Volume 167, 2017 $6.95
5 Tips to Improve Back-Office Processes
4 SEO Tips Law Firms Can Implement Today
Jacob Maslow Sales and Marketing Are Not the Same
8 Sure-Fire Tips for Enticing Readers in Your Marketing Materials
4 Reasons Prestige Doesn’t Justify Your Rates
How to Create an Email Law Alert and Email List
McIntyre’s Civil Alert Organized Succinct Summaries
Law Firm of the Month
D’Egidio Licari Townsend & Shah, San Diego From the Ashes of the Recession
GOING TO TRIAL – NEED EXPERIENCED HELP?
SPECIALIZING IN BET-THE-COMPANY CASES OVER 50 YEARS OF COMBINED EXPERIENCE REFERRALS/SUBSTITUTIONS ACCEPTED AT ALL STAGES OF LITIGATION, INCLUDING TRIAL •
Employment Law/ Wrongful Termination
Professional Negligence Litigation
Intellectual Property Litigation
Real Estate Litigation
Trust and Estate/Probate Litigation
Personal Injury/Wrongful Death
501 West Broadway Suite 1720 San Diego, CA 92101 619-487-1500 | www.kirbyandkirbylaw.com
WITH US, BUSINESS IS PERSONAL
Deposition tools at your fingertips. DEPOSITION SERVICES
ONLINE & MOBILE SERVICES
•Certified Court Reporters
•Certified Legal Videographers
•Online Deposition Scheduling
•Court-Appointed Official Reporters
•Online Document Repository
•Certified Legal Interpreters
•Video Deposition Streaming
•Jilio-Ryan Mobile App
•24/7, Last Minute Scheduling
•Video Transcript Synchronization
•Nationwide Deposition Coverage
•Digital Deposition Streaming
•Deposition Suites, Conference Centers
•Video Editing Tools
•Realtime Depositions •Electronic Transcripts •Electronic Transcript CD •Litigation Support Software Integration
Contact us today for more about our newest time-saving deposition and litigation support services.
•Complete Case Management
W W W. J I L I O R YA N . C O M
TABLE OF CONTENTS 6 How to Create an Email Law Alert and Email List by Trey Ryder
8 Eight Sure-Fire Tips for Enticing Readers in Your Marketing Materials by Tom Trush
10 Five Tips to Improve Back-Office Processes EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER Brian Topor EDITOR Wendy Price
by Eric Wangler
12 Four Reasons Prestige Doesn’t Justify Your Rates by Chris Sant
CREATIVE SERVICES Skidmutro Creative Partners
16 D’Egidio Licari Townsend & Shah, San Diego From the Ashes of Recession
CIRCULATION Angela Watson PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Griffiths
by Jennifer Hadley
STAFF WRITERS Jennifer Hadley Patricia Klier Karen Gorden CONTRIBUTING EDITORIALISTS Trey Ryder Tom Trush Eric Wangler Chris Sant Jacob Maslow Monty McIntyre Mike O’Horo 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.
