Volume 104, 2014 • $6.95
Hot Button Ethics Issue Update
Pick Your Prospects for More Business
Margaret Grisdela How to Increase Your Law Practice Cash Flow by Helping Your Clients Choose Their Own Fees
What to say when the client says, “I want to think about it”
Competitive Intelligence is an Essential Component of Better Law Firm Decision-Making
Janet Ellen Raasch 17 Fatal Marketing Mistakes
What Are Law Firms Doing to Develop the Next Generation? Developing Successful Lawyers and Rainmakers
Cordell M. Parvin Attorney of the Month
Daniel J. Callahan MASTER OF ALL TRADES
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TABLE OF CONTENTS features 6 What to say when the client says, “I want to think about it”
by David Ward
8 What Are Law Firms Doing to Develop the Next Generation? Developing Successful Lawyers and Rainmakers by Cordell M. Parvin
10 COMMUNITYnews 12 Hot Button Ethics Issue Update by Ray Ryan EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER Brian Topor
ATTORNEY OF THE MONTH
16 Daniel J. Callahan Master of All Trades
EDITOR Jennifer Appel
by Jennifer Hadley
CREATIVE SERVICES Skidmutro Creative Partners
22 Fatal Marketing Mistakes
CIRCULATION Angela Watson
by Trey Ryder
PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Griffiths
STAFF WRITERS Jennifer Hadley Bridget Brookman Karen Gorden CONTRIBUTING EDITORIALISTS David Ward Kendra Brodin Jessika M. Ferm Janet Ellen Raasch Margaret Grisdela Ray Ryan Trey Ryder Christopher Walton Monty McIntyre WEBMASTER Mariusz Opalka
26 How to Increase Your Law Practice Cash Flow by Helping Your Clients Choose Their Own Fees
28 Competitive Intelligence is an Essential Component of Better Law Firm Decision-Making
by Alexis Neely
by Janet Ellen Raasch
30 Pick Your Prospects for More Business by Margaret Grisdela
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WHAT TO SAY WHEN THE CLIENT SAYS,
“I want to think about it” by David Ward
When prospective clients tell you, “I have to think about it” or “I have to talk to my [spouse],” do you know what to say? Here’s how to overcome those common objections and “close” more clients. First, when the appointment is made, ask if they are married or have a significant other and if so, tell them they both need to be present at the appointment. If they balk, ask if they can make a decision to go ahead without their spouse, and if they say yes, ask again! Asking, “Are you sure?” will often cause them to admit they probably need to have their spouse with them. Second, before you present your “solution” to their problem, take some time to discover what it is that they want to accomplish. Ask questions about why they contacted you and about their most pressing concerns or objectives. Only then should you show them how your services can help them get what they want. When they tell you they want X and later say, “I have to think 6
Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
about it,” you can remind them that they told you they wanted X and ask them, “Has that changed?” or “Did I misinterpret?” By involving them in the process right from the beginning, they will tell you what you need to do or say in order to get “the sale.” Third, when they say, “I have to think about it,” ask them WHAT they have to think about. Make them tell you. Remind them of the benefits they get when they go forward, and what they lose or risk losing if they do not. When someone says they have to think about it, money is often the real issue. Don’t hesitate to ask if this is what is causing them to hesitate. When they admit that it is, make sure there are no other objections by asking, “So, if it wasn’t for the money, you’d go ahead?” Or, “If we can work out the money part, would you go ahead today?” If they have previously admitted that they want the benefits
you offer and have no other objections, a payment plan may be all you need to offer to get them to go forward. Finally, you can increase your closing percentage by prequalifying prospects before they come to see you. In addition to asking about their ability to make a decision (with or without their spouse, partner, superior, or committee), you can give them an idea of what your services may cost and see if that’s 1 Have your retainer agreement out, in advance. If you hide it and whip it out when it’s time to sign, people get nervous. Put them at ease by letting them get used to seeing the paperwork sitting on your desk during the consultation. You should also point to the documents with the pen you will ask them to sign with. Let them get used to seeing it out and open. 2 Assume they will sign. Everything you do and say should be consistent with them becoming your client. Say, “When we get your case started…” not, “If you decide to hire me….” Here are examples of an assumptive close: • “Go ahead and put your name here and I’ll get started on this immediately.” • “Where do you want me to send your copies of the documents we file in your case?” • “I have everything I need; how soon would you like us to get started working on this?” 3 Have them fill out the “easy” stuff first. When it’s time to sign, give them something to fill out or something non-threatening to sign (i.e., authorizations), first. Let them get into the habit of signing; it will be easier to go with the flow when you present your retainer agreement. 4 Ask a question, break eye contact, start filling out the agreement. When it’s time to sign, ask them, “Where would you like us to send your copies?” or “What is your social security number?” Then break eye contact, look at the agreement, pen poised to fill it out, and wait for them to speak. Don’t utter another word–wait for them to respond. When they do, fill out the agreement for your new client.
As a professional advisor, your job is to persuade people to take action that you believe is in their best interests. In fact, you have a duty to do so. This means you must use all of your energy and creativity to show them the benefits of going forward, as well as the detriments if they don’t. Prove to them that the cost of NOT hiring you is far greater than what you charge. The burden of proof is yours. n
going to be a problem. A few hours spent with books on sales can provide more ideas for closing more prospects. A good one to start with is Tom Hopkins’s classic, “How to Master the Art of Selling.” Okay, so the client is sitting in your office and it’s time to sign your retainer agreement. Does she? Are you “closing” as many clients as you would like? If not, here are seven things you can do to improve your percentages: 5 Don’t ask them to “sign.” Words are important, and the wrong words can intimidate. Instead of asking them to “sign the contract,” say, “I need you here” or “put your name on this line.” 6 Let them choose. Instead of choosing between (a) hiring you, and (b) not hiring you, give them two (not more than three) choices that are all good for you: “So do you want to get started with the trust AND the lease right now or just the trust?” “Would you prefer to take care of all of this now or half now and half in 60 days?” “Would you like to start on Tuesday or is Thursday better for you?” 7 If they hesitate, remind them of their pain. If you start filling out the agreement and they say they’re not sure or not ready, remind them about why they came to see you in the first place. “You did say you wanted to protect your children, didn’t you?” Most people don’t shop and compare lawyers. If someone hesitates to sign, the odds are they either can’t afford you or they don’t want to spend the money. If they can’t afford you: a. Show them how they CAN afford you (payments, credit cards), or b. Offer them a lower-cost partial solution (another service) c. Refer them to a young colleague. If they don’t want to spend the money, it’s their fault, not yours.
David Ward learned how to market his legal services the hard way. He was sworn in at 23 and started his practice shortly thereafter. He had no experience as a lawyer, no business contacts, no secretary, and no clients. After five years of mistakes and frustration, he learned a few marketing ideas and put them to work. Eventually he became really good at marketing and his practice took off. He practiced for more than 20 years and now runs two businesses from home. David can be reached at: The Attorney Marketing Center, o: 949-888-2800, e: info@ attorneymarketing.com Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
It’s almost a brand new year. What are law firms doing to develop the next generation of successful lawyers and rainmakers in 2012 and beyond? The answer to that question depends in part on how the firm is doing in the current economy and whether the firm views the development efforts to be a cost or an investment.
