As Seen on TV--Growing Your Business Law Practice!

Shark Tank TV showSara Derakhshanian, a Lexis-Nexis law marketing specialist, explains how the television show "Shark Tank" can help attorneys whose practices focus on patents, trademarks, etc.

Nearly 5 million people tuned in to watch "Shark Tank" last season, where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to potential investors. Television commercials frequently appear, reminding inventors that they can file patents and (maybe) make a lot of money, just like that guy who came up with that idea for that thing that a big company bought.

This type of publicity offers fresh opportunities for attorneys whose legal practices don't usually scream "television" or "high-profile." However, attorneys who focus on patents, business formations, LLCs, copyrights, trademarks, intellectual property and other fairly technical areas have a terrific opportunity to jump on these trends and grow their client base.

For example, Glenn Peterson, an attorney who specializes in trademark cases, comments online about intellectual property controversies, such as an infringement case regarding the “I-heart-NY” logo has caught the attention of the legal world. When not representing clients, Peterson writes industry articles and provides media commentary—and is frequently featured in print, on line and on the air. When not representing clients, Peterson writes industry articles and provides media commentary—and is frequently featured in print, on line and on the air.

In order to capitalize on this new awareness, attorneys should tackle a two-prong approach. One is business-to-business, the other is raising awareness among consumers who may become potential clients. For busy attorneys, homing in on social media and their websites often represent the best investment of their time and resources.

Business-to-Business Referrals

While offline relationships are still important, connecting online is one way to increase your network and put yourself top of mind when colleagues have clients who need the services you offer.

Join professional groups on LinkedIn and participate in forums that relate to your practice area. Become or stay active with colleagues and groups on Facebook and other platforms.

When you meet colleagues, follow up and invite them to connect via social media, which will expand your presence online.

Reach Out to Consumers Directly

When targeting potential clients, many of the same general ideas apply. Only the context and focus may be a little different.

For example, social media activities geared towards your peers can be tweaked for the general public. Be sure to spend some time on your Facebook page, where consumers are likely to find you. Think about starting a blog, or blogging more regularly. Your website should also be well designed, inviting and easy to find.

Consider the value of taking part in online advice forums, where you can answer specific questions (my colleagues Amy Kovar and Donald Rohan have written some excellent advice about this).

Business lawyers have the chance to jump in on some exciting opportunities and take advantage of public awareness about these to promote their services. Don't miss your chance! To learn more about improving your social media presence and website, call 866-799-3717 or contact a LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Specialist.

Read the article at the original source here.

56% of Law Firm Website Visits Go to Attorney Bios

lawyer bios, law firm marketing, legal marketingAccording to Great Jakes web marketing, most traffic on a law firm website goes right to lawyer bios (see the chart). This is exactly where marketing-savvy lawyers want it to go. So, why are they neglected?

The reason is deep in the attorney psyche, according to marketing consultant Amy Knapp. "Attorneys are slow to accept the real way that clients make hiring decisions. The person whom the client (1) Knows, (2) Likes and (3) Trusts, in that order, gets the job. So why wouldn’t the purpose of a bio be to make one known, likable and trustworthy?" she says.

Before I tell what works, here's what does not get new clients:

  • Old articles (over 3 years) and anything you wrote in law school.
  • Neglect: a bio that is out of date.
  • Text that goes on and on (and the opposite: one content-free paragraph).
  • No picture.
  • Bios that start out with where you were born or went to school.
  • No links to your speeches and articles.

Elements of a bio that do generate new business are:

  • Peer reviews and recommendations from other lawyers.
  • Client reviews and testimonials.
  • Case histories of results obtained for clients.
  • Text describing how you work with clients.
  • A recent color picture. See How to Pick a Good Picture of Yourself.

Here's a great online bio, law firm marketing, legal marketing

Read "Turning Your Bio into a Magnet for Business," a short article I wrote about how you can create your own personal brand.