LAW FIRM OF THE MONTH
22 Four SEO Tips Law Firms Can Implement Today by Jacob Maslow
24 McIntyre’s Civil Alert Organized Succinct Summaries
by Monty McIntyre
28 Sales and Marketing Are Not the Same
by Mike O’Horo
Editorial material appears in Attorney Journal as an informational service for readers. Article contents are the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of Attorney Journal. Attorney Journal makes every effort to publish credible, responsible advertisements. Inclusion of product advertisements or announcements does not imply endorsement. Attorney Journal is a trademark of Sticky Media, LLC. Not affiliated with any other trade publication or association. Copyright 2017 by Sticky Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without written permission from Sticky Media, LLC. Printed in the USA
REFERRAL & CO-COUNSEL RELATIONSHIPS
P E R S ON AL I N J U RY PART N E R
NEVADA’S LARGEST & HIGHEST RATED INJURY LAW FIRM Your
“Rick is one of the best lawyers in the country. I call him every time I have any issue in Nevada and would not hesitate to refer R Ssize.” ON AL I N J U RY PART N E R him any type of case ofP Eany ~ C. Michael Alder, Esq., Alder Law, Los Angeles, California CAALA Past President and Former Trial Lawyer of the Year
“I recently co-counseled a serious Las Vegas injury case with Rick Harris and his law ﬁrm. Rick’s advocacy and skills are extraordinary, and were instrumental in resolving and maximizing our client’s sizable recovery.” ~ Carl Wolf, Esq., Callaway & Wolf Northern California Super Lawyers San Francisco, California
© 2016 RHLF
How to Create an Email Law Alert Powerful Marketing Tool Replaces Printed Newsletters by Trey Ryder
hanks to email, you can now write and distribute a weekly Law Alert without buying a single postage stamp or sacrificing even one tree. What’s more, you can email your Alert to prospects and clients anywhere in the world in minutes. Here’s how to design and promote an email alert that attracts new clients and referrals:
PURPOSE Email Law Alerts are secondary marketing documents. You should deliver your primary marketing message through your information packet, brochure, seminar and website. Then your Alert should support your message by highlighting and reinforcing the most important points. As a result, your Alert does not need to contain your entire message. Still, your Alert’s contents should be well planned so within a certain period—for example, three months—you have delivered your full message. In addition, your Alert should clearly state various offers and create urgency so your prospects act sooner rather than later.
Here’s a sample masthead for a business lawyer: • New Sexual Harassment Rules • Reduce Vendor Lawsuits • Decrease Payroll Taxes in the Issue of the Julie Bowman’s BUSINESS LAW ALERT Your complete source for information that affects your liability and profits. Provided as an educational service for friends and clients by Business Lawyer Julie Bowman, who welcomes your questions and comments at 123-456-7890. (Issue Date) © Copyright 2017 by Julie Bowman, P.C. All rights reserved.
The frequency at which you send your Alert is much more important than the amount of information you deliver. I suggest you send your Alert at least monthly. More often is better. I send my Education-Based Marketing Alert (almost) every week.
In a weekly Alert, focus on one or two subjects. If neither subject interests some readers, they will receive another Alert in just seven days. In a monthly Alert, include news items and short articles on at least three or four subjects. This way you help ensure that every recipient finds something of interest. The more readers profit from your Alert, the more likely they are to forward copies to their friends and colleagues, who may request their own subscriptions. Also, make clear to your readers that you provide services that prevent, mitigate or solve the problems you discuss.
Send your Alert within the email document itself. When you involve attachments, you soon discover that some recipients can’t open them. Plus, your email takes longer to send. But when you send your Alert completely inside an email, you make the process easy.
Include a commonly asked question with your answer. One question and answer are enough. If you have room, include more. Invite readers to ask questions for future issues.
MASTHEAD This is the area at the top of your Alert that identifies your document. Design your masthead to seize your reader’s attention so he can’t stop reading. To attract attention, your masthead might include a descriptive title, a descriptive subtitle, topics in this issue, your name and phone number, your reason for publishing it, and the date and copyright notice.
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
SEMINAR SCHEDULE Feature the title, time, date and place of upcoming seminars. Include a list of teasers that relate to your program’s content. “At this fact-filled program, you’ll discover how to (subject), three ways to avoid (subject), why you should never (subject), seven steps to (subject), and more.” Teasers that promise specific information dramatically increase attendance, so write and use as many as you can.
BIOGRAPHY Include details about your education, qualifications, certifications, professional memberships, and courts to which
you’re admitted. You can include charitable and civic activities, too. Even hobbies, if you like. The more prospects know about you, the more comfortable they feel.
SERVICES Make sure your prospects and referral sources know the services you offer. If you provide only a general description and hope your prospects will fill in the blanks, you’ll be disappointed. Prospects check your list to see if you provide the service they need. If you don’t include a specific list, prospects could easily conclude that you don’t perform that type of work. The services you list directly affect the services prospects and clients request.
