Volume 152, 2018 $6.95
Five Tips for Young Lawyers: How to Find Your Way in a Crowded Arena
How and Why to Start and Market Your Own Non-Profit Organization
The Surprising Sentence That Keeps Prospects Reading (and Buying)
Signs That Origination Sharing is NOT Working
The Top 5 Reasons Your Law Firm Can’t Cross-Sell
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TABLE OF CONTENTS 6 5 Tips for Young Lawyers How to Find Your Way in a Crowded Arena by Bill Tilley
10 Signs That Origination Sharing is NOT Working by Michael Short
EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER Brian Topor
12 Community News
EDITOR Wendy Price
ATTORNEY OF THE MONTH
16 Bobby Hashemi W.H.E.R.E. Core Values, Preparation and Experience Reign
CREATIVE SERVICES Penn Creative CIRCULATION Angela Watson PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Griffiths STAFF WRITERS Dan Baldwin Jennifer Hadley CONTRIBUTING EDITORIALISTS Ross Fishman Bill Tilley Michael Short Tom Trush Trey Ryder WEBMASTER Mariusz Opalka ADVERTISING INQUIRIES Info@AttorneyJournal.us SUBMIT AN ARTICLE Editorial@AttorneyJournal.us OFFICE 30211 Avenida De Las Banderas Suite 200 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 www.AttorneyJournal.us ADDRESS CHANGES Address corrections can be made via fax, email or postal mail.
by Jennifer Hadley
16 22 The Surprising Sentence That Keeps Prospects Reading (and Buying) by Tom Trush
26 How and Why to Start and Market Your Own Non-Profit Organization by Trey Rider
28 The Top 5 Reasons Your Law Firm Can’t Cross-Sell by Ross Fishman
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5 Tips for Young Lawyers How to Find Your Way in a Crowded Arena by Bill Tilley
oung lawyers can face some uphill battles out of law school. The dream of defending the innocent, prosecuting the guilty or triumphing for the little guy is quickly overshadowed by the crowded practice of law. Recent articles such as Huffpost’s “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Lawyers” and CBS News’s “5 Reasons Not to Get a Law Degree” don’t help the cause. They point out the high cost of law school, low number of jobs and high level of unemployment. According to the State Bar of California, there are currently 191,334 actively practicing law in the state. That is a lot of competition for one area. So, now that you have graduated law school and passed arguably one of the hardest bar exams in the nation, what do you do when faced with these seemingly insurmountable obstacles? Easy, you buckle down, dig in your heels and fight to be the best damn lawyer you can. You take everything that you learned inside and outside of law school and apply it to becoming an irreplaceable member at your firm. You learn to network and, deep breath, sell yourself. You listen and learn from others who have been there and done that. It may seem like a daunting task, but these tips will help you get there.
1. Get an Elevator Pitch An elevator speech is a short sales pitch. In your case, the thing you are selling is you. Generally, your pitch should be around 30 seconds to two minutes. You need to be able to market yourself to other attorneys, potential clients and other networking potentials in a short amount of time. In a crowded field you need to stand out, but not sound disingenuous. Promoting yourself does not have to sound like a used car salesman. Use this technique in every aspect of your life. The ability to sell will help you persuade judges, juries, potential clients and other attorneys to agree with you. 6
Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 152, 2018
2. Love What You Do Enthusiasm goes a long way. It may not be easy right out of law school to practice something you are passionate about. You are likely leaving with a large amount of debt and you have bills to pay. But the quicker you know what you love and start practicing something you are passionate about with clients that you truly care for, the easier it will be to set yourself apart and to sell yourself. Great salespeople know the importance of passion. Find your passion.
3. Get Invested Get invested in what you do, the people you work with and the people you work for. Get emotionally involved in every aspect of your work. It will show, and it will pay off. Find a mentor to learn from. Choose someone who truly cares and who is willing to invest in you. You want honest feedback and you need someone to help you overcome challenges and celebrate victories. Find someone who you aspire to be like, but who is also like you. Find someone who has some of the same characteristics and traits that you have, and that will champion you whenever you aren’t around.
4. Never Stop Learning The State Bar requires you to be constantly learning and growing as an attorney, but you need to do more than just the obligatory Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). You should never stop honing your skills. You should become an expert in your field. Once you have mastered a topic, try to get on a speaking circuit. Speak at local bar associations and conferences. Seek out people who do what you do better
“So, now that you have graduated law school and passed arguably one of the hardest bar exams in the nation, what do you do when faced with these seemingly insurmountable obstacles?” and learn from them. After you have been practicing for a few years, go back to the basics and write a few motions. Work on your argument techniques. Attend training classes and webinars. Watch other attorneys. Become the best attorney that you possibly can and people will take notice. People always take notice of the athlete that is first on the field and last to leave.
5. Consider Your Reputation No matter who you are or where you work, you should always be networking. Burning bridges will never get you ahead in the field of law. While there are a lot of lawyers, the community is pretty close-knit. You will run into your classmates from law school. You may be opposing counsel,
you may attend the same conferences, you may even be competing for the same job. You never want to leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth because word gets around quickly. A bad reputation can ruin even a good attorney. Look at every opportunity as a networking possibility. Be the person that people think of when they want to refer a case or recommend a potential client. Be the person at the firm that is respected, not trashed behind closed doors. n Bill Tilley is a visionary in the ever-evolving field of Litigation Finance, Law Firm Management and Legal Media and is more than just an entrepreneur, he is a leader in law firm growth and risk management. As CEO of Amicus Capital Group and Amicus Media Group, Mr. Tilley manages both firms’ day-today operations. Learn more at: AmicusCapitalGroup.com and AmicusMediagroup.com.