What Are Law Firms Doing to Develop The Next Generation? Developing Successful Lawyers and Rainmakers by Cordell M. Parvin
Cordell Parvin built a national construction practice during his 36 years of practicing law. In 2005, he left the firm and started Cordell Parvin LLC. He now works with lawyers and law firms on career development and planning and client development. The Practical Lawyer reprint. He may be reached at 214-866-0550 or email@example.com.
Many firms, which have historically had institutional clients, have cut back on their development of the next generation. Those firms view development of their next generation as a “cost” and as soon as the economy deteriorated, developing the next generation was one of the first things to be cut. Those firms are no longer hiring outside trainers and coaches to work with their associates. Instead, they are turning to their own partners, who do not have time for training and coaching because of the increased pressure to get their own billable hours. In those firms, instead of focusing on the next generation of successful lawyers and rainmakers, they are laying off the next generation in record numbers. I am fortunate to teach and coach lawyers in many entrepreneurial law firms. One great example is Fox Rothschild, a Philadelphia-based firm with offices along the East and West Coasts. Fox Rothschild’s firm leaders, and leaders of other entrepreneurial firms, believe that developing their next generation of lawyers is a sound investment. I know from my own work with those firms that the return on the investment is substantial. “We believe in investing in our associates and young partners. Our investment has made them more successful and created more of a team spirit in the firm. Several associates and partners who have participated have greatly increased their business and brought new clients to the firm. As a result, we have a waiting list of lawyers wanting to participate.” Jean A. Durling, Fox Rothschild’s Chief Talent Officer. Entrepreneurial Firms Realize: Business development will be natural for few and a challenge for many;
They need to focus on raising the level of emotional intelligence;
One size does not fit all (they customize the training to the individual);
They need to teach associates to set goals and prepare a plan;
Career and client development training that is interactive and experiential is more effective;
Training and development that includes follow-up individual coaching is significantly more effective than one-shot training programs;
Training and development programs for junior associates are designed differently than programs for more senior associates and junior partners.
88 Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
Developing the Next Generation Many entrepreneurial firms begin developing the next generation when they arrive at the firm for orientation. In that first week at the firm, young associates are taught how to start right for career success. Junior associates are told that their primary task is to learn the skills to become the best lawyer they can possibly be. They set specific learning goals: “At the end of my first year, I will have learned to _______.” They learn how to prepare a development plan with goals on what they want to learn. Junior associates are encouraged to treat their supervising attorney as their client and practice their “people skills” by asking good questions and listening to that supervising attorney. Senior associates are taught to become more visible and credible to a target market. The training includes writing and speaking to get hired, networking, building trust and rapport, asking good questions and listening.
Coaching Senior Associates Fox Rothschild and some other entrepreneurial firms begin individual and group client development coaching programs
with their senior associates who will soon be eligible for partner. The firms that have experienced the greatest return on investment have chosen the right candidates to participate in their coaching and training program. They know that the lawyers who “need” coaching the least will put the most into it and will get the most out of it. The training and coaching programs in those entrepreneurial firms include both group and individual activities. Lawyers set group and individual goals and action plans to achieve them. The group goals and activities are designed to build a team and to hold each lawyer on the team accountable. The individual goals and activities recognize that each lawyer has unique skills, dreams and challenges.
Conclusion Is developing your next generation of outstanding lawyers a “cost” to be cut every time the economy dips or an “investment” in your firm’s future? How you answer that question will determine your approach to developing your next generation of successful lawyers. n
Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
COMMUNITY news nHon. Thierry Colaw will preside over the first seminar showcasing a new trial system, an etxpedited civil jury trial, by the Orange County Chapter of ABOTA, in a 250-seat courtroom in a case tried by Eric Traut of the Traut Firm, at the Orange County Superior Court, 700 Civic Center Drive West, Dept. 1, in ERIC TRAUT Santa Ana on January 30, 2015, from 8am to 5pm and will offer seven free hours of continuing education credits for attorneys. This free seminar is the first Expedited Jury Trial conducted at seminar since inception of the program in 2011. A leader in the use of Expedited Jury Trials, Traut has tried four Expedited Jury Trials, including the first two in Riverside County. He is Past President of OC-ABOTA, the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, and has tried nearly 100 civil jury trials in his 24-year career. The Expedited Jury Trial Seminar is free to the first 200 registered attendees at OCABOTA.ORG. nRandolph Moore has been designated a Certified Specialist in Admiralty and Maritime Law by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization. Of the 37 individuals who are certified in this legal specialty area, he is one of only three located in Orange County. Moore, Partner at Snell & Wilmer, RANDOLPH MOORE has represented clients in complex product liability, commercial, class action, insurance and admiralty/maritime litigation since 1985. He has served as lead trial counsel in the defense of product manufacturers in wrongful death, catastrophic personal injury, general commercial and consumer warranty cases in jurisdictions throughout the United States. Moore has also counseled product manufacturers on compliance with state and federal regulations and industry standards, and has advised them on product liability preventative measures, safety recalls, warnings, product operation manuals and warranties. He has developed national and regional litigation programs designed to manage specific litigation claims, and has served as national or regional counsel for manufacturers of automotive products, marine products, and personal protective equipment.
Have a Press Release you would like to submit for our Community News? Email it to PR@AttorneyJournal.us
Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
nBerger Kahn Partner Rich Collins has been working on a number of cases where there has been an overprescription of opiate medication by a handful of so-called “dirty doctors.” As the result of his work, clients he represents appeared on a recent CNN Special Program about addiction titled “Deadly Fix.” Berger Kahn congratulates Rich RICH COLLINS for this national attention on his quest for justice for clients wounded by wrongful doctors and pharmacies, and for his work in engaging people in a national dialogue. nNewmeyer & Dillion LLP is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. As one of the fastest growing and most successful law firms in California, Newmeyer & Dillion LLP is the fourth largest indigenous law firm and the 10th largest overall in Orange County. Tom Newmeyer and Greg Dillion NEWMEYER & DILLION LLP founded Newmeyer & Dillion LLP in 1984 with the belief that lawyers were not simply professionals, but service professionals. The three-lawyer firm, which initially operated out of a temporary space in a high-rise building garage, has since grown into a robust business and real estate law firm with more than 70 lawyers in three offices serving more than 2,500 clients in more than 20 different industries. nSalamirad, Morrow, Timpane & Dunn LLP (SMTD) is pleased to announce the addition of veteran construction and surety lawyer Christopher M. Cullen to its growing practice. Formerly a principal at Lanak & Hanna P.C., Cullen represents material suppliers, contractors and sureties in both transactional and litigation matters. Cullen handles CHRISTOPHER M. CULLEN the prosecution and defense of a variety of claims and lawsuits related to the construction and surety industries, including the defense of prevailing wage claims on public works projects. Cullen has significant firstchair trial experience. In addition to his work for contractors and sureties, Cullen resolves disputes among businesses and their owners.