OFFERS The more offers you make, the more likely you are to attract new inquiries and referrals. Consider these: Offer educational articles (listed by specific title) that you will send by email. Offer an initial telephone consultation without charge. Offer to add names of readers’ friends and colleagues to your email list. Offer to answer a question submitted to you by email. Offer to answer prospects’ questions in your Q&A column. Offer to speak to groups that include your prospects.
you will (1) explain legal principles, (2) provide helpful tips, (3) interpret court decisions, (4) discuss proposed legislation, (5) review actual case histories, and (6) invite readers to upcoming seminars. To receive your Alert, ask readers to send you their name and email address. • Offer to email specific educational articles, listing their individual titles. After readers give you their name and email address, add them to your email list so they receive all your marketing communications, including your Alert. Step #4: Offer your alert. • Direct mail. Send a letter or post card to everyone on your mailing list. Explain that on (some future date) you will phase out the printed newsletter you send by regular mail. Explain that you're starting a new Alert, which you’ll send by email. Next, reassure prospects. Then invite them to send you their name and email address. (You can also use direct mail to offer individual articles.) • Website. On various pages throughout your site, invite prospects to receive your Alert by email. Next, provide reassurances. Then insert “submit” forms where prospects can type in and send you their name and email address.
Include simple instructions for new readers who want to subscribe and for those who want off your list.
• Social media. On pages, messages, podcasts and blogs, offer your free educational articles and your free Alert.
How to Build an Email List
• News releases. Send them to editors at publications read by your target audience. Offer prospects your free educational articles and your free Alert.
Step #1: Identify the people you want on your list. They should include past, present and prospective clients, as well as past, present and prospective referral sources. Then, if you don’t already have one, compile a list of their names and email addresses. Step #2: Write your email list reassurances. When you invite people to give you their email addresses, you may find they are skeptical. This is because they don’t know how you might use their email address. Immediately their thoughts jump to the worst-case scenario. When I started compiling my email list, I discovered that some lawyers assumed I would charge them a fee to stay on my list. As a result, when I invite professionals to give me their email address, I reassure them in three ways. My copy reads as follows: You’ll be glad to know that this email list is ... FREE: You pay nothing to be on this list. CONFIDENTIAL: I will never provide your name or email address to anyone for any purpose. OPTIONAL: If you ever want off this list, just say the word and I will promptly delete your name and email address. I suggest you reassure prospects to overcome whatever obstacles they might have to joining your list. Step #3: Create attractive offers. After you have reassured prospects, you can collect new addresses as follows: • Offer your Alert by email. Tell readers that in your Alert
• Advertising. Run classified or small display ads in publications where your target audience will likely see them and respond. • Articles. When you submit an article for publication, put a biographical note at the end that provides prospects with your email address and offers your free educational articles and your free Alert. • Inserts. When you send mail to prospects and referral sources, slip into the envelope an insert offering your Alert. Invite them to request a free subscription by email. • Forward. Invite recipients to forward your Alert to friends and colleagues. The faster you build an email list of prospects, clients and referral sources, the sooner you’ll benefit from your Alert’s high impact and low cost. My weekly Education-Based Marketing Alert has brought me more new clients than any other method I have used. I hope you enjoy the same success. Till next time, I wish you the best of everything! 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. Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
8 Sure-Fire Tips for Enticing Readers In Your Marketing Materials by Tom Trush
ecause I’m a copywriter, my opinion is likely a little biased, but I truly feel the power of the pen is mightier than the spoken word. When listening to someone, the words we hear are rarely repeated—unless requested—and they don’t have the same “staying power” as a phrase permanently placed on a piece of paper. In addition, the written word has the potential of reaching a wide audience; whereas spoken words are limited by the number of people listening to you. For these reasons, law firms that put a consistent effort toward their writing often see better results with their marketing strategies than others that treat content creation as just another trivial task. When it comes to putting together ideas for creating an effectively written document, there are numerous ways you can increase the likelihood of generating your desired response. Here are eight sure-fire tips you can use in your legal marketing literature to transform readers from uninterested to enthusiastic.
1. Offer something for free. No matter how many times you use it, “free” is the one word that will attract attention, regardless of the type of marketing literature you use it in. So offer your readers something they view as valuable as an incentive for meeting your desired outcome. For example, write a legal report with information on a topic your clients would find useful. Even better, provide some type of information that would solve a common problem your readers can relate to (see tip #4). You can even offer a discount on a future service or a complimentary giveaway that promotes your practice. The bottom line is that you want to make it as easy as possible for your potential clients to collect your free information.
