Monday, January 31, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

"Five Tips for Smarter Social Networking" from John Hagel III and John Seely Brown in the Harvard Business Review. Raise your hand if you're tired of reading lessons on online social networking. Me too. So why did I recommend this post? Because the five tips don't apply just to online networking, but to networking full stop, and in doing so hammer home the real lesson of social networking: it's networking. Do it right. Here's some good tips.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Holden Oliver's "Rule 5: Bombarding the client in real time" from What About Clients? Over-communicating is rarely a bad thing, especially when you're being paid for the work you do on someone else's behalf. Not the "man, I had to work so hard for you today, stayed up all night" variety, but the kind that sounds like "this is what I did today, who I talked to, what I wrote. And here's your copy." If your client doesn't know you did it, you didn't. Make sense? It makes even more when Oliver says it. Read this post.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Kevin Houchin's "4 Questions: Finding Your Authentic Marketing Niche" at Lawyerist. What do you like to do and are really good at? For most of us, questions like this are not particularly easy to answer, but if you're embarking on a law practice, you can't ignore them. Read the post. Answer the questions. The bonus? You get advice like this:
Following the money first is the wrong move because if you don’t have a passion for the work and the people you will NEVER stick with the niche long enough for the investment of energy, time, and money to pay off.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Bruce MacEwen's "First in a Series on Strategy in the New Normal" at Adam Smith, Esq. When MacEwen writes about strategy, I sit up and listen. Read this piece and you will too. Especially if you're looking for the "next new thing in strategy." When you're done, read part two: "Second in Our Series on Strategy: Strategic Planning 101." It will energize you:
Strategic planning is nothing less than carefully and unblinkingly assessing what your firm's actual capabilities are and, accordingly, specifying what your firm can actually do better than anyone else. With that premise in hand, you can then decide which markets you most want to reach.

And go after them with a vengeance.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Erin Casey's "1-on-1: How to Communicate More Effectively" in Success Magazine. Effective communication is hard. There are no shortcuts. The great communicators, the ones we admire, who engage and amuse us, who make it look so easy, work tremendously hard at crafting and delivering a message that will move you and motivate you to act. This post, an interview with speaker and trainer Terri Sjodin, will has some good advice on how to articulate a message that will be heard.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Stacy West Clark's "20 Free Services Lawyers May Want to Offer to Clients" from The Legal Intelligencer (posted on the site). There may be 20 suggestions on this site, but they all boil down to one: "add value." Find ways to make sure your client gets more from having you as her lawyer than good solid legal work. She can get that from any number of lawyers. Help her be more successful. Reading this post is a great start.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Russell Smith's "12 Ways Offshore Legal Outsourcing Could Shake Up the Law World in the New Decade" from his blog, Law Without Borders. This post presents a thoughtful and insightful analysis of not just the issues surrounding outsourcing, but of the global practice of law in the 21st century. This is important stuff, and Smith articulates the challenges facing lawyers and firms -- and the solutions that will shape the profession -- better than most. Put it on your list of required reading.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Jim Hassett's "Why alternative fee revenues will keep going up" on his blog Legal Business Development. This post is a nice shout-out for Cleveland-based Tucker Ellis & West, which continues to lead the pack in alternative fee arrangements: 60% of their 2010 revenues came from AFAs. Read it for valuable insight into Tucker's methods and why they continue to push for non-hourly fee arrangements. Shouldn't you be doing the same?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Legal Bizzle's "It’s not about the biscuits" on his blog The Bizzle. Legal Bizzle is an in-house lawyer who tells it like it is. In this post, he answers the question "Do you buy law firms, or lawyers?":
For me, the answer is clear: I buy lawyers. The most important thing for me is having an adviser that understands my business, and in particular its commercial drivers and its appetite for risk.
But that's not the half of it. Read the post to learn why he hires the lawyers he does. Then start doing what those lawyers do.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Richard Granat's "Will LegalZoom Become the Largest Law Firm in the US?" on the eLawyering Blog. LegalZoom is challenging traditional methods of legal service delivery -- and the ABA Model Rules of Professional Responsibility -- and in doing so just might make law more accessible to consumers. Whatever you think of LegalZoom, these developments are important. This post (and this one from Scott Greenfield) explains why.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Leigh Dance's "How low can you go - clients continue to flex their muscles on costs" in Legal Week. Whether or not you believe that, as Dance argues, price is now "the undisputed heavyweight champion in legal services today," this article should make it clear that client concerns about cost are not going away merely because you want them to. Get out in front of your clients. You know what keeps them awake at night. Work with them to find solutions that will help them sleep better. Reading this article is a good start.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Heather Morse's "A lawyer is like an iPhone" at The Legal Watercooler. No, this post isn't about technology. Or about lawyers adopting Apple's marketing techniques or innovation or creativity. It's about relationships and fidelity. It's about aligning your service interests with the business interests of your clients. It's about listening to your clients, hearing what they want, and changing the way you provide services to satisfy those objectives. Read it, then take a hard look at what your clients need from their lawyers. Any changes you should make?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Beth Flynn's "A Relational Rule of Life," written as a guest post on Thoughtful Legal Management. When was the last time you really focused on the relationships that drive your success? Not just the who and the what and the where, but the why and the how? This post lists ten guidelines for "developing leadership by cultivating relationships."  They're really ten steps for improving the value of your relationships by improving your relationship skills. Read them, and get to work.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jayne Navarre's "social.lawyers: Transforming Business Development"