COMMUNITY news nThe Orange County Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators’ recent Charity Golf Tournament— which included dinner and a silent auction—raised more than $10,000 to benefit Casa Teresa, an Orange County non-profit providing a transformational, comprehensive program for over 5,500 THERESA LAWRENCE women who are homeless and pregnant, as part of the OC-ALA Community Connection program. OC-ALA Board President Theresa Lawrence was inspired to support Casa Teresa because of a personal connection Lawrence feels towards serving the vulnerable in our community. Says Lawrence, “It is a principle of our organization to always lend a helping hand, and Casa Teresa shares that vision. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of many young women and their children.” nCraig C. Glorioso, Of Counsel of the Real Estate Practice at the Orange County office of Greenberg Traurig, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Susan G. Komen Orange County (Komen OC). Komen OC, a local breast health organization, was founded in 1991 by a group of individuals committed to the Komen vision of a world without breast cancer. Now in its 23rd year, the affiliate has CRAIG C. GLORIOSO raised nearly $35 million. “My wife, Debbie, is currently battling breast cancer, so this has become a deeply passionate cause for my family. I am honored and excited for the opportunity to serve in this position, and look forward to working closely with the Board to continue their goal of ensuring that life-saving breast health initiatives are accessible to all people in the community,” Glorioso said. In addition to his new position as a Board Member for Komen OC, Glorioso is also a member of the American Bar Association as well as the Orange County Bar Association.
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nRenowned leadership expert and management consultant Jeff Wolf announced the release of Seven Disciplines of a Leader, available November 24, 2014. The stepby-step guide to adopting key disciplines necessary for effective leadership is Wolf ’s second book and poised to resonate with professionals looking for guidance in an everchallenging business landscape. Pre-order today for delivery before the holiday season. Wolf penned the book after more than 14 years of experience in the C-suite and management training for large national and multinational corporations. He brings direct experience and solutions to his clients at the helm of Wolf Management Consulting, LLC. Wolf will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to three non-profit organizations working to improve the quality of lives for wounded service men and women. Wolf sees giving back to those who serve and protect our country as an essential and part of ‘walking the talk’ of leadership. Read more by visiting sevendisciplinesofaleader.com. Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
HOT BUTTON ETHICS ISSUE UPDATE A Lawyer Must Disclose Identity and Purpose When Contacting Adversaries on Social Media by Ray Ryan Mr. Ryan is a trial lawyer at Stanford And Associates. Dan Stanford is a CalBar certified legal malpractice specialist. The firm represents plaintiffs exclusively for professional malpractice claims. Mr. Ryan received an academic scholarship from UCLA before attending Thomas Jefferson School of Law where he completed a 3-year law degree in 2.5 years and passed the Cal. Bar Exam on his first attempt. Since 2008, Mr. Ryan has conducted 34 jury trials and has not lost a trial in over 4 years. His jury verdicts are often exponentially greater than the last offers made to his clients.
Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
awyers often research parties and adversaries on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media sites to gain glimmers of insight or discover potential evidence. Sometimes, this evidence makes its way into deposition or trial and the courts’ rulings tend to be inconsistent about the admissibility of social media “evidence.” Over the last few years, ethics committees across the nation are weighing in on this right to privacy and ethics crossover issue. As lawyers click their way into the first layer of social media privacy some encounter ethical issues, particularly by submitting a “friend request” to gain access to private social media of a non-represented adversary or witness. Of course if the party is represented, a lawyer may not contact a represented party but if the webpage is public then it is fair game. In Massachusetts, the bar ethics panel concluded that a lawyer must identify themselves and their purpose when making a friend request or similar inquiry to gain access to private social media content if the requestee is a potential adversary or witness. The decision was congruent with ABA Model Rule 4.1 which forbids a lawyer from making false statements of law or fact to any third party when representing a client. In addition, the lawyer must not imply that he/she is disinterested when representing a client when dealing with an unrepresented person under MRPC Rule 304(a). A New York ethics committee found that a lawyer could satisfy disclosure requirements by using their own name and by not intentionally deceiving an unrepresented adversary (NYSBA Ethics Opinion 843 (2010)). The Oregon ethics committee determined that the burden was on the owner of the information to investigate friend requests rather than imposing disclosure upon requestors. The Philadelphia Bar disagreed with New York and considered “omissions of intent” to be deceitful. The committee found that by not disclosing identity and purpose, the lawyer, through his agent, engaged in unethical activity by seeking impeachment evidence against a hostile third-party witness. Although the conduct was not overt, it remained deceptive because it omitted “a highly material fact, namely, that the third party who asks to be allowed access to the witness’s page is doing so only because he or she is intent on obtaining information and sharing it with a lawyer to impeach the testimony of the witness.” In May 2011, the San Diego County Bar Legal Ethics Committee adopted the Philadelphia Bar’s heightened view (SDCBA Ethics Opinion 2011-2). The SDCBA committee explained that an “attorney should not send a [friend] request to someone involved in the matter for which they have been retained without disclosing their affiliation and the purpose for the request.” Thus, an attorney attempting to access a non-client’s private social media without disclosing the motivation of the friend request violates California Rule of Professional Conduct 2-100 which prohibits communication with a represented party unless the attorney has the consent of the other lawyer. As most lawyers would realize, the broad interpretation of CRPC 2-100 taken by SDCBA shows the need for amendments to California’s very simple and brief Rules of Professional Conduct. The changes in the works are complex, significant, and have taken years to develop. With any luck, the new rules will be approved and in place soon. Until then, lawyers must disclose their identity and purpose to adversaries and witnesses on social media if they practice in San Diego. n
IS YOUR LAW FIRM MAKING THE BEST IMPRESSION? It might be time to freshen things up if… • You can’t remember the last time you updated your website • Your website is hard to use on mobile devices • Your business cards and brochures are outdated • You don’t have a real logo or brand established • You’re not doing any email marketing • Facebook and Twitter? Oh, I should be on there?
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Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
MASTER OF ALL
Dan Callahan Has Won the Largest Settlements and Jury Verdicts in the County and the Country in Areas Ranging From Business Disputes to Personal Injury
or an attorney who has set records for the largest settlements and jury verdicts in both Orange County and the entire United States, Dan Callahan, founder of Callahan & Blaine, is noticeably unpretentious. In fact, he’s downright affable. With an almost self-deprecating sense of humor, Dan seems almost sheepish when saying, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” A Chicago native, Callahan moved to California to attend University of California School of Law at Davis, after excelling in debate and argument as a teenager, and young man. “I was repeatedly assured by my parents that I would be an excellent attorney,” he laughs. “It became my life’s goal, because I considered myself a problem solver.” Immediately upon graduation, he was recruited by the oldest and largest law firm in the State of Hawaii. He spent his first two years as an attorney with Carlsmith, Carlsmith, Wichman & Case before relocating to Newport Beach in 1981. “I joined Allen, Matkins, Leck, Gamble & Mallory, where I worked for two years. I noticed I was bringing in a lot of business, so I thought ‘Maybe I’ll hang out my shingle, and go out on my own,’” he recalls. He did just that, opening the predecessor to Callahan & Blaine on St. Patrick’s Day of 1984. In the time since then, Callahan has become synonymous with versatility in advocacy. Representing equal numbers of plaintiffs and defendants, he has multiple precedent-setting cases to his credit, including the largest jury verdict in Orange County history ,which happened to be in a complex business case ($934 million), the largest insurance bad faith judgment in the county ($57 million), the largest personal injury settlement in the history of the 16 Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
by Jennifer Hadley
United States ($50 million), and the largest employment judgment in Orange County history ($38 million). Indeed, a lot of attorneys have walked through the doors of the Orange County Courthouse over the years, but none can claim more or greater victories.
