"MySpace Helps Attorneys Find Clients"

Smart, very smart! This Legal Technology article describes what kinds of firms & clients might benefit from a page on MySpace:

"When Missouri City, Texas, entertainment lawyer Leslie Warren Cross launched a MySpace.com page in 2006, he wanted a way to provide up-and-coming musicians basic information about the legalities of music contracts.

"But Cross says that as he acquired 'friends' on his MySpace page, he realized the Internet social networking site is a great marketing tool for his firm, Les Cross & Associates, and a way to stay in contact with his vagabond musician clients. 

[snip]

"Deborah McMurray, chief executive officer of Content Pilot in Dallas, who gives marketing advice to firms, says she wouldn't recommend MySpace to the large Texas firms.

"'It might be appealing to the 20-something, the Gen X, Gen Y group, in terms of connecting with their friends or keeping in touch with law school classmates and that kind of thing, but I don't envision major law firms — major business-to-business law firms -- thinking that would be a new source of new business,' McMurray says."

A search for "lawyers" on MySpace retrieved these results....


"'Life's Short. Get a Divorce' Billboard Removed After Just a Week"

Very interesting article about a clever law firm marketing strategy from the Associated Press:

"A racy billboard proclaiming, 'Life's short. Get a divorce,' caused such an uproar that city workers stripped it from its downtown Chicago perch after a week.

"It wasn't so much about the partially clothed man and woman on the law firm's ad. It was the phrase that lawyers Corri Fetman and Kelly Garland chose that drew scores of complaints from neighbors and from other attorneys who said it reflected poorly on their profession."

See the lawyers' website here.


"Top Law Firms May Face Rough Future"

It's certainly smart to face this possibility now, right? Even if the law biz doesn't cool:

"Will the good times cease to roll for leading law firms?

"With some gloom -- though not so much doom -- industry observers forecasted a cooling of the legal market over the next five years at the Law Firm Leaders Forum, held Thursday and continuing today in San Francisco. Ever-increasing pressure on rates from clients, rising costs, including the recent hike in associate salaries, and segmentation of the marketplace will make it hard for firms to maintain robust growth -- especially of their bottom lines, they said.

"'There are a lot of red flags waving right now,' said Bradford Hildebrandt, a law firm consultant with Hildebrandt International. 'I would be starting to plan for an economic correction.'"


"Why Do Lawyers Need Editors?"

Gosh, there are so many reasons. You can find editing help & more from a new blog (written by an experienced 'wordsmith for law firms'); this post, for example:

"The firm of Vinson & Elkins has a scholarship program for high school students who are interested in 'pursuing a career in law.'

"Great! But take a look at these excerpts from the firm’s overview of the program.

The funds for each student are submitted directly to their school . . . .

In addition to the financial support, V&E provides each scholarship recipient mentors and a summer job opportunities.

Each recipient achieved a score of at least 1100 on the SAT, had a financial need, and provided the Foundation with their application . . . and two letters of recommendation from their high school teachers and/or counselors . . . .

"While the students’ English teachers are teaching them to avoid singular/plural disagreements, the firm is suggesting that those disagreements are OK."


Open Text Legal Practice Support

I'm not familiar with this software, but anything that aids efficiency is worth a look:

"Open Text has announced new enhancements to its LegalKEY Practice Support Suite, designed to help law firms be more effective, efficient and compliant.

[snip]

"Open Text Legal Solutions provide an integrated product offering developed specifically to support law firms' business practices and proactive compliance needs throughout the matter lifecycle - from client intake through to final disposition. The latest enhancements to the LegalKEY suite are the result of extensive feedback received from the Open Text user community."


"Sheppard Mullin Launches Fashion & Apparel Practice Group"

This sounds like a very interesting group! Hmm, wonder if they need any paralegals?

"Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton is stepping onto the runway with the launch of its new practice group: fashion and apparel.

"From negotiating contracts for TV reality show 'Project Runway' to fending off UGG boot knock-offs, the new group is marketing itself as the go-to firm for Los Angeles and New York's booming fashion industries.

[snip]

"The firm's debut seminar during this year's New York fashion week advertised: 'Get the skinny on FAT [Fashion Apparel Team] law,' and displayed a sketch of a lanky model. The event featured talks on topics such as celebrity licensing agreements and modeling contracts."


"Attrition in Associates Leads to Attrition in Law Firm Marketing"

Comments about the attrition of associates probably of interest to paralegals too:

"Interesting post from Larry Bodine about how the associate attrition problems that I [Carolyn Elefant] blogged about last week are taking a toll on lawyer marketing efforts. Apparently, because few lawyers see themselves as making partner or don't care about partnership as a goal, they're not particularly interested in marketing. To quote Bodine, 'It's impossible to market a service that you don't want to perform.'"

Also worth your time to look through Legal Blog Watch...


CRM software for law firms, managed by paralegals?

Something new that paralegals might use to climb the ladder?

"It took legal professionals a while to embrace customer relationship management (CRM) technology, but the advent of products tailored to the specific needs of the industry has made it easier than ever for attorneys to trust the tech with their most sensitive asset.

"This is especially true in large firms, which have no practical hope of managing their internal and external relationships competitively without a CRM system. Anyone who has ever received one of those desperate, spam-like, all-points-bulletin, who-knows-somebody-who-knows-somebody e-mails understands the problem: When you count your colleagues in triple digits, you can't just yell across the cubicles.

"But in general, CRM systems still lack the ability to calculate the 'strength' of a relationship -- to distinguish between, say, a long-term client and somebody who dropped a business card into a fishbowl at a conference two years ago. This is a critical gap in functionality, says Geoffrey Hyatt, CEO and founder of Contact Networks, and one felt acutely in large service-oriented organizations. 'There's a difference between customers and clients,' he says. 'Client relationships are not binary, on-off interactions. They're all about degrees.'"


"Law firms may try to capitalize on paralegal certification"

Very important article about paralegal regulation & how some firms might be taking advantage of certification to market services to their clients:

"Since last summer, paralegals in North Carolina have been able to apply for certification as a North Carolina Certified Paralegal, or NCCP. The designation means they have met the standards set by the state for the minimum knowledge paralegals should have. The certification is optional and is not needed for someone to call themselves a paralegal.

"But with so few having completed the process, the certification is drawing a distinction.

[snip]

"Law firms say the certification program will help them ensure that all of their paralegals are well-educated and trained. Since it is optional, they also see potential benefit when negotiating with prospective clients.

"'It helps establish a baseline of quality,'" said Denise Gunter, the managing partner of the Winston-Salem office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough."