Saturday, April 12, 2008

Law Firm Marketing Mistake: Failure to Invite the Connection

Almost every law firm web site we visit has a menu option entitled something like "Practice Areas." Once you click on the link you are presented with anywhere from 5 to 20 different legal practice areas; some even have sub-practice areas.

"So what's wrong with this?," you ask. The answer is that invariably there is NO PERSON TO CONTACT once you get to the practice page of interest. This is not a good law firm business development technique.

If I am a prospective legal client and I want to get information on the Energy Practice in your law firm, who do I call? Most law firm web sites leave me guessing. I can try to call the reception in the main office, at which point I am likely to hear lots of mumbling and/or get transferred around (I speak from experience).

I could also try to find the right contact by searching the "Attorneys" menu option on the law firm's web site, but too often I'm presented with a list of dozens of lawyers with little indication of which one can help me.

Here's the solution: always list the Practice Chair or key contact person (ideally an attorney) for each practice area on the practice page. Provide their direct dial number, email address, and a link to their bio page. This is a very simple step.

Best Practice: Vedder Price does a nice job of introducing different members of the firm. See:

Help your prospects make contact with your attorneys! You might even get some new business or alliance partners this way.

Law Firm Marketing Tips for Search Engine Optimization

Last week the Legal Marketing Association's South Florida City Group held a meeting on Internet marketing.

As the group's 2008 Co-Chair, I had the honor of moderating the session featuring speaker Jay Berkowitz, CEO of Ten Golden Rules (

Here are a few Internet marketing "best practices" for law firms that Jay shared with the group:

1. Using the analogy of "an apple a day," Jay suggests adding one page to your web site every day. Of course, this is not always possible given the demands of a busy law firm. However, the point is that adding fresh copy to your law firm's web site on a regular basis is an excellent way to gain great search engine visibility for your legal practice.

2. Try to get clients, associations and other partners to link to your law firm's web site. Inbound links will increase your search engine placement on Google and other search engines.

3. "Search Engine Optimized PR" is also important for search engine visibility. When issuing a press release, post it to your web site about 24 hours in advance of releasing it to a wire service so that search engines can read and create a link to the release. Be sure to include important keywords in the headline and body copy of your press release.

As I always say, "you must be present to win on the Internet." These are great tips to help create high rankings in the search engines (Google, Yahoo! and others) for your law firm.

Law Firm Restructuring: Anderson Kill sets an Example

I just came across an interesting announcement from earlier this year that merits a mention in terms of law firm marketing and strategic planning.

The New York-based law firm of Anderson Kill & Olick, P.C. was faced with the amicable departure of 69 shareholders to Reed Smith after terminating merger discussions. Taking a proactive stance, Anderson Kill issued a press release announcing that it was refocusing its practice on the firm's core competencies in about six key legal practice areas. Read the release here:

There are times when downsizing or refocusing is the right step in a firm's business development cycle. Such a dramatic action allows you to restate your mission and re-energize the team. In today's turbulent market conditions, perhaps your own firm will benefit from a refocusing or streamlining action.

The tighter your focus, the more effectively you can allocate resources. You will also be able to develop and communicate your USP (unique selling proposition) to the marketplace more forcefully.