Friday, February 04, 2011

Social Media Posts by a 3rd Party: FL Bar Rules

Ethics in Blogging was the topic of a presentation I made this morning at the Broward County Bar Association, with co-presenter Alan Anthony Pascal, Esq. of The Florida Bar.

Posts to a lawyer's social media page by a third party was one of the topics we covered. Below please find some highlights from the Florida Bar Guidelines for Networking Sites, which applies to Florida attorneys as well as lawyers from other states who are soliciting business in Florida.

Third Party Posts

"Although lawyers are responsible for all content that the lawyers post on their own pages, a lawyer is not responsible for information posted on the lawyer’s page by a third party, unless the lawyer prompts the third party to post the information or the lawyer uses the third party to circumvent the lawyer advertising rules."

Removal of Non-Compliant Information from a Lawyer's Page

"If a third party posts information on the lawyer’s page about the lawyer’s services that does not comply with the lawyer advertising rules, the lawyer must remove the information from the lawyer’s page."

Request for Removal of Info on a Page Not Controlled by the Attorney

"If the lawyer becomes aware that a third party has posted information about the lawyer’s services on a page not controlled by the lawyer that does not comply with the lawyer advertising rules, the lawyer should ask the third party to remove the non-complying information. In such a situation, however, the lawyer is not responsible if the third party does not comply with the lawyer’s request."

Lawyer Social Media Pages are Exempt from Filing

"Finally, the Standing Committee on Advertising is of the opinion that a page on a networking site is sufficiently similar to a website of a lawyer or law firm that pages on networking sites are not required to be filed with The Florida Bar for review."

Page references in these guidelines can include a LinkedIn profile, a blog comment, Twitter profile, Facebook page, etc.

Read the Florida Bar Guidelines for Networking Sites here.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

CLIENT Rainmaking with a Legal Marketing Plan

Law firm marketing without a plan is like driving to a new and distant destination without a roadmap. You are sure to get lost! Creating an integrated attorney marketing plan is one of the first steps covered in the book Courting Your Clients.

CLIENT RainmakingTM is actually an acronym, where the "C" represents creation of a clearly written integrated business development plan. Here are all the steps in the process:

C Create a customized business development program
L Launch your initial business development campaigns
I Inspect the results of your campaigns
E Educate your audience on legal solutions
N Nurture the leads you develop with prospective clients
T Team with your new clients to build trust

Your marketing plan should contain strategic goals expressed as the number of new accounts you want to establish and associated revenue. Marketing techniques like building a strong referral network, marketing to current clients, speaking and publishing will help you create campaigns to generate high quality new prospects.

You may ask what it means to have an "integrated" marketing program. Simply described, it means promoting your firm simultaneously across multiple marketing channels. Law firms integrate their marketing programs by focusing on a narrowly defined competitive message and positioning statement, then communicating that message consistently across all business development efforts. You need to determine the right blend of marketing tactics for your firm, based on your message and market.

Purchasers of legal services operate in a fast-paced environment today and are often bewildered by their options when it comes to retaining an attorney. Your integrated marketing program should reach your prospective audience: 1) in the places they are looking; and 2) when they are ready to retain legal services. This will give you a better chance of winning a new account.

Visit this page for a sample of a 2011 attorney marketing plan.

Contact Margaret Grisdela to discuss marketing ideas for your law firm.

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