Making Connections to Grow Your Law Firm

Tricia Meyer is our guest author who gives her advice on growing a law firm.

Like any business, a law firm must strategize to attract clients. Through networking, mentoring and participating in speaking engagements, I have shared my expertise and built credibility in my community and within my practice area. This has ultimately helped me grow my business. Following are a few tips I have learned along the way I think other lawyers, and business owners in general, will find helpful.

 

1.     Hold office hours

Many local chambers and business organizations provide client services firms the opportunity to host office hours and meet briefly with their members. I host office hours regularly, which has afforded me the opportunity to help entrepreneurs and connect with people outside of my network. Meeting people and making an impression before they actually need your services is a great way to start relationship building and letting people know how you can help them in the future. I have garnered many new clients who have come back to me as a result of the time I spent with them during office hours.

2. Share your knowledge through speaking engagements

Speaking engagements will position you and members of your firm as experts, allowing more people to know who you are, what you do and how you can help. 

Select speaking opportunities where you can address a specific issue and demonstrate you know the topic inside and out. This will also attract a more targeted audience of people interested in the topic you are addressing. Also, think outside the box and seek speaking opportunities that help you reach markets where you want to grow your business.

3. Manage your calendar thoughtfully

When you consider speaking or networking event opportunities, evaluate each one to ensure you’ll be exposed to potential clients or meaningful connections. You and your firm must participate in enough events to make an impact, but it is crucial not to spread yourself too thin. Aim to speak often but not everywhere; you want people to look forward to a chance to hear you speak. 

Tricia Meyer is managing attorney of Chicago-based Meyer Law, specializing in tech. She is well connected in Chicago's tech community, regularly provides office hours at a local tech co-working space, and speaks at events geared toward tech entrepreneurs. She credits all of these things for Meyer Law's successful growth. 

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.

Getting Potential Clients to Watch Your Video

According to David Wodnicki, a LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Specialist, when potential clients view videos of attorneys, it can create a powerful connection like nothing else on a law firm website. But even an Oscar-worthy video won't help, if viewers don't bother to actually launch it. So, how can you get them to watch? Here are a few ideas.

1. Make them worth watching
You don't need to hire Martin Scorsese to direct your attorney-profile video, but you don't want a video that looks and sounds cheap. Fortunately, digital equipment has become so inexpensive that you don't have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to hire someone to create simple, effective videos.

The videos also don't need to be long. Potential clients aren't looking for a law-school lecture or a bragging session. They just want to get a sense of who you are as an attorney and why they may want to talk to you about their case.

2. Make the videos easy to find
Feedback from the LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® 2013 Law Firm Website Conversion Study points to the success of putting videos on the home page. You want to be careful about how you use this valuable real estate, but creating links here can pay off in a big way by encouraging people to watch them.

3. Optimize videos for desktop and smartphone viewing
Consumers who go online to look at law firm websites are most likely to use laptops and desktops, according to theAttorney Selection Research Study by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG). However, more than one-fifth of potential clients accessed online resources with their smartphones. You want to make sure computer and smartphone users alike can easily view your videos.

4. Be sure to comply with all your jurisdiction's ethics laws
But you knew that, of course.

The American Lawyer 2012 Report on Growth of Am Law 100 Firms

Last week, The American Lawyer 2012 Report on Growth of Am Law 100 Firms came out.  Here is a press release with its results:

NEW YORK – April 26, 2013 – *The nation’s 100 largest law firms achieved modest cumulative growth in 2012, gaining 3.4% in total gross revenue over the prior year to $73.4 billion, 2.6% in average revenue per lawyer to $844,245, and 4.2% in average profits per partner to $1.47 million, according to the 26th annual Am Law 100 report published in the May issue of ALM’s *The American Lawyer* and at AmericanLawyer.com.

However, 2012’s gains were uneven, with only 76 firms showing gross revenue increases, down from 80 in 2011, and 66 registering higher profits per partner, down from 72. In addition, profitability gains were concentrated among the higher-grossing firms. The 50 largest firms registered a cumulative 8.0% jump in profits per partner while the others fell 3.3%.

DLA Piper, powered by an 8.6% gross revenue spurt, topped the Am Law 100 with $2.44 billion, pushing former leader Baker & McKenzie, with $2.31 billion, into second place. Latham & Watkins with $2.23 billion took over third place from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom with $2.21 billion. Kirkland & Ellis retained fifth place. Jones Day took over sixth from Hogan Lovells, which fell to seventh. Sidley Austin held steady in eighth place as did White & Case in ninth. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher moved up to 10th place from 12th in 2011.

