Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling That Limits on Attorney Advertising Turns 15 Years Old Today

Monday, June 21st, 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 15 years ago today that the Florida Bar would be legally authorized to prohibit lawyers in Florida from solicitation accident victims or their family members within 30 days of the accident.  The ruling stated that the Florida Bar Association had substantial interests in protecting the privacy rights of accident victims and the reputations of attorneys.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion back in 1995 was unexpected in light of previous high court rulings on attorney speech.

The bar had passed the rule after conducting a two-year study which showed that many people looked unfavorably on the legal profession using such advertising.

A lawyer-referral service known as Went For It, Inc. and its attorney owner argued that the rule infringed on the First Amendment rights of attorneys and noted that the U.S. Supreme Court had protected “truthful” attorney ads since 1977.

However, a sharply divided Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and reasoned that the public perceived many attorney-solicitation letters as an invasion of privacy that reflected poorly on the legal profession. They cited citizen letters, including one that read: “I consider the unsolicited contact from you after my child’s accident to be of the rankest form of ambulance chasing and in incredibly poor taste.”

The decision led other states to pass similar waiting periods on solicitation letters.

Custom Website Lawyer Affiliate Program Launched by LawyerSuccess.com

Friday, April 16th, 2010

April 16, 2010 – Lawyer Success, Inc (http://www.lawyersuccess.com) launches a new affiliate program. The has several sub programs within the affiliate program and also pays top dollar for each sub program. Here is a list of the affiliate programs we are offering at this time.

AFFILIATE PROGRAMS OFFERED:

You have the choice between receiving a fixed payment per lead with bonus on the sale of the lead or receiving a portion of the contract value. The average fixed payment per lead is $50 with a bonus of 3 figures. The portion of the contract value varies between the high 3 figures and the low 4 figures.

1. Custom Lawyer Website Design Leads

2. Lawyer Pay Per Lead Generation Leads

3. Lawyer Internet Marketing Leads

4. Lawyer Content Development Leads

5. Law Firm SEO Leads

If you would like more information about our custom website lawyer and internet marketing services affiliate partnership program. Please call James Greenier at (769) 218-6099 for more details.


Hildebrandt interprets impact Of economic crisis on legal industry

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Hildebrandt interprets impact
Of economic crisis on legal industry

Janet Ellen Raasch

Janet Ellen Raasch is a writer, ghostwriter and blogger (www.constantcontentblog.com) who works closely with professional services providers – especially lawyers, law firms, legal consultants and legal organizations – to help them achieve name recognition and new business through publication of keyword-rich content for the Web and social media sites as well as articles and books for print. She can be reached at (303) 399-5041 or jeraasch@msn.com.


The recent economic crisis has had a significant impact on everyone – including most law firms. In 2007, profits at many law firms were up a healthy ten percent. By late 2008, profits were down between five to 20 percent. In 2009, year-end profits will likely average between flat to down 15 percent from 2008.

“For most law firms in the current economic environment,” said Kristin Stark, “’flat’ is the new ‘up’ – although there are notable variations by size, location and practice area.

“Things have stabilized but, at this point, we do not expect much change for the last quarter of 2009,” said Stark. “We do not anticipate a dramatic upswing in firm performance in 2010. It is likely to be a slow recovery.

“Larger law firms operating in major financial centers have suffered the most,” said Stark. “Smaller firms and those located in secondary cities (like Denver) have been affected – but not as significantly.”

Bankruptcy remains the most in-demand practice area, increasing by 18 percent during the first three quarters of 2009. Demand for litigation has increased slightly — 1.3 percent. Transactional practices like capital markets, real estate, tax, general corporate, and mergers and acquisitions have been hit hardest and continue to struggle.

Stark is a senior director in Hildebrandt International’s Strategy Group. Hildebrandt (www.hildebrandt.com) specializes in professional services firm management and publishes the quarterly Peer Monitor index of law firm performance, which provided all the data cited in this presentation.

Stark spoke at the monthly educational meeting of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association (www.legalmarketing.org/rockymountain), held Nov. 10 at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Denver.

“In addition to a sharp decline in demand, declining profits are due to slow collection cycles (realization is down four percent), rate pressures (financially strapped clients are very resistant to rate increases in a buyer’s market) and declining productivity (especially among non-equity partners),” said Stark.

