Many lawyers believe they are not benefiting from the time and money spent on marketing their firm. Online marketing can seem complicated and time-consuming and most lawyers do not want to seem self-promoting so hiring marketers seems like the best option. However, the fact is that marketing a personal brand is both necessary and not as hard as it seems. Especially in solo and small practices, lawyers are marketing their reputation every day by building relationships online and in their offline communities. But in a field where everyone is doing the same thing, where should a lawyer start and how does he or she stand out from the crowd?
In this episode of The Un-Billable Hour, Christopher Anderson interviews legal marketing consultant Mary Beth Monzingo about the importance of marketing a personal brand, how lawyers can start building relationships and connections with potential clients, and tips to a successful online marketing strategy. Monzingo encourages lawyers to market themselves at all times whether working with a client on a case or while engaging in outside hobbies and activities. Additionally, lawyers need to attend networking conferences, connect with other lawyers, stay in touch with law school alumni, and be an active part of associations and organizations. Online, lawyers should be available on most social media outlets, create valuable content, have a ‘call to action’ on their website, and always maintain a consistent presence. Monzingo encourages every lawyer to spend 2-5% of their revenue on marketing in order to see an increase of 10% or more. And, don’t forget, consistency is key.
Mary Beth Monzingo is the managing partner of Monzingo Legal, a consulting company for legal marketing and management, business development, and law firm recruiting. A specialist in helping lawyers start and build their law practices, she has consulted with hundreds of attorneys in structuring successful firms, implementing marketing departments and strategies, and recruiting top talent for expansion and growth.
Legal Talk Network producer Laurence Colletti interviews Casey Flaherty, a speaker in two events at the LegalTech West Coast conference. The events included discussions about facilitating discovery, maintaining good rapport during government investigations, and how to begin working with regulatory bodies. Flaherty examines how technology can help smaller law firms compete and client billing perspective. Casey Flaherty, corporate council for Kia Motors, developed a basic technology competency audit for law firms and has appeared on several Legal Talk Network podcasts.
Legal Talk Network producer Laurence Colletti interviews legal engineering and development specialist Tim Hwang at the LegalTech West Coast conference. Together, they discuss using technology to automate and streamline legal services, how these automation systems affect solo and small firm marketing, and the ABA’s concerns over quality control. Hwang is the junior partner for Robot, Robot, and Hwang, a research and development startup and law firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. At LegalTech,Tim took part in the speaking event titled, “Competitor or Frenemy.”
Many lawyers want to start their solo careers as a general practice, thinking that they will attract more clients if they offer a variety of services. However, when it comes to marketing strategy, lawyers who focus on one practice area create a stronger brand and are more successful in the long run. The right solo practice could involve a personal interest, fill a hole in the market, and/or provide previously unavailable online or unbundled services. The important thing is for every lawyer starting a solo practice to create a business plan and do research before choosing a field of law. Recent law school graduates and lawyers leaving big practices alike need to find their niche area of law for success.
In this episode of New Solo, Adriana Linares interviews law practice management professor Stephanie Kimbro about lawyers starting solo practices, areas of law to consider going into, how to start market research for a business plan, and ways to differentiate a practice from the existing market. Kimbro suggests lawyers find specialized niches based on their interests such as online dispute resolution, veteran law, or immigration law surrounding a specific community in order to engage with their clients and market their services. For lawyers without a niche, she suggests alternate billing, unbundling legal services, integrating technology, and researching market needs for prospective clients. Instead of worrying that technology is replacing legal jobs, lawyers, and specifically solos, need to change the way they think of services, fees, and law firm marketing.
Stephanie Kimbro is an adjunct professor for many law schools including Wake Forest, Conchord, Florida Law School, and Michigan State. She primarily teaches the use of technology in law practice management, unbundling of legal services, and virtual law practice. Prior to working with Burton Law, a virtual law firm, Kimbro operated a web-based virtual law school in North Carolina for six years and delivered unbundled estate planning to clients online. In addition to her virtual law practice, she is a technology consultant and serves on many prestigious law committees.
In this Special Report from Legal Talk Network, producer Laurence Colletti interviews ALM’s Editor-in-Chief Monica Bay about the LegalTech West Coast conference. Together, they discuss the power-packed line up of speakers (listed below) as well as debuts for innovational products and services. Notwithstanding its tenure in Los Angeles, this event is moving to a new city for next year. Tune in to hear about this year’s show and its future.
Monica Bay is the Editor-in-Chief of ALM’s nationally-acclaimed publication Law Technology News. A leader in Internet-media, Bay helped The Late Show with David Letterman establish their first website on America Online and has been with ALM since 1985. She has received numerous awards for editorial excellence from Associated Press and The American Society of Journalists Sigma Delta Chi.
The majority of people today are getting their information electronically, whether on a laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphone. In the legal world, this means lawyers, paralegals, clients, and even judges are reading on screens rather than paper, causing them to skim pages and have a constant source of distraction. Because of this, paralegals and legal professionals need to change the way they write in a way that grabs attention and delivers the message. How should paralegals write in order to captivate busy lawyers and clients in today’s technological world?