2. Make the situation a win-win. Stephen R. Covey summed it up in his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, when he stated, “With a Win/Win solution, all parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan.” Obviously, you benefit if a reader reacts to your call to action, but what incentives are you offering to encourage this response? Once the emotional basis for hiring your law firm wears
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
off, your client will seek rational reasons for the decision. So reward your reader with reasons that validate using your legal services.
3. Stroke the reader’s ego. Who doesn’t enjoy receiving unexpected compliments? This technique is especially effective when trying to attract high-end clients. People feel good when they’re recognized for achieving a special milestone or status. What makes the sensation even greater is when someone unexpectedly recognizes the feat.
4. Offer a solution to a problem. Applying this tip involves more focus on your customer and less attention on your legal services. Any successful law firm flourishes because it solves issues clients view as important. Write your text so it focuses not on the magnitude of the problem as determined by society as a whole, but the importance of the issue as decided by an individual. Try visualizing a person’s mindset prior to using your legal services and then write your text so it satisfies that reader's needs.
5. Demonstrate your credibility. Not only do people prefer doing business with attorneys they know, they also want confirmation that the person they’re working with has the capability of doing the job well. Validate your credibility through testimonials or your track record with similar cases—and be specific. If you’re marketing your services, cite detailed examples of how they have benefited others. For best results, demonstrate success with something your target audience relates to. It should go without saying, but always be prepared to back up your statements. (Testimonials are not allowed in some jurisdictions, so make sure you check your rules of professional conduct.)
6. Show the value in your legal services. Just about everyone enjoys the feeling of finding a bargain. So demonstrate to readers how your legal services save time or are more beneficial when compared to the competition. Your goal is to provide enough free information so your readers believe they are getting more than originally anticipated.
7. Leave the reader guessing. Great writers know the exact statements and questions to ask so readers feel they must contact you to get the answers. This is another area where you want to be specific with your writing. Which of the following titles do you think would attract more interest? • Discover the 7 Mistakes You Must Avoid to Win Your DUI Case • Learn How to Fight a DUI Most people find the first option more appealing because the statement offers an exact result (winning the DUI case) and causes them to wonder if they have made the same mistakes. Often it’s difficult for readers to ignore their curiosity, so use this to your advantage.
Peterson Reporting. Providing nationwide service since 1986.
8. Stress urgency. The longer you let someone wait to take action, the less likely it’ll happen. Encourage immediate action throughout your marketing materials and, if you’re drafting a letter, reiterate to the reader the importance of acting quickly in the postscript (P.S.). You may have to offer some kind of incentive (see tip #1). n Tom Trush is a Phoenix, AZ-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.
From day one of your
deposition to the last day
of your trial, Peterson Reporting
is an indispensable member of your trial team. Proven professionalism and proficiency
Free Conference Rooms Live Streaming Services Video Conferencing Services
for more than 25 years. Locally owned, globally known.
Global Reach Complex Cases Accurate, Fast
San Diego’s Leading Construction Defect and Employment Litigation Attorney FOCUSED ON OUR CLIENTS, FIXATED ON THEIR RESULTS
• Homeowner associations and groups of single family homeowners in construction defect litigation • Aggrieved employees in wage and hour class actions • Tenants in unlawful housing practice class actions
Jean-Claude Lapuyade, Esq. 10200 Willow Creek Road | Suite 150 San Diego, CA 92131 619.599.8292 JCL-LawFirm.com
530 B Street, Suite 350 San Diego, CA 92101
619 260 1069
Since 1986 petersonreporting.com Call to request green delivery of your transcripts and receive a discount. Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017 Peterson AttJrnl HPV.indd 1
9 7/12/13 5:04 PM
5 Tips to Improve Back-Office Processes by Eric Wangler
Are you contemplating streamlining, centralizing or outsourcing some or all of your law firm’s back-office functions? It’s an idea worth exploring. Improving basic processes and using the right technology can help you and your staff minimize frustration and save time, which ultimately benefits your clients. If you’re wondering where to begin, here are five practical ideas to help improve turnaround times, leverage the resources you already have, and allow everyone to work together more efficiently.
