If a client or prospect calls your law firm and is put on hold, what
does the person hear—silence, music, or a message? If there is no sound, the wait seems long. If there is music,
is it commercial-free? If the music comes from a radio station, the
caller may hear a commercial for a competitive law firm or for a product
or service you would prefer not be advertised.
Consider using an original message that could subtly
mention another practice area in your firm or provide helpful
information. For instance, an environmental law firm could feature a
rotating message of recycling tips. What ideas would relate to different
practice areas in your law firm? When clients or prospects are on hold,
silence isn’t golden.
Outdoor advertising is appropriate for several
practice areas, including matrimonial and personal injury. For example,
there are several billboards in Boise, Idaho, that state on three lines:
AUTO INJURY? ONE CALL, THAT’S ALL. 1-800-THE LAWYER. Although the
attorney’s name, firm, and the Web site (www.onecallthatsall.com) are
too small to read while driving, the message works.
For outdoor advertising, one of the most easy-to-read
color combinations is black lettering on a yellow background. Emphasize
the message you want your target market to remember and keep it short.
Negotiate for good locations. After the outdoor advertising is in place,
drive by each location to verify that the boards are visible and that
trees or shrubs don’t cover the message. Take your message outside
for inside profitability.
Chambers of Commerce in communities throughout the
U.S. offer leadership programs, with interactive agendas that take place
over a specified period of time. With a competitive application process,
leadership programs typically take a cross-section of attorneys,
entrepreneurs, non-profit executives, educators, and others to form a
The class is an ideal place for law firm associates to
develop relationships with other attendees, meet local leaders, make
on-site visits to local institutions, learn about other industries and
occupations, and connect with the local community. In addition, the
class may lead to presentation opportunities for partners.
Contact your local Chamber of Commerce. Find out how
making a commitment to the community can enrich your law firm’s
Writing articles is an action step for attorneys to
build and/or strengthen a reputation in a particular practice area.
Articles may be written for a specific audience, such as a state or
county bar news-letter or a client’s industry publication. For an
example of articles listed on a firm’s Web site, see one of
Morrison & Foerster’s Legal Updates at www.mofo.com/news/updates/files/13375.html.
After the article is published, disseminate the
information: list the article or link to it on the firm’s Web
site, mention the article in the firm’s newsletter, order reprints
to send to prospects and clients, display the reprints in the
firm’s lobby. Write a follow-up or companion piece and repeat the
process. Create leverage.
Networking is an activity that promises to find and
build relationships. When you attend a networking event, make it easy
for the contacts you meet. Put the name badge on your right side: that
helps the person read your name while shaking hands with you. After
exchanging business cards, read the person’s card for pertinent
information. Once you’ve talked, take a discreet opportunity to
note the event’s name, date, a fact the person has shared, and
your anticipated follow-up on the back of your contact’s business
When you subsequently communicate with those contacts,
the notes on the backs of the business cards can help you shape your
follow-up. Personalization improves networking results.
When you focus and promote an aspect of your law firm,
it makes it easier for your target prospects to understand what you do.
One example is the Sacramento, California, law firm Schuering Zimmerman
Scully & Doyle LLP. The description for the firm’s practice
area includes the statement, “We specialize in complex medical
litigation with a diverse practice that encompasses many aspects of the
insurance industry.” (See www.szs.com/srv/.) This is a classic
example of a firm differentiating itself from others. The descriptive
sentence weaves together medical litigation and insurance while focusing
Does each person in your firm have a business card?
While attorneys, administrators, directors, managers, and paralegals in
the firm traditionally carry business cards, there are advantages for
all others in the firm to be card-carriers, too. Each person who works
in the law firm has contacts. Each person may have an opportunity to
exchange business cards with others—whether in a business setting,
a celebratory event, or a family/friends activity.
A business card is a source of pride, particularly if
it is not common for a particular position. Honor your staff with
internal marketing. It could lead to business.
Before 2006, many programmers thought that embedding
search terms behind what the viewer would see could drive traffic to a
Web site. That strategy is called “cloaking” or
“keyword stuffing.” Search engines got savvy. Now search
engines do not consider those Web sites to be as legitimate. The message
for law firms is to create a list of search terms that are germane to
specific practice areas and use those search terms appropriately,
liberally, and visibly throughout the firm’s Web site.
The current approach is: what is better for the end
user is what is better for the search engine. What visible search terms
are you using?
How recently have you checked your marketing materials
for accuracy? The Web site for an international multi-practice law firm
with offices throughout the U.S. lists the name of the current Managing
Partner for one of their U.S. offices under the geographic location.
However, in the bio sections, the former Managing Partner still
holds the title of Managing Partner while the current Managing
Partner is listed as a partner.
How accurate is your Web site? How recent are the
photographs? How updated are the bios? How informative is your
firm’s Web site for curious prospects? Stay current. Check, then
double-check, the way you present your law firm.
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