Friday, February 13, 2009

Where do Laid Off Lawyers Go?

Yesterday U.S. law firms announced 800 job reductions, mostly among associates and staff. What's an unemployed lawyer to do?

The lucky ones will be able to land a job at another firm. Some may find in-house work, while others may join the government or simply leave the practice of law.

For the entrepreneurially minded lawyer, there is always the option of hanging out one's own shingle. This long-term career choice puts the lawyer squarely in charge of their destiny. Instead of looking for a job, they must immediately start the continuous search for quality clients.

Here is a "quick start guide" to marketing essentials for a new law firm:
  • Register your URL, which costs about $10/year (
  • Select your service offering and identify a targeted audience
  • Build a web site to promote your firm
  • Invest in quality stationery and presentation materials
  • Get an office address and phone
  • Send out an announcement card to everyone you know
  • Brush up your "elevator pitch"
  • Join the networking circuit and hand out lots of biz cards
  • Establish your referral network of attorneys, past clients, bankers, others
  • Get active with your local Bar association
  • Register for referral services from state and local bar associations
  • Get listed in online directories (Martindale, FindLaw,, others)
  • Announce your new law firm in local legal and business publications

Consider partnering with other attorneys who may be in a similar position. Perhaps you can share expenses or leads.

Overall, start quickly and NEVER STOP MARKETING!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sponsorships Power Referral Networks

The International Technology Law Association ( announced yesterday that Greenberg Traurig, LLP renewed its sponsorship of the ITechLaw Global Sponsorship Program.

Despite economic hardships faced internally and within the tech sector, GT demonstrates that it makes sense to maintain a law firm's active marketing and business development profile throughout the business cycle.

This is one example of how a sponsorship can put your law firm in the spotlight with key decision makers. Members who are in a position to retain your firm or refer you in the event of conflicts represent a good investment of business development dollars and time.

ITechLaw is "the world’s premier organization representing lawyers in the technology sector." The organization’s global membership spans six continents and embodies a broad spectrum of expertise.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Sokolove PI Marketing Machine

Personal injury attorney James Sokolove of Newton, Mass. is featured in a recent edition of the Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly.

Recognized by many as one of the best legal marketers in the country, The Law Offices of James Sokolove, LLC is reported to have an ad running somewhere in the country every eight seconds. The multi-million ad budget (reportedly $20 million in 2007) generates hundreds of thousands of phone calls each year. Cases resulting from this intense marketing blitz are referred to other lawyers on a referral fee basis.

The referral fee arrangement is said in the article to mirror the co-counsel's contingency fee. For example, if the co-counsel take in a case is 30% then Sokolove's share is 30%. Of course, the true details are between the contracting parties and splits will vary on a number of factors.

The Boston firm of Lubin & Meyer is one of the few publicly identified "affiliates" or "co-counsel" in the Sokolove firm's reported 15,000 open cases. Other law firms in the Sokolove network are not identified, but it sounds like the firm is always looking for new co-counsel.

Sokolove is of course well known as one of the first U.S. attorneys to aggressively market his law practice, back in the days when advertising was considered a non-lawyerly activity.

According to the firm's site, they operate as a limited liability company in all states except Virginia, California, Michigan, and Tennessee, where the firm operates as a limited liability partnership. Read more at

If you are a PI firm looking for a fresh source of case leads, check it out. At a minimum, take some pointers from one of the legal industry's best practitioners.