Thursday, September 02, 2010

Law Firm Economics: On the Rebound?

$342/hour was the average equity partner's 2009 billing rate, while a $400/hour rate put a partner in the top quartile, according to the recently released ALM Legal Intelligence 2010 Survey of Law Firm Economics, subtitled "Weathering the Storm."

Other survey highlights include:
  • Realization rates are now 85.9%, down from 88%
  • Billable hours for equity partners averaged 1,636 in 2009
  • Billable hours for associates fell slightly to 1,746 hours
  • The ratio of associates to partners is at its lowest level in 25 years
  • The ratio of support staff to attorneys is .88:1, the lowest level on record
  • Average compensation per equity partner is $358,035
Click here for more findings from the ALM 2010 Survey of Law Firm Economics, or visit ALM Legal Intelligence. Contact ALM via email or by callling 888-770-5647.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

5 Legal Marketing Tips for September

Today marks the start of a natural business sales cycle. As Labor Day approaches and the summer schedule fades, here are 5 simple attorney marketing tips to help you get more business.

1. Reconnect with your network. Back to school means back to work. Organizations that went dark over the summer now offer lots of “meet-and greet” opportunities. Think of your 10 best referral sources, and make a point to reconnect with them at upcoming events.

2. Target 3 -5 prospects. Business development is a top priority at many law firms these days. Write down a list of new client candidates, and then do your homework to identify key decision makers and issues facing each company or industry. Use the many networking events available to you this Fall to make personal contacts with these prospects. Work your way up to a personal meeting as part of your effort to offer legal solutions.

3. Market to your current clients. Existing accounts are your best source of new revenue fast. Consider a client newsletter, client alert, e-newsletter, or other marketing communication that offers value. Remind clients of your full range of services for maximum cross-sell and up-sell benefit.

4. Increase your social media marketing efforts. Whether you are a novice or an expert, pick up the pace on your digital marketing communications. LinkedIn is an excellent place to start with the legal crowd, as well as Martindale Connected, JD Supra, and many others.

5. Polish your elevator pitch. You’ll need it for all the new networking events. Make it short and sweet: a) say what you do in a brief yet memorable way (i.e., ours is “we help lawyers make more money”); b) say who you do it for; and c) offer a quick benefit statement. Make a mental note, also, of the pitch provided by your conversation partners.

Start your planning efforts today and over the Labor Day weekend, so that you can get a quick start on your September business development goals.

Contact the author to discuss legal marketing ideas for your firm.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Start Social Media Legal Marketing with LinkedIn

Setting up your company profile on LinkedIn is a good first step on the path to social media marketing for law firms.

Your company profile page can feature a wide range of information, including location, website, number of employees, practice areas, and recent news. LinkedIn users, like prospects or future employees, will be able to "follow" news about your firm also.

Here are step-by-step instructions from LinkedIn. Please note that you must have a company-owned email domain in order to set up your profile.

Click on "Companies" found under "More" in the top navigation bar of the LinkedIn menu.

Click on the "Add a Company" link found in the upper right area of the page.

Type in your company's official name and your email address at the company on the "Company Name and Email" page. If your email address is already tied to an email domain for an existing Company Profile, you will be prompted to click on the existing Company name to edit the Profile.

If your company email address is not a confirmed email address on your LinkedIn account, a confirmation email will be sent to the company email address. The email text will give you a link to log in to your LinkedIn account. Be sure to log in to LinkedIn with your current primary email address. This will confirm your email address and add the email address to your account.

If your email address is confirmed, you will be taken to the "Create a Company" page that will allow you to enter information about your company.

Click on "Create a Company" once you have completed the required fields.

If you do not have a registered company owned email address to create a Company Profile you may still create a group to promote your business.

This process does not take long, and works well to increase your law firm search engine visibility.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Social Media BlogChat: a 60 Minutes for Bloggers

#blogchat is a weekly conversation that takes place every Sunday night starting at 8:00 p.m. CST on Twitter. It is hosted by Mack Collier, and each week a different topic is discussed.

Last night it was "open mic" on various aspects of blogging, and I participated for the first time. Imagine Twitter on steroids; hundreds of Tweeters furiously typing questions and answers in a continuous stream of 140-character posts for a solid 60 minutes. The transcript for the August 15 session runs 126 pages!

Some of this week's discussion topics included:
  • Use of videos in blogs
  • How to select topics to write about
  • Blog copywriting techniques that engage your audience
  • Ways to add value for blog readers
For those attorneys who are trying to learn social media as part of their legal marketing initiatives, this is just one example of free educational events where you can ask questions of experts, or gain the benefit of listening to tips from more experienced users.

On the other hand, it also demonstrates how intertwined with the Internet legal marketing has become. Even marketers have a hard time keeping up with the daily advances in digital marketing campaign capabilities. From video to podcasts, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, SEO, and more, there are dozens of ways for a law firm to attract prospects online.

It was fascinating to see new ways the Internet brings like-minded people together in real time to collaborate, communicate, and create new relationships.

Find me on Twitter: @RainmakingLady