g r e at e r p h o e n i x e d i t i o n | F e b r u a r y 2 0 11
m a g a z i n e
Features this Month: Dan Garrison – Attorney of the Month Ridenour, Hienton and Lewis PLLC – Law Firm of the Month Al Underhill – Solo Practitioner of the Month Association of Legal Administrators – Special Feature
Also Inside: Ask the IT Expert – Dave Kinsey Great Website Design Begins with You – Alex Morris Dissenters’ Rights: Solution for a Business Divorce – Robert A. Royal Attorneys — How Much Money Do You Want to Make This Year? It’s Just a Matter of Setting Financial Goals – Stephen Fairley
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EDUCATION Doctor of Business Administration (Graduating in 2011) Walden University Master of Business Administration (MBA) Keller Graduate School of Management, DeVry University Graduated With Distinction Graduate Certificate in Accounting Keller Graduate School of Management, DeVry University Bachelor of Science in Business Administration University of Phoenix Associate of Arts in Business Administration and Finance Glendale Community College PROFESSIONAL LICENSES AND CERTIFICATIONS Certified Public Accountant (CPA) (Arizona) Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) Certified Forensic Accountant (Cr.FA) Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) Licensed Arizona Real Estate Broker Groups and Associations American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants (ASCPA) Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) American College of Forensic Examiners Institute of Forensic Science (ACFEI) National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA) CURRENT BOARD MEMBERSHIPS Executive Advisory Board of the American Board of Forensic Accountants Board Member for the North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Accounting (DABFA)
table of contents Attorney at Law Magazine is published by Target Market Media LLC
20 Cover Story – Attorney of the Month Dan Garrison By Paula Hubbs Cohen
James C. Sell, P.C. Results You Can Trust
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10 Law Firm of the Month
Ken Minniti President Target Market Media LLC Executive Publisher Attorney at Law Magazine Director of Creative Design Scott Bagley Associate Editor Dana Harrison Circulation Ellie Marlar Associate Publisher Fran DeLuca Editors Chelsea Hanna Cohen Jill Miller Patricia LaMagna, J.D. Assistant Editor Pouria Paknejad, Esq. Editorial Consultant Kathleen A. Taddie Michael Zolno Accounting Robert Minniti CPA, MBA Contributing Writers Paula Hubbs Cohen Debra Gelbart Rebecca Larsen Alison Stanton Photography Andrew Paul Uilkie Corporate Office: 21001 N. Tatum Blvd. Suite 1630-261 Phoenix, AZ. 85050 Phone (480) 219-9716 Fax (480) 419-9727 www.targetmarketmediallc.com email@example.com Copyright ©2010, Target Market Media LLC all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is strictly prohibited Subscription rate: $7.95 per copy Advertising rates on request Bulk third class (standard) mail paid in Phoenix, Arizona Although every precaution is taken to ensure accuracy of published materials, Attorney at Law Magazine & Target Market Media LLC cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by authors. Postmaster – please send notices to 21001 N. Tatum Blvd. Suite 1630-261 Phoenix, AZ. 85050
Ridenour, Hienton and Lewis PLLC By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
30 A Special Feature Story Association of Legal Administrators 36 Solo Practitioner of the Month Al Underhill By Rebecca Larsen
Specializing in: Financial & Fraud Investigations
8 Attorneys — How Much Money Do You
Ponzi Schemes & Securities Fraud
By Stephen Fairley 14 How to Market with Educational
Data Base Development & Support
Want to Make This Year? It’s Just a Matter of Setting Financial Goals
Seminars: 38 Secrets to a Profitable Program
By Trey Ryder 12 Dissenters’ Rights: Solution for
a Business Divorce
Telecommunications Dollar? Consider Your Circuit Options
Receiverships Expert Witness Services
Let us cut through the maze
By Robert A. Royal 23 How Do I Get the Most for My By Dave Kinsey 32 Great Website Design Begins with You By Alex Morris 28 Go ‘Virtual’ & Save By Wally Christofferson
24 Top 5 Business Development Tips
Contributions from Your Top Local Legal Marketing Experts
26 With Cyber Crimes on the Rise,
Epps Consulting Looks at Ways to Protect Your Network
40 Talk of The Town 42 AWLA Monthly Bulletin 35 Are Pricier Wines Worth the Price? By Marian Jansen op de Haar 43 Albert Einstein, Bruce Willis, and Happiness By Pouria Paknejad, Esq.
James C. Sell, CPA,CFE Brian Sell, CPA, CFE, CFF, CITP, MAIS Phoenix, Arizona www.forensic-cpa.com
February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 7
Attorneys — How Much Money Do You Want to Make This Year? It’s Just a Matter of Setting Financial Goals By Stephen Fairley
ard to believe we are already two months into the New Year! How was January for you? Are you still wondering where the month went? If you are like many people you probably set some goals for yourself or at least New Year’s resolutions. My wife and I took some time over the holidays to write down some personal, financial, and business related goals. We try to make time to do this every year, but haven’t always been successful at keeping track of our progress throughout the year. Of course, one of our goals this year is to keep better track of our progress. I’ll let you know how it goes. In my work consulting with some of the top attorneys and law firms in the country I have found there are several secrets of highly successful attorneys and this month I would like to share several of those secrets with you. When I use the term “highly successful attorney” I’m not talking about the ones who have ads all over the television or the ones who never seem to take a weekend off. I’m talking about the attorneys who have created a “lifestyle law firm”—a law firm that supports the lifestyle they want to lead, both financially and personally, versus a law firm that undermines the core values of who they want to be.There is no right or wrong way to create a lifestyle law firm because how you define it depends on you, your personality, your goals, choices, future plans, and what you want out of life. I have attorney clients who are very happy making a personal income of $300,000 to $500,000 per year, while others will settle for nothing less than a net of $1 million per year. I have some attorneys who want nothing more than to experience the thrill of the courtroom week after week, while others are ecstatic that they no longer have to practice law, instead they can focus on running their business while associates do all the legal work. I’m not placing a value judgment on their decisions. My goal is to help them achieve the results they want as fast as possible. One of those secrets I have seen in working with these top performing athletes of the legal industry is that they make time to plan for the future. Every lawyer reading this personally knows the challenges involved in practicing law. You are constantly torn in multiple directions every day meeting with prospects, doing legal work, perhaps making a court appearance or speaking with an arbitrator, all the while trying to manage and run a profitable law practice and not lose your sanity or your soul. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture of what you want out of life and your business because you are so focused on completing the tasks of the day. Sound familiar? If you were unable to make time to focus on the bigger picture in January I highly recommend you take some time this week and write down some goals for yourself and your business. Here are 5 areas to get you focused in the right direction:
1. Financial goals for your law firm. Don’t just focus on the money you want to make; focus on how you will get there. One of my consulting clients is a solo practitioner who practices Elder Law and last year she made about $360,000. While that may not sound like a lot, she keeps her entire overhead to less than $150,000, which means her take home pay was about $210,000
last year. Not too bad for someone who only works 4 days each week so she can spend time with her 1 year old! Her goal this year is to break $500,000. Last month we spent some time discussing how she is going to get there. In order for her to achieve her goal that means she has to gross $125,000 per quarter, $42,000 per month or $9,600 per week. Her average client is worth $8,000 to $10,000 in billables. We used the lower figure to calculate that she needs to sign up 63 cases this year or average 6 cases per month. Currently, her firm is doing about $6,900 per week, so that’s almost a 40% increase, which is an aggressive goal. I’ll let you know how she is progressing in a future article. Whatever your financial goals are for this year you need to break them down into quarterly and monthly and even weekly goals. Estimate how many clients you need to sign up each week in order to stay on track. Make sure you discuss this with your staff and get them engaged. Find someone who can hold you accountable towards reaching those goals on a regular basis, whether it’s a business coach, a mentor or a noncompeting colleague.
2. Start with the end in mind. If your financial goal is to net $500,000 in personal income this year, what will you need to do to achieve that? Here’s the 3 pieces of data you will need to figure this out: a. Average amount each new client is worth to you. Be careful not to focus on the high or low end of the spectrum, focus on the middle. If you truly don’t know, add up your gross revenues this year and divide it by the number of clients you served. This will give you a rough estimate. b. Your conversion rates. How many new leads does it take to produce 1 paying client? For example, the average bankruptcy attorney only converts 10-15%, meaning out of every 100 leads who contact the firm it results in about 10 to 15 paying clients. Use a best guess estimate on this, but resist the temptation to overestimate your conversion rates. Remember, conversion starts at the top of the funnel with how many leads turn into appointments and how many appointments retain. c. Your profit margin. Believe it or not, many law firms operate only at a 20-30% profit margin. I’ve seen some that consistently reach 50%+, but they are rare (unless they are solo practitioners who can charge high rates). Once you have this data you can determine some very important data. For this example here are the assumptions I have made: • You want to net $500,000 in annual income (Net Operating Income or NOI) • Your Average Client is Worth (ACW) $2,000 in billables to your law firm • Your Conversion Rate (CR) is 33% so out of 100 leads that come in you sign up 33 new clients • Your Profit Margin (PM) is 40%
Then: • You will need to gross $835,000 per year to net $500,000. • With an ACW of only $2,000, you will need 418 new clients per year which is 35 per month or an average of 8 per week. • If your CR is 33% you will 1,266 leads this year to produce those 418 new clients. That’s an average of 106 leads per month or 24 per week. That’s a lot of leads for most law firms. That’s probably more leads than you were expecting so if you don’t “like” those numbers, here are the 3 of the 6 ways I teach my clients to help them achieve their goals:
1. Increase your Conversion Rates. One of the best ways to generate more revenue is by increasing your conversion rates at each stage. Most attorneys only focus on conversion at the “point of sale,” in other words when the prospect is sitting in front of them kneecap to kneecap how many of them sign up to be clients or retain the firm? However, conversion starts the moment an interested prospect contacts your law firm. How many of those people turn into appointments? That’s part of conversion. Start there by finding ways to increase the percentage of leads that turn into appointments. By increasing that number by just 10% you can radically improve your revenues! 2. Raise Your Rates. I understand we are in a difficult economy. However, unless you are already charging near the top 20% of prices in your practice area, I find that most of the small and solo practitioners I consult with can immediately increase their prices by 10-30%. I had a dozen clients who did that last year including a criminal defense attorney who went from charging $275 per hour to $395 per hour! By the way, he now has more work than he can handle and has had to hire two more attorneys. In our example above, by moving from an ACW of $2,000 per client to just $2,500 you would only need 1,015 leads per year, a 20% decrease. This is often the fastest way to get to your goals. 3. Increase Repeat Business. Yes, I know this is a mantra in the legal industry, but most law firms do not have any specific plans for doing so. On average, acquiring a new client will cost your law firm almost 10 times as much as obtaining repeat business from an existing client! Read that again. Yes, you heard me right. If that’s not enough to motivate you to put a plan in place to generate repeat business and referrals from current and former clients I don’t know what will. One of the most effective ways to do this is with a monthly e-Newsletter. At a recent legal networking event we hold every month in Phoenix I asked a room of over 40 attorneys from small firms how many of them received newsletters, either electronic or print, from other professionals. Most of them raised their hands. Then I asked them, how many of you send out a newsletter to your prospects, clients, and referral sources? Only 3 of them raised their hands! We all know the laws of gravity apply to everyone. There are also laws of marketing and one of them is “out of sight is out of mind.” So why do you believe the laws of marketing don’t apply to you? Simply put, if you don’t keep in touch with your prospects, clients and referral sources someone else will. The number one reason why you aren’t receiving more repeat business from your former clients is lack of connection—you haven’t stayed in touch
with them. Make a commitment to change that this year! The good news is if you feel you either don’t have the time or talent to produce a monthly newsletter we have a very affordable solution for you. Want more information? Just give us a call at 480-659-9700 and we can get you the details and help you start this year out right by reconnecting with former clients, staying connected with prospects, and rebuilding relationships with your referral sources.
Stephen Fairley is CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, LLC, the nation’s largest law firm marketing company specializing in small law firms. Over 7,000 attorneys have benefited from applying their proven Rainmaker Marketing System. Stephen is a best-selling author of 10 books and a nationally recognized law firm marketing expert. He has appeared in the American Bar Association’s Journal, Harvard Management Update, Inc and Entrepreneur. To receive your FREE copy of his book “Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Attorneys Make” visit www.TheRainmakerInstitute.com or call 888-588-5891.
Join Us for the Rainmaker Retreat A 2-Day Marketing Boot Camp for Small Firms and Solo Practitioners Orlando, FL February 25-26 New Jersey March 11-12 San Diego April 8-9 For more information:
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Law Firm of the Month
Ridenour, Hienton & Lewis By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
s the real estate market stabilizes and evolves, it is vital for clients to have true real estate and zoning experts at their table such as zoning attorney Bill Lally and Senior Planning Advisor, Ben Patton of Ridenour, Hienton and Lewis PLLC. “Zoning law is a boutique practice area within the legal field,” Patton said. “There are few lawyers within the Greater Phoenix area who practice zoning law. There certainly are lawyers who provide this service, but we pride ourselves in being very efficient and effective at it.”
