Managing social media accounts can be a full-time job, but many law firms don’t have the staff or time to keep their profiles up-to-date and engaging. Thinking up ideas for social media content seems simple if you’ve never managed a business account. But once you’re staring at a blank Facebook profile with no idea what to post, it quickly becomes apparent how time-consuming it can be.
Thankfully, on social media, doing something is better than doing nothing at all. The important thing is that you just start somewhere. You can always improve as you go; small changes can make a big difference and they add up over time. Even if you have only 15 minutes a day, here are five impactful things you can do to maximize your time and make your social media shine.
Attorney at Work has published its 28th annual list of trends in the legal profession, and it covers everything from law firm marketing and practice areas to technology. Primarily because of the recent election, the legal industry can expect major changes (and virtually every other industry as well). So how should your firm prepare? We’ve summed up some of the biggest legal trends to keep top of mind as the new year unfolds.
If you’ve read the news lately, it won’t come as a shock that cybersecurity, health care, immigration and environmental law are all poised to become hot practice areas in this new year. Also on the rise are related areas like elder law, infrastructure, and labor and employment. Energy is heating up too, although interest in alternative energy is likely to shrink. The one area likely to remain cold is bankruptcy—as long as the economy holds steady.
Thanks to the explosion of specialty diets and all-natural foods, the food, beverage and agriculture industries have been hot and will stay that way. The fledgling cannabis industry will need legal help due to the potential of significant product liability risk. And 3-D printing and other innovative manufacturing processes will continue to grow in 2017.
Attorney at Work picked the Steel City because, “its economy is fueled by banking, health care, tech and education”. The city’s top firms are steadily growing, and several national firms have opened offices there. Of course, don’t discount New York. Many firms are opening up shop in Manhattan due to the growing tech industry.
Law firms are facing more competition than ever and not just from other firms. Disruptive legal services like LegalZoom and in-house legal departments will continue to pose a threat, and many firms are focusing on business development as a response. Some firms have taken a page out of the accounting industry’s book by hiring full-time “sales executives” and marketing and business development consultants.
The structure of law firms will also continue to change. The number of equity partners is declining while contract lawyers are on the rise. Firms are recognizing the importance of strategic leadership and hiring non-attorney managers to head marketing, tech and project management. Some studies are indicating that more firms may elect women as partner, and mergers may reach an all-time high in 2017.
At a recent Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Breakfast Leadership Series event, Richard G. Reinis, the CEO and General Counsel of Krispy Kreme’s parent company, shared his first-hand experiences. He spoke about his involvement in the planning, fundraising, staffing and marketing of a start-up business that grew into the largest Krispy Kreme franchise in the country, and which survived a significant reduction. Read on for a few of our takeaways on building, staffing and marketing a successful business.
Clearly defining your overall mission for your business is vital; it will affect every aspect of your company from the leadership structure to individual employees’ goals. This vision should answer the question of why customers and clients should prefer a world with your company in it, rather than one without, and should provide an overall mission for every member of the company to aspire toward.
During his presentation, Reinis described the main types of employees that work at the average Krispy Kreme location – cashiers, the people making and handling the doughnuts, technicians ensuring that the glazing conveyor belt is working properly, and janitors. If asked which job was the most important, many people might say the technician or the cashier; few would say the janitor. But if a customer had a great experience buying a doughnut, and then saw a filthy bathroom, they probably wouldn’t be coming back. Reinis emphasized that every single position in a company is vital to the company’s overall vision. From the CEO to IT to maintenance, each should be treated as such, both in terms of expectations and respect.
Finding your central branding message is closely tied to the first step of articulating your vision. From the start, the Krispy Kreme brand made itself unique with its freshly-made doughnuts. Cooked and glazed on-site, customers could see the whole process from start to finish. This became the central branding theme of the franchise, with every location flashing, “Fresh Hot Now!” signs to draw in more customers. Once you’ve identified the main value your business provides to customers and clients, find a way to integrate that value into your marketing, making it synonymous with your company and services.
The year 2016 was many things, but you can’t argue that it wasn’t important, especially in the area of technology. For better or worse, many of the developments that emerged in 2016 will change the way we live and work.
For the legal industry in particular, these innovations will have a significant effect on attorneys’ efficiency, strategy and client base. Attorney Robert Ambrogi gathered some of these innovations on his blog, and below we’ve highlighted the top developments that will change the legal industry in 2017 and beyond.
The tech world has always lived and died by analytics, but the same couldn’t be said for the legal industry—until this year. Several major players, including Bloomberg Law and LexisNexis, have made headway in collecting and sharing insights on judges, courts and cases. For lawyers, this new data provides a deeper perspective that can be extremely helpful when developing case strategy.
Tedious but necessary tasks like researching case law, reviewing financial documents and analyzing contracts can take a ton of time. But exciting new partnerships between a handful of major law firms and AI companies have laid the foundation to develop time-saving products that can understand colloquial commands and automate tasks. Expect to see more legal AI startups and partnerships in 2017.
Chatbots that respond to questions and commands aren’t new, but the legal industry hasn’t embraced their usefulness until now. While the technology still has a way to go, several new legal chatbots popped up in 2016. Do Not Pay helps people fight parking tickets, while Docubot helps clients create legal documents.
Hacking was arguably the largest tech issue in 2016, and it’s not going away in 2017 or anytime soon. Law firms shouldn’t waste any time getting serious about cybersecurity. Yet few have taken even minimal precautions against hacking: only 37 percent of law firms report that they use encryption. Don’t let your firm’s lack of planning in 2016 become a national headline in 2017.
Coined in 1985, the “Internet of Things” (the network of ordinary objects that are connected to the internet) has recently become mainstream. From refrigerators to cars, more products are getting connected—and that means there’s more potential for legal challenges. Several Biglaw firms created “Internet of Things” practice groups to focus on communications, tech and regulatory issues related to these new products.
I look forward to seeing how these technological advancements continue this year and will blog updates as they transpire!
As time goes on, law firms are experiencing more and more of a flattening in the demand for legal services while costs continue to rise. Yet, interestingly, few firms have adapted the services they offer to try and make up for the loss. Change has failed to happen for a variety of reasons, but mostly because law firms simply don’t feel enough pressure to change. Partners are especially hesitant to adjust their behavior; their individual careers are likely more secure so they don’t see the need to rethink their strategies.
This issue has been going on for a few years, but the industry is reaching a do-or-die point. Clients are growing increasingly dissatisfied and firms are failing to implement new, cost-saving models effectively. In order to ensure success into the future, law firms need to change their models. Below are three reactions to the decrease in demand for legal services you can anticipate in the near future.
In the past few years, rather than expressing their needs to law firms, clients have opted to just switch firms. Clients will continue to use this short-term solution, but switching law firms comes with risks; it also hasn’t proven very successful in getting law firms to change their services. Eventually, clients will need to speak up and have their needs heard. Law firms trying to anticipate the future should implement a client feedback system, if they don’t have one already.
Expect to see managed-service providers grow in popularity. While outsourcing tasks like HR and IT will not be enough to decrease costs, using managed-service providers can lessen spending. Implementing automated systems is one of the ways law firms will likely handle the growing cost of legal services.
Some businesses responded to the rising cost of legal services by bringing attorneys in house. While that may have proved to be a good cost control strategy initially, some clients are realizing that they only swapped one problem for another. Businesses are finding themselves back at square one as in-house counsel continue to have the same costly issues, just in a different environment. Additionally, creating an in-house legal team eliminates some flexibility. Expect businesses to adjust their legal teams or reconsider creating one to begin with.