Whether you’re a social media novice or a pro, you need to be aware of the ethical standards that lawyers are expected to meet … and not cross. These standards apply if you’re using social media as a marketing tool for your firm, of course, but can also apply to your own personal online activity. Navigating social media as an attorney can be tricky, but don’t let it scare you away – follow these five simple guidelines to ensure you’re using social media properly.
Bob Denney’s highly anticipated What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession is out, and even after three decades of tracking trends important to law firms, this year’s report still manages to contain some surprises. Some of the key findings include the rising trend in eSports and Gaming as an industry group/practice area, the hot field of Bitcoin, and the consistently steady practice area of Healthcare law – in spite of the uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act.
Here’s an overview of other trends reported:
Practice Areas/Industry Groups
Immigration and Cybersecurity reign supreme along with Healthcare as practice areas identified as “Red Hot.” Financial Services, Food & Beverage, Elder Law, Sports (emphasis on contracts) and Real Estate & Construction are also practice areas which are considered prime areas for firms in today’s economic and political climate. In California, environmental law is also making a mark, on account of increased regulatory activity.
Areas that appear to be cooling off for firms include Commercial Litigation along with Labor & Employment law.
Marketing & Business Development
The Department of Justice is predicted to begin enforcing Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in the coming months, and law firm websites need to be in compliance, in order to avoid lawsuits and declining SEO performance. As such, website design and development compliance must be a priority for all law firms.
The addition of sales professionals (particularly in the personal injury space) is tracking as a trend. In some cases, non-lawyers used to develop new leads, are actually receiving formal sales training and coaching. Though this is an interesting concept, it remains to be seen whether the addition of non-lawyer sales professionals to firms will be a lasting, or successful trend.
Other Trends to Watch in the Legal Field
According to a recent report by ALM Intelligence, at least one-third of all law firms have no succession plan in place for firm leadership or for client team leaders, putting the future of even large firms in peril. If there is no plan in place as the older partners retire, the firm is sure to find itself in trouble.
So why aren’t all law firms giving as much thought to their own future success as they do for their clients’ future wellbeing? According to the same study, many law firms haven’t formulated their plans because they are having a hard time identifying successors. Conversely, younger attorneys cited resistance from senior partners as the reason for the lack of planning. So where in the middle can the millennial attorneys in a firm find common ground with the older partners?
Interestingly, this common ground can come in the way of creating that succession plan together. Input from the future firm leaders (generally millennials), coupled with the years of experience from the senior partners (generally those 55 and older), can be blended together to create a smart succession plan that addresses the needs of multiple generations of firm leaders.
How do you create a succession plan for your firm? Start by taking these 6 important steps.
For other insights revealed through this report, click here.
Berbay’s most recent Cultural Camaraderie program took in three contemporary art galleries and the exciting new LA Arts District. This outing enlisted the aid of Art Muse Los Angeles with our artist guides Lindsay Preston Zappas, founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles (CARLA) and Sarah Jones of Sarah Jones Art. These amazing women led us to several interesting and off-the-beaten path art galleries in Los Angeles.
The first stop was to Parrasch Heijnen Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles. Presenting the first solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based artist Julia Haft-Candell entitled the infinite; the exhibit displayed an in-depth exploration of the artist’s recent wall reliefs and ceramic sculpture which we found both beautiful and striking.
Next, our tour took us to the Los Angeles Arts District and one of the largest complexes there, Hauser & Wirth. With exhibits of the provocative and influential work of acclaimed LA-based artist Paul McCarthy and Polish artist, Monika Sosnowska. whose exhibit displays Polish architecture in sculptural installations created from industrial materials and objects. We were mesmerized by the entire complex.
Our day ended with an early dinner at Manuela. All in all, it was a fun, thought-provoking and stimulating day.
Launched in 2016, Berbay’s Cultural Camaraderie focuses on exploring the vibrant culture that is Los Angeles as a stimulus for innovative thinking and creativity as well as enjoying time together. Prior outings have included visits to The Gamble House, the Hollyhock House, and the Broad Museum to name a few.
With roughly 330 million active users, Twitter remains a powerful social media channel for lawyers and law firms to utilize as part of their overall law firm marketing strategy. However, many law firms fail to leverage this highly influential marketing tool to their maximum benefit. That may change however, as Twitter recently doubled its character limit from 140 to 280.
Why the Increased Character Count Matters to Law Firms
Following a trial in which the character count for tweets was increased from 140 to 280, the results were favorable enough to compel Twitter to increase the limit for most users. One reason? Those who tweeted longer posts experienced greater engagement.
In fact, according to a blog post by Twitter Product Manager Aliza Rosen, “people who had more room to Tweet received more engagement (Likes, Retweets, @mentions), got more followers, and spent more time on Twitter. People in the experiment told us that a higher character limit made them feel more satisfied with how they expressed themselves on Twitter, their ability to find good content, and Twitter overall.”
This should come as good news to law firms, which more than most professions, depend upon being able to articulate exactly what they want to convey. This of course, proved challenging with the previous 140 character limit. So, with more room to say what you want, if you’re not using Twitter for your law firm marketing efforts, it’s time to ask yourself why.
Here’s a reminder of the benefits that law firms can reap from using Twitter.
Since there is no need to worry about abandoning a tweet because you just can’t condense it enough, or fear that your message may be misinterpreted because you had to abbreviate so many words, there’s never been a better time for law firms to begin tweeting or reengaging with your audience through Twitter.