Websites, Blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube: what’s a lawyer to do? Should they blog? Should they be on Twitter? How much does social media cost? How can lawyers control what appears on their Facebook page? Should they even try? What’s SEO? What benefits does a social media presence truly provide? For many lawyers, marketing is at best a necessary evil, something they must do but don’t particularly like or understand. Add in the Internet, technology, and the cute and clever names that abound in the Web 2.0 world, and lawyers have good solid reasons to develop a marketing strategy of sticking their head in the sand until all this “social” stuff goes away.

The good news? There’s ample guidance. But sorting through the mountains of articles, presentations, blog posts and white papers to separate the rare wheat of useful advice from the all-to-common chaff of hype and sales pitches is an unfamiliar and overwhelming task. And one that is virtually impossible to complete: a Google search of the words “social media” and “lawyer” reveals nearly 1.5 million hits today, a number that increases every single day as more and more social media experts turn to the legal profession in search of new client opportunities (and more and more lawyers turn to social media consulting in search of revenue).

It’s against this background that Jayne Navarre has written social.lawyers: Transforming Business Development (Thomson Reuters, 2010), a comprehensive, thoughtful and practical guide to social media that deserves a place on every lawyer’s bookshelf. Full of no-nonsense advice and illustrated by myriad examples, social.lawyers provides an in-depth look at the technologies and strategies of social media and the specific steps lawyers need to take for creating an online presence. It’s an easy read, written not as a legal brief nor as a trendy new book on trendy new technologies, but as a valuable guide for any and all lawyers who have realized that they need to have a social media strategy, one that they can and will execute.

social.lawyers opens with a general discussion of how the Internet continues to change the way in which lawyers and firms market their services, but Navarre quickly moves to the practical: seven “steps for effective change” designed to ease the awkward passage that all lawyers experience when they first engage in social networking. In doing so, she sets the tone for the entire volume: first, a methodical exploration of the “what,” second, a logical point-by-point analysis of the “why,” and finally: a step-by-step description of the “how.” Navarre then neatly wraps up the practical tips with a set of case studies featuring "social lawyers," lawyers who have embraced social media, changed the way they market themselves and their practices, and successfully implemented social marketing strategies that have positively impacted their practice.

Throughout the book, Navarre does a great job of breaking down that which can appear to be insurmountable – like developing and sustaining a legal blog or selling an aggressive social media strategy to a BigLaw firm – into understandable, bite-sized pieces that have a reasonable chance of getting done. Readers will not be disappointed by her skillfully crafted lessons that span the full range of social media and social networking topics, from search engine optimization to privacy to blogging and Facebook and LinkedIn and authenticity and a whole lot more.

I feel like I've known Jayne Navarre for a long time, even though we only met in 2008. That’s probably because I've learned so much from her, from her work as a board member in the Legal Marketing Association, as an in-house law marketing and business development leader, as a blogger and a social media consultant. She gives practical, real world advice, the kind that only comes from someone who has spent enough time in the real world to know what can and should get done. The kind of advice that fills the pages of social.lawyers. Get your copy and see for yourself.