“We’ve been a full-service law firm with an emphasis on banks,” Ridenour said. “I think the clientele we’ve developed over the past 30 years has insulated us with the ups and downs, especially representing the financial institutions.”
©Epstein Studios Photography LLC
Ridenour, Hienton and Lewis, PLLC is one of those few Phoenixbased firms that has shown the capability to deliver these services, and it has the relationships to prove it. Patton explained that zoning law requires both a depth and breadth of relationships in the jurisdictions in which the lawyer is working. It’s not as simple
10 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
as sitting in an office, submitting an application and hoping for the best. “You have to manage it through a real byzantine, convoluted bureaucratic process,” Patton said. “Bill (Lally) and I have worked over the years to develop genuine and authentic relationships with both elected officials and staff persons in communities Valleywide. A developer also has to know that, at the local level, staff makeup has changed dramatically. Cities have streamlined and reorganized in response to reduced budgets and an interest in streamlining processes. We stay on top of these trends to make sure that our client’s needs are met. We work hard to ensure that we have the institutional knowledge of how cities work from one side of the Valley to another.” Lally and Patton’s experience speaks for itself. The duo have worked primarily in zoning-dominated practices where they’ve represented the gamut of client interests, including homeowners and small retail complexes to highrises and thousand-acre masterplanned communities. “Obviously, the real estate market has changed over the last few years--nationally and locally,” Lally said. “We’re primarily working on smaller projects, smaller retail projects, typically with specific users in the market who have either expanded into the Phoenix
© 2011 Andrew Paul Photography
area or are still expanding in the Phoenix market. We’re also performing due diligence work for a number of the firm’s banking clients. As you know, a lot of properties have been foreclosed on by lenders. We try to help our banking clients understand any entitlement or planning challenges with those properties, and help them either add value, retain value or ready those properties for resale.” Banking is Ridenour, Hienton and Lewis PLLC’s forte. Bill Ridenour started the firm 30 years ago in 1980, a milestone of longevity achieved by few. “There aren’t too many firms that started at that time that are local,” Ridenour said. “There have been a lot of large out-of-state firms come in here over that 30year period. I could probably count on the fingers of one hand the fairly midsized local firms that were started and managed to stay in business for 30 years.” “We’ve been a full-service law firm with an emphasis on banks,” Ridenour said. “I think the clientele we’ve developed over that 30 years has insulated us with the ups and downs, especially representing the financial institutions.” This challenged economic market, especially in Phoenix, has put a lot of law firms in jeopardy, Ridenour explained. Firms are either laying off folks or they’re reducing the salaries of the niche partners. The market has had a tremendous impact on any partner, attorney or firm that is heavily invested in real estate. “Since we represent banks, we’ve been somewhat shielded from that,” Ridenour said. “Right now, the banks are going through all different kinds of foreclosures, restructures, bankruptcies and litigation. We’re doing very well--even in this downturn. “The question is how do you manage when this downturn ends and the banks are back to hopefully lending rather than dealing with so many other problems. This is a wonderful opportunity for our firm. There are lawyers that are either looking for work or not happy with the firms where they practice. This has been a golden opportunity for us to go out and get those types of attorneys, which, I hope, once this economy turns around, will be very productive.” That’s the segue into why Ridenour, Hienton and Lewis PLLC hired a zoning attorney and city planner. “Right now it isn’t at its best time because developers aren’t out doing this sort of thing,” Ridenour said. “But I think that when the economy comes back, this firm will be well positioned. We hired a land planner. We are trying to take advantage, I hope, of this downturn and position the firm to go forward with some growth.” This experience is nothing new to Ridenour. He’s been through one banking crisis already and survived.
“In the late ‘80s, our firm represented a lot of savings & loans and banks,” Ridenour said. “We did extremely well when they had all the problem loans, and when everything ended related to these problem loans. There were about four or five S&Ls we represented that went out of business. So that caused a lot of stress because we had to find some other avenue of growing the firm or maintaining the firm. This time, we don’t have the savings and loans, but the question is, as you come out from under this economic downturn and the banks don’t have as many problems, what areas are we looking at going forward to beef up our practice?” “I think bankruptcy has always a been a good practice area regardless of whether the economy is up or down,” Ridenour said. “Now’s a good time to go out and look at some things we have never been able to do before, including water, solar and of course, zoning. I think water is going to be extremely critical to the West and in Arizona going forward, and we might take a look at some water or environmental attorneys. Those areas you don’t normally think of as your core practice—your litigation, your corporate commercial. I think you need to get out and look at some of those areas going forward.” Lally emphasized that zoning and entitlement law is as important today as it ever has been because many of the properties in the Valley, in Arizona and even in the United States are going to be changing hands frequently during the next few years--some of them by sophisticated buyers, but others by banks whose main role is not managing real estate, and may not be experienced in complicated entitlement issues. “I think Bill (Ridenour) saw the importance of adding that practice area to the firm recently to not only add to the growing real estate practice here, but also to support 30 years of representing the banking industry,” Lally said. “In a distressed market like it is today, due diligence in real estate and having true real estate experts looking at properties on behalf of buyers, sellers and developers couldn’t be any more important.” February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 11
Dissenters’ Rights: Solution for a Business Divorce By Robert A. Royal
issenters’ rights is a little known and little used
materially and adversely affects a dissenters’ preferred rights in
statutory procedure that can be invoked under
shares, creates or alters a right of redemption, alters a preemptive
particular circumstances which may solve disputed
right, or excludes the right of the shares to vote on any matter
issues in a business divorce. The basic concept of dissenters’
including cumulative voting for directors. If a shareholder elects
rights is to allow a shareholder to be bought out at fair value when
to dissent from any of these actions, a shareholder may not object
a substantial change in corporate structure is about to take place.
or challenge the corporate action unless such action is fraudulent.
Arizona statutes provide a detailed procedure for the exercise of
Finally, the right to dissent is not applied to shares traded on a
dissenters’ rights. No comparable provision exists in the Arizona
limited liability company statutes.
DISSENTERS’ RIGHTS PROCEDURES TRIGGERS FOR DISSENTERS’ RIGHTS
If any of these proposed actions will be submitted to a vote
A number of corporate actions trigger the right of a
at a shareholder meeting, the meeting notice must state that the
shareholder to dissent and obtain fair value for the shares.
shareholders may assert dissenters’ rights. Even if there is no
First, if the corporation is a party to a plan of merger, including
meeting, a notice still must be given in writing to shareholders
where a subsidiary is merging into a parent company, dissenters’
about their right to dissent to the corporate action. Once the
rights apply. If the corporation is a party to a share exchange
notice is received, any shareholder who may want to dissent
and the shareholders are entitled to vote on the plan, dissenters’
must deliver in writing their intent to demand payment for their
rights are triggered. Next is when a sale or exchange of all or
shares and dissent. It is incumbent upon the corporation to
substantially all of the property of the company occurs, unless
send a writing to all shareholders not later than ten days after the
the sale is pursuant to a court order or a sale for cash payable one
triggering corporate action is taken and advise the shareholders
year from the date of the sale. Dissenters’ rights exist if there is
where payment demand must be sent and where share certificates
going to be an amendment to the Articles of Incorporation that
may be deposited. That same notice will advise the dissenting shareholder when the corporation must receive the shareholder’s demand for payment of their shares. The shareholder must comply and send a demand for payment consistent with that notice. If no demand for payment is received, the rights are waived. Upon receipt of the payment demand, the corporation shall pay the dissenter what the corporation estimates to be the “fair value” of the shares and shall send to the shareholder the Company balance sheet together with an explanation as to how the fair value estimate was calculated. If the shareholder is dissatisfied with the corporation’s estimate of the fair value, the dissenter may notify the corporation in writing of their estimate, less any payment tendered or otherwise reject the offer and demand full payment of fair value. Thereafter, if the matter
12 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
is not resolved, the corporation is required to commence a court proceeding within sixty days and ask the court to determine the fair value of the shares, or otherwise pay the amount the dissenter estimates to be the fair value. All disputing dissenters must be a part of this action. There is no right to a trial by jury and the court may appoint a master or others to assist it in determining fair value. Each dissenter is entitled to obtain a judgment for the amount which the court finds is the fair value of the shares exceeding the amount offered by the corporation, if any. This is often called an “appraisal proceeding.”
THE COURT DETERMINES FAIR VALUE The court shall take evidence and determine fair value but has a right to assess expenses and attorney fees. The expenses assessed may also include the cost of experts. The court may find against the corporation in favor of the dissenter if it finds the corporation did not comply with procedural requirements, against the dissenter if the fair value does not materially exceed the amount offered by the company; or against either the company or dissenter if it finds that the party against whom the fees and expenses assessed acted “arbitrarily, vexatiously, or not in good faith with respect to the rights provided . . .” by the dissenters’ rights process. The term “fair value” is defined in the dissenters’ rights statutes to mean the value of shares immediately before the effectuation of the corporate action to which the dissenter objects excluding any appreciation or depreciation in anticipation of the corporate action unless such exclusion is inequitable. The statutory definition does not deal with the issue of discounts for either a minority interest or lack of marketability, discounts commonly given for fair market value calculations. However, in Arizona, case law states that fair value is not the same as fair market value and does not include discounts for marketability or minority interest. The practitioner should be alert to any of the possible triggering events during an owner dispute as the existence of any such triggering device may conclude a business divorce. The parties must carefully calculate their estimations and demands of fair value since the entire cost of the proceeding, including expert fees is at risk of being awarded to a successful party. The statutes were designed to deter an actual court proceeding by increasing the risk of loss. The court proceeding should probably only be one day with the evidence likely limited to the expert reports and perhaps some other related matters. The dissenters’ rights statutes present an admirable, limited procedure to allow a shareholder, under key circumstances, to remove themselves from their business partners and hopefully terminate a dispute receiving fair value for their interest in the company.
Robert A. Royal is a shareholder with the Phoenix law firm of Tiffany & Bosco, P.A., where his practice emphasizes intra-corporate dispute and director, officer and manager liability issues. His practice has been limited to litigation. His special emphasis involves disputes and litigation between shareholders, directors, officers and managers. He was the author of the litigation sections of the Arizona Business Corporations Act and oversaw the writing of the other sections of the act that would reflect on litigation issues. He served as a consultant regarding passage of the Arizona Limited Liability Act. He is the litigation editor of the treatise The Arizona Corporate Practice Guide. Mr. Royal also is the founding chair of the Arizona State Bar Subsection on Business and Corporate Litigation. Mr. Royal also founded and chaired the Business and Corporate Litigation Special Interest Group of the Arizona Association of Defense Counsel and the committee to introduce legislation to update Arizona’s Limited Liability Act. Robert A. Royal can be reached at 602-255-6011 or RAR@tblaw.com.
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February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 13
Law Firm Marketing
How to Market with Educational Seminars: 38 Secrets to a Profitable Program By Trey Ryder
eminars are a powerful marketing tool. They save you a tremendous amount of time because you present information to many prospects at once. In addition, seminars enhance your credibility and you win new clients because prospects can talk with you in a non-threatening, educational setting. Many lawyers think web sites can take the place of seminars. And yes, in some instances, you can deliver your complete marketing message through your web site. But the web site lacks one key factor that many clients want before they hire you: the in-person exchange of questions, answers and recommendations, so important to establishing trust and building relationships. Whether you’re targeting business or consumer clients, the following tips will help you address the areas most responsible for your seminar’s success.
How YourSeminar Seminar How To To Plan Plan Your Your biggest challenge is getting prospective clients to attend because most people are so pressed for time. Start by setting aside your long-term goal of gaining clients and focus on your short-term goal: filling your seminar with qualified prospects.
TIP #1: AUDIENCE.
Identify the audience you want to attract. Are they business executives? Senior citizens? Young married couples? If you don’t aim at your target, you have almost no chance of hitting it. (Business executives and professionals often have trouble attending seminars because of their schedules. So, rather than inviting them to attend your program, offer to present your seminar in-house for their company.)
TIP #2: SERVICES. Identify the specific services you want to market. Then package your services so they appeal to your prospects. If your prospects don’t like the way you offer services, the number of prime prospects in your seminar audience doesn’t matter.
TIP #3: SUBJECT.
Choose your seminar subject based on your prospects’ needs. Generally, people attend seminars because they want to learn “how to” solve a problem or achieve a goal. Write a short subject statement of what you will explain during your program: How to avoid probate. How to settle your accident claim. How to prevent sexual harassment lawsuits.
TIP #4: DATES. Offer at least two seminars so prospects can select the more convenient time. The day and time vary with the audience. Business professionals prefer later in the week for daytime programs. Also, evenings could be a good option. Retired people often prefer days because many don’t drive at night.
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14 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
TIP #5: LOCATIONS.
Ask if a local library would provide a meeting room because this reinforces the perception that your program is educational. If the library will also co-sponsor your program, you reduce your room costs, plus the library may list your program in its newsletter and display your fliers on its counter for its patrons. If your seminar interests business owners and managers, ask the Chamber of Commerce (or a targeted trade group) to sponsor your program, with the hope that it will send your seminar flier to all its members.
TIP #6: LENGTH. The longer you keep your prospect’s attention, the more likely you are to win a new client. Ninety
minute programs are common. Programs up to two hours work well. Just make sure your presentation is well-written and your information relevant.