Law firm response

Law firms have responded to these market conditions by making sharp cuts to overhead. As recently as 2008, total law firm overhead expenses increased 8.2 percent. Due to intensifying focus on expense control, total overhead expenses decreased 0.6 percent from the previous year in the first three quarters of 2009.

An analysis of the percentage change over a rolling 12 months indicates that expense increases for occupancy fell from 9.2 percent in 2008 to 8 percent in 2009; expense increases for technology fell from 9.5 percent to 2.1 percent; expenses increases for library fell from 11.8 percent to 2.2 percent.

Law firms actually cut expenses in the areas of non-lawyer compensation (from an increase of 8 percent in 2008 to a decrease of 0.5 percent in 2009), marketing (from an increase of 6.4 percent to a decrease of 9.7 percent) and office expenses (from an increase of 7.9 percent to a decrease of 14.8 percent).

“I am puzzled in particular by the dramatic cuts in marketing expenditures,” said Stark. “Wouldn’t you think that in an environment defined by less demand and high client frustration, lawyers and law firms would be expanding marketing efforts rather than making cuts? This clearly demonstrates the (unfortunate) historically low value placed on marketing.”

The traditional way for law firms to weather economic downturns – cutting overhead and raising rates — are no longer enough. “Law firms must expand their efforts to understand the marked shift in client attitude that is the product of this economy,” said Stark. “After ten years of a ‘seller’s market’ we have rapidly shifted to a ‘buyer’s market.’

“Clients now hold the power where pricing is concerned,” said Stark, “and these clients are angry and frustrated. This downturn has quickly compounded long-term client perceptions of poor value and misalignment of resources in exchange for high rates.

“The most market-savvy law firms understand that clients currently enjoy a growing number of options to get legal services cheaper and faster,” said Stark. “These firms are actively pushing ‘big moves’ to reshape their firms – and the legal industry.”

These include:

? Corporate clients are currently focused on cost, value and predictability. In the ACC Value Challenge, for example, in-house lawyers are able to grade law firms’ performance on six “value” criteria – and view the grades of others. Use a formal interview process to understand what your clients want.

? The long-standing debate over alternative pricing has reached a “tipping point.” Clients expect fixed fees for commodity work and flexibility when pricing all but the most critical “bet the company” work.

? The trend towards convergence is accelerating. In order to exert pricing pressure and encourage better partnership, clients will cut their roster of outside counsel and give more work to those who are willing to be flexible.

? There will be no client tolerance for rate increases for “business as usual.” Any rate increases must be justified by obvious increases in value.

? Increasingly, contracting for outside counsel is being handled by skilled corporate procurement departments – not general counsel. These decisions will be based more on cold cost and less on warm law-school relationships.

New roles for marketers

Traditionally, the role of marketing in law firms was reactive and focused on marketing communications.

To keep pace with emerging trends sparked by the current economy, the role of marketing in law firms must follow a more progressive and proactive model – and add new capabilities in research, strategy and sales. “You will see fewer generalists and more specialists – dedicated to a particular practice or industry segment,” said Stark.

In the area of research, marketers will be responsible for market/client analysis, internal analysis, competitive analysis and client feedback programs.

“Marketers will proactively identify client concerns and develop methods to address these concerns,” said Stark. “Good ways to do this include ‘deep dive’ in-person client interviews, secondments (where lawyers spend time working at a client’s site) and inviting clients to speak on panels at law firm retreats.”

In the area of strategy, marketers will participate in planning and targeting, development of new products and services (including the hiring of laterals to provide those services), and creation and maintenance of referral alliances.

“In particular, you will see marketers fully participating in pricing and profitability decisions,” said Stark. “In many cases, they will come to the table with financial expertise or advanced degrees in these areas. It takes a lot of skill and research to price profitably on a non-hourly basis. Do it wrong and you can lose a lot of money.”

In the area of sales, marketers will focus on the retention and growth of existing clients, the targeting of new business opportunities, and sales training and coaching to help lawyers (or dedicated sales personnel) turn these opportunities into new client relationships. “What is really new in this evolving model for a competitive marketplace is the strategic identification and ‘poaching’ of clients from other law firms,” said Stark.