Disclosure: Jayne references 22 Tweets, the live Twitter interviews of lawyers that I do, a couple of times in the book as she details the marketing habits of social lawyers. Thanks, Jayne!

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Gary Godsey's "The lost art of storytelling" in Smart Business. A great story is a great marketing technique, whatever you're selling. Don't think your client representations can be described as tales of passion and heroes and antagonists and transformation? Sure they can. It won't be easy, of course, but all the elements are already there: you represent people with problems to resolve and obstacles in their way. This post will help you articulate your work as stories, the kind that engage clients and give them a reason to hire you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Dennis Kennedy's "Happy New Tech Year: 4 First Steps for the Next 365 Days" at the ABA Journal. Looking for some simple resolutions, the kind that actually help you change, that you won't break mid-January? You can stop looking. You don't need to lose 20 pounds or start going to the gym every day to improve your relationship with technology, just read this post and follow this advice.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Heather Colman's "A Strategic Staged Approach to LinkedIn" at LinkedIn is a great networking tool, but only if you use it. This post describes how -- and why -- one mid-sized firm is helping its lawyers do just that. It's a good primer for anyone not yet on LinkedIn, as well as those with "place-holder profiles." Think you're past that point? There's something here for you, too (see "second phase).

Friday, January 7, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Lee Rosen's "SmallLaw: Here Is the 2011 Marketing Plan for Your Law Firm You Were Going to Prepare" in the TechnoLawyer Blog. Need help writing your marketing plan? Read this post. It's full of practical suggestions that will get you from "I need to write a plan" to "what am I doing today?" in no time flat. Remember, you don't have to change the world, just make some plans and execute them.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Robert Algeri's "2011: The year that content marketing becomes king" from The Great Jakes Blog. Think merely being online and engaged is enough? Think again. Unless you have good content, the kind that clients read, that they print out and share with their colleagues, that they turn to when they need solutions, they're not going to your website, Twitter feed or Facebook page. This post tells you why.

While you're at it, check out Algeri's companion piece, "2011 – The year that law firm websites become 'publishing platforms'" for more good ideas re content marketing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Ilana Rabinowitz's "Three Marketing Trends for 2011" from Social Media Explorer. The trends discussed in this post -- storytelling, emotion, and purpose and meaning -- are neither novel nor earthshaking. But they're no less important for it. People like stories, especially ones told with emotion and purpose. This post reminds us of that, and gives some useful insight into how to do it right.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Adrian Lurssen's "What Surprised You In 2010? Perspectives from Legal Professionals" in JD Supra's The Scoop. It may not be right to recommend a post that features yours truly, but I'll do it anyway. This post provides great insight into the issues and trends currently on the minds of a wide range of lawyers and legal professionals. It's a good read for anyone in the profession. Want more? Read the full article, which includes their answers to the question: "What should lawyers expect to see in the new year?"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Today's Law Marketing Resource

Jim Durham's "Ten Things You Should Know About Every Client" from The Hubbard Perspective. Durham is the chief marketing and business development officer for McGuireWoods, so he brings a decidedly BigLaw focus to this post, but that shouldn't keep you from reading it. There's something here for everyone, from AmLaw 100 partners trying to land new Fortune 100 clients to solos building on relationships they've established with individual prospects. "There is no such thing as too much information," writes Durham, and this post will help you figure out what info you need.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top Ten Law Marketing Resources of 2010

In 2010, I featured more than 100 posts on this blog. Here are my favorites.
  1. Dan Hull's "The 12 Rules of Client Service" from What About Clients? 12 rules. 83 words. There's no fluff here, just practical, to-the-point principles for aligning "the interests of clients/customers and service providers to the fullest extent possible." Read them. Print them out and tape them to the wall above your computer screen. Make them part of your personal mission statement. You, and your clients, will be glad you did. Every so often you come across a blog that feels like home. What About Clients? is that blog.

  2. Adrian Baron’s "Lost in Translation. The Advantages of a Bilingual Law Practice" from his blog The Nutmeg Lawyer. I've spent close to half of my life living or working outside the US, so this post resonates particularly well with me. But that's not why I like it so much. I like it because the underlying message isn't that lawyers should speak another language because it makes them smarter or richer, but because it will allow them to help people who might not be able to get good legal advice because they aren't fluent in English. The bonus? Baron tells a great story. Telling good stories, and if you're lucky great ones, is a powerful marketing technique. This is how one lawyer does it right.