1. Start by Homing in on What Your Firm Needs Say you have a relatively straightforward task that must be turned around by the end of the day, like formatting a document. It seems easy enough to give the file to your assistant via email, with a short note about what you need. However, free-form email requests almost always lead to questions about instructions or deadlines, with a series of back-and-forth messages ensuing. The next thing you know, it’s nearly 5 p.m., the document hasn’t been finished, and everyone is frustrated. One idea is to implement a simple form in your firm’s system that lawyers complete before sending tasks on to support staff. While completing a form to request a job may seem like overkill, it will ultimately eliminate confusion and wasted time.
2. Know What’s in the Firm’s Queue Even in a small firm, you may not always know what your partners and associates are doing, who they’ve assigned their work to or the deadlines. By putting a transparent, officewide workflow system in place, all of these questions can be easily answered. A good automated workflow system will allow you to see the status of all work in the system. This type of information can be invaluable in determining whether backoffice work can be done more efficiently by centralizing more functions, training more specialists or outsourcing. Simply, it can help the firm determine if they have the right people in the right place.
3. Get the Right Work to the Right People Once you’ve figured out where work is coming from and where it’s going, the next step is to look at which staff members are
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
at capacity and who might have more availability. Learn who is particularly good at some tasks and who may need more training or who would be better off focusing in other areas. Also, be sure to have a process to pass work off smoothly when staff members are out of the office or over-capacity with other work.
4. Keep Work Moving When You’re Not in the Office Even when you are in court or meeting with clients, you are still likely drafting briefs, dictating or have other work that needs assistance. There is no sense letting that work pile up waiting for your return to the office. With a good system and mobile tools in place, you can avoid email and frustrating calls and texts. You can securely send your work to staff as you complete it from any location, and even prioritize the work. That means staff can get started immediately so they don’t need to hurry up and wait for your return.
5. Don’t Make It Harder Than It Has to Be Standardizing and automating and a few tasks can go a long way toward saving time, money and frustration for you and your staff. For example, one simple step is to use Styles in your documents. Styles are automated instructions that allow users to format different parts of documents, such as titles, numbering and headings. By using a few predetermined styles, you can create and update documents quickly and consistently. Streamlining back-office processes can have a significant payoff. Consider one regional firm that implemented workflow automation software and centralized back-office work. By redirecting tasks and allowing for a more flexible work environment, the firm saw a 68 percent improvement in turnaround time. n Eric Wangler is president of the North American business units at BigHand, and has over 15 years of experience in the legal industry. In addition, Eric led the acquisition of Esquire Innovations (now BigHand Office), a leading provider of Microsoft Office integrated practice management software and services for the legal market. He can be reached at email@example.com. Previously published in Attorney at Work.
4 Reasons Prestige Doesn’t Justify Your Rates Your Law Firm Proposal Needs Better Differentiators by Chris Sant There you are, in your office, the night before your proposal is due, cursor blinking on your screen. And you’re staring at questions 1 and 2 of the Request for Proposal. Q1: “What are your hourly rates?” Q2: “How do you justify your hourly rates?” When I consult with legal clients about their proposals, differentiating themselves is always the hardest part for them. Experience? Great results? Happy clients? Attorney bios? Yeah, they have it, but so do all the other large firms that they’re competing against. So how do you stand out? How do you get the client to choose you? Most importantly, how do you justify those rates? Without a structured process, most clients simply give up. You cite the same things everyone else is citing, hope for the best and then dabble on a little of that magical Biglaw cureall: prestige. Ah, yes. What is prestige going for these days on the spot market? Can you buy a bucketful? Does it work this way? Not at all. But every RFP that gets sent out gets back a dozen proposals going on and on about the history of the firm and how prestigious it is. To the proposal writer, this makes perfect sense. After all, who is the client to say what is and isn’t prestigious? It’s a matter of opinion. Think about that, though. Is your unverifiable, untestable opinion a solid foundation on which to justify hourly rates in a proposal to the very person who you want to pay them? And is it something you even want to claim? To me, there are six very good reasons why you should banish this word from your legal proposals.