The law firms that prospered last year “tended to have an international footprint, a strong transactions group, and a diverse set of practice areas," wrote Robin Sparkman, Editor in Chief of *The American Lawyer*. "The boutique labor and employment and immigration firms were the exception.”

"Many of these firms also have a strong brand and are known by clients for standout work in a particular area," Sparkman added. "The firms that did well also held the line on their equity partner head count and continued to raise rates, increase billable hours, or both. Some stood out for capitalizing on high-growth industries.”

Among the stand-out firm performers, for better or worse, were:

   - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, whose profits per partner leaped 36.5% due to a contingency class action payment in a Native American royalties rights case.

   - Bracewell & Giuliani, which scored the group’s largest profits per partner increase, 42.2%, based on high demand from their energy industry client list.

   - Immigration-focused Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, which rose 16 ranks to number 86, its first-ever appearance on the Am Law 100.

   - Barnes & Thornburg, Chadbourne & Parke, Cozen O’Connor and Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker fell out of the Am Law 100. Chadbourne was a 26-year veteran.

 

 

Tags: , , , ,

Optimize Your Law Firm's Website for Mobile or Keep Losing Clients

Samantha MillerVice President of Product, Web Visibility Solutions at LexisNexis, wrote an important piece back in November about the importance of optimizing your firm's website for mobile users.  Here is an excerpt. Read it at the source, here.

Have you ever tried to navigate a website with your mobile phone or pad, when that site was NOT optimized for mobile devices?

The text is too small and the images are too large. There is way too much content and that material is basically unreadable. Pictures are not sized or placed properly. If you can even find the scroll bar or tabs, you have to keep swiping. And forget about trying to find any contact info.    

In short, the website looks and feels terrible.

If you are a consumer in urgent need of legal information or actually need to find an attorney, you're moving on to another firm's site.

LegalTechNY Discussion: Barriers to Social Media Adoption

At LegalTechNY, Steve Mann, chief marketing officer of the Research & Litigation Solutions business at LexisNexis, posed this question: If we have passed the tipping point for firms to use social media, why are so many firms reluctant to dive in?

 

 

LFM Second Annual AmLaw 200 and Global 100 Mobile Web Survey

Global 100 firms with mobile sitesThis is a guest blog post by The Law Firm Mobile (LFM) blog. In December, LFM released its second annual research on which firms from the AmLaw 200 and Global 100 have entered the world of the mobile web (the first report can be found here).

Below are following sections: an overview of the report, statistics describing the extent of mobile web site penetration for large law firms, statistics regarding the type of content used in firm web sites, and a final section on mobile web best practices. The final section of this report provides a detailed list of the names of law firms with hyper links to a screen shot of each respective firm’s mobile site along with the URL for that site.

Overview

  • Of the firms on the 2012 AmLaw 200 list, 54 firms (27%) have mobile sites. This is an increase of 46% (17 additional firms) from 2011. Of the firms on the 2012 Global 100 list, 29 firms (29%) have mobile sites. This is an increase of 32% (7 additional firms) from 2011.
  • Of the firms on the 2012 AmLaw 200 or Global 100 list with a mobile websites, most firms (67%) have from 7-9 total content types for the mobile site.
  • Of the firms on the 2012 AmLaw 200 or Global 100 list with a mobile website, the most popular type of content offered to users is Professionals/Attorney Biographies (59), Offices (53), and Practice Areas (52). The next set of content includes News (45), About the Firm (42), Careers (40), Events (38), and Publications (34). Some of the least used content types included Contact Us (13) and Industries (9).
  • Even with the increase in firms with mobile sites, the majority of large law firms in the AmLaw 200/Global 100 do not yet have a mobile web despite the significant growth in smartphone use.

See the remainder of LFM's findings on the LFM blog here.

 

4 quick advantages Pay-Per-Click has over search engine rankings

Robert Hodge, a Law Firm Marketing Specialist with LexisNexis, offers 4 advantages of using Pay-Per-Click over search engine

Immediate launch — We quickly develop a targeted keyword campaign for Google, and ads can go live within minutes.

