Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Making your firm's pitch exemplary. But not in the "don't do this" way.

Mark Herrmann's "Inside Straight: A Tale of Two Pitches" at Above the Law. It's hard to say what makes a pitch successful. Or unsuccessful for that matter, though the anecdotes are generally a lot more interesting when pitches don't go well. Most of the time it's just a matter of degree, of nuance, of being able to convince the in-house team that you and your firm are smarter / more experienced / more efficient and that you really can help them better / cheaper / more quickly than the others. Herrmann's post gives a little bit of insight into those nuances, the ones that make the difference between doing it right and doing it wrong.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Marketing your law practice: are you asking yourself the right questions?

Lee Rosen's "Marketing: Does It Take Time or Money?" on his blog, Divorce Discourse. Sometimes the difference between success and failure comes from asking the right questions. Rosen's post does just that. But you shouldn't read this post solely because Rosen asks an important question, one that you should ask yourself, early and often. You should also read it because Rosen answers that question, and because his answer gives valuable insight into the who, what, when, where, why, and how of marketing a law practice.  Read it and you'll agree.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saving money on online research is good. Saving time is better.

Louis Abramovitz's "Cost-Effective Web Tools for Business Intelligence" at Law.com. Online resources for competitive information and business intelligence have never been more plentiful, or more comprehensive. It wasn't so long ago that the only way one could find the latest SEC filings or last month's news stories or the educational background and personal interests and work history or this or that general counsel was very expensive. But there's still a cost associated with online research, even if the data itself is free. Sure, Abramovitz's post will help you control the money you pay for business intelligence. But more importantly, it will allow you to reduce the time you spend gathering intelligence. And that's value you can take to the bank.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's 10:00 am. Do you know what your firm's new business intake procedures are?

Steven Burchell's "Rethinking New Business Intake at Law Firms" in Law.com's Law Technology News. Let's face it. Automating the new client and matter process generally doesn't sit in one of the top spots on a law firm's to-do list. But that doesn't mean it doesn't make sense: "A well-designed automated new business intake system will also improve business continuity, reduce cost, and improve the integrity of data across the IT enterprise." Burchell's post identifies the key challenges establishing and adopting a system, and provides the solutions you'll need to overcome them. Read it, even if you're convinced your firm doesn't need an automated system. Because you just might need one more than you think.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Getting the most from your marketing efforts, the single-minded way.

Merrilyn Astin Tarlton's "Six Steps to Single-Minded Marketing" on the Attorney at Work blog. If you're not reading Attorney at Work every day, you should be. Because their "one really good idea every day" is almost without fail just that: a good idea, that will help you better market your firm, run your practice, understand technology, and do just about anything you do.

Today's post is no exception. Before you join all the social media sites you can find, before you start blogging, before you buy that ad space or sponsor that dinner or hire a PR pro to help you get the word out, you need to figure out just what it is you like to do, are good at, and want to be when you grow up. You need a plan, or you might just find yourself somewhere you don't want to be. Astin Tarlton's post will help you write that plan.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Maybe the ability to say "no" is the real silver bullet.

Eric Fletcher's "The Quest For A Silver Bullet" on his eponymous Eric Fletcher Blog. Looking for a silver bullet? Yeah, you and every other cowboy who rode into this crowded legal services marketplace. But the truth is that silver bullets don't exist, for lawyers or anybody else. Success is a function of effort and focus and discipline, not volume and hope and chasing down everything that even remotely looks like an opportunity, whether it sits in your sweet spot or not. And more often than not, success comes from knowing what you cannot do, the work you should not try to land, the opportunities you should not pursue. Fletcher's post reminds us that saying "no" is an important part of strategies that work.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

C'mon in, lawyers! The social networking water's fine!

Aviva Cuyler's "LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter: The Changing Face(s) of Social Networking for Lawyers" on JD Supra. "Lawyers understand networking," writes Cuyler. So why is "social networking" so hard for so many? For starters, it's the vocabulary, which makes "everything just a touch harder to understand than it needs to be." But there's nothing hard to understand about Cuyler's article. And after you've read it, there probably won't be much that is hard to understand about social networking, either. It's a great overview of the Big Three for lawyers, as well legal marketers and anyone trying to articulate the value of social networking to lawyers. Read it, and jump in. You might get a little wet, but there's no better way to figure out how it works for you and your practice.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Better communication? It's as easy as 1, 2, 3 (and 4, 5, 6)

Kevin Allen's "Preparing for a job interview? Read these 6 tips first" in Ragan's PR Daily. The title for this post is a bit misleading, because Allen's advice applies to far more than job interviews. He's really writing about communication. Of all shapes and sizes. So it's relevant not only to job seekers, but to everyone who has to sell themselves and their work, in job interviews and client pitches and sales calls and even at the cocktail reception. Allen reminds us that communicating well takes forethought, organization, and self-evaluation, and his post will help you with all three.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tired of hiding in plain sight? Optimize your website and you won't be.