TIP #7: TUITION. No question, prospects who pay to attend your seminar have a high level of interest. Still, attempts to qualify prospects by charging admission often backfire because the tuition screens out prospects who might have become clients after they attended your program. So before you decide whether to charge, consider the following: — What are alternative sources for information? If your competitors offer similar seminars free, you won’t attract many prospects if you charge. But if your seminar is unique and your subject compelling, you may fill the room regardless of the tuition. — What does your audience expect? Most business people expect to pay for seminars. Most consumers expect seminars to be free. — How many people are in your target audience? If your audience is large, charging a fee will bring in prospects who are more highly qualified. If your audience is small, you may want to attract all interested persons, even if their interest is only marginal.
TIP #8: RESERVATIONS. If your seminar is free, typically 50 percent of people who make reservations don’t show up. They reserve seats to get their name on the list, in case they later decide to attend. On the other hand, some people discover at the last minute that they can attend. But if they did not make reservations, they may assume you won’t have enough seats. This is why for free seminars I suggest you not accept reservations. If you decide not to accept reservations, you might word your flier something like this: “Admission is free and reservations cannot be accepted, so please arrive early.” This puts prospects in competition for good seats. Plus, it saves you the trouble of holding seats for no-shows when you have other people who want to sit down.
TIP #9: FOOD. No. At free seminars, you want qualified prospects who are hungry for information, not seminar groupies who want a free meal. Food costs can skyrocket because one food item often leads to another. Pretty soon you’re providing an entire buffet. Usually, a water station is enough. For morning seminars, you might provide a jolt of caffeine — coffee, tea, or both — to keep your audience alert. But don’t go overboard. If you really want to provide food, then do so, but don’t advertise it. Once your participants arrive, they will be pleasantly surprised because they weren’t expecting food. This will create a positive impression among your prospects, without attracting non-prospects who attend only to eat.
TIP #10: OFFER. Make sure you offer something attractive to those who attend your program, such as a free consultation over the telephone or in person. This way your prospects know the next step you want them to take. If you want to screen out all but the best prospects, ask them to fill out and return an intake sheet or questionnaire. You can then call the prospects who have desirable cases.
TIP #11: STAFF. Make sure at least one other person comes with you and brings your appointment calendar. This person can welcome guests, hand out your materials and make sure everyone is comfortable. Then, after your seminar, this person schedules your appointments while you continue to answer questions and talk privately with prospects.
Law Firm of the Month Feature Story Contact Us Today:
February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 15
How To Create a Powerful
How to Create a Powerful Seminar Message
TIP #12: TITLE. Title your message so you attract the prospects you want — and so prospects realize that your materials will help them solve a problem or achieve a goal. A personal injury attorney might offer “5 steps to getting a fair settlement for your injuries.” A domestic relations attorney might offer “9 ways to reduce the pain and expense of divorce.” A corporate lawyer might offer “6 ways to reduce liability exposure and cut insurance costs.” You can also use this list as your seminar title if the list identifies the main subject of the seminar.
TIP #13: FRAMEWORK. Focus on the problem your prospects want to solve — or the goal they want to achieve. Then use this five-part framework and teaser titles to walk them through the problem and solution. Identify and explain your prospect’s problem. Prospects won’t pay for a solution until they understand their problem. The bigger the problem — and the greater the risk of allowing it to persist — the more eagerly they part with their money. Prove the problem exists. Prospects are often skeptical and may think you are overstating the problem. You can overcome this
When someone you count on is not responsive... bad things can happen.
suspicion by taking time to prove the problem exists by providing copies of published articles that back up your point of view. Identify and explain one or more solutions. Prospects want a clear understanding of what you recommend to solve their problem. Prove the solution works. Prospects may be skeptical as to whether your recommended solution will actually do what you claim. You can expect an even higher level of skepticism if the solution you recommend is expensive. Build yourself into the solution. You don’t want prospects to agree they have a problem but then hire some other lawyer. You must do everything possible to make sure your prospects conclude you are the lawyer best equipped to solve their problem.
TIP #14: HOW TO HIRE A LAWYER. You seminar message should include a section near the end about how to hire a lawyer. This subject is important because it proves that you’re not trying to pressure attendees to hire you. In fact, it goes to the opposite extreme because you are teaching them how to interview lawyers so they can talk with several before they make their choice. The more objective you appear, the more respect you build when prospects see that you are not trying to influence their decision. The more you encourage prospects to interview other lawyers, the more they bond with you because they already know you’re qualified to provide the solution they need. The result? The fact that you do not try to pressure or influence them causes them to trust and respect you even more. And while a few prospects will hire other lawyers, most will gravitate toward you because now, after this seminar, they perceive you to be an authority in your field.
TIP #15: CALL TO ACTION. Make sure you clearly
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16 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
invite prospects to take whatever action you want them to take. Often, when prospects don’t know the next step, they don’t do anything. So make sure you spell out precisely what you want your prospects to do. Your seminar message should include one or more calls to action, something like: “If you would like to speak with me privately, you’re invited to stay after the seminar.” And/or “To schedule your free consultation, please talk with my legal secretary, Joan, at the side table.”
How To Promote Your Seminar How to Promote Your Seminar You can create a terrific seminar, but if no one shows up, you’ve wasted your time and money. So to attract the most prospects, create a powerful flier and then distribute it far and wide.
TIP #16: FLIER CONTENT.
Your seminar flier should include your photograph and biography, a detailed description of the information you will present, the seminar
dates and places, and a phone number to call for information. Make sure your flier is appealing to the eye and graphically strong so it seizes and holds your prospect’s attention. Offer specific details about the material you will present. The more information you provide about your program’s content, the more you motivate prospects to attend.
TIP #17: MAIL. Send your flier to everyone on your law firm mailing list, including current clients, past clients, prospects and referral sources. Even if these people don’t have reason to attend, they can pass along your flier to someone else. TIP #18: PUBLICITY. Send news releases announcing your seminar to the media that reach your target audience. Spell out the specific topics you will discuss and include a phone number interested parties can call for information. For best results, draft your news release in the writing style used by that publication.
TIP #19: ADVERTISING. Support seminar attendance with paid advertising in media that most effectively reach your target audience. The information in your ads should parallel the information in your seminar flier.
TIP #20: WEB SITE. Put your seminar flier on your web site, where prospects can read it or print a copy, if they prefer. TIP #21: NEWSLETTER. Promote your seminar through your newsletter and e-mail alert. Invite everyone on your mailing list to visit your web site where they can read your seminar flier. Or invite them to call your office so you can mail or fax a flier.
TIP #22: PICK-UP POINTS. Leave copies of your flier at high-traffic pickup points around your community. Libraries, chambers of commerce, and community centers often allow you to put out fliers for their patrons, members and visitors.
TIP #23: BULLETIN BOARDS. Post fliers around your community, such as at senior centers, chambers of commerce, grocery stores and other public places. If you design your flier with bright-colored paper, an attractive photo and a bold, black headline, people will be drawn to your flier from quite a distance. (Make sure the colors you choose don’t detract from the law firm image you want to project.)
TIP #24: MEDIA SPONSORSHIP.
Ask a local newspaper — or a television or radio station — to sponsor your seminar. In many cases, they will involve their in-house promotion people to help you market and publicize the event. A newspaper sponsored one of my client’s programs, giving him both free editorial coverage and advertising space.
TIP #25: PRESS COVERAGE. Another way to increase visibility is to invite editors to your seminar. If editors think your seminar content will help their readers, they may send a reporter to write an article about your program. This won’t help increase seminar attendance because the story will appear after the fact. But you can gain substantial media publicity if you choose a subject that interests local consumers or business owners. An editor sent a reporter to one of my client’s seminars and the resulting article appeared on the daily newspaper’s front page.
Solo Practitioner of the Month Feature Story Contact Us Today:
February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 17
Before Your Program Starts
During Your Seminar Program
Before Your Program Starts
During Your Seminar Program
TIP #26: REGISTRATION.
TIP #30: START ON TIME. I’ve seen presenters delay their program for a few minutes, waiting for latecomers. Don’t reward people for being late. Instead, start on time out of respect for the people who planned ahead and arrived with minutes to spare.
If you like, you can provide a guest book for people to sign. In truth, it doesn’t matter if you get their names before your program because you’ll ask for names and addresses on your seminar evaluation form after your program ends. If you charge for your seminar, you’ll need a method of identifying pre-paid registrants and accepting money, if you allow on-site registration.
TIP #27: NAME TAGS. They’re a nice touch and allow you to call audience members by name.
TIP #31: RESPECT. Don’t talk down to your audience. Always speak to your prospects as if they drive a Rolls Royce and attend the opera.
TIP #32: PLAIN ENGLISH. You greatly increase your
introduce yourself and shake hands with everyone who walks through the door. This is an easy way to form a strong personal bond before your seminar begins.
credibility when you speak in everyday words your audience understands. Keep your seminar simple. When people take in new information, they forget most of it. So although the information may be “old hat” to you, it may be new and even difficult for your prospects to grasp.
TIP #29: INTERACTION. While the last few people
TIP #33: QUESTIONS. Warning: Your seminar can
TIP #28: GREETING. As guests enter, welcome them,
are finding their seats, offhandedly ask the audience what they came to learn. Then customize your seminar by spending more time on those topics.
easily get off track if you allow audience members to ask questions during your seminar. Plus, other listeners may have no interest in the person’s question. I suggest you ask audience members to hold their questions until near the end, when you have reserved time for a question/answer period. Or, if you prefer to allow questions as you go along, monitor the questions carefully to make sure they’re relevant to what you’re discussing at that moment.
Near The End of Your Program
Near the End of Your Program
TIP #34: EVALUATION. Ask
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18 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
audience members to complete and turn in their seminar evaluation form, on which you ask for their contact information, invite their comments and offer a free consultation. Emphasize how much their comments will help you improve your program. Most people will turn in the form if they know you sincerely want their opinions. Don’t force the issue of getting names and addresses. Simply invite people onto your mailing list if they want to receive future briefings. Most will gladly comply. If people don’t want to give you their names, they are not good prospects and you don’t want to waste money sending them mail.
TIP #35: OFFER. Explain to prospects that they have absolutely no obligation to come in for an appointment. At the same time, explain that on the evaluation form you’ve included a section at the bottom if they wish to request an appointment. Further, explain that your secretary brought your appointment book as a convenience and will gladly schedule appointments for anyone who chooses to make one. In most cases, some prospects will book appointments before they leave the seminar room.
TIP #36: DEPARTURE. Often, the people who stay around after the seminar to speak with you are genuine, highly qualified prospects. So don’t make a quick getaway because you have another appointment. Instead, plan to remain in the seminar room for at least half an hour after your program ends so you can talk with prospects individually. If you must leave immediately after your program, explain to the group that you have a prior commitment, and that you’ll be happy to speak with them over the telephone or in your office. Then make sure they know they’re always welcome to call you with their questions.
How To Follow Up How to Follow Up TIP #37: THANK YOU LETTER. Your letter should summarize key points from your program, emphasize the need to act on your recommendations (urgency), and then restate your offer of a free consultation, with a limit of 60 days so prospects will act promptly.
TIP #38: FUTURE FOLLOW-UP. Use other educational tools to reinforce your message, such as newsletters and client updates. Send at least one mailing each month and leave prospects on your mailing list as long as it usually takes them to make a decision. If you don’t hear from them within that time, delete them from your mailing list unless you believe they still may be viable prospects or sources of referrals.
What Can You Expect? What Can You Expect? Typically, 30 to 50 percent of seminar attendees (consumers) will come in for your free follow-up consultation. I’ve seen situations where the number has topped 90 percent. Usually, some prospects become clients right away and others later on. And some will never hire your services but will bring friends to future programs. In most cases, when marketing to businesses, you will see smaller numbers of prospects and an overall slower process. But the fees are usually much higher, which more than makes up for the longer incubation. In addition, when people discover that you present seminars, you’ll receive invitations to speak to groups and provide in-house seminars for corporations. You may be asked to teach a course at a junior college. You could be invited to appear on a radio talk show or television news broadcast. Seminars put you in direct contact with qualified prospects and bring you benefits far beyond what you might expect. What’s more, they are powerful tools that attract new clients and increase referrals. These proven steps will help you succeed.
Trey Ryder specializes in Education-Based Marketing for Lawyers. He designs dignified marketing programs for lawyers and law firms in the United States, Canada and other English-speaking countries. Trey works from his offices in Payson, Arizona and Juneau, Alaska. To read more of Trey’s articles, visit the Lawyer Marketing Advisor at www.treyryder.com and add your name to Trey’s e-mail distribution list.
