Another Reason Not to Advertise in the Yellow Pages

the yellow pages are dead law firm marketing legal marketingA California appeals court has reinstated a jury's $17.35 million damage award to more than 100,000 businesses and individuals who took out ads in Pacific Bell phone books that were delivered either late or not at all.

The Yellow Pages advertisers' money was wasted. 

Jurors awarded damages to advertisers in 66 of Pacific Bell's 163 directory service areas in the state, including the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, finding that the company had failed to use its "best efforts" to deliver the books as promised. In most cases, those were districts in which fewer than 94.5 percent of the directories arrived on time.

A Superior Court judge had overturned the verdict in June 2009 and dismissed the suit. But the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco overruled the judge on Tuesday and restored the verdict. The court said the advertisers had relied on a delivery verification survey by Pacific Bell's contractor, the nonprofit Certified Audit of Circulations, which offered the only data available.

The jury found that the plaintiffs "paid for advertising distribution services they did not receive," the court said, and they are entitled to compensation even if "precise proof of the amount of damage is not available."

The evidence, including admissions by phone company distribution managers, showed "ongoing, severe problems in delivering directories," said Presiding Justice Ignazio Ruvolo in the 3-0 ruling.

The suit was a class action on behalf of 380,000 advertisers in the yellow pages in California between 2002 and 2004. Plaintiffs' lawyer Michael Schrag said somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 would be eligible for damages in districts where the jury found inadequate deliveries.

If you haven't canceled your yellow pages ads yet, now is the time to do so.

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

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.

AZ State Bar Webcast: "Surviving the Recession"

Arizona State Bar, surviving the recession, law firm marketingPlease join me for this 90-minute webinar and live presentation sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona on May 6 in Phoenix and online too.  Visit WEBCAST- Surviving the Recession for all the details. Any lawyer in any state can attend. The course has been approved for 1.5 total CLE Units, all of which may be applied toward  Ethics.

I gave the program last year and here's what attendees had to say:

  • "The program is one of the most interesting that I have viewed online. Thank you." (Phoenix, AZ)
  • "This is absolutely amazingly well done. Critical thinking, clear language, practical: an excellent resource." (Scottsdale, AZ)
  • "This guy''s terrific. Can I buy a video?" (Scottsdale, AZ)
  • "Very interesting and I believe it will be helpful to my business." (Mesa, AZ)
  • "Excellent presentation! I like the fact that it was available online, especially since I needed 3 more credits by today!" (Scottsdale, AZ)

"Partners, law firm owners, solo and small firm practitioners who wish to avoid being victims of the worst economic downturn in our lifetimes should attend this special seminar. Hear from a 16-year veteran business developer on how to increase your clientele and revenue," the bar brochure states.

Program highlights:

  • The four hot practice areas for general practitioners.
  • How to keep the good clients you have.
  • In-person marketing and business development techniques to find new clients.
  • Marketing with technology tools like Twitter, LinkedIn, Webinars and blogs.
  • Writing your Personal Business Development Plan.

How can you go wrong with a $69 registration fee?  If you want to get more cleints and generate more revenue, I hope to see you there.