What Do I Say To A Prospective Client To Win Their Business?

david ackert, What Do I Say To A Prospective Client To Win Their Business, legal marketing, law firm marketingLearn how to expertly handle business development opportunities with prospects, contacts and new referral sources in our upcoming webinar, What Do I Say To A Prospective Client To Win Their Business? On November 18, 2011, veteran business development expert David Ackert and I will  describe:

  • How to test to see if a prospective client needs an attorney.
  • What you should say about your firm and its capabilities.
  • How to transition from a social conversation to a business dialogue.
  • How to avoid looking like a salesperson. 

Register now for this webinar
Click here to register. Save 20% if you register on or before Nov. 11: fee $240
Save 10% if you register on or before Nov. 15: fee $270
Fee beginning Nov. 16: $300
You can pay online with a credit card. Display the program in a conference room and invite as many attendees as you wish.

Topics Include:
  • Common business development mistakes that attorneys make
  • What clients care about when meeting you
  • How to ask the right questions and listen effectively
  • How to excel in a networking situation
  • Diagnosing a clients' need for service
  • How to overcome client objections to engaging your services
  • How to sell ideas for next steps
  • How to use a proven, step-by-step business development process

Who Should Attend:

  • All Attorneys who want to understand and apply the best professional practices of business/referral discussions for successful business development.
  • Associates looking to develop the right skills for business development and to begin now to develop their networks.
  • Marketing Directors looking for ways to support their attorneys with sound, practical methods.

Click here to signup for this event.

Winning Legal Business from Mid-Cap Companies

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

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


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

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

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

Among the topics Dr. Hodges will cover are:

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

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

Please see the description of Winning Legal Business from Mid-Cap Companies to find out more.
MORE INFO: Program Director Laura Kresich; (Tel) (773) 966-9273 or

QR Codes in Business Cards for Law Firm Marketing

Law firms are starting to put QR codes on the back of lawyer business cards. When you use a smart phone app to read it, the code show you the lawyer's biography on a web page. (See here for apps for an iPhone, Android and Blackberry.)

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

  • Odin, Feldman & Pittleman in Fairfax, VA
  • Sherin and Lodgen in Boston
  • Duane Morris in Philadelphia
  • Novak Druce in Houston
Sherin Lodgen QR code, lawmarketing blog, law firm marketing


law firm business card, QR code, law firm marketing, legal marketing

Law Firm Marketing Tip: How to Make Networking Events Work for You

Lawyer networking, law firm marketingNetworking works best if it is done with “marketing aforethought.”  Here’s your game plan for an effective networking event.

Where to Go

The best meetings for networking are the ones your clients and referral sources go to.  Every person in business belongs to a trade association.  Simply ask your clients what meetings they go to and suggest you join them.  At the meeting, have your client introduce you to others (who are prospective clients).  If anyone asks what you’re doing there, tell them you want to learn the industry better, to meet people and to ask questions. 

Bar association meetings can be a great source for referrals – if you’re a litigator and you attend bar meetings to meet transactional lawyers, or you can meet out-of-state lawyers who may call you when they have a matter in your city. 

Making a Plan of Action

Most lawyers erroneously think networking is shaking as many hands as possible and spreading out as many business cards as possible at an event.  This is incorrect.  You should go to an event with the aim of having one or two meaningful conversations – that’s it. 

A premeditated networker going to an event checks the membership or attendee list ahead of time, and highlights 3-5 people to meet.  That way he’s not walking into a huge room full of people he doesn’t know.  At the event, the networker asks the president to introduce him to a few of these targets.

Additional tips:

  • Come early to meetings and stand by the table where name tags are handed out.  Let everyone at the meeting see you are there. Say hello to everyone you know.
  • Have the staff working the desk identify the people you are looking for.
  • Pick out whom you’re going to sit with and put your purse/jacket across the chairs at the table.
  • Introduce yourself to the speakers and get their business cards; briefly chat them up about the topic they’re speaking on.  Do this at the front of the room so everybody can see you attended the meeting.   
  • If possible, bring a second person from your law firm to the meeting and have them do the same thing; be certain that you split up from the second person and sit at separate tables and talk to different people.