Practice Group Profile of the Month Feature Story Contact Us Today:
firstname.lastname@example.org February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 19
Attorney of the Month
Daniel E. Garrison By Paula Hubbs Cohen
f your first impression of Dan Garrison is that he’s a dynamic, successful attorney, you’d be 110 percent correct. But there’s more to this book than his cover. This former company CEO, founder of a non-profit community mediation service and general manager of a multi-location retail business is widely recognized in the Valley as a noteworthy lawyer and entrepreneur. Outside of legal circles, however, this attorney is better known as an avid skier, mountain biker and mountaineer. To wit: among other achievements, he has tackled Mount Rainer (14,410 feet) and Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous United States at a soaring 14,497 feet above sea level. He’s also trekked in the Andes to over 16,000 feet, and is planning a 2012 trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. On that Himalayan trek, Garrison will attempt to summit Island Peak (also known as Imja Tse), which tops out at a spectacular 20,305 feet. Billed as a great first Himalayan experience that includes glacier travel and moderate snow- and ice-climbing while ascending a 20,000-foothigh mountain, Island Peak offers top-of-the-world views of the snow-covered majesty of Mount Everest. But before we discuss any more mountaineering adventures, let’s get down to business.
FOUNDER AND MANAGING PARTNER A seasoned corporate restructuring and business bankruptcy practitioner, Garrison is the Managing Member of the Andante Law Group of Daniel E. Garrison, PLLC, a boutique firm that he founded in 2009. His ‘firm philosophy’ is to bring big-firm experience, credentials and service to clients in the intimacy of a small-firm setting, and to temper it all with real-world business know-how. The firm now has three attorneys and several staff members.
© 2011 Andrew Paul Photography
Prior to founding the Andante Law Group, Garrison was a partner at both Shughart Thompson & Kilroy (nka Polsinelli Shughart), and Gallagher & Kennedy; he spent the first several years of his legal career at Squire Sanders & Dempsey and Snell & Wilmer. Although he credits his current success to the experience and contacts he developed working at larger firms, in 2009 Garrison decided to leave the ‘big-firm’ world and start his own shop. “I’ve always chafed a little at authority and don’t do well with a lot of bureaucracy,” he says with a smile, noting that he caused more than his share of heartburn to office managers over the years. “But I also wanted to pursue separate business interests, which is a bit harder to do as a partner in a large firm.” His bottom line assessment? “I’m a little more entrepreneurial than the average attorney, I guess.” Although Garrison’s practice focuses largely on corporate restructuring, both he and the other attorneys at the Andante Law Group assist clients with business bankruptcies, loan workouts, creditor rights and loan enforcement, commercial and construction litigation, and corporate and real estate matters. They pride themselves on choosing and using legal tools with an awareness of their clients’ business needs. “The law provides a wide array of tools to assist with business challenges, but what can be done is not always what should be done,” says Garrison. “We have the business savvy to help a client use the right legal tools in a practical, efficient and effective way.”
TURNAROUND OF THE YEAR Speaking of business savvy, in 2007, Garrison was privileged to receive the ‘Turnaround of the Year Award’ from the Arizona Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association. This honor © 2011 Andrew Paul Photography
20 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
was as a result of his work with a family-owned sand and gravel business that was on the verge of losing their property to foreclosure. “I was able to take them through Chapter 11, hold the business together and generate a bidding war among several multinational companies to sell the operation,” he recalls. “The sale not only paid all creditors in full but yielded a significant recovery to the owners. That’s probably the success story I’m most proud of over the years.” Boasting a client roster that ranges from family-owned businesses to national, publicly-traded corporations, Garrison regularly represents clients in restructuring troubled businesses, including in Chapter 11 reorganizations. It’s a task that he finds both enjoyable and intellectually stimulating.“Every restructuring engagement I accept involves assimilating a new business, and often a new industry. I really enjoy becoming almost as knowledgeable as my client about their business and then helping them figure out how to resolve their crisis,” he says. “It’s equal parts legal analysis and business creativity, because while it’s crucial for clients to obtain the best technical advice possible, it’s equally important for that advice to be tailored to their business needs. I strive to bring the best of both worlds to bear on their situation.”
LESSONS LEARNED Garrison has enjoyed a wealth of professional successes, but when asked if he’s been involved in a case that haunts him in the many years of his practice, he surprisingly goes all the way back to a case that he actually won during his third year of law school. “I was working in the public defender’s office under the third-year practice rule in Utah, and I had a solo jury trial on a misdemeanor assault and battery charge. My client was accused of beating up his girlfriend,” he says. “Right on the eve of trial, the girlfriend backed out of testifying against her boyfriend, leaving the prosecutor with only the girlfriend’s little brother to testify against my client. I managed to convince the jury with my cross-examination of that ten-year-old boy that they shouldn’t believe him.” Garrison admits that the cross was so effective, “it made me feel a little nauseous.”
“A lot of people ask me about the name ‘Andante.’ It’s an Italian word that’s used in music and means ‘at a walking pace’—which is why our firm’s slogan is ‘Walk with Us.’ I talk to younger attorneys about becoming a client’s ‘trusted guide’ and about taking things one step at a time. You can see in our logo that footsteps play a prominent role. I don’t know why, but the word resonates with me and I think it represents my philosophy about always moving forward with purpose.” Dan Garrison, Founder/Managing Partner, Andante Law Group of Daniel E. Garrison, PLLC After being acquitted, the client eagerly reached out to shake Garrison’s hand and say thanks. “It was one of the hardest moments of my life, shaking his hand and trying to smile, because to this day, I think that it’s more likely than not that the guy actually did it,” he recalls. “The cosmos has a way of making things right, though, since he was convicted of a robbery a few months later and ended up in prison anyway.” Mountain photos by Kurt Wedberg of Sierra Mountaineering International
At a Glance Primary Areas of Practice © 2011 Andrew Paul Photography
• Restructuring, Bankruptcy and Insolvency • Creditor Rights and Loan Enforcement • Construction Services and Litigation • Business Disputes and Litigation • Business and Real Estate Transactions
Bar and Court Admissions • Bar(s): Arizona and Utah • Court(s): Arizona and Utah state and federal courts
Honors and Awards The moral of the story? “I came out of law school understanding that I definitely wasn’t interested in taking every potential client that came along.”
AND FINALLY… In addition to being an “insane golf addict,” avid downhill skier and accomplished mountain-climber, Garrison also is a frequent panelist, speaker and writer for the Arizona State Bar, the American Bankruptcy Institute and various other professional organizations. Along with his thriving legal practice, he has started a nascent real estate investment business called Andante Ventures. “My partner and I have been buying houses very successfully for the last couple of years,” he says. “We’re about to take the business to the next level with some larger investment deals and hope to see everything come together and really take off. Despite all of the negative effects of the recession and the real estate collapse, there are some fantastic opportunities out there right now.” Professional and personal accomplishments notwithstanding, Garrison says that for him, the most value in life comes from being a good husband to Julie, his wife of over 22 years, and a good father to his four children. “When it’s all said and done,” he says, “your family is your real legacy.” “If you’re talking about business, though, I’ll tell you a little story. The highest compliment among the professionals at the Andante Law Group is to pronounce that someone is a ‘get it’ person,” he says. “Well, we ‘get it’, and we work hard to make sure that our clients get what they’re after. I’m very proud of the fact that we’re formidable allies for our clients, whether we’re designing deals and getting them to the finish line, or fighting battles for them in court.” Contact info
Dan Garrison Andante Law Group of Daniel E. Garrison, PLLC
4110 North Scottsdale Road, Suite 330, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
Direct: 480-421-9449 Fax: 480-522-1515 Email: email@example.com Website: www.andantelaw.com
22 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
• AV® Preeminent™ Rating from Martindale Hubbell • Selected to Southwest Super Lawyers® for Bankruptcy, 2010 • Listed in Best Attorneys for Business by Arizona Business Magazine, 2008 • ‘Turnaround of the Year Award’ from the Arizona Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association, 2007
Education • J.D., University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law; Order of the Coif; Utah Law Review; William H. Leary Scholar • B.S., Economics and Sociology, Criminology Certificate, University of Utah
Family • Married 22 years to Julie. Four children: Brendon, 20; Justin, 17; Maya, 11; Gabrielle, 10. Jack, a two-year-old Boxer.
Professional and Civic Activities/Recognition • Served as law clerk to Hon. Dee V. Benson, U.S. Dist. Court for the District Of Utah • Served as a community mediator in over 150 matters • Appointed as a judge pro tempore • Chaired a state licensing commission • Elected as President of the Young Lawyers Division of the Utah State Bar • Climbed Mount Whitney and Mount Rainier to raise money for Big City Mountaineers, a group that takes inner-city kids on backpacking trips with positive role models • Boy Scouts of America merit badge counselor; teach backcountry skills and mountain biking
Who knew? Surprising Facts About Dan Garrison • “I’m a little obsessed with Batman. My license plate is ‘DK KNGT’. I’m also a big fan of punk rock and have a couple of tattoos…a rebel without a cause.” • “I’m not very star-struck by celebrity, but I’d love to play a round of golf with Arnold Palmer and have a nice glass of Scotch with him at the 19th hole.”
Favorite Books and Authors • “I read a lot of history and love David McCulloch’s Truman and Adams biographies. Fiction favorites include Kurt Vonnegut and Cormac McCarthy.”
Music on Dan’s iPod® • Frank Sinatra, Billie Holliday, Johnny Cash, Flogging Molly, John Coltrane, Green Day, The Police, John Legend
How Do I Get the Most for My Telecommunications Dollar? Consider Your Circuit Options. By Dave Kinsey
ith gasoline prices regularly exceeding $3 per gallon, purchasing a new car without considering fuel efficiency can cost a lot of money in the long run. The costs for traveling the internet superhighway are also very significant. A review of your internet circuit provider contract every three years can result in lower costs and/or faster internet access speeds. In the past several years the top tier carriers have made significant improvements to their network infrastructure in the Phoenix metro area. As a result, the cost of internet bandwidth has never been lower. Telecom agreements are most commonly structured with a 36-month initial term after which they typically go month-to-month. Carriers may often offer a modest reduction in rates to extend the term another 36 months. You often need to change carriers to get more aggressive pricing. When your voice/data circuit is up for renewal, it makes sense to look at quotes from multiple carriers. The price each carrier will be able to offer depends largely on how close their facilities are to your office and how close those facilities are to being fully subscribed. If a carrier already has fiber facilities in your building, they should typically (but not always) be both the most reliable and the lowest cost provider for your circuit. Cost savings are not the only impetus for a circuit review. Perhaps your firm would benefit by increasing the amount of internet bandwidth to allow faster internet browsing and file downloads or to provide for video conferencing capability. You may be able to double available bandwidth for little or no additional cost. For firms where even a temporary internet outage is very costly, a failover circuit from a different carrier is a sensible option. It’s ideal to review your options 90 days before your contract expires, but if your agreement is already in a month-to-month status this is a great time to act as well. If you decide to switch carriers, they will usually require four to six weeks’ notice to changeover. I highly recommend working with an independent consultant that can help to ensure you are comparing apples to apples on circuit options, and to ensure that the cutover goes smoothly. Our company partners with an excellent provider that reviews the various options from the top carriers and consistently delivers the best options and prices on circuits. We automatically work with our partner to review and present the best possible circuit alternatives for our clients when carrier contracts are nearing their expiration date.
Also, if your phone system is over five years old, I would recommend evaluating replacement options, especially if the firm is planning a move in the near future. VoIP (voice over IP) phone systems have become mainstream and offer a great deal more functionality than older digital and analog phone systems. Competition in the VoIP marketplace has improved both pricing and reliability. You may very well find that your circuit renewal savings alone can pay for the new phone system! Additionally, there are some vendors that bundle all of the hardware, circuits, service, and financing into one monthly bill. We frequently find that clients using a telecommunications bundle are paying quite a bit more than they should be. A typical law firm depends heavily upon their phone system. Too often this system is taken for granted and only looked at when the firm is moving offices. Almost every time we complete a phone system upgrade, our clients remark that they wish someone had talked them into upgrading the system sooner. With the right new system, it is very easy to work from home or a remote office as though you were at your desk. This is especially helpful when moving people to new locations in phases rather than all at once. There will be no need to pay for expensive conference bridges, because your phone system will include that capability. You’ll find yourself simply clicking on contacts in Outlook or other applications like Prolaw to automatically dial your phone for you. You may record any call with a single mouse click if you need it. As their phone system and computer integrate better, our clients tell us that they are more efficient and communicate better with clients and with staff. Our clients are continually surprised how the right new phone system has improved their productivity in ways they didn’t expect.
Have a question for the IT Expert? Email firstname.lastname@example.org Dave Kinsey is the owner and president of Total Networks. Total Networks is the technology partner to many law firms throughout Arizona. Services include document management, backup and disaster recovery, business communications, and general IT support (for firms with or without inhouse technical staff).
4222 E. Thomas Road, Suite 225, Phoenix, AZ 85018 (602) 412-5025 • www.totalnetworks.com February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 23
Top 5 Business Development Tips Marianne M. Trost,
The Women Lawyers Coach
Maximize your current efforts before you add more tasks to your 2011 business development “to do” list. Working smarter will help you add value to the time and effort you invest in growing your practice this year. Commit to:
Prioritize your contacts. Not all relationships have the same potential for return on investment. Go through your contact list and identify those that are likely to be most fruitful. If your time is limited, invest a greater amount in the relationships that are most likely to matter. Take steps to rekindle relationships that have potential. Calendar follow up at regular intervals.
Plan before you network. Invite contacts to attend with you. When feasible, get a list of attendees in advance and identify whom you would like to meet and whom you would like to introduce to others at the event. Familiarize yourself with the event sponsors and consider introducing yourself at the event. Within 48 hours of attending, send your VCard and a follow up note. Stay in touch.