  3. Joe Kelly's "The 53 Runner’s Commandments" on the Pine Belt Racers Club website. Every runner knows that running is a philosophy, not an activity. Like being a lawyer. Today's post hammers that home. Read these 53 commandments, and ask yourself where you might be able to slip in "lawyer" or "client service" or maybe even "value" to make them relevant to you. Yeah, not all of them apply to lawyering, but if you read closely and think about how some of these commandments might help you be a better lawyer, they will.

  4. Jim Hassett’s "Another mistake: Overestimating the value of personal relationships" from his blog Legal Business Development. Think your clients are still your clients, day after day, year after year, because you play golf and tell jokes and have great fun together? Think again. Personal relationships no longer drive business. But don't take my word for it. Read this post, and the multiple examples Hassett cites, and you'll agree that value is the new golf.

  5. Richard Russeth's "If Nordstrom's Was A Law Firm, I'd Give Them All My Business" from his blog, The Last Generalist. Lawyers, here's a new year's resolution that will make you smarter: read this blog. In this post, Russeth shares seven common client service mistakes he's seen as general counsel to an international company. Think they don't apply to you? That you'd never commit them? Forward this post to your clients, and ask THEM to rate YOU. They'll love it, and you'll probably learn something.

  6. Adrian Lurssen's "Social media delivers law firm content to people who want it" from The Scoop. See also "Social media is not about distributing your law firm's content to people", the post from Kevin O'Keefe that inspired Lurssen's post (and another on the same topic that Kevin wrote last year: Distribution of law firm content is not what social media is for).

  7. Bruce MacEwen’s "Report from London" from Adam Smith, Esq. I've recommended MacEwen's posts before. His observations on what firms are doing, delivered in a no-nonsense, "identify-the-problem-and-solve-it" style, provide valuable insight into the economics of the legal profession. This post is no exception. Yes, it's written for the AmLaw 100 crowd, but that doesn't mean that other lawyers won't find it useful. This is what is happening right now. How are you going to respond to it?

  8. Mark Herrmann's “Inside Straight: Business Development” series from Above the Law. I never thought I'd be recommending Above the Law as a law marketing resource, but Herrmann's new "Inside Straight" columns have given it a decidedly more practical focus. "Part 1" draws on Herrmann's experience on both sides of the aisle -- as seller and as buyer -- as he looks for an answer to the question "business development: what works? In "Part 2," the second installment of what we hope will be an ongoing BigLaw-lawyer-gone-in-house biz dev advice series, Herrrmann addresses every lawyer's favorite marketing tool: the brochure. His take? "...I now typically delete them unread." But there's more to this post than poking fun at law firm brochures. Herrmann uses "Part 3" to answer a question he's already answered before (which might even be the wrong question to ask). But hey: as far as we're concerned, he can write about blogging as business development tool as often as he wants, because each time he adds new insight.

  9. Carolyn Elefant’s "Why Law Firms Should Wow Their Current Clients" from Nolo's Legal Marketing Blog. It's easy to focus your marketing dollars and efforts on finding and landing new clients. But it doesn't always make the most sense: studies show that it costs 11 times more to bring in a new client as it does to get additional work from an existing one. This post gives a good, common-sense, look at how you can make your current clients happier, and how it will always help you in the long (and short) run. While you're at it, check out "A Short, Concise Client Development Tip" on Cordell Parvin's Law Consulting Blog for more tips on how you can make clients happy by showing them how much you care about their business.

  10. "12 Leadership Guidelines for Leading through Learning in Turbulent Times" from Michael McKinney on Leading Blog. You probably won't ever need to rebuild a 53,000-employee, embroiled-in-chaos-after-its-founder-and-chair-resigns-amidst-massive-accounting-fraud company. But Priscilla Nelson and Ed Cohen did. This post captures 12 guidelines they followed as they turned Satyam Computer Services around. Powerful advice for any leader. Want more? Check out their book Riding the Tiger: Leading through Learning in Turbulent Times.