LEGAL
Joe Fuzak

This just in:

ALL-STATE LEGAL, a leader in engraving and printing, has acquired Vizibility, the company behind the popular vizCard mobile business card platform for professionals.

"As the nation's premier engraver and printer for professional services firms, we see business cards as the first form of mobile marketing," said Joe Fuzak, President of ALL-STATE LEGAL. "But with sales of smartphones outselling PCs by 2-to-1, it is time to marry print and pixels. This is an example of how ALL-STATE LEGAL is redefining the traditional business card.

Not only can a small QR code be printed on either side of the card, customers will also get a unique URL to embed in email signatures, text messages and other online sites that will bring up their digital business cards on any device. "Vizibility is a personalized mobile business card, or vizCard, which can be easily shared.

James Alexander
James Alexander

Vizibility's founder and Division President James Alexander describes the hosted service as, "the third side of the business card. Vizibility is an engaging, mobile identity management solution that makes it a snap to download vCards, view common LinkedIn connections, set up appointments and share hand-picked profiles, videos and other online content right from the printed business card. We can even connect all of your professionals' mobile business cards into a mobile directory which helps to instantly validate the deep expertise of your people and your firm."

Vizibility is fully integrated into ALL-STATE LEGAL's online print portal providing customers with a smooth, unified process to dynamically create and update mobile business cards and choose to add QR codes to their business card templates. This seamless solution eliminates duplication of effort and delivers a low cost of ownership.

Vizibility mobile business cards are now available in two simple options: the vizCard and vizCard Pro. A bundle of unlimited vizCards, called a vizCard Pack, is available for $999 per year and includes a custom logo, vCard downloading (works even on the iPhone), CardFollow™ for vCard updates, a powerful mobile directory connecting a firm's vizCards and an online dashboard for easy administration.

The vizCard Pro is $79 per year per user and includes everything in the vizCard plus CommonConnections™ to LinkedIn, unlimited links to online content, full metrics on scans, and the patented "Google Me" button with search results monitoring. For $499 per year, both the vizCard and vizCard Pro accounts can upgrade to include robust enterprise-class features such as a custom domain name, a direct URL to the Mobile Directory, auto-redirect of mobile business cards for former employees, telephone support and more.To learn more about traditional printed and mobile business cards, visit

Since 1946, ALL-STATE LEGAL ( has been dedicated to helping law firms and other professional service firms manage and grow their businesses through an extensive array of award-winning engraving and printing services for brand management, stationery, and marketing materials. An employee-owned company, ASL is committed to developing environmentally friendly products and services that make it easier to run law offices and consistently communicate a unique brand to enhance business development efforts.

About Vizibility LLC
Vizibility LLC (, a division of ALL-STATE, delivers the first enterprise class identity management and engagement platform for mobile. Vizibility's highly acclaimed vizCard addresses today's reality that the first impression a company or individual makes is often online, and in many cases on a mobile device. Vizibility enables people to package and share their online presence to make powerful, accurate and lasting impression. ALL-STATE customers enjoy a bottomless box of business cards so they never running out of cards again. U.S. Patents 7,831,609, 7,987,173, 8,095,534, 8,271,650, 8,275,837, 8,280,879 and 8,290,941. Other patents pending.