Schedule face time. There’s no substitute for face to face conversation. Take the time to have lunch, meet for coffee, visit your contact’s office/worksite, or attend an event together. Ask open ended questions and spend the majority of your time listening, not talking. Use 2011 as a reason to find out what your contacts’ goals and anticipated challenges are. Then find ways to help.
As a new year begins, we tend to reflect on how successful our businesses currently are and how our levels of success could be heightened. With some diligent planning and resourcefulness, law firms can achieve their goals and look back on 2011 as a year of great prosperity.
Know who your target is! Being a jack of all trades and a master of none may help you get your foot in the door, but will do little for long term growth. Start the year off by determining what types of service offerings you want to focus on and build a marketing plan around those services. Once you know what you want to offer, determine who you want to offer it to and set out to identify where you can connect with those target markets.
Embrace Social Media The idea that social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have no relevance in the world of law is now archaic. Millions of consumers and businesses are looking to social media as a form of research before doing business with a law firm. Get your arms around how social media can help you tell your story, build your brand and connect with your target markets.
Network by helping others Good things come to those who help others. Invest in relationships that may not have immediate ROI potential, but will allow you to share your expertise and meet other viable clients.
Ask for the business. Let your clients know that you enjoy working with them and that you would like to continue to serve their needs. Don’t assume they already know. Look for opportunities to tell your contacts what you do and why you do it. Ask potential clients and referral sources for their business. If you don’t ask, someone else will. Set goals. Having a clear vision of what you want to accomplish in 2011 will help you assess opportunities as they come along. Investing the time upfront to decide what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it will help you eliminate random acts of business development and wasted resources.
Be ready Build it and they will come does not apply here. Be sure that you have the necessary tools to reach out and inform potential clients. Do an audit of your website, marketing materials and informational pieces to ensure that once you’ve attracted your target, you have what you need to seal the deal. Execute Daily work life can often get in the way of executing our goals. Make a plan, stick with it and set benchmarks along the way. Be sure to revisit the goals each quarter to determine if you are staying on track.
from Your from YourTop Local Local Legal Legal Marketing MarketingExperts Experts Norm Hulcher
Hulcher & Hays
David Freeman Consulting Group, LLC
If your New Year’s Resolutions have already faded into the mist, here are five new ones that can help you achieve real practice growth in 2011:
Dump your bad clients. Eighty percent of your headaches come from the least desirable 20% of your clients. Fire them. Disinfecting your client base gives you time and energy to dote on your “A” clients and attract more just like them.
Visit your good business clients. You can learn more about their legal needs via a first-hand look at their screwed-up operation than you could ever divine from phone conversations and meetings at your office. Plus, while you’re there, they’re likely to say, “Hey, while you’re here, let me ask you about [fill in the blank]” and – Voila! – you leave with a new file.
Beef up your website. To make your site a marketing asset, add articles and FAQs that (a) give prospective clients what they’re looking for, (b) make you stand out from the herd and (c) include key words that impress Google.
Beef up yourself. Charles “Tremendous” Jones says, “Five years from now you will be the same as you are today except for two things: the books you read and the people you get close to.” Read How to Win Friends & Influence People every six months, and spend as much time as you can with successful people whose mojo might rub off on you.
Create a cocktail-napkin plan. The next time you’re at a place where they have cocktail napkins, grab one and jot down some answers to these questions: “How do I want to change my practice?” “Who needs what I do?” “How do I reach them?” “Who do they listen to?” “How do I reach them?” Then write down three marketing things you can do in the next few days, and do them. This is a very effective tool – if you don’t leave it on the bar.
Jim Kearns of DuPont once said, “Insanity is continuing to do the things we’ve always done and expecting to get different results.” This quote has had a major impact on my life and on the lives of the lawyers I coach, so my tips for improving the quality and quantity of the business and referrals you generate in 2011 revolve around “doing things differently.”
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. I coined the term “Passionate Procrastination,” which is when you know what you want to do, but never start doing it. Put your plan into action. Record and measure your results. Procrastination is poison for business developers - if you don’t make things happen, things will get worse.
Get out of your office! After 15 years of working with lawyers, I am still shocked by how much time you spend in your office. You can’t build relationships through e-mail! Develop a long-term plan for making meaningful contact with your prospects. Studies suggest 80% of buying occurs between the 5th and 12th contact. That means to earn new business, you must meet face-toface with prospects on a scheduled and continual basis.
Focus your social media time on content. Know who your current audience is, develop a plan to broaden your target audience and evaluate how best to reach them. I recommend that for every hour you spend on social media, you must spend three hours a week on faceto-face business development. Track the time spent on your time sheets.
Listen more and talk less. How do you know what the prospect needs if you don’t listen?
If what you have been doing has worked well, then keep doing it, but in a more focused way. For example, if you have had success in a particular industry, then learn everything about it. Read the industry’s publications, join its professional organizations, attend networking events, and meet as many people as possible. If you don’t have a niche, find an industry that is predicted to be one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy in 2011, such as science and health related areas, or elderly services.
With Cyber Crimes on the Rise, Epps Consulting Looks at Ways to Protect Your Network In the Age of WikiLeaks, Increasingly Sophisticated Hacking Trends, Safeguarding Your Business is Vital By Karl Epps
ur society’s online obsession continues to grow
Second, their own company’s intellectual property and data
exponentially. From e‑mail to e-books, Twitter to
must be guarded. Network security must also consider that
Facebook, music downloads to streaming video,
the system has to be maintained in a way that minimizes risk
and all points in between, the Internet and the access to
and downtime due to threats like computer viruses, malware,
information that it provides seemingly drives almost every
spyware and hacking.
aspect of our lives. There is, however, a dirty underbelly in the
To achieve these objectives, a proactive rather than a reactive
“cyber” world: Spam, phishing, fraud, harassment, blackmail,
approach is required to address increasingly sophisticated
cyber bullying, cyber terrorism, drug trafficking, piracy,
threat trends. Some questions to ask include:
vandalism and theft, just to name a few. In the cyber realm,
· Is your company secure?
these activities all fall under the broader topic of cyber crime.
· Is your company protected from intrusion?
Law firms have two issues to address when considering
· Has your company had a recent network penetration test?
network security. First, they have substantial confidential cli-
· Do you consult with a network security specialist?
ent information which must be protected, almost at any cost.
· Have you recently verified that your backup data can actually be restored and accessed? If your answer to any of these questions is “No,” consider some chilling examples of what can go wrong: In a recent case, a law firm was held hostage by a cyber criminal. When the staff arrived to work on Monday morning, they were confronted with a message on their computers that read: “I have your data. It is encrypted and you will not be able to retrieve it unless you pay me $50,000!” The problem was made worse by the fact that there was no offsite backup. What’s even scarier about this horror story for small businesses is that this type of “cyber ransom” demand is not unique. Another small business owner came to work one Friday to find a note on his top sales person’s computer that said simply “I quit”. The following Monday, a long time client called the owner and told him that the sales person had called him on behalf of his biggest competitor. They looked at the sales person’s computer and saw that he had deleted his contact list and all of his e-mail and historical client data. It also appeared that he had copied the client database and proprietary pricing information and took it with him. The owner sadly related that he was not sure if his company would survive the loss of that critical information. In our current age of WikiLeaks, it’s obvious that even national security information can be vulnerable. Here are
26 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
some important tips to help safeguard you and your business:
statistics indicate that over 1.5 hours of an average employee’s
Consult a network security specialist annually. Get a baseline
8-hour work day can be spent on the internet. That amounts
security assessment and penetration test. The subsequent
to an entire lost day per week! One solution is to implement
report should identify weaknesses in your internal and external
technology that allows you to restrict and monitor internet
network. Use that report to thoroughly secure your network.
usage. The right technology will also filter spam and add an
An annual assessment will help keep you up-to-date on current
additional layer of virus and spam protection to your network
attack trends and keep your network from obsolescing.
at a reasonable cost.
· Practice a “Defense in Depth” methodology. The strategy
Protect your company…because it is your company. When
is based on the military principle that it is more difficult
asked “So what should I do first?” the answer is simple, consult
for an enemy to defeat a complex, multi-layered defense
a specialist. It is the best way to begin the process of securing
system than to penetrate a single barrier. Two main ideas
your network from the outside, as well as the inside.
of this methodology include network segmentation and appropriate password security. A well-designed strategy can help administrators identify attempts to compromise your network. If a hacker gains access to your system, a well-implemented defense in-depth strategy can actively identify the intrusion, minimize the adverse impact and give administrators time to deploy new or updated countermeasures to prevent recurrence. Disaster recovery test. Do you have everything that you need backed up? Are you sure? When was the last time you actually
Karl Epps, of Epps Consulting is the Director of Technology for Epps Consulting. He is one of 2,700 licensed computer technology investigators with the (EnCE) Certified Examiner designation. Epps Consulting has been a leader in Forensic Accounting for many years and recently the firm has added the field of Forensic Technology to their service offerings. For more information, please call (480) 595-0943 or visit www.eppscpa.com.
attempted to restore data from your backup media? A disaster recovery test will verify that the information you think is safely backed up, actually is. Thorough testing will also step through a scenario where you needed to “start over.” Again, part of this issue is to address how quickly could you be restored from a full loss. In a law firm, when the network is down or when data cannot be accessed, time is lost, which means money, and maybe even lawsuits are lost. Define expectations. Do you have an appropriate computer use policy? Is it part of your employee manual? Document what you expect of your employees and hold them to those expectations. Policies are only effective if they are enforced. It is important to identify yourself as the data owner of the computers in your company. Do so in writing, in your
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policies and procedures or employee manual. Everyone in
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the company should be required to read and sign off on that material, just like other policies such as sexual harassment. Not doing so means you may not have the right to look at all of the data on those systems if you ever need to. Monitor your network/manage usage. The number one cause of lost productivity in staff is the internet. This includes surfing the internet, misuse of e-mail, chat and social networking applications like Facebook. If you don’t actively manage internet usage and monitor the results, national
(602) 285-9901 Fax: (602) 285-0445
email: email@example.com www.dlinvestigationsllc.com 1717 E. Morten Avenue, Ste 100, Phoenix, AZ 85020 February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 27
Go ‘Virtual’ and Save By Wally Christofferson
t seems like just a few years ago that we were talking about data management in terms of “megabytes” and “gigabytes.” Oh wait, that was just a few years ago! How quickly things have changed! Thanks to the rapid development of new technologies and to the requirements mandated by new legislation over the past several years, today we routinely discuss storage and backup issues involving “terabytes,” “petabytes,” “exabytes,” and (coming soon) “zettabytes” of data. Of course, this “data explosion” is having a major impact on the legal profession, where judges, plaintiffs, regulators, advocates, arbitrators and many other interested parties have an insatiable desire for documentation. One way or another, all of this information has to be stored, managed, and secured. And it’s only going to get worse in the years ahead. Whether you are running a large firm with 250 attorneys or you manage a relatively small 10-person office, chances are that your data management challenges are growing at an alarming rate. It’s also likely that your IT environment includes more servers, storage devices, routers, switches, laptops, and PCs than you would have anticipated just a few years ago. And all of that equipment is expensive, takes up a lot of space, and requires continuous cooling, power, maintenance and protection. Looking ahead, your ability to effectively meet the increasing challenges of data management while staying within the limits of a very restricted budget may become a matter of survival for your firm. So, the BIG question becomes: How do you address increasing capacity demands without dramatically increasing your “IT footprint” and without busting your IT budget?
The answer: Virtualization. Believe it or not, “virtualization” can enable you to increase the security and efficiency of your IT environment, while drastically reducing your IT “footprint” and controlling (and even reducing ) your overall IT costs. At a very basic level, virtualization of the IT environment consists of three primary strategies: server virtualization, storage virtualization, and desktop virtualization.
Desktop “Desktop virtualization” ultimately involves the elimination of the PC from the IT environment. With a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), individual users (i.e., your staff) will continue to have access to email, the Internet, and all of the software they are currently using. However, each individual work station will consist of a keyboard, mouse, and screen (“monitor”) that are all connected directly to the organization’s main server environment. With VDI, there is no need for an individual computer (or “tower”) at the individual workstation. When an authorized user needs a particular piece of software, it is “streamed” to the workstation from the server environment. 28 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
Since the individual user accesses the software only when it is needed, VDI eliminates the need to purchase individual copies of software for every PC in your environment. As a security enhancement, VDI enables your support desk to more readily prevent employees from downloading malicious software to their own workstations AND enables you to implement and enforce protocols to prevent inappropriate copying of data and removal of sensitive files from your office. Finally, VDI enables your support desk to monitor all network traffic and enforce internal standards for use of your IT environment. From the perspective of individual users, VDI facilitates easy access to personal desktops and software from any workstation in your organization – without compromising security protocols. Of course, this also allows for easier and less expensive software upgrades for individual users or for your entire team.