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Signs That Origination Sharing Is NOT Working by Michael Short
n the course of our Partner Compensation System work, we have seen many law firms that allow origination credits to be “shared” for purposes of both financial reporting and compensation-setting. Of course, the goal is to promote sharing, teamwork, and collaboration by allowing two or more Partners to divide the credit for the efforts and the resulting revenue generated from client services. While some firms have a culture of sharing and doing the right thing for all clients all the time, many have Partners who are so focused on their own numbers that they act in manners that put themselves ahead of the client’s and firm’s best interests—an outcome that is never appropriate. Origination sharing systems often exacerbate these behaviors. Examples of negative outcomes that can result from, or be made worse by, Origination-Splitting include:
Poorly Chosen Pitch Teams When a new client opportunity arises, the priority for the entire organization should be to bring the client into the firm. While an opportunity might come to Partner A, Partner B may have the skills, experiences, and connections to shine against the competition and win. If Partner A thinks he is good enough to give it a try and wants all the credit, he will go it alone and lose the work to a competitor that puts the best point person and supporting team in front of the potential client.
End-Arounds Partner A has a client who needs assistance in an area where Partner B works, but Partner A doesn’t want to share credit. Partner A goes to a fairly experienced Senior Associate in Partner B’s group and tells that young lawyer to do the work… and not worry about communications with Partner B because Partner A will handle that. Then Partner A oversees work with which he is not experienced. Even if the matter turns out fine, the client has not been properly served and experiences the next outcome.
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Hidden Depth of the Organization A sophisticated buyer of legal services does not expect one Partner to handle all types of matters. This buyer expects and demands the best that the firm has to offer—not just the best that the Originating Partner has to offer. Absent exposure to the depth and breadth of the firm, the loyal client is served sub-optimally and a less loyal client is likely to leave.
Matter Bartering Partner A has a client who needs sophisticated work that Partner A cannot do. He must involve a Partner from another practice group and he knows he needs to offer some Origination credit as an incentive for the other Partner to assist. Rather than going to the most qualified Partner and striking a deal, Partner A goes to a pool of reasonably qualified Partners and chooses the one who offers to take the lowest share of the Origination credit. What would any client think if they knew their services were being bartered on a trading floor and the work went to the lowest bidder?
Impeded Succession Planning Given the demographics of the industry and within most law firms, succession planning is a hot topic right now. Unfortunately, our Partner A is within a year of retirement and is finally looking to get his clients ready for transition. Unfortunately, this is usually a multi-year process that requires patience, the involvement of the client, exposure by the client to multiple Partners so the client has a choice, and (in many firms) shared credit through the transition process. If Partner A is focused on retaining as much credit as possible, he holds onto the relationship too long and seriously reduces the odds of a successful client transition.
Siloed Partners It doesn’t take long for younger lawyers to figure out which Partners are generous and which ones don’t share. The generous ones tend to have larger books and loyal (to them) lawyers working in a team environment. The greedy ones have smaller books because they try to do all the work themselves and/or cannot find anyone to assist them in a significant manner.
From the perspective of the Compensation System, all of this has serious implications:
Misallocated Comp Dollars Based on Misleading Data—Younger Partners
The young, developing Partners do not always have the ability to choose with whom they work. In instances where some must support a Partner who does not share credit, these Younger Partners may develop an unhealthy attitude toward the compensation process and their peers who support credit-sharers because the latter group will get paid more for the same relative contribution simply because they are lucky enough to work with more generous Partners.
In theory, the Origination number for both Partners in the “Siloed Partners” section, above, can be the same yet one is far more valuable to the institution than the other. Splits, when negotiated on a case-by-case basis and inconsistently across the Partnership, produce wildly inconsistent and terribly misleading data. A Compensation Committee that is not dedicated to finding the stories behind the numbers will suffer the next point.
Misallocated Comp Dollars Based On Misleading Data—Relationship Partners The proper and fair allocation of profits is a firmspecific strategic imperative for all partnerships. It is not lost on those Partners who share credit when their fellow Partners act selfishly. The point becomes insulting when these two Partners are awarded roughly the same compensation and the credit-sharer knows that his actions worked against his personal interests.
Departures The outcome of misallocated comp dollars is increasingly not a protest by the good Partner. Rather, it is his departure. There are a variety of ways to address these symptoms but the most important first step is to recognize they are harmful to client relationships and the culture of the firm. If tolerated, then you can tell lateral candidates with confidence that your culture is one of selfishness and putting the individual’s interests ahead of the client’s and the firm’s. Good luck selling that. n Michael Short is a founding Principal of LawVision. He counsels law firms around the world on strategic, management, financial, and operational issues. His client base ranges from small, “local” firms in many countries to large, multi-national operations. Learn more at: LawVisionGroup.com.
Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 152, 2018 11
COMMUNITY news n The California Lawyers Association named Jennifer Keller to the “2018 Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.” Keller’s selection, as one of only 31 attorneys inducted into the Hall of Fame over the years, is another in the line of her many recent statewide and national awards as one of the state’s most highly regarded trial lawyers. Other recognition has included Top 10 Southern California Super Lawyers, Daily Journal’s “California’s Top 100 Lawyers,” Benchmark Litigation’s “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America,” and Lawdragon’s “500 Leading Lawyers in America.” In addition, Kay Anderle, managing partner of Keller/Anderle LLP, has been named by Best Lawyers®’ 2018-19 as a Best Lawyer® in the practice areas of white-collar criminal defense, and criminal defensegeneral practice.