In this episode of The Paralegal Voice, Vicki Voisin interviews appellate lawyer and successful legal writing expert Kevin Dubose about changes in the way lawyers read and communicate today and how lawyers and paralegals can adapt their writing skills to be read on a screen. There are 5 new features of the working environment that have changed the way everyone reads: online distractions, value speed over content, backlit screens, multiple windows, and email. These features, Dubose explains, encourage clients, lawyers, judges, and most everyone else to skim pages for important content and avoid long, convoluted paragraphs, sentences, or even words. In order to capture attention, he says, paralegals should write using headings, bullet points, short paragraphs, and start with the conclusion. Most importantly, write for the reader and you will have done your job.
Kevin Dubose is an attorney for and one of the founding partners of the appellate boutique, Alexander Dubose Jefferson & Townsend LLP. He has been the Director of Legal Research and Writing at UHLC and is a frequent CLE speaker and author. He recently spoke at the Houston Paralegal Association’s annual conference on the topic of Successful Legal Writing Strategies for Today’s Readers.
Special thanks to our sponsors:
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Wearable technology like the smartwatch is the next in a long line of new technological advancements that are embraced by some, but viewed skeptically by most lawyers. Judges already discourage smart phones in court and many clients worry about a decrease in information security. But if used properly, a smartwatch can actually increase the productivity, availability, and even safety of any lawyer’s practice with fewer disruptions. What are the best practices for using wearable technology to benefit your practice?
In this episode of The Digital Edge, Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway interview legal technology expert Richard Georges about wearable technology, how smartwatches enhances his ability to be productive, and what lawyers need to consider when adopting this new technology. Having a smartwatch, Georges explains, actually decreases court disruptions and car distractions while making him accessible to clients at all times. Most of the issues concerning data security are due to human error rather than technology. As long as lawyers learn how to properly embrace wearable technology, he says, it can improve any practice from big law to a solo firm. The risks are not greater, they are simply different.
Richard Georges practices in real property, corporations, wills, trusts, and estates law in Pinellas County, Florida. A self-proclaimed tech junkie, he is well known for writing the Futurelawyer blog and has taught many seminars on technology and the law.
Legal Talk Network producer Laurence Colletti interviews Paul Hastings partner Art Zwickel about the changes in regulation for investment fund marketing. Zwickel explains that there are new technology systems and services that assist in-house legal teams in complying with the new regulations including the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) in Europe and the JOBS act in the United States. Zwickel specializes in investment management law at Paul Hastings and is on the board of directors for the California Hedge Fund Association.
New applications and accessories for the iPhone and iPad consistently promise to improve the professional and personal lives of lawyers. However, with limited time and so many options, it is difficult for busy lawyers to keep up with trends and make educated decisions about which products will make their practice more efficient and which might be distracting or impractical. Tech junkies and new iPhone acquirers alike can benefit from an update on the best new products to improve a lawyer’s Apple experience.
On this episode of The Legal Toolkit, Heidi Alexander interviews iPhoneJD blog author Jeff Richardson about his favorite iPhone and iPad apps and accessories that lawyers use in their practice and lives. Richardson and Alexander list their favorite iPad, iPhone, and universal iOS apps for professional uses such as document readers, presentation tools, and Twitter managers, as well as apps for personal uses like podcasts or meditation. Because they are almost never free, accessories are best purchased with a positive review. The favored accessories included mobile hard drives, docks, cases, keyboards, and the best bags in which to carry everything else. While not every lawyer will benefit from all of the tech products listed, in 30 minutes, all will learn about the next app or accessory that can improve their practice.
Jeff Richardson, a litigator for Adams and Reese LLP in New Orleans, is well known in the legal tech industry for his website iPhoneJD.com which helps lawyers who use iPhones and iPads in their practice. Founded in 2008, iPhoneJD has been named the best legal technology blog more than once by the ABA Journal.
“All right, Mr. Demille, I’m ready for my close-up.” Video phone calls have been talked about for many years, from the time this famous line appeared in the movie Sunset Boulevard. Videoconferences are becoming widely used in law firms and other businesses; many lawyers, legal professionals, and HR departments are using them to provide the feel of a meeting room without the time and expense of traveling. Therefore, it is important for professionals to be prepared for the technical and visual components of their next video chat.
In this episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss the rise of video use in calls and online meetings, the challenges and opportunities of video, and how lawyers can prepare for their video close-up. They consider several features that would improve videoconference services such as chat, screenshare, group messaging, and multi-platform compatibility and compare Zoom.us to Google hangouts and other platforms. In addition to examining personal visual components such as lighting, dress code, and in etiquette in each video conference lawyers also need to understand the ethical implications of recording witnesses or discussing strategy. In these instances they can be left with discoverable electronic data.
As their second topic, Kennedy and Mighell discuss the current state of portable computing and whether touch screens and combo laptops might be a better personal option when replacing older laptops. As always, stay tuned for Parting Shots, that one tip, website, or observation that can be used the second this podcast ends.