Can’t We Just Slap Some Prestige on It? A proposal is a sales document. So, what you say in it does affect the opinions that the reader has of your firm. And a proposal can heighten the dignity of an otherwise excellent firm in the eyes of the client. In the end, though, for a proposal to ring true at all, it needs to reflect the actual character of your law firm. Now, a law firm can certainly enhance their prestige if they’re willing to pay the price to do so. But trying to claim the mantle without paying the price will be quickly found out. Moreover, the client will not appreciate you passing off averageness for the pinnacle of quality. It’s a sham. There are firms that have become recognized as prestigious 12
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
through decades of unsurpassed results, the highest standards and excellent customer service. And there are firms that have entered the club in a much shorter amount of time, spending what it took with tables at charity dinners and soirees and Monets and other forms of advertising that the legal world considers acceptable. A hundred years on one hand and ten or twenty on the other. Well, heck, if those guys can consider themselves prestigious, why can’t we? We can use the same heavy paper in our Christmas cards and serve the same fancy wine at parties for clients. The problem, though, is that prestige is a specific choice. And if you haven’t been making that choice all along, you can’t justify your rates by citing it now. Nobody will believe you. Why?
You Really Aren’t Prestigious Expensive, yes. Prestigious, no. The sorts of clients who are using RFPs are not stupid. They are Fortune 500 companies. They pay their executives very well. They know what prestige is. Some attorneys argue that they can claim to be prestigious by virtue of their rates. This gets it all backwards, of course. But, even more critically, these sorts need to realize that they really aren’t actually willing to pay the price for prestige. Prestige isn’t measured by how many partners you have who claim to bill $1,000 an hour. It’s found in a culture of adherence to the highest standards, even when nobody is looking. It’s a willingness to forego profits now for the sake of goodwill later. It’s ensuring that even your newest associates and paralegals understand that there is no such thing as routine. No routine email. No routine phone call. No routine filing. The price of prestige is the way the receptionist answers the phone, the way even the UPS guy is greeted in the lobby. It’s the way a young litigator interacts with opposing counsel at the courthouse. In other words, the price of prestige is doing everything it takes to earn prestige. Hourly rates are not part of that equation.
Your Clients Don’t Want Prestige Still, some lawyers want to run prestige up the flagpole and waive it around for clients to justify their rates. Is that even a good choice? If you choose to present yourself in your proposals as prestigious, does that mesh with the clients you’re trying to win?
Does it harmonize with their businesses, values, goals, hobbies? Not likely. When I ask training participants to name some prestigious companies, the same one always come up first. Try it yourself. Who do you think of? The company most people mention is Rolls Royce. Most people, even wealthy people, do not have a Rolls Royce. Why not? Wouldn’t they like one? Sure. But they have many, many things they want to accomplish before they get around to buying a Rolls Royce. They’d rather have their kids go to the best possible schools. They’d rather have a beach house as a place the family can go have fun together. They’d rather splurge on tickets to take their buddy to the Super Bowl. But a Rolls Royce? They’re happy with their Lexus or BMW or other luxury car. The extra that a Rolls Royce provides—prestige, essentially—just isn’t that valuable to most people. And that’s with their own money. If they rarely get a Rolls Royce for themselves, you can be sure that they absolutely do not buy Rolls Royces for their business. Does Home Depot use Rolls Royce as a company car? Does Staples? So why would you want to sell yourself as the Rolls Royce of law firms when you answer an RFP? And yet a Google search for “prestigious law firm” turns up over two million hits. Clearly, firms are doing just that. This is not to say that you cannot justify your Biglaw rates. But if your clients are pickup truck people, you will not wow them with a Rolls Royce. Instead, you’ll just make them think, 1) you are very, very different from them, and 2) you waste a lot of money on stupid stuff. Does a client want to pay for stupid stuff through your sky-high rates? No way. He’ll pay for quality, results, experience and a lot of other things, but prestige isn’t one of them.