Storage Unlike VDI, “storage virtualization” essentially involves overallocating existing disk space to meet the storage demands of individual applications running on your network. Typically, application administrators will require specific amounts of storage disk space to support their solutions; however, the space requested will usually far exceed the solution’s requirement – at least for the foreseeable future. This means that when you are running several applications (all requiring excess storage) on the same network, your IT budget is driven unnecessarily higher by acquisition and maintenance costs for disk space that is essentially unused. Storage virtualization enables you to “share” or provision unused storage capacity between several applications on a “justenough and just-in-time” basis. While providing sufficient storage space to support an application’s current activities, storage virtualization also allows for the increased allocation of disk space as the application’s storage requirements grow.
Server At the server level, virtualization facilitates a dramatic enhancement in the overall efficiency of your server environment. In a traditional IT infrastructure, individual servers are dedicated to specific tasks. One server might handle your email system. Another might support your Windows environment. Another might handle your accounting function. Another might support your website. And so forth. All of these servers might then be duplicated on redundant machines at another location for disaster recovery purposes. Within a few years under this scenario, a successful, growing organization could easily find itself with an IT environment consisting of dozens of servers and related support devices – all of which carry a sizeable price tag, take up space, generate considerable heat, and require support from a team of dedicated (and expensive) IT professionals. What many laymen do not realize is that this kind of infrastructure essentially requires the IT environment to be very
inefficient (as well as expensive). Individual servers that have been dedicated (i.e., programmed) for one particular function (e.g., Internet access) might use as little as 10 percent of their actual capacity in completing their assigned tasks. Additionally, within any IT environment, individual machines are regularly taken “down” or offline for backup or maintenance. During these “downtime” periods, the users must either do without the server’s assigned function (e.g., no Internet access for the next several hours) or rely on a redundant (“backup”) server that may have been assigned to this task. This places the organization in a situation where (at least temporarily) either its employees will not have access to critical functions, or those functions may be completed via backup servers that are now operating without support from other redundant servers and thereby placing critical data at risk. However, in a virtual environment, an individual task is assigned to a “virtual machine” (VM), which consists of codes that can be housed (or “hosted”) on an individual server. However, since the “host” server has not been programmed exclusively for one specific task, it can also be used to host one or more additional VMs that are supporting other tasks within the IT environment. This can lead to a dramatic reduction in the number of physical servers within the server environment. As capacity requirements change, individual VMs can be relocated (or ‘dragged’) to different servers by an individual operator using a ‘point and click’ strategy from a desktop workstation. When a particular server is scheduled to become unavailable (due to issues related to backup, maintenance, etc.), the operator can
easily drag the VMs assigned to that server over to other machines within the server environment. Additionally, for disaster recovery purposes, the operator can very easily create duplicate VMs to handle any critical operations within the IT environment. Perhaps most notably, this “virtual” structure can enable an organization to reduce the physical size of its server environment by as much as 75 percent! Of course, this translates into lower investment in your physical environment, lower cooling costs, a smaller IT “footprint” within your office, and the ability for your current IT support staff to handle much more data as your organization continues to grow. In short, virtualizing your IT environment can enable you to dramatically reduce costs, increase productivity, and better protect the integrity of the data that are critical to the success of your firm.
Wally Christofferson is Vice President of Technology for QCM Technologies in Scottsdale. With more than three decades of information technology industry experience, Wally is an IBM-certified system architect specializing in mid-range systems and storage. For more information on how a virtualization solution can benefit your organization, contact Wally at 480-556-6000 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 29
he Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) was
who are welcome to attend and learn along with us.
established in 1971 and has nearly 10,000 members in
The Certified Legal Manager (CLMsm)program was unveiled
Chapters located throughout the United States and in
in 1997. This program was developed to allow a qualified legal
33 other countries.
administrator to demonstrate, through an examination process,
The ALA Valley of the Sun Chapter incorporated in 1973. The
a mastery of the core competency areas. The ALA Valley of the
Chapter President, Holly Einspahr, and the Chapterâ€™s Board of
Sun Chapter proudly boasts eight members who have earned
Directors currently lead 81 local members representing 77 firms
their CLMsm designation. Another six members are currently
throughout the Valley. The group holds monthly luncheons
studying for the next exam, which will take place at the Annual
with guest speakers on various topics of interest and importance
Conference in Orlando next May.
relating to the five core competencies of law firm management.
Professional Legal Management Week (PLMWsm) was
Those competencies include financial management; human
established in 2005 in order to provide a forum for recognizing
resources; knowledge of the legal industry in general (i.e.,
those in legal management for the role they play in the success
disaster, strategic, and business planning; knowledge of business
of an organization, and in its service to its clients and those
and professional liability insurances, and marketing techniques;
who work in the organization. The goal of PLMW is to
technology management; and operations management (such
communicate to law firm management the importance and
facilities planning, knowledge of lease/contract agreements
need for a professional management team in all facets of
and project management). The luncheons are educational and
enterprise leadership. The objective is to provide awareness,
fun and frequently sponsored by a business partner resulting in
understanding and education about the legal management
no fee to the member. Members are encouraged to bring guests
profession, and increase knowledge of the diverse roles within
Valley of the Sun Chapter dinner at Annual Conference in Boston, May 2010 30 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
the profession. In October 2010, three members of the Valley of the Sun Chapter had fun participating in a radio show on KXXT where they explained the mission of ALA and answered questions about the organization. Another initiative launched by ALA in 1999 is Community Challenge Weekend (CCW). The intent is to underscore the importance of volunteering and the difference that ALA members can make in the lives of people in their own communities. This year, the Valley of the Sun members collected, literally, a ton of food for St. Maryâ€™s Food Bank, and a group of Chapter members, a couple family members, some of our business partners, and a few friends volunteered at the food bank and bagged 1080 bags of food for the less fortunate in our community. Being an active member of ALA and its Valley of the Sun Chapter
President-Elect Julie Hoort, President Holly Einspahr & Reg 5-6 Scholarship winner Mary Jezwinski taken at our Annual Educational Conference & Business Partner Expo in August 2010
does require a time commitment away from the office, especially at the local Board level. The Chapter hosts a Leadership Event each year
Please visit the ALA website
to thank our membersâ€™ managing partners and their firms for their
support of our organization, and in November, we were pleased to
along with the Chapter website
host a breakfast with a well-known speaker who presented a one-
hour CLE program on ethics.
for information on becoming a member and for a list of upcoming events. February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 31
Online Legal Marketing
Great Website Design Begins with You By Alex Morris
hen you see a well-designed website that represents the law firm effectively, you can be sure of two things: (!) a good designer was involved and (2) the law firm was fully engaged in the process. If you have entrusted your website to FindLaw, the company I represent, I can assure you of having an experienced, talented designer.
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But how do you become engaged in the process to make sure you have a website that creates the image and response you want?
1. Research other legal websites before you talk to your designer. Take note of what you like – and what you don’t like. To help in your research, I have created several websites, each focused on design for different legal practice areas: Personal Injury, Criminal Law, Business Law (Includes Real Estate and Estate Planning) Family Law (Includes General Practice sites), Immigration Law, Bankruptcy and Employment Law. On these seven sites, you will find more than 3,000 of the best legal sites in the country. (If you purchased a template site, you can review FindLaw’s various template designs at http://www.legaltemplatesites.com/.)
2. Consider different design styles and colors. First and foremost, remember there is NO RIGHT ANSWER. Your preferences should be based on your law firm. At FindLaw, we divide design styles into seven categories: conceptual, attorneyfocused, people-focused, symbolic, practice area-focused, geographic, office-focused and legal imagery. You can select any one or a combination. Or explain to your designer what you want to convey, and the designer can help you make a choice. Morning and afternoon functions • Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres Holiday parties • Wine pairing dinners • All-day meetings AV services, including wi-fi and TANDBERG video conferencing Chandler, 905 N. 54th Street, 480-940-1900 dC ranCh, 20753 N. Pima Road, 480-538-8000 Peoria, 9712 W. Northern Avenue, 623-772-WINE (9463) SCottSdale, 6333 N. Scottsdale Road, 480-596-8265 Ask for our Private Dining Director to discuss your special event. For a 360o view of our private dining rooms, visit FlemingsSteakhouse.com
3. Know your designer. When you schedule a call, ask the designer’s name. At FindLaw, we have more than 40 designers, all experienced in creating legal websites. On the design websites mentioned above, you will find a list of designers and sample websites from each. Look through them, and tell your designer about your favorites. (Because of scheduling concerns, your designer might change, but it is still a good way to get to know design options.)
4. Come to the design consultation with a clear vision. If you have gone through the first three suggestions 10FMG8854-118_AZ_PHX_Bus_Ad.indd 1
32 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
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here, you will be well prepared. Just a half-hour of looking through other sites can make you aware of the possibilities and your own preferences. When you can express your vision, an experienced designer will usually nail the design on the first try. That means your website will be online and working for you as soon as possible – AND it will be a website you can be proud of.
• Storage Retrieval • Integrated Virtualization
5. If you want professional photography, schedule it now. Especially for office-focused or attorney-focused sites, professional photography can make a world of difference. Schedule a photo session as soon as possible in order to keep the design process moving. Here are two great examples of professional photography on legal websites: http://www.slomskilaw.com/ or http://www.paradowskilaw.com/. 6. Don’t rush the creative process. At FindLaw, we work quickly, because we know how important it is to get your site online so that search engines can start indexing and ranking the site and potential clients can “meet” your law firm. That being said, you have made an investment in a custom website –and that means custom design. We work for a design that is thoughtful, creative and appropriate for your objectives. The best way to speed the design process is to provide the designer with guidance based on your preferences and vision.
Solutions for today and beyond!
7. Don’t believe the myth of the fold. Once upon a time, back in 1995 maybe, someone decided that Internet users only see what’s above the fold – the area of the website page that can be seen without scrolling. Of course, the “fold” varies widely, depending on the device being used and the size of a monitor. And users are accustomed to scrolling. That means a great design that informs, engages and converts the reader does not need to be sacrificed in the interest of putting all conversion-oriented content above the fold. It should be immediately clear, without scrolling, what the page is about, but that can be accomplished without compromising design.
8. Don’t believe the contact form has to be at the top of the page. For
QCM Technologies, Inc. 8070 E. Morgan Trail, Suite 110 Scottsdale, AZ 85258
most law firms, placing a contact form at the top of the home page (above the fold) can detract from a professional demeanor. The fact is that most responses to legal websites
February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 33
are phone calls rather than e-mails by a ratio of 4:1. That means your phone number should be prominent. A bulky contact form
not exhibit the firm’s professionalism. They asked the designer
at the top of a page may generate more e-mails, but are those
that reflected the law firm’s professional reputation. (To see their
responses likely to be the ones you want? People seriously looking
entire website, visit http://www.nearhoodlaw.com/.)
to remove the contact form. The result (at right) was a design
for a lawyer want to know more about the firm. On average, they
We live in an increasingly right-brain world. People respond to
will spend four minutes on a site and look at 3.5 pages before
a website’s design. It keeps them on the site, gives them confidence
making contact. If you do not want a contact form at the top of
in the law firm, provides a comfortable atmosphere in which to
the page, tell your designer.
learn more about the firm and make an important decision. It is essential that you be an active participant in determining what your website will look like. You know your clients and firm better than anyone else. Any time you would like to discuss website design or any other issue about legal websites, I welcome your calls, e-mails and blog post responses.
What would your response be to these designs?
Alex Morris has been the top Internet marketing consultant for FindLaw in each of the past four years and maintains an active blog devoted to lawyer marketing in Arizona: www.azlawyermarketing.com. If you are interested in improving your firm’s online presence, email Alex at email@example.com or call 480-889-4216.
Nearhood Law Offices PLC in Scottsdale is a high-end, referralbased law firm. When they saw the design at the left, they felt it did
Special contract language. Expert claims management Unbeatable financial strength.