n Ernest L. Weiss, Shareholder of Klinedinst PC – Santa Ana was recently appointed ViceChair of USLAW NETWORK’s Complex Tort and Product Liability Practice Group. USLAW NETWORK is an international, invitation-only organization with over 60 independent, full practice firms with more than 6,000 member attorneys. Attorneys within the Complex Tort and Product ERNEST WEISS Liability Practice Group include leaders in the field who regularly represent major clients in product liability matters domestically and across the globe. n The Orange County Trial Lawyers Association has named Angel J. Carrazco a 2018 TOP GUN Trial Lawyer of the Year, in the category of Civil Rights. Carrazco, founder of Carrazco Law, APC in Tustin, will be honored at the annual OCTLA TOP GUN Awards Program on December 1, 2018, at The Westin South Coast Plaza. ANGEL CARRAZCO
n Keith J. Bruno has been named a 2018 TOP Gun Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association. Bruno, trial lawyer at Bruno|Nalu in Newport Beach, will be recognized for his achievements in the practice of Personal Injury at the OCTLA’s TOP GUN Awards Program on December 1, 2018, at The Westin South Coast Plaza.
n Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP (CDF) has relocated its Orange County office. The new Orange County location, one of five offices throughout California, is at 18300 Von Karman Avenue—just a block away from its former office at 2600 Michelson Drive, where the firm MARIE DISANTE was based for 21 years, and two blocks away from where the firm started 24 years ago. “From the first days of CDF in 1994, Central Orange County has been our home—as well as the epicenter of our statewide employment law practice,” said Marie DiSante, CDF founding partner and firm managing partner. “While our Irvine address may be new, our corporate backyard has not changed, and we look forward to celebrating a quarter-century in business next year in our new location.” n Arash Homampour, founder of The Homampour Law Firm has been named an Orange County Trial Lawyers Association 2018 Trial Lawyer of the Year, Products Liability. Homampour will be honored as a “TOP GUN” at the OCTLA’s annual TOP GUN Awards Program at The Westin South Coast Plaza on December 1, 2018.
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Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 152, 2018
n For the fifth consecutive year, Berger Kahn has been included in the Best Lawyers of America list for Southern California, an esteemed list celebrating only the top 3% of the Bar. Overall, the firm’s attorneys were listed for the many areas they demonstrate excellence in their practice of the law, including: Craig Simon, Insurance Law; Sherman DAVID EZRA Spitz, Litigation – Insurance, and Personal Injury Litigation-Plaintiffs; Stephan Cohn, Insurance Law, and Litigation – Insurance; David Ezra, Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, and Insurance – Litigation. For the third time, shareholder David Ezra was named the Best Lawyers Litigation-Insurance “Lawyer of the Year” for Southern California. Dave is recognized by Best Lawyers for his exceptional work in: Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, and Litigation – Insurance. Ezra was also recognized as a “Lawyer of the Year” in 2016 and 2018. n Hughes Marino, the award-winning commercial real estate company that exclusively represents corporate tenants in leasing and purchasing of office space, has been named number one best small workplace in the nation by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE. Out of thousands of companies evaluated, Hughes Marino is the only commercial real estate brokerage company to make the list of top small and medium workplaces. The ranking considered more than 112,000 employee surveys from small and medium-sized companies. Great Place to Work, a global people analytics and consulting firm, evaluated more than 50 elements of team members’ experience on the job. These included the extent to which employees trust leaders, the respect with which people are treated, the fairness of workplace decisions, and how much camaraderie there is among the team. Rankings are based on employees’ feedback and reward companies who best include all employees, no matter who they are or what they do for the organization.
n On September 27, more than 500 influential commercial real estate executives united at the Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles to celebrate real estate-focused law firm Cox, Castle & Nicholson’s 50th anniversary. Guests enjoyed an adrenaline-filled evening with professional driver ride-along experiences in the latest Porsche models and participated in state-of-the-art driving simulators. The program included a cocktail reception in front of an iconic backdrop featuring both classic and new Porsches, remarks by Senior Partner Mario Camara, and a presentation showcasing key milestones in the Firm’s 50-year history. Founded in 1968, Cox, Castle & Nicholson delivers strategic counsel and services to developers, public agencies, energy companies, lenders, investors, joint ventures, pension funds, landlords, tenants, corporations, high-net-worth individuals and others in the management of their complex real estate, business and litigation challenges. The firm has more than 130 attorneys in offices in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco.
n Newmeyer & Dillion LLP is pleased to announce that ten of the firm’s Newport Beach attorneys were recently recognized in their respective practice areas in The Best Lawyers in America ©2019. Attorneys named to The Best Lawyers in America, include Jason M. Caruso, Jeffrey M. Dennis, Jane Samson, Joseph A. Ferrentino, John O’Hara, Michael Cucchissi, Gregory Dillion, Thomas Newmeyer, Bonnie T. Roadarmel, Carol Sherman Zaist.
Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 152, 2018
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W.H.E.R.E. Core Values, Preparation and Experience Reign The Law Offices of Babak “Bobby” Hashemi Use a Holistic Approach to Helping the Subjugated by Jennifer Hadley
“I don’t dabble in every area of law. In each of my practice areas, I have invested deeply in building special expertise. Because of this, I start out ahead of the game, and I press our advantage throughout the case to obtain the best possible outcome and satisfaction for my client. Since the inception of my practice, I’ve strived to maintain every client relationship—no matter the size or type, or their wallet size,” says Babak “Bobby” Hashemi, Esq., founder of the Law Offices of Babak Hashemi in Newport Beach and San Francisco. Bobby grew up in south Orange County and refers to San Francisco, where he started his practice, as his second home. According to Hashemi, the key to building these relationships is rooted in his holistic approach to practicing law. “Law is perhaps the only one of the ‘learned’ professions that is still relatively unchanged in the age of technology and big business. It allows me to develop expertise over a lifetime and use it to help others, much like the family doctor once did, before the age of corporate medicine. This is the calling and connection that drew me to the law.” Specifically, he adds, “I was looking for a holistic approach to law, where I could assist everyday people with their legal challenges. I remain intrigued by the ability I have to make a lasting, positive difference in people’s lives.”
In fact, this desire to help regular people, from a holistic approach, was what spurred him to attend New College School of Law, California’s first public interest law school, even in the face of a successful career in sales and marketing.