Flexible budgets — We can set daily and monthly budget caps to ensure you never spend more than you're comfortable with.  We will change keyword bids and budgets on the fly to respond to the dynamic auction environment.

Highly targeted — Geo-targeting and geo-modified keywords means you can more easily reach the consumers near you or in targeted markets.

Control — Have a high level of control over your marketing message. Paid search advertising lets advertisers control what your listings say and how they look on the Google results page.  We also specify targeted landing pages, so you're able to drive users to the page that has the exact information they're looking for.

"Mark It On Your Calendar"

In an article titled, "Mark it on Your Calendar: January Blog Topic Ideas for Attorneys", LexisNexis Senior Director of Product Management for Web Visibility Solutions, Samantha Miller, gives ideas on blogging for attorneys.

Insightful, timely blogging that uses current events as a hook is an effective way attorneys can market themselves.

For January, in the wake of the tragic Newtown, Conn. school shooting, President Barack Obama has appointed a government task force — spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden — and charged it to propose solutions to gun violence. The task force is expected to make recommendations sometime in January and the president has said he'll take quick action on their suggestions.

As part of your law firm marketing efforts, engage clients by discussing how existing and proposed gun legislation may affect them. Here are some topic points for your blogging:

  • Retail clients that sell guns, ammunition and other weapons must have detailed policies and procedures for handling these sales. Will processes need to be changed if new legislation is passed? Do store employees need new training? Some retail stores may have some employees — such as managers or security guards — who are armed in the event of a robbery. How will changing gun laws affect those individuals?
  • Business clients as well as government agencies need to have emergency response plans in place in the event of a workplace shooting or other violence that leaves employees and guests injured or killed. Counsel your clients on how to create and implement these plans.
  • Winter and spring are active hunting seasons. Remind hunters of the process for obtaining a hunting license and gun permit, as well as the local laws related to hunting various types of game.
  • All gun owners should be well educated on the guidelines for safe gun handling and storage. Homeowners will also want to ensure that their property insurance company knows they have guns in the home. Make sure firearms owners know that they could be personally responsible if someone is injured or killed by their unsecured guns.
  • Firearms owners and gun opponents may want to contact their elected officials and provide feedback on proposed legislation. Guide clients through the process of identifying their city, state and federal representatives. Also offer tips to help people express their opinions in a persuasive manner.
  • What do gun owners in your area need to know if they want to sell or otherwise dispose of a firearm? The rules related to private sales vary depending on whether the buyer and seller live in the same state or different states.
  • People convicted of certain types of crimes cannot legally own, possess, transport, ship or receive firearms. Criminal defense attorneys should talk to those clients about the ramifications of firearms ownership and how a convicted criminal can legally relinquish a gun in his or her possession.

Read more of Samantha Miller's tips here.

5 Ways to Get More Clients in 2013

My colleague at The Rainmaker Blog, Stephen Fairley, offers 5 ways to get more clients this year. Here they are:

1. Make marketing your priority. The primary objective of your business is the marketing of your professional services; your secondary objective is then the delivery of those services. Most attorneys have it backwards.

Simply because you may deliver excellent service and provide enormous value, clients do not automatically knock your doors down.

The key to building a long term, solid practice is the quality and consistency of your marketing much more than the actual delivery of your services. Working on your business is much more important than working in your business.

2. Choose positioning over prospecting. Positioning is building up your reputation so that prospects come to you. Those who position themselves correctly can pick and choose clients, whereas prospectors hustle and struggle to get clients.  Start positioning yourself as the "go-to" person for legal solutions by sharing your valuable knowledge, expertise, and education with prospects.

3. Use education-based marketing to attract new clients. This is the process used by industry leading service professionals to attract and enroll highly qualified prospects by giving them what they want, not by selling or promoting.

The key is to look for opportunities to create and give your information away, which in turn will position you as the expert. As a result, you will create a powerful magnet to pull clients to you.

4. Design, create and give away information products to generate leads. Many highly successful attorneys are avid writers and producers of information products. In terms of positioning, creating an information product will attract highly qualified prospects that view you as an expert in your field, and as a result, will pay top dollar to work with you.

5. Become a specialist, not a generalist. This is a big one. Highly successful attorneys are specialists at one thing. When people think of that one thing, the specialist comes to mind. Prospects who want that one thing will pay top dollar for the specialist.

Read his article at The Rainmaker Blog.