Starting a Conversation

...please click "Continue Reading" in the link below.

Starting a Conversation

People believe it’s hard to start a conversation with a stranger so they decide not to network.  However, it’s easy to start a conversation if you premeditatedly pick out the people you want to talk to and prepare five good questions in advance. For example:

1. What has changed since the last time we met?
2. How has that affected you?
3. How are you dealing with the XXXX issue in your industry?
4. How do you think that will affect you in the future?
5. What are the 2-3 things that absolutely MUST go right for you to have a good year?

If you’ve prepared in advance for specific target contacts, you can develop other intelligent questions, with the aim of inquiring into the target’s business “pain” and plans. 

So don’t talk about the weather or the movies; explore what’s important to the other person. Talk about their favorite topic: themselves. The idea is to get the person talking through good questions; if he’s talking, the networker is selling. If the contact has unmet needs, this creates an opportunity to meet again later.

Ordinarily, you shouldn’t ask a prospective client to handle their legal work on the very first meeting.  There is a courtship process and both parties need to get to know each other.  To use a dating analogy, a guy doesn’t ask a girl to marry him on the first date.


Get the business card of everyone you met and immediately write three things on the back:

1.  The date
2.  The place
3.  What you talked about.

As you leave the meeting, send a text message to the people you met, saying how nice it was to see them. If you write a blog, write a post about the meeting you went to. If you have a Twitter account, tweet about the best thing you got from the meeting. Use your PDA or smartphone to find a link to what you had a conversation about, email the link to the person you just met using your PDA.  All this can be done within the first hour after you met the person.

When you return to your office, immediately input this information into your Outlook Contacts – especially the “notes” box.  This is essential.  You can search Outlook, but you can’t search a wad of business cards with a rubber band around it in your desk drawer.

Follow-up with a “glad to meet you” email, and point them to a link of useful information.  Then add them to your mailing lists and make sure you send them a relevant newsletter, e-alert or research findings on a regular basis.  Make it worthwhile for the other person to stay in touch with you.   If you’ve met someone who has described an unmet need, you should set up a face-to-face meeting or conference call with your contact, have them invite the decision-maker to join you, and focus on their “pain” and how you can solve it.

Use the power of online social networks as you proceed.  For professionals, only one network is really worthy: LinkedIn.  You can safely ignore invitations from people on other networks. Approximately 78% of lawyers have a LinkedIn profile, but don’t do anything with it.  Invite the event speaker and the people you met to connect with you.  Every time you talk to a reporter, invite them into your network.  Every now and then, send a “question” to all your contacts – asking about new research you found, or the organization where you met, or points raised by the speaker.

By planning ahead and picking the people you want to meet in advance, you can develop new, and deepen existing, relationships – which are ultimately the best source of new business.

Seyfarth, Baker & Reed Smith Send Lawyers to Business School

Deborah RhodeArticle from: Chicago Tribune (Chicago, IL)

It reads like a typical MBA student class schedule: performance management, the global organization and creating value.

Only the students are not future CEOs or CFOs. They are lawyers wanting to learn to think like business executives.

While today's biggest law firms may resemble multinational corporations with offices worldwide, most lawyers are ill equipped to manage such complex entities. They usually learn management on the fly, and also tend to be poor at working as a team, which increasingly is necessary in today's business world.

"Legal education hasn't adequately adapted to the changing needs of the profession," said Deborah Rhode, a law professor at Stanford University and the director of its Center on Ethics. "One of the most critical failures is the whole area of managerial skills."

A few law firms have stepped into the gap and designed mini MBA classes for their lawyers, often in partnership with business schools.