Conscious and Conscientious Decision Prepared by his undergraduate studies in Natural Sciences and Media Communications, Hashemi was enjoying success in sales and marketing when he first took umbrage of the injustices facing consumers. “In the early 2000s, as money was virtually being printed for everyone, I realized that consumers were being encouraged to spend, spend, spend. Consumers were strongly encouraged to use and to buy, regardless of whether they were buying on borrowed money or on credit. The marketing was successful. The four ‘Ps’ of marketing— Price, Product, Place, and Promotion—were effective. But there was a missing ‘G.’ Products, properties, loans and services were pushed onto consumers without regard to any guarantee or assurances, whatsoever,” Hashemi recalls. “When a product, loan or service failed to live up its claims, consumers lacked sufficient information about how to hold the seller, lender or manufacturer accountable or exercise their rights.” Realizing
“… Hashemi’s core values continue to lead his decision-making process wherever he may be practicing. They include: ‘Work and perform as a team; Highest quality service to clients; Ethics and integrity in all dealings; Results-oriented; Enjoy what we do,’ (W.H.E.R.E.).”
Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 152, 2018
OF THE MONTH
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Babak “Bobby” Hashemi, Litigator.
Â© christopher TODD studios
the dangerous course consumers and indeed, the nation was on, Hashemi decided to enroll in law school to begin doing what he could to make a difference. “Going to law school was a conscious decision for me, and I knew that I would have to finance my own way through the process. I attended law school in San Francisco on a parttime basis while working at a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), volunteering at the housing clinic, and at the Marin County Office of the Public Defender,” he says. As busy as he was, however, Hashemi still managed to finish the part-time curriculum a semester early. “The challenge was humbling and rewarding at the same time,” he admits. The challenge was not enough to dissuade him from continuing his education, however. After being admitted to the Bar, Hashemi not only began working towards earning a LL.M. in taxation from Golden Gate University School of Law, he also almost immediately took on a difficult case as a solo practitioner. “Within days after being admitted to practice, I took on representation of a tenant in an eviction action that was scheduled for a jury trial the following Monday,” he recalls. In that case, Hashemi put to use not only what he’d learned in school, but what he’d learned in the housing clinic to leverage both a $50,000 settlement, and a waiver of thousands of dollars of back rent. With that case, Hashemi knew that his calling was to help John and Jane Q Public and small businesses.
Core Values as Foundation of Practice From the very start, Hashemi knew he wasn’t interested in cutting his teeth in a big firm, working on corporate or insurance defense. “I wanted to help the underdog who didn’t have deep pockets,” he says. “I’d gone to a public interest law school, and it had imbedded in me certain values and core competencies. Opening my own practice to implement these values and competencies wasn’t a decision, rather my destiny.” Likewise, those values and competencies prompted Hashemi to develop his own core values, which would ultimately serve as the guiding principles of his own firm. Drafted nearly a decade ago, Hashemi’s core values continue to lead his decision-making process wherever he may be practicing. They include: “Work and perform as a team; Highest quality service to clients; Ethics and integrity in all dealings; Results-oriented; Enjoy what we do,” (W.H.E.R.E.). Like many attorneys just starting out, Hashemi initially worked in diverse areas of law, including criminal defense and tax defense. But as time went on, he began to see that his talents were best suited towards advocating for clients in three primary practice areas: Consumer Protection (Lemon Law), Personal Injury, and Real Estate/Small Business Litigation. “I work with consumers who need assistance with breaches of Manufacturer’s Warranty (Lemon Law), violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), California Rosenthal Fair
Debt Collection Practices Act (RFDCPA), and The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and various foreclosure defense involving Federal or State real estate-related laws” he says. “For most consumers, outside of their housing expense, their car payment is their next largest expense each month and is the only tool they cannot do without. That car needs to be dependable. When there is a manufacturer’s defect affecting the value, safety or use of a vehicle, and the owner has taken the car in for repairs on multiple occasions, the manufacturer needs to right this wrong. Lemon Law provides for wonderful recourse to get all of their hard-earned money back or another equitable remedy,” Hashemi says. Likewise, Hashemi loves being able to guide those injured through no fault of their own. “When people have been in an accident, they are vulnerable and scared. They are worried about their insurance going up, missing work, and anxious about medical expenses. I’ve had a lot of success litigating Personal Injury matters. What the injured victims need is an honest, hardworking professional who will interact with them on a personal level and guide them to a satisfactory resolution.” By way of example, Hashemi recalls a client who was in a car accident where liability was disputed. “My client was selfemployed, and the severity of his injuries affected his livelihood, and ability to make a living. Through intense investigation and assistance of qualified medical professionals, we were able to reconstruct the scene of the accident, injury-causing mechanisms, and establish that no fault could reasonably be attributed to my client. Through the reports of a medical provider, we were able to establish that our client suffered a silent stroke because of the collision. Finally, we were able to show that our client was the heart and soul of his business, and his business’ economic damages were directly attributable to our client’s inability to discharge his duties. Based on this we were able to collect the limits of the third-party insurance policy in place, and a separate six-figure settlement—after initiation of arbitration and triggering our own client’s Under Insured portion of the policy.” In his Real Estate/Small Business Litigation practice, Hashemi says that he’s learned an enormous amount about helping families facing foreclosure from Joseph R. Manning, Jr., Founder of Manning Law Office, APC. “Joe has been a mentor and role model to me. I’m Of-Counsel to his firm, and through this affiliation, I can provide big firm benefits to my clients through an interpersonal, professional relationship. This affiliation has allowed me to expand my expertise and be able to operate on a larger scale than a solo or small office practitioner would. We’ve worked on many matters together, including foreclosure defense and consumer advocation. I think we’ve probably worked on close to 1,000 foreclosure defense matters together. I’m really grateful for his guidance, because there is nothing like the feeling of being able to call someone and say,
Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 152, 2018
© christopher TODD studios
‘You’re not going to be kicked out of your home. Your children are not going to be uprooted and pulled out of schools because of something outside of your control.’ I am here to ensure that banks and servicers fully comply to the letter of the law,” he says.