"Optimizing Your Online Shingle: On-Page and Off-Page Best Practices" by Robert Ambrogi and Steve Matthews in the ABA's Law Practice Magazine. Google's announcement that three-week-old Google+ has already reached 10,000,000 users serves as a powerful reminder of the increasingly fragmented landscape for marketing a legal practice online. But an active online presence is useless if you don't have a website that describes what you do, one that communicates how you help your clients and articulates your value. Because social networking is only part of the picture: sometimes (and perhaps most of the time), clients and potential clients find you not when they're chatting with friends on Twitter, but when they're looking for a lawyer that does what you do. So before you populate your Google+ feed, before you build your firm's Facebook page, before you create your YouTube channel, you need to optimize your website. Because if the search engines don't know about it, a tree falling in the forest can make all the sound it wants and still not be heard. Don't be that tree. Read today's post.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The secret to a successful client relationship? Teamwork.

J. Richard Hackman's "Six Common Misperceptions about Teamwork" at the Harvard Business Review's HBR Blog Network. Lawyers may have know all along that conflict and face-to-face interaction and hard work lead to greater success, but they should still be able to learn something from this post. And they should: when you frame the lawyer-client relationship as a team dedicated to achieving your client's business and strategic and personal objectives, figuring out how to make that team more successful becomes your principal priority. Because if you don't, your client may just decide to change teams. And that's not good for anyone.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sorry Google+: a lawyer's best friends are her clients, not her tech tools.

Scott Preston's "Technology is not your friend – your client is" on 3 Geeks and a Law Blog. To honor this week's release of Google+, today's post is about using technology, the cutting edge kind, to interact with clients. But it's not a post about shiny, happy people using shiny, happy tools to foster shinier, happier relationships. It's more like a giant level-set for everyone who thinks that Twitter and Facebook and Google+ and all of the private and semi-private law practice networks they have joined will automatically give them something they never had before. They don't. Technology is a tool. And while tools may facilitate communication, they don't build relationships. People do. Start using technology the right way. It's a lot more work than sending a few tweets, but in the end, it might actually pay off. Preston's post will point you in the right direction.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Finding your zen. The legal pricing way.

John Wallbillich's "Zen and the Art of Legal Pricing: Summary" on his blog Wired GC. Still trying to sort out alternative legal pricing? Understand the billing arrangements that clients are looking for, and how you can provide them? Rebuild your delivery of service model around value instead of time or documents or stuff? You should be. Because doing nothing is standing still. And standing still is the new moving backwards. Wallbillich's post, and the eight "Zen and the Art of Legal Pricing" posts behind it, will give you the perspective you need to move your pricing strategy to the next level. You clients will thank you. And making clients happier is a great way to find your zen.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Law firm pitches from a buyer's perspective. Any questions?

Nino Cusimano's "In-House Counsel Tips for Landing an Outside Counsel Gig" in Corporate Counsel. If yesterday's post told you how to make your client happy once she hired you, today's will get you in the door. Part common sense, part insider baseball, part plea for raising the typical law firm pitch bar, Cusimano's post is full of invaluable advice for saying and doing the things that make in-house counsel -- the people who decide whether or not to hire you -- sit up and take notice. In a good way. Because when you make the right pitch, the one that demonstrates your ability to do the work, your sincere interest in working for that company, your integrity, your honesty, your focus, "sit up and take notice" often manifests itself as "when can you start?"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Want to be a good lawyer? Think like a client.

Bradley Tupi's "What I Learned In-House That Helps Me Succeed in a Law Firm" in Corporate Counsel. If you're one of the lucky few like Tupi, who cut his teeth practicing as a government then in-house lawyer before moving into a firm, then you might not need to read this post. But if your background hasn't given you the chance to see the world from the other side of the fence, to understand what the people who send you checks every month are thinking, Tupi's insight will. Read the post. You'll learn something. And that just might help you be a better lawyer.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sorry Ford: digital security is the new Job One.

Stephanie Kimbro's "Top Ten Basic Security Practices for a Virtual Law Office" on her blog Virtual Law Practice. Although Kimbro's intended audience for this post is the virtual law office crowd, her security tips make sense for everyone. Keeping your data secure--whether you're working from home or in a brick and mortar office or even (gasp...) sitting at your favorite coffee shop--is vital to your practice, to your clients, to your reputation. And it's getting harder to do: according to a recent Ponemon Institute study, the chance of being hacked has become a "statistical certainty" for businesses of every type and size. Read the post. You need to know this stuff.