Mastering his Craft through Ingenuity During the first 15 years of his career, Callahan worked solely on business litigation. He credits that time honing his craft for his eventual success in incredibly diverse areas of practice. “Business litigators use a different approach than many other attorneys. It’s very comprehensive and incredibly thorough. Business litigators are paid hourly, so nothing gets overlooked. Personal injury attorneys usually work on contingency, so economically they can’t always do everything that could help their case,” he says. In fact, it was Callahan’s meticulous attention to detail which inadvertently led him to become one of the nation’s leading experts in getting insurance coverage for both patent infringement cases and later, trade secret misappropriation cases. “In the mid-80’s I was working on a case, looking to recover money from various sources. I discovered a way to trigger insurance coverage for patent infringement cases, under general liability policies,” Callahan says. Word got out, and he was soon featured in the Wall Street Journal, and began speaking all over the country to patent attorneys on how they could do the same for their clients. Callahan laughs when recalling “I became an insurance expert, and the patent lawyers would attend my seminars, where I laid it all out for them. But they would still hire me for their cases, anyway.”
christopher TODD studios
OF THE MONTH
christopher TODD studios
From Left to Right: Brian J. McCormack, Kristy A. Schlesinger, Dan Callahan, Marc P. Miles, Stephen E. Blaine.
Insurance providers were obviously less than thrilled, and Callahan says, “They closed that loophole a few years later.” However, within several years Callahan had done exactly the same thing with recovering insurance money for trade secret misappropriations. He set national precedent in Sentex Systems v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity, resulting in a published opinion by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in that arena as well. If he wasn’t labeled an insurance expert before, he certainly was after winning a $57 Million Insurance Bad Faith judgment a few years later. That judgment remains the highest Insurance Bad Faith judgment in Orange County history. But Callahan resisted the label of insurance attorney. “I was pigeonholed as a business attorney for years, and then I was labeled an insurance attorney. I’ve been fighting my whole career to avoid any one label,” he says.
Hard Work: Lock Down Mode Callahan is very open about why he’s been so successful. “I truly believe that I work as hard, if not harder, than any other trial attorney in California in preparing for and conducting jury trials in complex litigation cases. In every trial, I engage in ‘lock-down.’ In my lock-down mode, I go into my office approximately 30 days before each trial and put an absolute do not disturb sign on my door. I then proceed to read every piece of relevant information and every relevant document in the case, from beginning to end. I read all the pleadings and discovery. I read all of the depositions,” he says. Continuing, Callahan explains, “I review in detail all of the 18 Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
important factual documents and evidence. As I’m conducting this detailed review, I am simultaneously dictating ‘Trial Thoughts or Assignments’ memos. These are instructions to my trial team (and also myself ) to note all of the creative ideas and thoughts that come to me while reading the file so that I make sure every idea is followed up on, and if appropriate, incorporated into my presentation. I also personally prepare my direct and cross examinations of witnesses, my opening statement and closing argument, my theories and themes for my voir dire, and all other aspects of the trial. By the time the trial starts I will have spent approximately 12 hours a day, six days a week, for the preceding 4 to 6 weeks preparing for trial. It is the only way that I will conduct a trial 100% prepared and confident that I have outworked and out-prepared my opposition.” The reason for this disciplined approach is simple. “The best results come when you are fully prepared. Winning is truly not about luck, it’s about hard work and dedication and a never say die attitude,” he concludes. The results of his lock-down mode speak for themselves. By way of example, Callahan refers to yet another record-breaking victory. “I was retained by a large publicly traded corporation to battle with another even larger publicly traded corporation over a breach of contract. Due to my persistence, I also discovered a fraud that had been perpetrated upon my client. I took a $2 million breach of contract case and turned it into a $934 million unanimous jury verdict following a three-month trial,” he says. That jury verdict remains the highest jury verdict in Orange County history.
Using Creativity to Diversify Callahan had clearly found a system that worked. Moreover, it worked just as well for defendants as it did plaintiffs, so he’s never found a reason why he should limit himself to either side of representation. “By working for both plaintiffs and defendants, I am able to see both perspectives in any case. I’m as aggressive as any plaintiff’s lawyer out there, but I also know what the plaintiff’s weaknesses will be,” he says. Given that Callahan had proven to himself and those around him that he can win big for clients regardless of what side of the claim they are on, or what area of law a case is in, it’s no surprise that when he was approached by a colleague approximately 15 years ago to assist in a family member’s personal injury case, he was happy to help. His very first personal injury client was consequently awarded a $2.9 million cash settlement. “When I got into P.I. work, I didn’t change my strategy at all. I’m pedal to the metal in every single case I take.” More recently, Callahan set the record for the largest personal injury settlement in the entire United States, for his work representing two female joggers who were rendered quadriplegic after being hit by an uninsured drunk driver who was driving in the bicycle lane, mistaking it for a travel lane. “Several attorneys had concluded that there was no viable defendant that could compensate these young mothers for their injuries. That limited view left no recovery for the Neria or Daniel families. It was my belief that the City of Dana Point had improperly designed the roadway. I first drove to the scene myself for a site inspection and noticed that the bike lane seemed much wider than normal,”
he says. Callahan was right. The lane was twice the width of a normal bike lane, and Callahan dug in. “I found old drainage reports, and collected big maps from 30-40 years ago, which clearly showed that the lane had been redesigned improperly following mudslides years prior.” “I prepared their case for trial as a municipal liability road defect case. With the help of skillful depositions and expert opinions, we overcame the government defense of governmental immunity. We were able to settle that case for $50 million. It was extremely rewarding, not only because it was the largest settlement in the nation’s history, but that it brought some compensation to the families, and allowed the women to obtain the necessary future care and accommodations needed,” Callahan says. At that time Callahan was also told by West Law, a company that tracks verdicts and settlements nationwide, that he was also credited with the third highest personal injury settlement in the nation at $28 million for an earlier case. Callahan understands that some attorneys choose to focus their practice in exclusively one area, but it just doesn’t appeal to him, personally. “Regardless of whether it’s a construction, intellectual property, business litigation or personal injury case, there are 1 or 2 statutes and/or 1 or 2 cases that are relevant and key to the case. I focus on those.”
Likeable Leadership With record-setting verdicts and settlements in a variety of fields, suffice it to say Callahan has accrued numerous professional accolades over his 30+ year career. He’s been named the Orange
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Callahan & Blaine attorneys and staff.