Holistic Approach to the Law Now and For the Future After nearly a decade of practice, Hashemi says that the holistic approach he has always taken, has yielded a successful practice that is almost entirely based upon referrals. “The majority of my clients found me by way of some type of referral, personal or professional introduction. In this way, I allow the client to choose me based on my knowledge, personality, and background. I also take time to communicate personally, to ensure every client is fully informed at each stage of the case,” he says. To Hashemi, the holistic approach means serving as a true counselor throughout the entire engagement. It is also what enables
Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 152, 2018
him to safeguard his clients’ wellbeing. “In personal injury cases, for example, there are injuries that my clients have suffered that are having devastating consequences, yet they don’t know what has happened. This was the case with a man I represented who had been assaulted in a bar without provocation. Beyond the black eye, his symptoms indicated that he had clearly suffered a closed head injury, known as a TBI. I was able to send him to the medical specialist he needed to get confirmation, and more importantly, the care he needed to recover. A good attorney will pick up on cues, such as memory deficits, troubles in interpersonal relationships, or diminished cognitive abilities, and be able to guide the victim to get the care that they need,” he says. When it comes to small business disputes, Hashemi says his holistic approach propels him to ensure that his clients are well aware of possible risks and pitfalls. Instead of having an extremely finite goal, such as victory no matter the cost, Hashemi looks out for the client’s overall victory, which in some cases may be to avoid litigation. “For disputes between partners, I have a responsibility to explain risks which include time and expenses. Everyone wants and deserves redress from harms they have suffered. But if litigation is going to cost for example $75,000, and the victory may yield $150,000, and litigation is going to drag on for years, it is my responsibility to make sure they clearly understand that. It is up to them to decide if the risk is worth the reward, or the potential loss. I’m not interested in doing what is best for me. It’s the client’s overall wellbeing that matters.” Continuing, Hashemi says, “I deeply respect my clients’ right to make their own life decisions. That’s why I take the time to get to know them, and to identify their needs and goals, rather than having a monochromatic approach to how I practice law. Based on their decisions, I can then guide them through the process. My relationship with each of my clients is more important than anything else.” As far as the future is concerned, Hashemi has no plans to change course. With a holistic approach, reinforced by his core values, he plans on consistent growth in both his Orange County practice and his Bay Area practice. “I expect to add more support staff, collaborate with other firms and to continue to build OfCounsel relationships,” he says. But most importantly, he plans to continue to fight for the individual, who is shocked, uninformed, vulnerable, and scared. “When you’ve been harmed by another, either physically, or financially, bad things come to your mind. It’s scary, and it can be shocking. Being able to counsel victims through the process to a satisfactory outcome is very gratifying.” n Contact Bobby Hashemi Law Offices of Babak Hashemi ESQ. 4667 MacArthur Blvd #150 Newport Beach, CA 92660 Orange County: 949-464-8529 San Francisco Bay: 415-480-4770 TheHashemiLawFirm.com
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The Surprising Sentence That Keeps Prospects Reading (and Buying) by Tom Trush
ou spend time and resources writing a marketing piece. So why not make sure as many prospects as possible read it? Let me explain. You already know the importance of headlines in marketing materials. They act as attention tools for grabbing your readers’ eyes and guiding them to your copy. And although essential to every marketing piece, the headline takes a back seat to one element that determines whether your remaining text even gets read ... The first sentence. In fact, billion-dollar copywriter Ted Nicholas says 73% of the buying decision is made before the first 17 words in your marketing piece. Makes sense. After all, if your opening doesn’t cause prospects to read more, you have no chance of closing a sale. An appealing start is absolutely critical to a successful marketing piece. The best sentences pique curiosity, promise benefits, create images or evoke emotion. Here are several favorite opening lines from my swipe file collection and client work: “This letter is about information that’s ‘none of your business.’”— for a newsletter subscription “Every Monday morning, a rather unusual publication arrives at the desks of a select circle of individuals in positions of power and influence.”—for a magazine subscription “If you’ll give me the next 3-1/2 minutes, in return I’ll give you a treat that’ll open up an unbelievable new world of eating pleasure for you. Fair enough?”—for a grapefruit offer “Don’t you hate it? The prospect of walking into a room that’s packed with strangers, approaching someone you’ve never met and striking up a conversation.”—for a confident conversations program “This is an ordinary pair of shoes. They could belong to anybody, but ... suppose they were yours? Empty shoes—you no longer here.”—for a life insurance policy
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“Don’t be surprised if what you’ve heard about the U.S. government’s best-kept secret for covering the costs of nursing home care is wrong. The decision-makers running many nursing home communities aren’t anxious to tell you the truth ... neither are many of the ‘experts’ dishing out advice about paying for long-term care.”—for a how-to guide about paying nursing home costs “You might want to start on page 45. Because on page 45 of a new groundbreaking book being printed as a special edition, you’ll learn one of the closest-held secrets for getting large lump sums of cash.” —for a book about ways to make money “If you or your spouse is a veteran who served at least 90 days in the military—and at least one of those days was during a war—you have the right to VA benefits, including opportunities for tax-free income that few people ever discover.”—for a VA benefits guide
Need Another Example to Boost Response to Your Marketing? Drive down Jefferson Street in downtown Phoenix on a summer evening and you’ll likely see snack vendors outside Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Most set up shop with just a table, umbrella and a couple of coolers. They strategically position themselves to catch fans entering the ballpark. You see, the vendors sell many of the same snacks you find at the concession stands inside. The only difference? Outside, the prices are much cheaper—and the vendors repeatedly remind you. So you might hear a pitch like ... THIRSTY?! Grab your bottle of water here for only $1. Wait until you get inside and you’ll pay $3. Please note that final sentence. Now, let’s say you need to write a marketing piece to announce your product. How do you go about the process? If you think strategically, you begin by brainstorming your product’s benefits. You then figure out what pain your product solves and come up with a motivating offer that addresses this problem and gets prospects to act.