Prestige Isn’t All It's Cracked Up to Be I remember appearing before a judge on a pro bono matter I was handling as a young associate when I was at Simpson Thacher, generally considered one of the most prestigious firms in the world. I had been before her plenty of times before. But this particular time, the things she said made it clear she had no idea we were representing our client pro bono. Now, our client was a sweet, little old lady who had been forced out of her house by unscrupulous predatory lending. And here she was represented by Simpson Thacher, behemoth international law firm, goto counsel for investment banks and brokerages and insurers. It was all so obvious. (Not to mention it was written on the front of all our pleadings, but judges reading papers is another topic entirely.) At that moment, it became incredibly clear that she had never heard of us before. To me, this was eye opening. Green as I was, I just assumed that judges came from elite schools and students at elite schools knew about elite firms. Nope. The firm name meant squat to her. If it meant squat to her, did it have any value to clients? Maybe at the appellate court level. Maybe in federal courts more than state. But not nearly as
much as most Biglaw lawyers wish it did. And that’s for a firm that’s survived at the top of the New York legal community for a hundred years. Who are those other two million Google hits talking about?
Finding Other Ways to Justify Price There is a vast chasm between a Ford Festiva and a Rolls Royce. This is the area in which you can honestly and proudly describe the character and value of your firm. The critical task in your proposal is to justify your rates by representing your firm well, not by misrepresenting it. This means your rates need more tangible benefits to rest on. Client-centered benefits include your: • Responsiveness • Clear communication • Quality assurance • Project management skills • Operational efficiency • Speed • Alternative fee structures • Experience with their specific industry • Experience with that specific customer type • Expertise • Added value Of course, you need to be able to actually back these up when the client asks for details. If you can’t say something like, “Yes, all our attorneys and paralegals undergo three hours of training in project management, an hour of training in management, two hours of training in quality assurance, and two hours of training in clear client communication,” then you can’t list them in your proposal as aspects that justify your prices. The reality is that most firms get by on their experience alone and they can do that because everyone else is doing it too. But as big clients are moving towards using RFPs, they’re also becoming much more willing to take chances on smaller firms who are willing and able to deliver value in other ways. And as more law firms wake up to the value of a persuasive proposal, fewer competitors will be left playing the me-too game with your firm. In other words, the days of Biglaw rates being justified by experience and a whitewash of prestige are clearly at an end. Prestige has its uses, but very few firms are needed to satisfy the occasional Sultan or Blue Blood. It’s time for you to find a better way to sell your legal services. You need to win more business. For the sake of your firm’s profits per partner, your job, and your family, you need to be more successful. n Chris Sant helps firms maximize market share and increase profitability. These strategies and techniques increased our Fortune 500 clients’ win rates by an average of 39%. One Fortune 500 client had previously had a 20% win rate: after implementing these strategies, they won 10 of the next 12 multimillion dollar deals. Materials written using these strategies have resulted in over $30 billion in deals—that’s more than the GDP’s of Iceland and Jamaica combined! Learn more at LawProposals.com.
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
SOPHISTICATED PLANNING WITH AN ADAPTIVE APPROACH
• ESTATE PLANNING
• TRUST ADMINISTRATION
• BUSINESS LAW
• CHARITABLE GIVING STRATEGIES
• SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST PLANNING
• REAL ESTATE LAW
• GIFTING TRUSTS
• PROBATE LITIGATION
• LIFE INSURANCE TRUSTS
In addition to providing complex services for business and estate plans, we are pleased to announce that we have expanded our services to include probate and trust litigation matters. In today’s shifting tax and political climate, we create tailored plans that strive to accommodate potential future changes in both tax and trust law. We actively avoid rigid, short-sighted plans that can become stale as family dynamics change and politics shift.
San Diego Office
2468 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 220 San Diego, CA 92106
110 Pacifica, Suite 130 Irvine, CA 92618
PEACE OF MIND. TRUST A TRUE TAX EXPERT TO SOLVE YOUR TAX PROBLEMS.