Contact: Daniel J. Callahan Callahan & Blaine 3 Hutton Centre Drive, Ninth Floor Santa Ana, CA 92707 (714) 241-4444 www.callahan-law.com email@example.com
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County Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2000, 2004, and 2012. He’s been named one of the Top 10 Attorneys in the United States by the National Law Journal, and named the Lawyer of the Year by California Lawyer Magazine for litigation. In early 2014, both the California Senate and the California Assembly passed resolutions recognizing his historic achievements and continued commitment to his clients. But Callahan is frankly humble when saying “The reason for these awards is simple: preparation and hard work.” His incredibly friendly nature almost belies his tenacity in the courtroom. Though extremely professional, and uncompromisingly ethical, he admits that when he is fighting for a client he is there to win, and hates nothing more than losing. It is likely this delightfully dichotomous nature that prompts opposing counsel—even those losing the biggest case in the history of the county—to continue to send Callahan referrals. Callahan’s charismatic personality has also drawn experienced attorneys to his firm in droves. From a solo practice 30 years ago, Callahan & Blaine has grown to include 35 attorneys and another 50 support staff. The firm however, painstakingly selective about the attorneys that it hires. “It takes too much effort to train someone right out of law school. We only hire attorneys who are experienced, but still eager to grow and eager to learn. We’ve found that there is a sweet spot, where they are not so experienced that they are set in their ways, but experienced enough that they are skilled. For hiring we’ve found the sweet spot to be with attorneys who have about 8 or 10 years of experience. The majority of attorneys now in our firm have been with us for years and have an average 15 years’ experience and a number have 25 or more,” says Callahan. “It is unique to have a firm this large that is indigenous to Orange County, which is comprised only of highly experienced attorneys.” As for Callahan’s life outside of the courtroom? He’s happy to give back to the local community, having served in multiple positions within the bar association and other civic organizations. Likewise, he currently serves on several charitable boards, including the Coastline Foundation, which is the charitable arm of Coastline Community College District. He is also happy to spend time with his family. Callahan is the proud father of two adult children, Caitlin and Michael, and has a beautiful young granddaughter, Madison. He’s also happily married to Maureen Callahan, Partner with Borchard & Callahan in Mission Viejo. “More than anyone, Maureen has given me insight and encouragement. I bounce ideas off of her and she, like a good wife, is not afraid to tell me when she thinks I’m wrong. We have a great time discussing my cases and enjoying our time together.” n
» EDUCATION • University of California at Davis School of Law, Davis, California J.D. - 1979 Honors: With Honors Law Review: University of California Law Review, Editor • Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) - 1976
» HONORS AND AWARDS • Received Commendation Resolution from California Legislature Assembly, 2014 • Received Commendation Resolution from United States Senate - 2000, 2004, 2014 • Presented Angelo Palmeri Award by the Robert A. Banyard Inns of Court, 2010 • 2010 Visionary Award presented by Orange Coast College • Winner of the Prestigious OCTLA Trial Lawyer of the Year Award - 2000, 2004 and 2012 • One of the Top 10 Attorneys in the United States by the National Law Journal • Lawyer of the Year for litigation, California Lawyer Magazine • Best Lawyers in America, 2005 - 2014 • Super Lawyers, Named One of The Top 10 Lawyers in Southern California • Super Lawyers, Named One of The Top 100 Lawyers in Southern California - 2011 to Present • Super Lawyers, Named One of The Top 50 Lawyers in Orange County - Since inception • Outstanding Lawyers of America • Million Dollar Club
» PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS • Orange County Bar Association • Orange County Bar Association, Business Litigation Section, Chair, 1996 • Orange County Bar Association, Law Practice Management Section, Chair, 1993 - 1995 • Consumer Attorneys of California • Orange County Trial Lawyers • Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Founding Member • Celtic Bar Association • Robert A. Banyard Inns of Court
20 Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
• Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, a Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
awyers who rely on traditional marketing methods are fast discovering that many “time-proven methods” no longer work. Lawyers could dramatically improve their marketing results by avoiding the following mistakes and heeding this updated advice.
MISTAKE #1: Relying on referrals. When you depend on referrals as your sole source of new business, you allow middlemen to control your flow of new clients. You may discover that whether you receive referrals has nothing to do with your knowledge, skill or experience. Instead, it may be based on your ability to return the referrals. ADVICE: In addition to referrals, make sure your marketing program attracts inquiries directly from prospects. This allows you to manage your marketing program, rather than relying on third parties over which you have little or no control. MISTAKE #2: Depending on media exposure. Without question, articles in the print media and interviews on radio and television can help you attract new clients. But many lawyers rely on publicity as their entire marketing program. True, exposure can increase your credibility. But, often, exposure by itself isn’t enough. Lawyers routinely report, “We were very happy with the number of articles about our firm, but we didn’t get a single new client!” In addition to exposure, you need to interact with prospects.
17 Fatal Marketing Mistakes by Trey Ryder
Trey Ryder specializes in EducationBased Marketing for lawyers. He offers three free articles by e-mail: 11 Brochure Mistakes Lawyers Make, Marketing Moves Most Lawyers Miss, and 13 Marketing Misconceptions That Cost Lawyers a Fortune. To receive these articles, send your name and e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for his free packet of marketing articles.
ADVICE: Make sure your marketing program brings about interactions between you and your prospects, such as over the telephone or in person. Interaction is a critical step in the marketing process—and the step most law marketing programs overlook. MISTAKE #3: Relying on networking groups as a primary source of new business. Networking is a time-consuming exercise in meeting prospects and cultivating referrals. And while networking may bear fruit, lawyers often underestimate the time required. ADVICE: Pursue opportunities to meet and talk with genuine prospects, but don’t put networking above other marketing strategies. MISTAKE #4: Competing on low price. When you lower your fee to attract new clients, (1) you undermine your credibility because clients conclude your services were not worth what they previously paid, (2) you attract clients who will leave you when competing lawyers offer fees lower than yours (clients who are loyal to the dollar are never loyal to you!), and (3) you’ll probably lose money because the cost of attracting a volume of new clients is often greater than the profit you can earn from those clients. ADVICE: Instead of competing on price, compete on value. You’re better off being the most expensive lawyer in town and having prospects appreciate your knowledge than being the cheapest lawyer and having prospects question your skill. MISTAKE #5: Delivering an incomplete marketing message. Many lawyers believe common marketing methods don’t work because those lawyers didn’t get the results they wanted. But usually the problem isn’t the marketing method, it’s the message. If your message lacks even one essential element, your efforts could fail. An estate planning lawyer delivered a seminar to 84 prospective clients, yet no one came into his office for a free consultation. After I reviewed his presentation, we added less than five minutes of information to his program. At his next seminar, 10 of the 11 couples in attendance requested appointments. ADVICE: Before you implement your marketing program, make sure you create a complete, competent marketing message. Without a powerful message, your marketing program is doomed. MISTAKE #6: Not effectively reaching your target audience. A tax attorney who represents doctors before the IRS advertised his services in a weekly shopper newspaper distributed free to homes. Not surprisingly, he was disappointed with the response. Before running the ad, the lawyer could have saved his $2000 investment had he asked himself, “Will doctors look for a tax attorney in a free weekly newspaper?” I don’t know about doctors, but that’s certainly not where I would look.