Seem similar to your approach? If so, congratulations. Your actions go beyond what the typical entrepreneur or executive does when writing marketing copy. However, you may be overlooking a critical motivator ... The fear of loss. The fact is, to achieve the best response, you must explain what prospects lose by not taking action on your offer. Remind them that their pain and problems continue if they don’t get your solution right now. (Review the above vendor pitch again.) Let’s look at a couple examples ...
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So remember, remind prospects what they’ll lose and you’ll gain more responses. n Tom Trush is a Phoenix, Ariz.-based direct-response copywriter who helps entrepreneurs and executives craft lead-generating marketing materials. Pick up his latest book, Escape the Expected: The Secret Psychology of Selling to Today’s Skeptical Consumers, for free (just cover shipping) at: www.writewaysolutions.com/blog/free-book-offer.
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How and Why to Start and Market Your Own Non-Profit Organization by Trey Ryder
ere’s one of the best-kept secrets in lawyer marketing. Few attorneys take advantage of it. But those who actively pursue it can gain significant competitive advantages most attorneys only dream about. Plus, they provide much-needed help to people in their community. If you see lawyers making key contacts by working in non-profit organizations—and if competing lawyers have established themselves with existing groups—you can set up your own non-profit organization and gain a big marketing advantage. As founder and spokesperson for your group, you benefit in at least four ways: Benefit #1: You gain high media visibility because publication editors and broadcast producers write more articles to benefit non-profit causes than to help lawyers attract clients. Benefit #2: You improve your image in the community. Rather than being perceived as a lawyer in search of new clients, you become known as the lawyer who is working hard to benefit the people you want to help. Benefit #3: You gain referrals from allied professionals, including those you have invited into your organization and those who know you through the media. Outside referral sources send you clients because you are earnestly working to help people. Inside referral sources—those on your advisory board—send clients to you because they recognize your skill, they respect your desire to help people, and they benefit from the publicity they gain through your mailings and meetings. Benefit #4: Because you founded the non-profit organization, you are the gate-keeper. This means you invite into your group only those professionals you believe 24
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will benefit your group. You can invite competing attorneys to join you, or screen them out, as you wish. One key to attracting clients is to market the non-profit group, instead of—or in addition to—your law practice. As your group grows, you’ll meet qualified prospects through media publicity, through your group’s website and at monthly meetings. When you find prospects who want to better understand their legal rights, you invite them to your law office, which is a separate entity from the non-profit organization. In a moment, I’ll walk you through the steps I recommend for starting your own non-profit. But first, let me tell you about a non-profit organization—and introduce you to my friend Don Keenan, a personal injury trial attorney based in Atlanta. In 1993, Don established the Keenan’s Kids Foundation. You’ll see it featured on his website www.keenanlawfirm. com under the tab “our giving back.” Don has achieved extraordinary visibility not only through his law practice, but also through his remarkable work with children. Please take a moment to visit Don’s website at www.keenanlawfirm.com. This will help you see how you might use a non-profit organization in conjunction with your law practice. No question, Don is a gifted attorney. Even without this non-profit organization, he would be highly successful. His Keenan’s Kids Foundation gives him another way to actively support causes that are important to him. Plus, his ongoing visibility builds momentum that benefits both his foundation and his law firm. Now, here are steps you can take to start your own nonprofit organization.
Where To Start 1. Identify the type of prospective clients you want to attract to your law practice. List the problems they face and how your non-profit organization could help them find solutions.
2. Identify referral sources who can direct people to your group. For example, neurosurgeons could refer clients with spinal injuries, psychologists could refer family law clients, and CPAs could refer cases of securities fraud. If you focus on business clients, you might invite management consultants, chamber of commerce executives, and business-related professionals into your group.
3. Ask your referring professionals for the names of existing groups, if any, that currently help your target audience. Then call and ask for their information. Don’t be discouraged if groups already exist. This proves that people want these services. Metropolitan areas often have several non-profit groups that relate to the same subject.
4. Go to other group meetings to see if they are well attended. Identify subjects the group doesn’t cover and services it doesn’t offer. These are opportunities for you. And if a large number of people need help, you could even duplicate the other groups’ efforts and services and reach more people in your community.
Forming Your Own Group 5. Create a name for your organization that clearly describes your subject. The Sacramento Foundation for Dangerous Products. The Philadelphia Center for Traumatic Brain Injuries. The Denver Alliance Against Insurance Bad Faith. Don’t gloss over this point. The name you choose has more importance and lasting value than any other decision you’ll make.
6. Create whichever non-profit entity fits your needs. A simple non-profit corporation may be enough. Or, you might pursue non-profit status with the IRS if you want to accept tax-deductible donations. If the non-profit group sponsors your law firm’s seminars or activities, you might benefit from non-profit postage rates and non-profit advertising rates. Also, charitable groups sometimes get reduced rates for meeting and seminar rooms—and are invited to take part in activities where for-profit entities are barred.
7. Invite key professionals who have an interest in your group’s purpose—or who could be referral sources—to sit on your organization’s advisory board. Then invite these people to speak at your monthly meetings, submit articles for your group’s website, and take part in other group activities.
8. Compile a comprehensive mailing list of your organization’s referral sources, advisors, members and prospects. If you attract prospects who are comfortable with email, compile a list of email addresses.
9. Compile a mailing list of local media. These include news directors at radio and TV stations, producers of radio and TV talk shows, and editors at print and online publications.