Chicago law firm Seyfarth Shaw, for example, began a management program for partners last year at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management. Its lawyers live on campus for three days and learn marketing and strategy at one of the nation's most prestigious business schools.

"This sensitized the partners to some of the critical business issues going forward, such as mergers, bringing on laterals [lawyers from other firms] and opening new offices," said Michael Levinson, a trial lawyer and partner at Seyfarth Shaw.

Such training is expensive. A five-day program at Kellogg costs $7,500 per person, including food and lodging.

Another Chicago firm, Baker & McKenzie, designed something similar with Kellogg for its partners a few years ago, and began to understand their clients better.

"It really helped our partners appreciate how clients are organized, how they manage and how we can serve them better," said Christine Lagarde, chairman of Baker & McKenzie, which has more than 3,000 lawyers worldwide.

Still, executive education for lawyers is rare.

"I don't know that a lot of other firms are doing this," said J. Stephen Poor, Seyfarth Shaw's managing partner. "I discuss this at managing-partner meetings and get a lot of blank looks around the table."

Beyond ongoing legal training, law firms do not have the tradition of other professional services of business development.

As accounting firms expanded internationally, the larger ones established collegelike campuses where recruits were transformed into well-scrubbed accountants and consultants and returned later for management classes. Some, like Ernst & Young, have turned to business schools for education. It has offered a program through Kellogg since 1987.

In contrast, most lawyers have never taken a management course even though corporate clients want knowledgeable business advisers who can provide counsel on everything from marketing to mergers and acquisitions.

And they want advice that is cost-effective or they will take their business elsewhere.

"Although we see ourselves as being excellent lawyers, we don't necessarily think like businessmen," said John Smith, a partner at Pittsburgh firm Reed Smith.
"We don't understand exactly their analysis of a business situation," he said.

Starting in October, Reed Smith hopes to change that by offering courses in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

Offerings will include instruction in managing and developing business relationships as well as leadership training for the firm's future managers.

Perhaps more than any other dean, David Van Zandt of NU's law school has pushed to reshape the law school into more of a business school model to meet the profession's changing needs.

In the first year, in addition to taking typical courses such as contracts, constitutional and criminal law, students attend a three-day program, called "Lawyer as Problem Solver," that teaches negotiation and interviewing techniques, and team-building skills.

Second and third years can apply their legal skills outside the classroom through a team project that takes them abroad.

"The team gets one grade," said Van Zandt, dean since 1995. "The production of the group is what is graded, not the individual contribution. That's the way the world works."

He extends his philosophy to admissions, where the school, much like graduate business programs, favors applicants who are older and have work experience.

Two-thirds of the 240 incoming students this fall have two or more years of work experience. And 10 percent of the class is pursuing a joint JD-MBA degree, a program Van Zandt revitalized by cutting it from four years to three--the same length as for a standard law degree.

The admissions changes were expected to hurt the quality of NU's student body. Yet by at least one widely followed measure, median scores of the law school entrance exam, or LSAT, students are better. The median LSAT score went from 164 in 1996 to 169 this year.

Yet Van Zandt remains an iconoclast in legal education. Teaching practical business skills is viewed as declasse by legal scholars.

Some of the resistance has to do with the fact that scholars are trying to protect their self-interests, said Stanford's Rhode.

"Something needs to change," Rhode said. "Otherwise lawyers continue to learn management by the seat of their pants. Some of it is intuitive, but not all of it."

How To Sell Legal Services




In this snippet from my presentation at the Get A Life Conference in Chicago, you'll hear how you can:

  • The three places where new business comes from for law firms.
  • Why effective legal selling is not "selling."
  • Questions to ask in a new-business call.
  • Why you should not make cold calls.
  • The No. 1 way for a lawyer to establish their credibility.
  • How to find the time to do marketing and business development.
  • Why you should join a trade association - not a bar association.
  • Why doing business development activities will generate results.
  • How to get new files by visiting clients.
  • Learn who the lawyers are that clients will buy services from.