ADVICE: Choose different methods that you believe will reach your prospects. Then test each method on a small scale before you invest serious dollars. This way you’ll know which method most effectively reaches your target audience and how well it attracts the clients you want. MISTAKE #7: Making decisions by committee. The quality of a marketing decision is based on how long it takes to make the decision and how much the decision has been watered down by compromise. One person working alone has the potential to make good decisions. When two people work together things begin to bog down. And if you’re waiting for three people to agree, well, don’t hold your breath. Marketing is like football. Can you imagine how long it would take if the entire team offered their ideas and everyone had to agree before they could make the next play? ADVICE: Choose one quarterback to direct your program. If you don’t get the results you want, change strategies or change quarterbacks. But don’t compound your quarterback’s problems by bringing in more people to help make decisions. MISTAKE #8: Not taking the leadership position in your market. When prospects perceive you as the leader in your field, you have a substantial advantage over other lawyers. Yet, many marketing programs aren’t designed to seize this powerful, profitable position. ADVICE: Look at your position in the marketplace. From your prospects’ point of view, is any lawyer clearly the leader in that category? If not, design your marketing program so you take control of your niche. If that niche is already dominated by other lawyers, create a new category for yourself. Then promote the category so prospects see you as first in that new area. One of my clients created a new category and successfully dominated his niche for five and one-half years, when he decided to pursue another area of law. You gain an extraordinary advantage when prospects perceive you as the leader. MISTAKE #9: Not delivering your marketing message until prospects come into your office. Lawyers usually have no problem persuading prospects to hire their services once the prospect is in their office. But getting prospects through the door is another matter. ADVICE: Develop materials you can send to prospective clients. Then create a marketing program that uses the print and broadcast media to attract inquiries from prospects who ask to receive your information. When prospects call your office, you respond by mailing your packet and adding their names to your mailing list. This allows you to put your marketing message into their hands regardless of their location, rather than waiting for them to come to your office. If your materials are powerful and persuasive, you’ll find that prospects call you and request appointments. One of my lawyer clients received 426
calls from prospects after offering his materials on a radio talk show, over 500 calls after a mid-day television news interview, and another 400 calls after an article appeared in a local newspaper. MISTAKE #10: Not marketing to your practice mailing list. Your mailing list is your own personal area of influence. It should contain the names of all your past clients, current clients, prospective clients and referral sources. ADVICE: Make sure you mail your newsletter at least monthly. And don’t think that you must make your newsletter an 8- or 16-page treatise. A simple educational letter of even one or two pages works fine. Your newsletter’s size is not nearly as important as how often you mail it and the value of the information you present. MISTAKE #11: Taking marketing shortcuts. Lawyers who achieve success often trim back their marketing programs hoping to save money by eliminating the bells and whistles. What they often don’t realize is that many of the so-called “bells and whistles” are not bells and whistles at all. They are the essential components that make their programs work. An attorney hired me to refresh his marketing message, which had grown stale. When we kicked off his new program, he attracted 247 prospects to five seminars, an average of 49 people at each program. His calendar filled up almost overnight. After six months, he took his marketing in-house and started cutting corners. Within 90 days, his results were as dismal as they had been before he called me. ADVICE: When you shortcut your marketing on the front end, you slash the number of new clients on the back end. If you want to streamline your marketing and determine if any steps might not be needed, start slowly and track results. Be careful not to cut away steps responsible for your success. MISTAKE #12: Not making marketing a priority. For most lawyers, practicing law is their highest priority. When they get busy, they often reduce their marketing efforts because they need that time to work on their clients’ behalf. They operate under the false hope that their momentum will attract new business long into the future. But when they cut their marketing efforts, they actually shift their marketing into neutral. As a result, inertia takes over and things slowly coast to a standstill. ADVICE: Make marketing a priority for you or someone in your office. Or hire an outside consultant so you make sure the work gets done. Don’t turn your marketing on and off like a light switch. Keep your program in gear so you always attract an ongoing flow of new clients. MISTAKE #13: Writing an intricate marketing plan that becomes impossible to carry out. Many marketing plans look like jigsaw puzzles with dozens—or even hundreds—of pieces. And while the plans might work, most lawyers and their staffs don’t have the hours needed to carry out the plans. Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
ADVICE: Make sure your marketing plan is built on simple steps that have proved to be effective and efficient. In my 33 years in marketing, the most profitable, efficient and effective method I’ve found is my method of Education-Based Marketing. MISTAKE #14: Never completing—and therefore never implementing—your marketing plan. Many lawyers get so caught up in gathering facts that they never stop designing their plan. They collect data, add more steps, collect more data, revise their plan, and collect more data.... ADVICE: Implement your plan at the earliest possible moment. A poor marketing plan that is up and running is far more profitable than the “perfect plan” that never gets off your hard drive. MISTAKE #15: Delaying your marketing program until your cash flow improves. More often than not, lawyers who use this reason never start marketing because they aren’t aware that their logic is backwards. Their cash flow won’t improve until they start their marketing program. ADVICE: Maintaining an effective marketing program is the most important investment you can make. Why pay for an office and staff if you don’t have enough business to justify the overhead? Start your marketing program now so you have an ongoing flow of new clients.
MISTAKE #16: Carrying out a marketing program that does not achieve the five essential steps for success. Your marketing program must: 1. Establish your credibility 2. Identify how you’re different from other lawyers 3. Generate interactions between you and your prospects 4. Gain your prospect’s commitment 5. Maintain your client’s loyalty. Programs that don’t achieve all five steps will fail. ADVICE: Any time you evaluate a marketing opportunity, consider how well that method will accomplish these steps. MISTAKE #17: Promoting your services. When you promote your services, you take on the role of a salesperson hawking his wares. This method, called selling-based marketing, undermines your credibility and causes prospects to question whether they can trust you. ADVICE: Instead of promoting your services, promote your knowledge by educating prospects. Education-Based Marketing gives prospects what they want, information and advice, and removes what they don’t want, a sales pitch. It attracts prospects who come to you because of your knowledge, skill, judgment, and experience. n
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Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
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Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
How to Increase Your Law Practice Cash Flow by Helping Your Clients Choose Their Own Fees by Alexis Neely Alexis Neely graduated first in her law school class from Georgetown in 1999, and after clerking on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, began her career at Munger, Tolles & Olson and left to start her own firm in 2003. Within just three years, she had built her solo practice into a million-dollar-a-year revenue-generating business by implementing a new law business model she created. She now teaches that model to lawyers throughout the US and Canada as a Law Business Mentor. Learn how Alexis built her law practice from scratch into a million-dollar-a-year revenue-generating law business while only going into the office a few days per week at http://www.LawBusinessManifesto.com Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Alexis_Neely
One of the biggest reasons most lawyers struggle with the business end of law practice is because of the old, outdated, clients hate it and so do lawyers, practice of billing time on an hourly basis, often in six-minute increments. When I was working for a large law firm, there was really no choice but to bill time. The managing partners had no way to track effectiveness of associates without it. And, frankly, it’s one of the reasons I left to start my own law practice. As a corporate tax and estate planning associate, billing time just didn’t seem to work well. Clients weren’t communicating with us as often as they should because they knew they’d get a bill in the mail weeks later for the $67.50 email they sent and I would more often than not choose not to bill time for work performed because, honestly, I felt bad doing it when I was answering a quick question for a nonprofit or personal client. When I hung my own shingle and started my law practice, I knew that I’d have to make the switch from hourly billing to something else, but I wasn’t sure how to do it or what the something else would be. I found myself losing money because I wasn’t billing for the quick calls, the requests for referrals to other lawyers and the myriad of other little things that would come up that felt like billing would take more time and cost more than just writing off the time. I was losing money, fast. And I could see it wasn’t sustainable. So I made the shift to billing for my estate and business planning services on a flat fee basis. I looked at what other lawyers were doing based on their listserve posts and discussions and created my own flat fees. But there was a problem... clients weren’t signing up as often as I felt they should and I knew it all had to do with the fees.
Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
I wasn’t explaining them properly. I almost considered switching back to the hourly model, which all clients could understand and, it seemed, almost expected. Then, I engaged a client for a $5,500 trust package. Success! Except then it wasn’t... Within 2 weeks they had called me back to cancel the planning. They had found another lawyer who would provide EXACTLY what I was providing for just $2,500. And while they said they would be happy to pay me $1,000 more for the additional service and relationship I provided, they couldn’t justify more than double. I was devastated. I knew I was offering more than the lawyer who was charging just $2,500 for EXACTLY the same thing, but I didn’t know how to articulate that more. So I let them out of our agreement. As I did so, I made a request. I said to the client, “Okay, I understand what you are saying and I have a request. Would you please get back in touch with me after the planning with this other lawyer and share your experience with me?” He said yes and, frankly, I never expected to hear from him again. But hear from him I did. And it was better than I could have ever hoped for. In fact, what he shared with me became the basis for a complete redesign of the way I charged for my legal services, explained them to clients and was most likely the #1 single thing most responsible for my being able to go on to build a million-dollar-a-year-plus law practice. This client came back to me with a point-by-point analysis of my process and the other lawyer’s process and what I was able to see is that the plan the lawyer was delivering for $2,500 was not EXACTLY like the one I had quoted a $5,500 fee for. In fact, for the plan that lawyer was delivering to his clients, I would have charged only $3,500, which was the exact amount the clients said they would have paid for my enhanced service and relationship offering.
In fact, I was including two additional items in my $5,500 plan that I could now let my clients choose whether to include or not and they could, in effect, choose their own fee! Today, those $1,000 questions are the foundation of the fee quoting system I developed and have now taught to hundreds of lawyers who are using these questions to engage more clients and receive higher fees by clients who are happy to pay them. While I cannot explain the $1,000 questions in full here, I can describe the starting place for making the shift from hourly services to packages your clients are happy to pay for.
First, identify three levels of outcomes or value you provide to your clients. For example, in the estate planning practice, our Personal Family Lawyer members have a basic plan for families who donâ€™t have assets that would go through probate, a mid-level plan for families with assets that would go through probate and a high-level plan for families who want their lawyer to handle not only all the planning and documentation, but the transfer of their assets as well. In the business planning practice, our Family Business Lawyers may have three packages focused on clients just starting up their business and need all the deliverables associated with a new startup, a package that is for the business owner who has been at it for some time and needs ongoing strategic support and finally a high-end package for the business owner who is ready to consider selling the business and wants to prep it for sale. In a divorce practice, you may use stages, such as pre-divorce consultation and planning, filing of the complaint and all pre-litigation matters, mediation or collaboration of marital settlement agreement and then a whole separate set of packages if litigation is necessary.
Second, assign a value to these outcomes. The value is not about the hours you will put into the outcome, but instead about the value of the outcome to the client. For example, a startup client in the business side of a law practice may require far more hours than the strategic support for the ongoing business owner needs, but the start up client has less available assets and your package would be priced less with the intention that the start up work is just the beginning of a life-long relationship with the client that will net your law practice quite a lot of income over timeâ€” if you can support the business to get off the ground. A client family with less assets at stake in the event of a death or disability would naturally want to pay less than a family who has assets that would go through probate or even be subject to estate tax.
Price your packages accordingly. Third, create a fee schedule that lays these packages out clearly I invested $10,000 to work with a consultant to design my packages and fee quoting system. Then I invested another $2,500 to visually represent the packages in a fee schedule. That $12,500 was the best investment I ever made in my law practice because it took me from struggling to engage clients and command fees I knew I deserved to engaging just about every single client who came into my office and at higher fees than I ever had before. The best part is my clients were happy to pay the fees because they were choosing the fee themselves. And, thanks to the $1,000 questions, in many cases, they were choosing to pay me $1,000-$2,000 more than they would have if I had just quoted a fee without the questions. Are you ready to make this kind of shift in your practice? If so, why? If not, why not? Whatâ€™s stopping you? n
Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE IS AN ESSENTIAL COMPONENT OF
BETTER LAW FIRM DECISION-MAKING by Janet Ellen Raasch
by computer hackers like Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. As much as we enjoy the book and the movie, and want Lisbeth to succeed, we cannot condone her tactics. This kind of corporate espionage makes for good entertainment, but bad—and unethical—business. The ethical gathering of competitive intelligence complies with all applicable laws—domestic as well as international. It is obtained from legitimate online and print sources, in both public and subscription databases. When obtained by interviews (either with targeted competitor staff and customers or as general field research), the ethical interviewer discloses up front both her identity and the purpose of the interview. Before starting any competitive research project, it is essential that you have a plan. Thanks to the Internet, there are an almost unlimited number of resources out there. You can waste a lot of time and money searching them all. If we know your goals for a particular research project, we can help you concentrate your resources on the most likely, valid and reliable sources for your purpose. Important law firm decisions should never be made in a vacuum. Instead, they should be made with an abundance of the right information in hand. For many law firm decisions, “the right information” means competitive intelligence. Competitive intelligence is defined as a systematic and ethical program for gathering, analyzing and managing information about the external business environment—information that can affect all of a law firm’s plans, decisions and operations. Competitive intelligence can be information about organizations—like your clients, potential clients and adversaries. It can be information about other law firms— like collaborators, opposing counsel or even potential merger partners. It can be information about the legal needs in particular industries or markets. Competitive intelligence can also be information about people—like the people you will meet in a pitch, in the boardroom, in the courtroom (like opposing counsel or an expert witness) or in a hiring interview. In any of these settings, knowledge of companies and people is power. When gathering competitive intelligence, there is a wrong way and a right way to go about it. The wrong way is typified
Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
Competitive intelligence on companies, competitors and adversaries Some sources of competitive intelligence about companies, competitors and adversaries are paid and some are free to the public. Because of the nature of their work, many law firms and law librarians already have access to many of the paid resources. These include products offered by industry giants LexisNexis and Thomson West. For industry research, competitive intelligence professionals also like to use a product called Profound, offered by MarketReserch. com. They offer a wide range of reports for purchase. An entire report can be costly but, if you know exactly what you are looking for, you can order just part of a report for a lesser fee. And don’t forget. Many of these paid resources are available for you to use free of charge at your local public library. Free resources for company research include llrx.com and Zimmerman’s Research Guide. In its database, Zimmerman’s offers links to both company information and company personnel. Both of these sites are great places to start if you are trying to get an overview of the kind of research that is out there. The Virtual Chase product by Justia.com offers business research as well as county and municipal law resources.