10. Create written materials that offer advice to the people you want to reach. Ask your referring professionals and members of your advisory board to contribute information to your written materials. For example, an accident victim might need help with the medical, legal, financial and psychological aspects of his case. Keep your written materials broad-based so you address all the person’s needs. You can narrow in on their legal/medical concerns when you meet them at your next monthly meeting.
11. Create a list of resources for people who have problems. You might also include names and phone numbers of professionals on your advisory board so they attract new clients as well.
How To Market Your Non-Profit Organization 12. Offer to mail or email written information about your subject to anyone who contacts your office. This helps you identify potential members and build your mailing list. You can offer these materials through public service announcements, advertising, newspapers and online publications, interviews on the TV news and radio talk shows, direct mail to interested parties and referral sources, and your website.
13. Offer seminars presented by respected authorities and include fliers about your seminars in the packets you mail. Start by inviting your advisory board members and referring professionals to speak. If the geographical area you serve is large, then offer webinars for people who cannot attend your meetings in person.
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14. Make sure you, as the group’s legal advisor and founder, take the opportunity to speak on legal issues affecting your group. Also, announce that you’re always available to discuss legal matters, even if you are not the featured speaker at that meeting.
15. Start a telephone answer-line staffed by volunteers to offer advice and resources to people who need help. The answer-line could be available only a few hours each week or 24-hours a day. Then promote the answer-line so you receive calls from your target audience. If the person calls another group, you may lose a prospective client. So you have a lot to gain by attracting the call before anybody else.
16. Send a free monthly newsletter by hard-copy or email to everyone on your mailing list. Your newsletter could include a president’s message, articles by referring professionals, a question/answer column, and notices of meetings and events. Also, you can offer your free educational materials and ask for volunteers to help with your mailings and answer-line.
17. Register your group with information and referral agencies, chambers of commerce, libraries, and other places where people go for information. Tell them the resources you have available, including your written materials, monthly speakers, support groups and newsletter.
18. Set up information booths at malls and trade shows. A booth for a non-profit group that helps people solve problems creates a much better appearance than a booth for an attorney in search of new clients.
19. Send a memo of expertise to the media. Invite inquiries about your organization. Offer your group and its professionals as resources when editors have questions. Ask editors to refer people who need information and services.
20. Mail and email news releases to the media at least monthly. Enlist the media’s help to educate the public, invite people to meetings, quote upcoming speakers, introduce your answer-line, offer your free newsletter and announce future events. Invite reporters to attend your monthly meetings so they can write articles about the speaker’s subject. The more exposure you get, the more prospective clients you attract, and the more value you provide to people in the community.
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21. Set up a website, where you post information and resources available to your target audience, announce monthly meetings, and introduce members of your advisory board with their biographies and photos. Also, post articles written by advisory board members, news releases that you’ve sent to the media, and back issues of your newsletter. In most cases, the more information you have on your website, the higher search engine rankings you’ll get. Also, make search engines aware of your website through their submission procedures.
22. Contact organizations and professionals who have an interest in your subject and ask them to include a link on their website that takes people to your group’s website. The more links you have coming back to your site from other respected websites, the higher your search engine ranking. The list of marketing ideas is nearly endless. The point is to offer as much as you can in helpful, charitable ways so the media supports your efforts and gives you publicity. And the more people you help, the more pleasure you get from assisting persons with problems. In practice, here’s one example of how this might work: You want to attract clients with brain and spinal injuries. You form the Kansas City Foundation for Brain and Spinal Injuries, with you as the founder and chairperson. Next, you form an advisory board, so you invite as members prominent physicians, psychologists, and anyone else you believe has contact with the patients you want to reach. Then you send news releases to all local media (print and broadcast) announcing the formation of your group and offering information to people you can help. As a result, you gain publicity throughout the geographical area you serve. Next, schedule monthly meetings, asking one member of your advisory board to speak at each meeting. Two weeks before each meeting, send news releases to the media announcing the meeting, inviting interested persons to attend, and going into detail about the speaker and what he or she will present. It’s likely your news release or an announcement will wind up in print, perhaps in a few publications. Naturally, your speaker is thrilled to be the subject of an article in the newspaper and, perhaps, interviews on radio and TV. When the meeting begins, you’re the host. You open with remarks, introduce new members and visitors, conduct business and introduce this month’s speaker. Even when you aren’t the guest speaker, you play a prominent role at each monthly meeting because you are the chairperson.
Each month, as a result of your news releases, your advisory board gets publicity because of their knowledge, skill, judgment and experience. And, occasionally, you are the monthly speaker, addressing legal topics of interest to the families and friends of victims with head, brain or spinal injuries. Bottom line: You are the person with the highest profile because you are the group’s founder and spokesperson. You surround yourself with professionals who can help the people you want to reach. You invite onto your advisory board professionals who can refer clients to you. And, if you wish, you can include on your advisory board other attorneys who practice in your area of law. From then on, it’s all marketing. The higher your group’s profile, the more people you can help and the more new members you’ll attract. At least some of those new members will be qualified prospects for your legal services. I’m not suggesting that you use the non-profit organization as a “front” for your law practice. Instead, I’m suggesting that you form and operate an honest-to-goodness non-profit organization that benefits a specific group of people. The fact that you are a key player in the non-profit group— since you are founder and president—means you benefit from building relationships with everyone you meet. This includes the professionals you invite onto your advisory board and the relationships you build with the people you
help, which can lead to lawyer/client relationships. I can count on one hand the number of lawyers I know who have started their own non-profit organizations. This certainly doesn’t mean they don’t work. Instead, it emphasizes the number of opportunities available for you. A legitimate non-profit organization can easily gain ongoing media publicity. All you do is maintain an education-based marketing program that attracts members and recognized professionals to your organization. And send out news releases and newsletters so your group maintains a high local, statewide or nationwide profile. So... if you want to attract a specific type of prospects— and if you want to help those people solve their problems— start your own non-profit group. With good marketing, your group could attract new clients from the many prospects you meet and the referral relationships you build. Plus, you’ll make a substantial difference in people’s lives, a feeling that you’ll enjoy for a lifetime. n Trey Ryder shares his marketing method with lawyers through a wide range of publications. In addition, he writes and publishes his free e-zine, The Ryder Method™ of Education-Based Marketing. And he maintains the Lawyer Marketing Advisor at www.treyryder.com. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 152, 2018 27
THE TOP 5 REASONS
Your Law Firm Can’t Cross-Sell by Ross Fishman
any years ago, as a young marketer at a 500-lawyer firm, the managing partner tasked me with developing a firm-wide cross-selling project, with the goal of institutionalizing more of our big clients. I did exhaustive research. Of course, every marketer knew that “getting business from existing clients is five times easier than getting a new client” (although I don’t know who first proclaimed that misleading platitude). I devised a step-by-step, bulletproof process in extraordinary depth and detail.