“All in all, this is no time for law firms to be cutting back on marketing expenses or personnel,” said Stark. “Be sure that your lawyers understand the real value being added by the marketing function. Proactively drive strategic marketing approaches to help your firm differentiate itself from the competition. Communicate and demonstrate value in order to support your closer involvement in critical client issues.

“By taking aggressive steps now, you can position your firm to come out of this economic crisis well ahead of its competitors,” said Stark.

| Corey Trotz | Corey B Trotz, Attorney Memphis, TN

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Corey B. Trotz

488 South Mendenhall
Memphis, TN 38117
Practice areas: Personal Injury Plaintiff: General (80%), Personal Injury Plaintiff: Products (10%), Workers’ Compensation (10%)

Selected to:

Mid-South Super Lawyers 2008
Mid-South Super Lawyers 2007

Lawyers – Forget about love and hate: Strive for “professional”

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Forget about love and hate: Strive for “professional” In your relationship with reporters

Janet Ellen Raasch
Janet Ellen Raasch is a writer, ghostwriter and blogger (www.constantcontentblog.com) who works closely with professional services providers – especially lawyers, law firms, legal consultants and legal professionals – to help them achieve name recognition and new business through publication of keyword-rich content for the Internet as well as articles and books for print. She can be reached at (303) 399-5041 or jeraasch@msn.com.

Lawyers and law firms often maintain a love-hate relationship with reporters. When they have good news to tell about themselves or their clients, they actively seek media attention. When the news is not so good, they try to duck around the corner.

Pestering a reporter at some times and avoiding the same reporter at other times gives a mixed message and can lead to a not-very-productive relationship. A reporter’s job is neither to help lawyers and their clients nor to hurt them. It is to provide readers with the objective information they need to know in order to make good decisions about their personal and business lives.

Most reporters understand and respect the professional constraints placed on lawyers – especially when it comes to client confidentiality – as long as this need does not unreasonably conflict with their need to report the news. Lawyers would do well to treat reporters with equal respect. A balanced, professional approach works much better — for both parties — than a love-hate relationship.

A panel of reporters and editors for daily, weekly and monthly publications discussed the reporter’s perspective before members and guests of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association (www.legalmarketing.org/rockymountain). The presentation was held March 10 at The Denver Press Club.

Participants included Greg Griffin, reporter at The Denver Post; Cara DeGette, managing editor of Law Week Colorado; Renee McGaw, reporter at The Denver Business Journal; and Mike Cote, editor of ColoradoBiz magazine. Moderator was Lisa Simon, chief marketing officer for law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

A reporter’s perspective

Before pitching a story idea to the press, carefully review the publication to see which kinds of articles it runs and to determine which reporter covers the appropriate “beat.” All of the panelists said that they prefer to be contacted by email or by phone – not mail. A “blanket” press release that has obviously been sent to many publications will get less attention than an email or phone call offering an exclusive.

The definition of “news” in the eyes of a reporter or editor can vary with how often a publication appears, although there is some overlap. A daily publication wants to be the first to cover news as it happens (although all publications relish the opportunity to break important stories). To appeal to a daily, you must be timely with your news and provide the name of a lawyer who is ready and able to talk.

“As a weekly, we have the luxury of having more time to interpret the news,” said DeGette. “Because of Law Week’s unique focus on the legal industry, we often can include stories that would not qualify as news for a reader of The Denver Post. If a story has already run in the daily newspaper, we will be looking for a fresh angle on that story.”

A monthly magazine is rarely interested in news that broke weeks ago. “Rather, we are interested in trend ideas that lead to lengthy analytical articles – usually around 3,000 words in length,” said Cote. “Recently, for example, we ran a piece comparing jobs in the ‘new energy’ economy with those in the traditional energy economy.”

A daily newspaper, for example, might run the news that a new law has been adopted at the state or federal level. A weekly (or the Sunday section of a daily) would be more likely to consider and write about the impact of that law on local law firms (Law Week) and businesses (The Denver Business Journal). A monthly might write about the lengthy lobbying effort that contributed to passage of the law.

Each reporter and editor indicated an interest in ideas that provide a local or regional perspective on a legal trend or a national or international business story. Weeklies provide editorial calendars, and are particularly receptive to stories that fit within their calendared themes. None wants to dedicate much time or energy to news that has appeared in a similar form in a competing publication.