Information on companies can be found at Hoovers, Yahoo! Finance, Google Finance, Nexis company information and Valuation Resources.com. A lot of good research is available from Google. We all know how to do a Google search, but much more refined searches and results are available via the Google Advanced General Search Page. Google Scholar and Google Advanced Scholar Search offer useful results that have been ‘purged’ of casual hits. Court and government sites—especially the Secretary of State’s office—include public records and a wealth of useful information. If you want to know where a company is headed, check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Database.
Competitive intelligence profiles When preparing to meet with a potential client, lawyers often ask marketers or librarians to prepare a profile of the client. All too often, this is done just a few hours before the scheduled meeting—and we need to scramble. Even with very little lead time, you would be surprised at how much information you can turn up by simply visiting and mining the potential client’s website. You should also search company or firm pages on social media sites. When you have a little more lead time to prepare—like for a proposal or the resulting beauty contest—then you can delve more deeply into client background. Good sources for public companies include SEC filings. Good sources for private companies include Dun and Bradstreet reports. A good profile addresses some or all (depending on your time and research skills) of these categories:
· Quick facts · Company overview · Business segments · Products/services · Business partners · Board of Directors · Key executives · Key developments · Representative clients
· Legal issues and litigation · Locations · Case studies · Patent information · Marketing strategy · Competitors · Sources · News articles
Armed with this type of information, your lawyers and law firm are well-prepared to make good decisions about how to approach a potential client (or anyone else), and how to make a good impression once the contact takes place.
Competitive intelligence on people Sometimes you need information about an individual rather than a company. This person could be a client, a prospective client, a competitor, opposing counsel, a potential hire or a potential merger partner. When you know something about the person you are meeting with, you can plan appropriately. Sometimes, you need other kinds of information about people. For example, you might need to track down a former employee or a potential witness. When such a person has gone
‘off the grid’ electronically, you might not have much to go on. This is where creativity comes into play. In one such case, a former executive had been gone from a company for five years. He had a common name, which made the search even more difficult. Someone recalled him saying that he wanted to take over his family’s farm. By using the farm subsidy database and narrowing the search by general geographic area and the man’s age, we were able to locate him for our client. Another reason to search for people is to acquire their contact information for use in a marketing database. Good sources of contact information include telephone directories, professional directories and professional licensing agencies (if you know a person’s profession). Online sources include a search on Yahoo! People. Many of the commercial and general resources mentioned in the “companies” research section in this article work just as well for people. Competitive intelligence experts often use a site called Jigsaw, owned by Salesforce. It is a business-to-business contract database populated by marketers and salespeople around the country. By contributing their contacts, users gain access to the database. It includes 30 million contacts. It is an especially good source for the contact information of individuals below the usual c-level executives that show up in most directories. If you know a person’s location, you can search local and regional media for mentions of their names and activities. Social media—like Martindale Hubbell, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube—are also good resources. So are blog searches. Social media include contact information, but they also broaden your research with less formal “chat” about people, their activities and the companies they work for. In gathering information about people, you want to use a wide variety of sources—and you want to be very careful to validate any information you find before you act on it. There is a lot of faulty information out there. There are also privacy concerns. Today, information about companies and individuals is widely available. In fact, you could easily drown in all the data. The trick is to focus your search in light of your business goals. With this information in hand, you are well-positioned to make good decisions about the future of your law firm—and its work. n Janet Ellen Raasch is a writer, ghostwriter and blogger (constantcontentblog.com ) who works closely with professional services providers—especially lawyers, law firms, legal consultants and legal professionals—to help them achieve name recognition and new business through publication of keywordrich content for the Internet as well as articles and books for print. She can be reached at (303) 399-5041 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is based on a presentation to the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association by Wanda McDavid and Judy Goater of Access Information, a Denver-based firm that provides competitive intelligence for law firms around the country. Article Source: EzineArticles.com/6838291
Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
Pick Your Prospects for More Business by Margaret Grisdela Margaret Grisdela is president of Legal Expert Connections, a national legal marketing agency, and author of the legal marketing book Courting Your Clients. She acts as an outsourced legal marketing director with a concentration in insurance defense, personal injury, and social media marketing. She welcomes your comments or questions at 561-266-1030 or via email at email@example.com.
imply waiting for the phone to ring is certain to slow your sales growth in today’s economy. Law firms that want to be proactive in attracting new business should have a list of ideal prospects they are actively working for new business development.
Create a Prospect “Wish List” Your wish list is 10-20 high-quality prospects that you would really like as clients. This is where you want to spend a considerable part of your personal business development time. Determine who the hiring contact is for your legal services, and how you might arrange an introduction to this person. Research what community or industry organizations they might support, and try to attend the same events. Perhaps you can make an initial connection on LinkedIn or through a trade association. Always focus on what the next steps are with each wish list prospect. These steps will follow the basic business development activities of getting an introduction, becoming acquainted with the person and/or firm, building a relationship, discussing specifics of a business proposal, and hopefully signing an engagement letter. By focusing on several wish list prospects, you can keep each one moving forward at a comfortable pace without being rushed. Don’t confuse your wish list with firms that may already be in your sales pipeline. Wish list prospects are those who have not yet established contact with your law firm. Also, keep in mind that 5-6 touch points are the minimum before most prospects feel comfortable engaging your firm.
Build a Prospect List Reflecting Your Ideal Client In addition to your wish list, consider building a target list of at least 200-500 prospects for your legal services. These prospects will meet the basic criteria of your ideal clients. You can use your list for mailings of your quarterly firm newsletter or to invite prospects to one or more seminars or webinars that you offer. Law firms that focus on a corporate market for services like employment law or intellectual property can obtain lists from firms like Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, or InfoUSA. Create the targeted list you need by selecting companies based on industry, headquarters location, annual revenue, number of employees, 30
Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 104, 2014
number of years in business, or type of ownership. Once you have identified the companies, you may also be able to get the names of key personnel, like the CEO, CFO, or Human Resources Director. If referrals from other attorneys are important to you, consider purchasing a mailing list from your state bar association. You may be able to specify selection parameters like county, zip code, section, and other variables. Attorneys who target consumers for family law, trust and estate, or personal injury services can also purchase lists. Demographic selection criteria, including location and type of residence, age, income, presence of children, and education level, all help to refine your target audience. Many magazines rent subscriber lists, either directly or through a list broker. If there is a magazine that caters to your target market, explore whether you can reach out to their readers through direct mail marketing as a supplement or an alternative to a print ad in the magazine. Even insurance defense firms, which need to be named as panel counsel, can create a list of insurance carriers and selfinsureds they would like to serve.
Marketing to Your List Research indicates that it takes a minimum of five to six contacts within an 18-month period for prospects to develop into clients. While this may sound like a long time, once you get an effective marketing system in place, it will begin to build your practice for the longer term. A typical campaign schedule might include a printed or electronic newsletter every two to three months, supplemented by seminar invitations, emails introducing an informative video, and direct mail copies of articles you have published. Over time, your prospects will become more familiar with your firm’s services. Prospects eventually turn into clients, at which point your goal is to provide the best service possible. Remember that marketing is a process and not an event; prospect development is just one of many marketing initiatives available. Referral networking, speaking, publishing, and Internet marketing also remain essential. n
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