The design was, if I may say, pure genius. The gleeful managing partner agreed that it was a sure-fire winner. It was guaranteed to bring in millions of dollars of new business. He rolled out cross-selling initiative firm-wide in all offices. I planned to receive an enormous year-end bonus.
Unfortunately, of course, it turned out to be a total catastrophe. It was a complete and utter failure, the Hindenburg of marketing efforts—by far the biggest disaster in my entire career. Not a single lawyer tried it. WTF? I was so sure this was going to work. I interviewed my favorite partners to determine what went wrong. They confidentially told me that there was “no way in hell [they] were going to do any of it.” I was dumbfounded. Why not? Actually, in retrospect it was pretty obvious. The whole program was premised on the absurd belief that the lawyers would do what was good for the firm, rather than what was in the lawyers’ personal financial interest. 28
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I was young and naïve. I’d made a total rookie mistake. There were countless issues I wasn’t experienced enough to consider: (1) They liked keeping their clients portable, so they could pick up their ball and leave if the firm didn’t pay them what they wanted. (2) The compensation system didn’t reward this behavior at all. (3) The firm’s culture and leadership didn’t demand that they put their critical client relationships in their fellow partners’ hands. (4) The partners didn’t trust each other’s legal skills and client service. What if they screwed up the relationship? One said, “I’d lose control of the relationship, and risk losing the client that’s putting food in my children’s mouths.” Another partner said, “I’d rather send the work to another firm where I can’t be blamed if it gets screwed up.” One called his clients “hot-house orchids.” Plus, (5) they were doing just fine already. They were busy, and there was no penalty if they ignored the cross-selling initiative, went back to work, and maintained the status quo. And this was just the start of the objections. Of course, the lawyers were right to behave as they did. At that firm, they didn’t trust the firm, its management, or each other to do the right thing, so it would be unreasonable for them to even try. As long as they could control every aspect of their client relationships, they were safe. No lawyer had so many clients that they were willing to risk putting them in the hands of partners in other practice areas whom they didn’t trust immensely.
The point is, most firms think everyone else is cross-selling better than they are. Most
BTW, many untrained lawyers try to sell additional practice areas via sneak attack:
commentators are still writing about how simple and efficient cross-selling is. Sure, it’s easier to get another similar deal from a current transactional client where the same team has already done good work. But it’s not easier to get that first piece of litigation work from that same corporate client. (In fact, I’d argue that it can be TWICE as difficult because you not only have to sell the client on your skills and service, you must first sell the partner at your firm who controls that relationship to let you anywhere near them.) That’s not to say that some firms aren’t cross-selling effectively. Some are. But in my experience, they’re the exception. What’s the odds that your firm is?
Lawyer: Hi [Corporate Client], I haven’t seen you in a while; let me buy you lunch!
The 5 Traits of Successful Cross-Selling Firms If you are confident that your firm possesses all 5 of the characteristics listed below, then you might have a shot at selling additional services to your existing single-practice clients. If you don’t, then it’s unlikely that you’ll be successful over time, and I would suggest that you either (1) work to gradually change your culture to become more equitable and teamoriented, or (2) reduce your cross-selling efforts in favor of the many other marketing activities that can prove effective at all types of firms.
Client: Sure, that’d be great, thanks. Lawyer: I’m going to bring along Tiffany, a litigator I’d like to introduce you to. Client [realizes he’s just been tricked into agreeing to sit through a 90-minute sales pitch]: Ugh. OK, fine.
That doesn’t work. It’s not enough to simply share a logo with Tiffany. (1) The client hadn’t expressed a need for another litigator, and (2) The lawyer hadn’t established why Tiffany is a much better option than the skilled litigators the client already uses. Yes, many global companies have been streamlining their administration by seeking one-stop shopping at fewer law firms, making successful cross-selling more likely. But those firms must still compete for this work against the other international law firms where the internal barriers might be lower. Obviously, there’s much more to this complex topic. But this is a start. ■ Ross Fishman is a former litigator, big-firm Marketing Director, and Marketing Partner. Ross has conducted more than 300 law firm retreats, CLE and Ethics presentations, and marketing-training programs on six continents, from New Mexico to New Zealand, and California to Croatia. Ross is also the Founder of Fishman Marketing, a one-stop solution for strategy, marketing, branding, and leading-edge websites. Learn more at: https://www.fishmanmarketing.com
Firms that excel in cross-selling tend to have the following attributes: 1. Strong leadership that supports and rewards sharing. 2. A firm-wide culture of trust and friendship among the partners. 3. A fair compensation system that (a) acknowledges the risk to the partner controlling the relationship, and (b) rewards the efforts of the support partners for helping bring in the new work. 4. Effective internal communications that inform everyone regarding the nature of the firm’s practices and clients. 5. Marketing training that teaches the lawyers how to cross-sell.
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