It's on YouTube at

August 2009 Issue of Originate! is Online

Prepare for better business development with the talking points from this month's featured articles in Originate!, the business development newsletter.

Lead Article: Making His Mark – 8 Things an IP Lawyer Wished He Had Known Sooner about Making Business Development Work

Attorney Nicholas Weston knew he had to do something different at his boutique IP firm. If he wanted to improve the kinds of work he was doing plus stop wasting time and money, he had to overhaul his approach to business development. Here he shares eight marketing errors he used to make and how, mainly by trial and error, he changed his ways. By his good example, you might avoid these errors yourself.

Turning Seminars Into Billable Work: Getting the Right People To Attend

Getting the right people to your seminar demands attention to marketing and selling. Otherwise, warns Michael Cummings, you’ll fail to reap the reward for all your efforts. Here are the steps you can take to promote the value of your program and to seal the deal so the people whom you want walk in the door.

The Best Beginning: What to Do When the Matter Ends

Eighth Stage of the 12 Step Pipeline: In this stage of managing your sales pipeline, you’ve just finished the first matter with a client. How can you set the stage for future work? Andy Havens reveals how a simple question can help you build that future and your service quality, and advises what not to do as well.

Side-by-Side: Comparing a Business Development Winner and Loser
How differently can two partners at the same law firm respond to a tough economy?  As night and day, observes Larry Bodine, Esq. Here he itemizes the pair's winning and losing approaches to business development and career success. Where do you fit and what can you do about it?

Who Are You?: Winning New Business By Being Visible
No law firm wants to be viewed in their business community as having run-of-the-mill attorneys. The practice of law is too competitive for that. Instead, observes Thom Singer, you and your firm must actively commit to making yourself visible experts in your field, and seven good ways to get the word out.

Untouchables: Removing The Third Rails of Business Development at Your Law Firm
At so many law firms, there seem to be three main areas that are constantly discussed, hotly debated…but too hot to touch, observes Darryl Cross. These third rails (compensation, allocating marketing dollars and short-term focus) are often cowardly left to another day or a time of crisis. In the mean time, your business development potential is derailed. Here's how to get on track.

WSJ: Lawyers Learning the Skills Needed to Draw, Keep Clients

From the Wall Street Journal:

"In the last few months, law firms have become increasingly aware that training lawyers in marketing and business development is a key way to drive business. According to a February survey of 120 marketing directors at large law firms -- conducted by legal market researcher, BTI Consulting Group -- business development is one of the few marketing areas where law firm executives are most willing to increase spending. Nearly 70% said they planned to provide more marketing coaching to lawyers.

"Marketing coaching fills in where law school falls short on training. Firms are enlisting coaches who work one-on-one with their lawyers on how to keep up with existing clients and court new ones. While it's certainly not a new concept to the legal world, this kind of strategic networking becomes critical as business wanes. "As business falls off everywhere, all of us need to have an eye on where the next thing is coming from," says Edward Winslow, partner at Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard LLP, an 85-lawyer firm based in Greensboro, N.C.

"Larry Bodine, an Illinois-based law firm business-development consultant, has been working nights and weekends to accommodate his new influx of clients, which has tripled from 20 to 60 lawyers since January. "Business development is not something taught in law school," he says. "Basically you spend three years reading appellate court opinions and you don't learn anything about building a clientele," he says.

"While many firms are looking outside to hire coaches, others are ramping up internal efforts. At Boston-based Nixon Peabody, where the marketing budget is down 20% this year, chief marketing officer Mark Greene says there has been a distinct shift in how resources are allocated, with more emphasis on coaching individual lawyers. "A year ago the department was more focused on marketing in the traditional sense of brand creation," says Mr. Greene. "We have shifted resources toward one-on-one relationship building."

Apollo Business Development, Larry Bodine, law firm marketingFor more about business development training, visit