News about routine events like the hiring of new attorneys, the promotion of existing attorneys, an expansion into new space, or the announcement of various awards and appointments is welcome, but likely to end up as a short mention in a “people on the move” or “business changes” column rather than a stand-alone article.

All about deadlines

Receptiveness to a story idea has a lot to do with a publication’s deadlines. At the daily paper, reporters prefer to have a story no later than 3 p.m. – but can extend that deadline to as late as 10 p.m. for important breaking news. The Sunday business section, which includes more interpretive content, is printed on Friday night. “If I am going to put the time into a feature article,” said Griffin, “I’ll want it to be an exclusive.”

Law Week goes to press on Monday and The Denver Business Journal on Wednesday. “We are always frantic, so these are the absolute worst days for trying to ‘pitch’ a story idea,” said McGaw. “You might get an abrupt reception on an idea that I might find quite appealing just one day later, when I need to provide my editor with three good ideas for article for the next issue.”

ColoradoBiz magazine goes to the printer mid-month and generally assigns articles to its freelance reporters two months or more in advance of publication.

All of the publications maintain online as well as print versions – where an article (like a late-breaking jury verdict in a newsworthy case) can be posted immediately without regard for print deadline, often appearing later in the print version as well.

Terms of use

The “hate” side of the love-hate relationship comes into play when a reporter initiates contact for a story that the law firm did not initiate – and perhaps does not want. If you want a reporter to answer your email or phone call when you are pitching news, you need to respond with equal interest when the reporter is seeking news.

Promptly return the email or phone call to find out what the reporter wants. Ask about deadline. Ideally, you have anticipated the call and are ready with an approved statement and spokesperson. If not, promise to call back (well before deadline) after you have done some research.

If the reporter’s query involves the business operations of the law firm, be as forthright as you can. Never say “no comment” – which is almost always perceived by reporters and readers as an admission of guilt. Chances are good that the story will appear anyway in some way, shape or form; make sure your point of view is included.

If the reporter’s query involves a specific matter for one of your clients (rather than a trend or a comment on a case involving another firm), be sure to get permission from the client before commenting. Even in cases where your representation is public – based on public documents — you need specific permission before you can disclose the attorney-client relationship.

“Before you actually disclose any information to a reporter, be clear about your terms of use,” said DeGette. “If you want your discussion to be off-the-record, both parties must agree to these terms up front.” Journalists can use off-the-record information to uncover related facts or to find other sources that might be willing to speak on the record.

“Once a statement is ‘on the record,’ you should not expect that a reporter will take it off,” said DeGette. “Make sure that your lawyers understand this.”

“Off-the-record” or “background” information is not for publication. “Unattributable” information may be reported (without using direct quotes) and the source characterized in very general terms (not sufficient to identify the speaker). Information that is “on the record” can be quoted and attributed to a source.

“Generally speaking, we only use an anonymous source when there is a good reason for anonymity and it is critical to an important story,” said Griffin. (The Denver Post’s policy on anonymous sources is available at http://www.denverpost.com/ethics.)

Meet the press

Lawyers and law firms that do not respect the practical and professional rules of professional journalism will only alienate reporters and editors – making it much less likely that they will want to work with you going forward.

“Nothing burns a relationship like working hard on a story, seeing it in a competing publication before you go to print and needing to scrap it,” said Cote. “You will not soon forget the lawyer or law firm that wasted your time.”

The panel concluded with a discussion of preferred ways for lawyers and law firms to build constructive relationships with the press. “The best way,” said Griffin, “is to be a steady, reliable and responsive source of ideas that lead to good stories – ideas that fall into the traditional news categories of first, best or most.”

Reporters and editors welcome invitations (off deadline) to meet face-to-face with lawyers for a focused discussion of their areas of expertise and potential story ideas. A good list of informed, reliable sources in a wide variety of practice areas — who can be called upon for background or a quote — is a valuable resource to any reporter covering a legal beat.

A law firm’s relationship with the press should be based on neither love nor hate. Rather, it should be based on mutual professionalism – where journalists understand and respect the needs of the legal profession and lawyers understand and respect the needs of the professional journalist.