Long Term Disability designed specifically for attorneys
s a law firm, you now have the opportunity to offer your employees long term disability (LTD) coverage that is designed and priced specifically for attorneys. With our new Attorney Disability Plans, you receive a plan with: • Specialty language written soley for attorneys • Expert claims management by a dedicated claims team that understands the legal profession
Association of Legal Administrators Valley of the Sun Chapter’s 2011 monthly education luncheon program: Date: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 Time: 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Topic: Safe Stress Speaker: Judy Hissong, Nesso Strategies Location: University Club of Phoenix 39 E. Monte Vista Phoenix, AZ Sponsored By: Strategic Employee Benefit Services Valley of the Sun Chapter Members - FREE Non-Member - $25
For a FREE analysis & proposal please call or e-mail at:
480-990-8400 firstname.lastname@example.org 34 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
Contact: Gina Sanfillippo
email@example.com Phone: 602-792-1737
Are Pricier Wines Worth the Price? By Marian Jansen op de Haar
t’s an age-old question and one we in the restaurant business hear often: “Are higher priced wines worth the price?” Our answer – in a word, yes. And no. What we mean is that the value of a wine is often as complex, subtle and mysterious as its taste. When examining the price and value of wine, a good place to start is to consider what goes into each bottle. Like other luxury products, factors such as the price and quality of the ingredients, how it’s made and operating costs are just the beginning. Beyond that, more elusive aspects come into play. With wine, if the grapes came from a stellar vineyard that only produces a small amount of grapes, and if a famous winemaker at a prestigious winery created it, this is called a “cult wine” – and it could fetch a very high price. Often these wines develop a strong following because they are rare and therefore perceived to be superior, much like a Rolls Royce, Russian Beluga caviar or that impossible-to-find Prada bag. Are these wines worth the money? If they sell for $400 a bottle, are they ten times better than a $40 bottle? That, in the end, is really in the mouth of the beholder. Wine is art, and art is very subjective. One man’s garage sale junk could very well be another man’s Picasso! If you love it, it’s worth whatever you’re willing to pay for it. On a more objective level, price is directly affected by how much the grapes cost per acre, which is affected by the price of the vineyard site and the labor that goes into maintaining that parcel. After that, the actual winemaking process can add to the price in significant ways. For example, aging in oak is time-consuming, and new barrels are expensive. So a wine aged in oak barrels for a respectable length of time should give you complexity – lots of different layers of flavors, and balance. None of the layers should overpower the other, and ideally, every time you take a sip you should discover something new. If a wine that I think is a good example of its variety, age and the place from which it comes, I’ll determine what I’d be willing to pay for it. This could be a wine at any price. If it costs less than I thought, I’ve found a value. With all wines, personal taste is the ultimate criterion. Your likes and dislikes are shaped continuously by the history of your taste encounters. Your taste buds evolve as you experience more flavors, and thus, your likes and dislikes evolve as well. Knowledge and experience make you more discriminating as you become able
to discern more flavors in a more profound way, and this affects which wines you deem good, spectacular or downright nasty. Here are three pairs to compare. One is typically priced twice as much as the other. Pairing One: • CHALK HILL, Chardonnay Russian River Valley Chalk Hill Imagine, 2004 • PATZ & HALL, Russian River Valley Dutton Ranch, 2005 Pairing Two: • MACMURRAY RANCH, Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, 2005 • ESTANCIA, Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Stonewall Vine yard, 2005 Pairing Three: • HESS, Cabernet Sauvignon Allomi, 2004 • ROMBAUER, Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, 2003 It brings us back to the original question – are pricier wines worth the price? Drink more wine and let your tastes be the judge.
Marian Jansen op de Haar is the Director of Wine for Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. There are four Fleming’s in Phoenix located in Peoria, Chandler, DC Ranch and Scottsdale. For more information visit: www.FlemingsSteakhouse.com February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 35
Solo Practitioner of the Month
Albert Underhill By Rebecca Larsen
law in Phoenix. “We won the appeal, but we wanted an award of Banner’s attorney’s fees as well. The Federal Circuit did send the case back to the district court on the fee issue. In patent cases, getting attorney’s fees was, and still is, a very unusual thing, but the court awarded about $750,000.” Instead of putting the money back into his business, the company’s owner, Robert Fayfield, used it to build a science and engineering laboratory at a Minneapolis high school. “That case was always special to me because of that donation,” Underhill said. Over the years, he became a close friend of Fayfield, who gave him a special desk-top memento -- a “rock” shaped from Steuben glass that had a removable sword, just like Excalibur,
As a young attorney, he was mentored by a senior trial lawyer, Robert Edell, who had a great influence on his work. “He used to involve himself in every single aspect of a case from the very first day it was filed,” Underhill said. © 2011 Andrew Paul Photography
the legendary weapon King Arthur pulled out of a boulder. “I worked with Al a lot, because people were always trying to get us in court,” Fayfield said. “But the plaintiffs didn’t know Al the way I do. We pretty much beat them up every time. We played off each other strategically during cases as if we were on a sports team together.” An accomplished litigator in intellectual property, Underhill has handled jury and bench trials in the courts and cases in
Washington, D.C., before the U.S. International Trade Commisne of Albert Underhill’s most memorable cases was
sion involving products imported into the United States.
one he handled in the 1990s. He was defending Banner
Underhill became a shareholder in Merchant & Gould based
Engineering, a Minnesota firm accused of patent
in Minneapolis in 1982 , served on the firm’s board of directors
infringement involving a photoelectric sensing system Banner
for many years and served as chair of the firm’s Litigation
developed that could be used in manufacturing processes.
Practice Group. While he was there, the firm, which specializes
“The district court held in our favor, but the plaintiff
in intellectual property, grew from about a dozen attorneys to
appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in
more than 100 and went on to open offices in Denver, Seattle,
D.C.,” said Underhill, who now practices intellectual property
Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.
36 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
But Underhill and his wife, Jane, developed a love for Arizona and eventually bought a home here. In 2007, when he was a senior vice president at Merchant & Gould, Underhill left the firm behind for Phoenix. John Gould, now retired but previously managing partner of Merchant & Gould, said about Underhill: “His focus became
An accomplished litigator in intellectual property, Underhill has handled jury and bench trials in the courts and cases in Washington, D.C., before the U.S. International Trade Commission involving products imported into the United States.
litigation, and he was very good at it. We were sorry to see him leave. He served his clients well and as a result our firm became
available for use and whether a business has the freedom to
known for our success in intellectual property litigation.”
operate in view of the patents and trademarks of others,” he
Upon relocating to Arizona, Underhill wasn’t ready to
said. Underhill also has extensive experience in representing
drop out of the law practice. In Phoenix, he joined Snell &
clients in disputed matters in litigation, mediation, and
Wilmer LLP, one of the city’s largest firms, as of counsel in its
arbitration on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants.
intellectual property group. Then in June 2010, after two and a
In some instances he will handle cases on a contingency
half years, Underhill became a solo practitioner, still focusing
basis. “I can make that decision now when before I might
on litigation, mediation, arbitration and counseling clients in
have to go through several layers of management before the
intellectual property matters.
determination was made by my law firm,” he said.
One reason why, he said, was to pursue a broader array of
He’s also developing relationships with attorneys who don’t
clients, including small businesses unable to afford the fees of
practice intellectual property law but would like to partner
larger firms. “The fee structure of large firms may not be the best model for many potential clients and cases and may be an obstacle to some clients getting the legal services that they need,” Underhill said. “Now that I’m on my own, I can be very flexible on arrangements; I can structure fees to the case and what clients need, while still bringing my 30 plus years of experience to bear in resolving their problems.” Underhill points out that “ Almost every business has some sort of intellectual property whether it be a patentable invention, a trademark, copyrightable subject matter, trade secrets or other proprietary information. I can help clients identify their IP and counsel them on how best to protect it.” “For example, I can advise them as to whether their
© 2011 Andrew Paul Photography
intellectual property is patentable, whether a trademark is
February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 37
with him because of his experience to address their clients’
systems, semi-conductors, pharmaceuticals, photoelectric
and light sensing systems, concrete delivery systems, chemical
Underhill has handled matters in a wide variety of technologies, including computer software, security camera
compounds, medical devices, reflective sheeting for highway barriers, and in-line skates. Although many of his cases involved complicated technology,
“The fee structure of large firms may not be the best model for many potential clients and cases and may be an obstacle to some clients getting the legal services that they need,” Underhill said.
others were everyday consumer items. “One of my accomplishments as a young associate is that I wrote the patent application for the Salad Shooter kitchen appliance, developed by National Presto in Wisconsin,” Underhill said. “Years later in litigation, the validity of that patent was confirmed.” In the late 1990s, he handled an intricate case before the International Trade Commission for Rollerblade, a Minnesota business fighting back against importers of in-line skates that infringed on Rollerblade patents. “There were 33 different defendants importing these products so managing the case was difficult,” Underhill said. “But I accomplished that with a small focused litigation team and the case was successfully resolved. On the eve of trial in D.C., we ended up with a good settlement for our client.” His understanding of the complexities of various products probably rests in part on his having earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology where the curriculum included physics, mechanics, chemistry , thermodynamics, calculus, and electronics. After college he was commissioned in the Army in 1969 and served from 1971 to 1972 in Vietnam as a captain. But his brief taste of work as an engineer before military service and while in the Army prior to his Vietnam tour, led him to try law instead with the goal of becoming a patent attorney. He took the LSAT while serving in Vietnam. On his return to the United States, he earned his J.D. in 1976 at Georgetown University Law School. As a young attorney, he was mentored by a senior trial lawyer, Robert Edell, who had a great influence on his work. “He used to involve himself in every single aspect of a case from the very
© 2011 Andrew Paul Photography
first day it was filed,” Underhill said. That’s the work ethic that Underhill brings to his new practice. “Because of his advance preparation, Edell wouldn’t be surprised when he got to trial by something that had happened
38 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
At a Glance Focus of the Firm: The Underhill Law Office PLLC handles intellectual property law including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, unfair competition and related licensing and contract issues. The practice includes litigation, mediation and arbitration and counseling clients generally on intellectual property matters such as identifying, acquiring , and protecting IP as well as opinions on the IP of a client’s competitors.
Practice of Law:
© 2011 Andrew Paul Photography
Underhill practiced with Merchant & Gould PC in Minneapolis from law school graduation in 1976 until 2007. He became a shareholder in 1982 and was a senior vice president when he relocated to Phoenix in 2007. He was chair of the Merchant & Gould litigation practice group and was on the firm’s board of directors for many years. He served as adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School teaching its patent moot court program. In 2007, he joined Snell & Wilmer LLP in Phoenix as of counsel. In 2010, he opened his practice in Phoenix.
along the way,” Underhill said. “That’s the way I like to do things, and that’s easier to do in a smaller firm. As a solo practitioner, I don’t worry about something happening during discovery where I wasn’t involved because I am there from beginning to end.”
Education and Military Service: J.D. from Georgetown University Law School in 1976; B.S.E.E. magna cum laude from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1968. Underhill served in the Army from 1969-1972, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. He left the service with the rank of captain.
Court Admissions: Arizona and Minnesota Supreme Courts; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; U.S. District Courts for District of Arizona, Minnesota, Nebraska and Eastern and Western Wisconsin.
Family and Personal:
Underhill Law Office PLLC 7907 N. 16th Drive, Phoenix, Arizona 85021; 602-388-4020, phone and fax; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Underhill’s wife, Jane, is a watercolor artist who has won awards in national and local shows. She is also vice president of the Arizona Watercolor Association. The couple has a combined family of five children, four in Minnesota and one in Hawaii, and three grandchildren. The Underhills are former members of Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota where he was on a tournament committee for the 1991 U.S. Open and the 2002 PGA Championship. Underhill volunteers with the First Tee program at Desert Mirage in Phoenix coaching golf and life skills with children ages 7-17.
February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 39
Talk of the Town
A wards – A n n o u n ceme n ts – P ress R eleases – P r o m o ti o n s
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite, announced the addition of Susan D. Brienza, Ph.D., who will be a shareholder in the firm’s Phoenix office. Ms. Brienza helps clients navigate complex federal laws relating to the manufacture, labeling, importing, marketing and sales of health and wellness products. Ms. Brienza’s practice involves keeping clients in compliance with Susan D. Brienza, Ph.D. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) law and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations, as well as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) laws and regulations. In addition to regulatory compliance and enforcement matters, she assists in litigation, with particular emphasis on product liability and advertising cases. She has also been involved in white-collar criminal defense work and lobbying/public policy matters. Greenberg Traurig, LLP announced that Phoenix shareholder Nancy Strick Hawkins was appointed budget officer of the State Bar of Arizona Antitrust Section’s Executive Council. The Antitrust Section studies antitrust laws and procedures and promotes the fair and just administration of antitrust law. The section also reviews and reports on proposed legislation; promotes legal education to members of Nancy Strick Hawkins the Bar and the public; sponsors meetings, seminars and conferences; and publishes articles and legal texts on current and proposed antitrust legislation and issues related to antitrust law. Hawkins practices in the areas of antitrust and trade regulation counseling and litigation before the Federal Trade Commission, the Antitrust Division, Department of Justice, state attorneys general and Federal courts.
Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, PLC, is pleased to announce that Carolyn Johnsen, has been selected as a member of the 2011 DirectWomen Board Institute. The DirectWomen Board Institute is a program designed to identify and promote qualified women lawyers to serve on corporate boards of public companies. The 2011 DirectWomen Class is composed of 24 accomplished Carolyn Johnsen women lawyers selected from candidates throughout the country. The Class includes general counsel of Fortune 500 companies, partners at top law firms, highly respected consultants, and representatives of large non-profit organizations. Snell & Wilmer recently announced that it has named ten new partners to the firm. The new Snell & Wilmer partners are: Aaron D. Ford, Commercial Litigation practices in the area of complex commercial litigation. James Jones, Real Estate, Environmental, Energy & Finance, based in Salt Lake City. Adam Lang, Commercial Litigation, based in Phoenix. Craig Logsdon, Product Liability Litigation. Kelly Wilkins MacHenry, Product Liability Litigation, based in Phoenix. Brian Mills, Labor & Employment, based in Orange County. Eric Pezold, Bankruptcy, Insolvency & Business Reorganization, based in Orange County. Prescott Pohl, Tax, Employee Benefits & Estate Planning, based in Phoenix. Marc Schultz, Tax, Employee Benefits & Estate Planning, based in Phoenix. Fennemore Craig recently elected three new directors and shareholders, Suzanne Ogden, Alexander Arpad and Bradley Shwer. Ogden is a member of Suzanne Ogden Alexander Arpad Bradley Shwer the Business and Personal Injury Torts and Healthcare practice groups. Arpad is a member of the Appeals and Litigation practice groups and focuses on the areas of civil appeals, commercial litigation and probate litigation. Shwer practices in the areas of business torts, personal injury torts and commercial litigation.
