Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Client Relationships via Blackberry

Interesting article in The AmLaw Daily today by Paul Lippe, Founder of, titled Welcome to the Future: The Intimacy Imperative.The author suggests that long-standing close personal relationships between law firm partners and clients are increasingly left behind in today's technology-driven, sophisticated global economy.

He predicts that future relationships can be rebuilt in large part on social media and other Web 2.0 applications. This Rainmaking Lady agrees that the article serves to underscore the importance of law firm technology adoption to perform effectively with emerging communications techniques.

Here is an excerpt from the artcle ...

"Let me suggest that, counterintuitively to many firms, Web 2.0 technologies (of which Twitter is just one) actually offer the best way to reestablish Intimacy. Clients are already using Web 2.0 systems to share profiles and playbooks, to access and comment on law firm memos and alerts, and to get away from email and attachment overload in large matters, in both privileged and non-privileged modes of communication.

These systems combine the serendipitous communication of the water cooler with the formal structure of the database. Wikis, blogs, profiles, Twitter, and like tools can be used to share existing knowledge or collaborate on new work, both high volume work like commercial contracts and high complexity work like major case litigation.

... clients are inexorably leading the way back to a technology-enabled [world] that firms ignore at their peril."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Florida Law Firms Realign to Meet Market Conditions

Palm Beach County law firms are responding to market conditions through lateral hires, smaller office space, and the launch of new boutique law firms, according to a Palm Beach Post article titled "Law Firms Breakup, retool for new opportunities."

Change creates opportunity, and bank failures, real estate foreclosures, and lack of deal funding has changed the dynamics of this upscale community. Despite ranking #34 on the U.S. list of top 100 counties by income, Palm Beach County is nevertheless struggling to clear a backlog of 55,000 foreclosures.

Some enterprising attorneys see this as a great time to start a new firm, as was the case with Breton, Lynch, Eubanks & Suarez-Murias, P.A. Other regional or out-of-state firms that want to expand their Florida presence are scooping up attorneys fleeing firms that are losing market share.

As this Rainmaking Lady always says, never stop marketing! Business frequently goes to the best marketer in these challenging economic times, and that will not always be the same as the best lawyer.

Read the full article on the Palm Beach County legal market here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Associates Beware: 10 Legal Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Associates on the path to partner face the best and worst of time. Sure, the economy is tough, but this just means that young lawyers will be forced early in their career to hone the business development skills that will serve them well for an entire legal career. Plus, social media, Internet marketing, and other uses of free or low cost technology provide dozens of ways to attract the attention of qualified prospects.

Here are ten easy tips to keep your attorney marketing plan active and effective.

1. Invest in your client contact database. Time is the major investment in building your client and prospect file; you don’t have to buy any fancy software. A clean, accurate database easily translates into future billable hours. An Excel file will work fine. Note that if you keep your contact file in Microsoft Outlook, it can be difficult to export this critical data.

2. Ask for permission to call. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can call someone after a meeting to schedule a get together for lunch, breakfast, or coffee. Then do so!

3. Remember names and places. This is where your database can be a lifesaver. When you meet a new person, jot a few notes on the back of their business card after the event to remind you of items you discussed. Record personal items they might mention (i.e., kids, spouse, or previous employment).

4. Develop a strategic plan for your referral network. Most lawyers find that referrals from clients, non-competing attorneys, accountants, and bankers can supply a steady stream of qualified leads. Take this one step further and write down your plan. Prepare a timeline for how often you want to meet with your best referral sources. Once every 45-60 days is perfect. Referral sources with less frequent leads can be scheduled for every 3-6 months. Always be on the look-out for new “A” level referral sources.

5. Stay in touch. It may take at least 5-6 contacts before you warrant a place in your prospect’s memory bank. Don’t take this personally! Everyone is busy, so you need to maintain a reasonably high profile.

6. Remember to reciprocate when you get a referral. Returning the favor with reciprocal referrals wins extra points, especially when the referral comes from an accountant or fellow attorney. When you get a referral from a client, the following point works well.

7. Thank your referral source. A handwritten note works wonders, or a small but thoughtful gift might be appropriate. (A referral fee is up to the two parties, within ethical guidelines.)

8. Follow up! It’s true; 90% of success can be just showing up. It takes at least 3-4 contacts before a prospect becomes a client. Most attorneys give up or forget after one contact, leaving a lot of business on the table for their competition.

9. Write articles in legal and trade publications. A well-written article can add value to your CV for years to come. Plus, there are lots of ways to market your articles (post to your website, send to clients, include in proposal packages, etc.).

10. Stay LinkedIn. As you meet new contacts and stay in touch with law school classmates, invite everyone to become part of your LinkedIn account. This is your personal asset, which will travel with you as you may move from one law firm to another. LinkedIn is an easy way to maintain your visibility. (Visit author Margaret Grisdela on LinkedIn.

Remember, never stop marketing!