Thursday, April 17, 2008

Law Firms Go Green: Environmental Marketing

Nixon Peabody is one law firm to go "Legally Green" (see They have incorporated expertise from several practice areas into an Environmental "Thought Leadership" service group for clients. Equally important, the law firm has also adopted sustainable building practices where possible and is committed to following environmentally friendly law firm operations.

Wendel Rosen is another law firm that promotes its "green" status. In order to get certified by the Bay Area Green Business Program, the firm presented an educational series on sustainable practices to all firm employees. They developed a Sustainability Team comprised of attorneys and staff. The team analyzed all of the firm's environmental impacts and made recommendations for areas of improvement. Some were undertaken immediately, and others are being phased in over time. See:

As part of its environmental sustainability efforts, the Minneapolis law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. is switching to wind-generated electricity to provide 100% power for its law firm’s headquarters. See:

These law firms are discovering that doing good is good for their legal business. This is a great way for the early adopters to gain favorable press coverage while providing a community service and demonstrating their commitment to being good corporate citizens.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for Law Firm Marketing

Last week I had the privilege of addressing the Associaton of Legal Administrators (ALA) West Palm Beach Chapter on the topic, "Courting Your Clients: The Administrator's Perspective." One of the questions that came up was about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software services that are suitable for law firm use. Here is list of some of the leading CRM providers.

Act! by Sage, Premium 2008

Contact Ease


InterAction® Lexis-Nexis

Microsoft Dynamics


Tracking your leads is a critical element in successful law firm marketing. You will want to record how you found your prospect, the date they became a prospect for your legal services, and future dates for follow up action.

Turning a prospect into a client for your law firm is essential to your practice expansion. Don't leave this important process to chance!

NEW: In response to a question posed by a reader, the choice of a software package depends on the number of users, offices, and your budget. Goldmine and Act! are widely used within small to medium businesses. They can be purchased at Office Depot or Staples starting at a price of about $200.

Other applications are typically priced by the "seat" or number of users, and typically involve installation of software and possibly hardware. Interaction is used by very large law firms. is different in that it is Internet-based, so there is no software or hardware required. You should speak with each vendor directly to determine which service is right for you. Contact us if you need help in the evaluation process.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Best Practices in Law Firm Positioning: Stand Apart from the Competition

As we research business development opportunities for attorney and expert clients, our work takes us to dozens of law firm web sites on a regular basis. We will start to share with you some of the best practices in law firm marketing that we discover.

Today we are impressed by the registered tag line of Andrews Kurth: "Straight Talk is Good Business.®" Visit their site at to see how they carry out this theme visually and also weave it into their law firm marketing operations. For example, attorney presentations are listed on the web site as "Straight Talk Appearances."

The firm speaks directly to current and prospective law firm clients when they promise not to "hide behind the legalese." The implication is that they are a business partner with a roll-up the sleeves approach to evaluating options, measuring risk, and making informed decisions.

Navigation on the site is also excellent. I particularly like the search feature on the left side of the page.

Too many law firms today focus on what they do, rather than approach marketing from the client's perspective. Andrews Kurth offers a good example of straight marketing.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Associate Programs Feel the Pinch of Law Firm Budget Cuts

"Law Firms Curtail Associate Programs as Economy Slows," is the topic of a 4/14/08 article on page B1 of The Wall Street Journal.

As the economy slows, some firms are trimming expenses in the associate area. Examples include the law firm of Thelen Reid, which recently dismissed 26 associates from its staff of 550 lawyers. The firm also shortened its summer associate program from 8 to 11 weeks. Pillsbury Winthrop, an 800 attorney law firm based in New York, is also giving summer associates two weeks less time (from 12 to 10 weeks). Chicago-based Sonnenschein Nath actually rescinded offer letters to two summer associates and two first-year associates in the Charlotte, NC office.

A bottom line focus is absolutely essential, and cutting expenses is one way to manage personnel costs. A top line emphasis is also essential. More law firms should consider providing their associates with business development training as a means of opening additional avenues for new revenue.

Young lawyers a few years out of law school tend to have a strong electronic network of friends and acquaintances, even if they do spend a lot of hours behind a desk. This Facebook generation can tap into college chums and law school buddies who may be working at global Fortune 500 companies or fast-growing upstarts that need legal service.

Frequently associates simply don't know the basic steps of identifying an ideal client, determining legal needs, talking about possible solutions, or closing a sale. Investing in a few hours of business development training for associates is likely to generate a strong return on investment in the near term.

Now is a good time to get "all hands on deck" in looking for revenue opportunities.