Attorney James Cool has joined Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi as a litigation associate. Cool is a 2010 graduate of the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, where he received national recognition for excellence in oral advocacy. He is an adjunct faculty member in the Barrett Honors College at ASU and is a member of the American Association for Justice and the Arizona Association for Justice.
Providing legal services relating to: Complex Real Estate & Commercial Transactions Real Estate Development Services Real Estate & Commercial Litigation
Sherman & Howard announces that Thomas K. Chenal, a member in the firm’s Arizona litigation practice, will join the Arizona Attorney General’s Office as Chief Counsel of the Division of Public Advocacy, which includes consumer protection, consumer and mortgage fraud, antitrust and environmental enforcement. Mr. Chenal’s last day with the firm will be January 12. Mr. Chenal joined Sherman & Howard in January of 2009 when his former firm, Mohr, Hackett, Pederson, Blakley and Randolph, combined with Sherman & Howard. He was with Mohr, Hackett for 29 years preceding the combination. He has practiced law in the areas of commercial litigation, insurance defense, and bankruptcy. He has served as Town Attorney for the Town of Carefree, Arizona for the past 10 years.
16100 N. Scottsdale Rd., Suite 190 Scottsdale, AZ 85254-2274 Phone: (480) 483-6336 Fax: (480) 483-6337 email@example.com
The Arizona Association of Family Law Attorneys is pleased to announce the launch of its new website, www.AZAFLA.com. The website provides members with databases of case law, Judge reviews, and templates of pleadings and other filings for use by
MR. E.J. PESKIND
40 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
E ve n ts –
A ctivities – H o n o rs - R ec o g n iti o n s
members. AZAFLA members are also able to utilize the Listserve which allows emails to be sent to all members regarding family law matters. Listserve emails can also be sent directly from the website which allows the sender to exclude specific members from receiving the email (ie opposing counsel). Membership also includes a directory listing for potential clients to find family law attorneys. The Law Firm of Renaud Cook Drury Mesaros, PA is pleased to announce that Randy J. Aoyama has become a Shareholder. Mr. Aoyama practices civil litigation and product liability defense and is a past President of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association. Randy J. Aoyama Polsinelli Shughart PC welcomes shareholder Douglas Wiley to the firm’s Wealth Planning practice. While the firm has a national Wealth Planning practice, Wiley’s addition in Phoenix provides a new area of service for clients in Arizona. In the past year, the Phoenix office of Polsinelli Shughart has strengthened its corporate Douglas Wiley capabilities to complement its national trial experience. Wiley brings 14 years of wealth management and estate planning experience, advising clients in all aspects of estate, charitable and tax planning.
Snell & Wilmer, along with DrugFreeAZ.org - The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Arizona Affiliate, is pleased to announce that Phoenix partner Garth Stevens has been elected as chairman of the organization’s board of directors. DrugFreeAZ.org - The Partnership for a DrugFree America, Arizona Affiliate, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to prevent and reduce illicit drug use by encouraging people to live healthy, drug-free lives through community-based education. The board of directors is responsible for financial oversight, strategic planning and policy decisions that guide and sustain the organization. Stevens has served on the board for the past three years, including in the past year as vice chairman and secretary. Greenberg Traurig, LLP is pleased to announce that Mona Mehta Stone has joined its Phoenix office as Of Counsel in the Labor and Employment and Litigation practices. Prior to joining Greenberg Traurig, Stone was a partner with the Chicago office of Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell. Stone practices in the areas of labor and employment, Mona Mehta Stone business and commercial litigation, antitrust, and insurance defense. She has drafted, negotiated and litigated various corporate and service contracts; given numerous presentations and written several articles on best practices for employers; and has counseled clients on developments in the law affecting their operations and business practices. We are pleased to announce John L. Lohr, Jr., has become a Principal of the firm Hymson Goldstein & Pantiliat, PLLC. Mr. Lohr joined the firm in 2006 and practices primarily in Construction Law, Commercial Litigation, Real Estate, Trademarks and Bankruptcy Law-Creditor’s Rights.
Brian Christensen has joined the Phoenix business valuation firm Kotzin John L. Lohr, Jr. Valuation Partners. Christensen is an Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) and a member of the American Society of Appraisers and the Men’s Art Council of the Phoenix Art Museum. Kotzin Valuation Partners is Arizona’s largest, most credentialed, independent business valuation firm.
Snell & Wilmer is pleased to announce that Rob Kort, a partner in its Phoenix office, has been appointed as chairman of the board of the Arizona Humane Society. Kort has served on the board for the last five years and has been a chair on the legislative action and government relations committee to advocate for laws Rob Kort protecting the welfare of animals. The Arizona Humane Society is the state’s largest, private non-profit, 501(c)(3) animal shelter, animal welfare and protection agency. Its mission is to improve the lives of animals, alleviate their suffering and elevate their status in society while building healthy relationships between people and animals. Quarles & Brady announced that Susan Brichler Trujillo and Marian M. Zapata-Rossa received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the Arizona State Bar for their pro bono work with the Wills for Heroes® program. Susan Brichler Trujillo Marian M. Zapata-Rossa The Wills for Heroes® program operates in ten states and provides free estate planning documents for first responders; police officers, firefighters, corrections officers and paramedics. Documents include wills, living wills and powers of attorney. The Wills for Heroes® volunteers are attorneys that donate more than 100 volunteer hours to the program. The award is presented in recognition and appreciation of their commitment to strengthening the nation and for making a difference through volunteer service.
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February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 41
AWLA Maricopa Chapter Welcomes its New Executive Committee for 2011
he Maricopa Chapter of AWLA elected its 2011 Steering Committee and Executive Committee at its December 2010 luncheon. We look forward to a productive and enjoyable year under our new leadership!
insurance and legal malpractice defense, and municipal law. She has been involved with educating the community about the legal system by coaching several high school mock trial teams. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of AWLA, and co-chairs the Speakers Committee.
Barbara McCoy Burke, President Barbara has been a staff attorney for the Arizona Supreme Court since 1998, specializing in civil litigation, tax, and criminal law. She practiced privately for 4 years doing civil and appellate litigation. She then served as an Assistant AG in the contracts and procurement unit from 1993-1996, moving from there to a captive law firm working for Motorola. Barbara also has clerked for former Supreme Court Justices James Moeller and Robert Corcoran, and Court of Appeals Judges Sarah Grant and Sheldon Weisberg. Barbara is a member of the Phoenix Sister Cities Board of Directors, Chairperson of the Phoenix Sister Cities Ennis, Ireland Committee, and is adjunct professor of law at the Phoenix School of Law. Barbara enjoys traveling, snorkeling, skiing, hiking, tennis, lifting weights, cultural exchange, creative writing, and she is an avid art history fan. Her interests also include teaching English as a second language, most recently to Okinawan high school students in Hawaii. Barbara is a single mother with three children: one daughter in her first year of law school, and two sons. Sheri Shepard, President Elect. Sheri has practiced in the area of family law with Udall, Shumway & Lyons, PLC. since 2005. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from ASU, and her JD from Washburn School of Law. Sheri has been a member of AWLA since 2006, and has been on the Chapter Steering Committee since 2007. In 2008, she was elected to the Chapter executive board. Since that time she has held the offices of Secretary and Treasurer. Sheri also sits on the AWLA Board of Governors. Paula Williams, Vice President Paula is a shareholder in Collins, May, Potenza, Baran & Gillespie, P.C. She practices in the area of general commercial litigation, real estate litigation, landlord/ tenant law, administrative adjudications, business torts, and professional liability. Paula previously worked as a Deputy County Attorney prosecuting felonies, and then moved to civil litigation, 42 | Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine February 2011
Dominique Barrett, Secretary Dominique is a Partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP where she concentrates on medical malpractice defense. She also handles products and general liability matters, as well as administrative proceedings, including board complaints involving medical professionals. Dominique has been an invited speaker at the yearly convention of the American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants. She graduated from UA with a major in Marketing and received her JD from the University of Denver in 1992. Dominique is licensed in both Arizona and Colorado. Dominique has been an AWLA member for more than ten years. For the last five years, she has been a member of the Steering Committee, chairing the Social Committee. In doing so, she assisted in coordinating AWLA’s annual golf tournament, receptions for the incoming judges, and was an AWLA team member for the Breast Cancer 3-Day. Laura Zeman-Mullen – Treasurer Laura splits her time between Phoenix and Prescott. Prior to establishing the Zeman-Mullen Law Firm PLLC in 2010, she was a partner at Snell & Wilmer LLP for 10 years. Laura practices patent and intellectual property law, emphasizing medical devices, semiconductors, and the biomedical and bioscience areas. Her practice includes both domestic and foreign copyright and trademark litigation. Laura graduated from the U. of Minnesota with degrees in biology and physiology and obtained her law degree from the U. of Wisconsin. Laura has held leadership positions in the American Intellectual Property Law Association; was named as one of the Best Lawyers in America (2010) in intellectual property; was the Children’s Law Center Advocate of the Year for the Volunteer Lawyers Program in 2009; and is a board member for non-profit corporations that focus on foster children, the homeless, and domestic violence. She serves on the Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness. Laura has been on AWLA’s steering committee for the past twelve years and has co-chaired AWLA’s Judicial Appointments Committee.
Albert Einstein, Bruce Willis, and Happiness By Pouria Paknejad, Esq.
appiness is an elusive concept for some people. If you’re one of the many attorneys for whom work and life are enmeshed, there may be no happiness at all. I’m joking, of course, because those attorneys don’t have a life worth being happy about. In my simple youth, I just don’t understand why half of the Bar spews sour grapes every time they’re probed about their profession. It’s not that bad…if you look at my picture hard enough you’ll see that I’m smiling. I’m a happy attorney. Our sadder colleagues have asked me to empathize. I feel you, brethren and sistren – that’s why I’ve submitted to the throes of anger and sadness the past two days. I’ve gotten in character: In writing this article I am as much a malcontent as Uriah Heep himself. Special thanks to our law firm’s principal who agreed to be extra-mean the past 2 days to help me with this. Payback will be sweet. As I do in matters of math, science, or fashion, I turned to Albert Einstein for an answer. His philosophy was, “If you want a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” Einstein had a lot of things figured out - and not just relativity. In 1919, he cleverly negotiated a matrimonial agreement...while he was married. When his marriage became strained, Einstein drafted a contract to spare his wife grief. His terms, “[T]hat my clothes and laundry are kept in good order; that I will receive my three meals regularly in my room; that my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only.” It’s called a maid, Albert. But I digress. As I plunged into Einstein’s personal life, I drifted further from my own. Even if there was a hint of truth to his maxim, I didn’t like it. Young professionals are trained to find happiness through goal-accomplishment and little else. I’m not one of those young professionals, and you shouldn’t be either. How sad, the notion that happiness can only come from crossing items off a list. Maybe Einstein didn’t have everything figured out after all. Maybe young professionals are incorrectly taught that happiness must be tied to “to-do” lists. What’s wrong with tying goals to people – people who we respect, admire, or love? I began formulating a solution for the malcontents. I turned to Bruce Willis for guidance. I like Bruce for two reasons: he beat the crap out of Hans Gruber in Die Hard, and he bears a striking resemblance to our law firm’s principal. Sweet payback. Bruce’s wisdom teaches us that love is the Fifth Element (forget Boron) right after earth, wind, fire, and water. If this is true, love is an essential element of human survival. Contrary to Einstein’s belief, other people are a necessary tie for the success of our goals. Love, after all, makes us feel wanted and useful. Therein lies the the key: we don’t need to be useful to be happy, we just need to feel useful to be happy. Whether it’s at work or at home, we are motivated by a desire to be important. Dr. Arthur Aron,
psychology professor at SUNY Stony Brook, explains: Our primary motivation as human beings is to expand the self… one of the ways we accomplish this is through our relationships with other people. [It] is important to feel that you have the ability to be an effective person… The malcontents despise this juxtaposition, but happiness needs Bruce and Albert to work side-by-side. It’s easier to find someone who loves you than it is to find work that you love. By tying your goals to someone you love, you bring happiness into your professional life rather than professional misery into your personal life. Love makes us feel more useful than we dream we could be. So, it turns out, the deus ex machina of this story lays inside us all. Will the flow of life go from work to home or vice versa? The right answer for each of us is in each of us. As long as we feel important, happiness will flow through. Looking past its obvious flaws, Dr. Aron’s conclusion isn’t as harebrained as it seems. Consider the following: feeling like you’re a necessary component, professionally, has been proven to raise revenues and employee loyalty. It’s up to us to feel important. It’s up to the principals to make sure we associates are as important as we feel. You see, my fellow malcontents, seemingly opposite forces are really best friends once you think about it. Like respecting Einstein while learning from Willis. Like achieving goals while relaxing in life. Like being happy while being an attorney. Pouria Paknejad is a Civil Litigation Attorney with the law firm of Troncellito & Associates in Phoenix, AZ. firstname.lastname@example.org
February 2011 Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine | 43
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