As a professional services firm, you will find that people are the cornerstone of your business. Your business goals aren’t as simple as selling a one-size-fits-all product. Every client’s needs, personality and perspectives are different — which means it’s inevitable that somewhere along the line, a client is going to be unhappy with your services. And now that online review sites have exploded in popularity, it’s likely that a displeased customer will take their complaints to the internet.
It’s tempting to simply delete negative reviews and bury your head in the sand, but you don’t have to live in fear of criticism. In fact, it’s been shown that a few less-than-positive reviews don’t hurt business, and they can be important in making your firm look genuine.
Negative reviews are also an opportunity to see where your firm can improve its service. Think of them as free market research. Look for patterns, and try to pull out the useful bits of information in each review. It seems great to have dozens of five-star reviews, but ultimately, glowing reviews don’t offer much guidance when it comes time to strategize or refocus. You have to face the bad reviews to get the positive ones.
If you’ve ever received one of the common reviews below, read between the lines and use it as an opportunity to examine your business practices. Instead of getting annoyed or defensive, take the negative in stride and leverage it.
“They weren’t responsive.” Staying in contact with clients while keeping their costs in check is a delicate balance. Oftentimes, people don’t need a long conversation or a meeting — they just want to know that their needs haven’t been forgotten. Do you need to make it easier for people to contact you? Should you add a phone number, a personal email address or a chat box to the contact page on your website? Do you need to set up automated emails telling clients their messages have been received? Or perhaps the problem lies in your own time management, and it would be helpful to hire more administrative staff or determine a more efficient way to tackle your inbox.
“It was expensive.” Like communication, sometimes the “high” price of your services is just a problem of perception. Do you need to be more upfront about your costs? Provide a rationale for your pricing? Send invoices more frequently? Maybe your prices are higher than your competitors’ and you need to do a better job advertising the superior quality of your services. If your costs truly have crept up, perhaps you can automate minor tasks to save your clients money. Examine your workflow and see if there is anything you can do more quickly or more cheaply without sacrificing quality.
“They didn’t get me the results I wanted.” This can be the hardest review to face but also the most critical to address. Are you overpromising in your marketing materials? Can you be clearer about the results clients should expect? Are you taking on business that isn’t truly in your wheelhouse, rather than referring clients to a colleague? When you sense that a client is growing unhappy because things aren’t going as expected, see if there’s anything you can do to right the ship. You may not be able to control every outcome, but being empathetic and suggesting a plan B (or C, or D) can go a long way.
“&*$% this company!” Sometimes, it’s not you — it’s the client. When you get an over-the-top, expletive-laden review, remind yourself that you don’t have to accept everyone’s business and this isn’t the type of client you want to work with in the future. In most cases, you were never going to please the reviewer, no matter how hard you worked. The good news is that if these reviews are few and far between, most potential clients know enough to write them off as flukes.
The average office worker gets 121 emails each day. Most professionals would agree that there simply isn’t enough time to read all those messages. So, when one of your client alerts lands in someone’s inbox, it had better be good if you expect them to take the time to open and read it. This becomes doubly true when you consider that the colleagues and clients on your listserv may be getting the same news from additional sources, whether from a media outlet or a competing firm.
It can be difficult to break through cluttered inboxes, but you do have one advantage working in your favor. The truth? Most firms aren’t very good at client alerts. If you can master writing thoughtful, easy-to-read and informative alerts, they’ll almost certainly stand out from the rest—and they’ll help secure your place as an expert in your practice area.
There are a few client alert best practices that will ensure that your emails get opened, read and enjoyed. Read on for our top five.
Each month, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) holds an “At Breakfast With” event, which allows public relations professionals to network with peers and media representatives. At their August event, the panel consisted of NBC4 Investigative Producer Philip Drechsler, CBS2/ KCAL9 Special Projects Producer Nicolette Medina and KMEX Executive Producer Jacqueline Ramirez. Panelists discussed what they look for in a media pitch, best practices and pet peeves.
PRSA-LA is an organization comprised of nearly 600 agency, in-house and independent public relations professionals representing LA-area corporations, academic institutions, government agencies and nonprofit organizations, and strives to keep public relations professionals a step ahead in communications strategies and skills through seminars, networking mixers and At Breakfast With meetings.
Since internet marketing hit the mainstream, marketers in every industry have relied on similar metrics to determine whether their strategy is successful. Ask anyone in a marketing department and they can quickly tell you the number of website clicks, the number of followers on Twitter and the number of views on YouTube they have.
In Above the Law article “Don’t Measure The Easy When It Comes To Internet Marketing,” Seth Godin argues that these numbers are easy to calculate (oftentimes, they’re figured out for us) and easy to understand, but they don’t necessarily tell us what we really want or need to know.
Businesses in entirely different industries are using the same set of metrics. A law firm has different marketing goals than an engineering firm or a nonprofit, but no matter the industry, clicks and views are the standard. Even within the legal industry, law firms of all practice areas are using the same techniques regardless of their size, type or ideal client. If we have different goals, shouldn’t our metrics be different?
It might be tricky to figure out the best metrics for your firm, but having accurate and relevant data is infinitely more useful than having numbers that, ultimately, don’t mean anything. Good data can transform your marketing strategy and your entire firm.
So, how can you start measuring more meaningfully? Here are three tips to start.