• TAX AUDITS
• TAX SETTLEMENTS
• INTERNATIONAL TAX
• TAX APPEALS
Founder Michael Dallo is a San Diego tax attorney who holds an advanced Masters of Law Degree in Taxation, is a CPA, a Certified Tax Law Specialist, and a Professor of Taxation at the University of San Diego. Michael oversees all the cases that come into the firm and meets with every client. Accounting is the language of tax returns and law is the language of negotiation. As a San Diego tax lawyer, he has extensive experience in developing creative legal solutions for your tax problems. As a CPA, he is never blind-sided by twists on tax returns. To win the best possible outcome for your case, you need a firm focused only on tax problem resolution, comprised of experienced attorneys and a supervising founder and senior tax experts who are both attorneys and CPAs.
w a L S T L D From the Ashes of the Recession
Dâ€™Egidio Licari Townsend & Shah, APCâ€™s unusual beginnings spark evolution of unique niche practice areas, strengthened the bond of its partners, and secured the firm's position as a successful, multi-faceted SoCal business and civil litigation firm. by Jennifer Hadley
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
© Bauman Photographers
OF THE MONTH
Our story is unique in that we are a veteran-owned law firm made up of attorneys who started our firm right out of law school due to the recession and poor job market,” says D’Egidio Licari Townsend & Shah (DLTS) Partner Arthur D’Egidio. “Seven years later, we are thriving,” he adds. Indeed, the firm is thriving when it comes to fighting for the rights of individuals and business owners who have been harmed or injured, through no fault of their own, but across multiple practice areas. “Our typical client is someone who has been wronged,” says Partner Michael Licari. “That may mean they have been injured due to another’s inattention, or they are not being treated fairly by their insurance company, or by a business partner who is not holding up their end of the bargain. We know that people come to lawyers because they have no other choice and we take that role very seriously. We want to lift the weight off their shoulders, help them get through the tough times, and get back to their lives,” he explains. The unspoken metaphor of the phoenix rising from the ashes is hard to deny. In fact, the firm’s own beginnings were
a direct response to the challenges facing Founding Partners D’Egidio and Licari upon graduating from law school. But like the clients the firm helps to rise above adversity, the law school friends did the same, by launching a firm that would become a highly awarded, trusted by clients, and relied upon by fellow attorneys, in spite of the obstacles facing them at the outset.
From the Ashes of an Economic Meltdown After meeting in law school, D’Egidio and Licari found themselves with less than stellar job opportunities as they studied for the Bar in 2009. Even though both were successful students—with D’Egidio participating on Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s mock trial team, while Licari worked at University of San Diego Environmental Law Clinic, and coauthored a brief that ultimately saved the La Jolla seals from their removal in 2009—the economy was on the skids. “As many firms were closing or significantly downsizing, we Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
© Bauman Photographers © Bauman Photographers
made the decision to open our practice in a period of extreme financial hardship,” D’Egidio recalls. “We realized that we’d much rather control our client base, and our own reputation, by staying focused on our goal, which is to emphasize the client’s needs above all else. From that standpoint, our firm has been able to grow and succeed through a very dark time in our country’s financial history,” Licari adds. When it came time to hang out their proverbial shingle, D’Egidio recalls that there was no shortage of commercial space for rent, due in large part to the real estate crash, which shuttered the doors of many mortgage lenders. As such, the new partners were able to sublease office space from a mortgage company for pennies on the dollar. In the meantime, the two spent day after day, and night after night attending every networking event they could, to spread the word about their newly formed firm. In addition, D’Egidio’s father, a Los Angeles-based dentist, served as an excellent referral source for the new attorneys. “He would listen to patients talk about their problems, and then call me to see if we could help them. From there, our word-of-mouth referrals from family, friends, and our networking efforts started to take off,” D’Egidio says. In other words, their entrance into the legal arena was nothing if not a baptism-by-fire learning curve. But in hindsight, both D’Egidio and Licari confirm they wouldn’t have had it any other way. By 2011, the partners had built up a small but mighty firm, with Licari focusing on representing restaurants, real estate companies, HOAs and contractors in business law matters, and D’Egidio focusing on personal injury cases, and bankruptcy cases for the first couple of years. The partners also began welcoming law student externs with the goal of helping to provide hands-on legal experience to students, to prepare them for life after law school. “You’re not taught how to get a subpoena in law school. You’re not taught how to be a working attorney, so we’ve always made efforts to help give students a head start,” says Licari. “We want to help show future lawyers what you actually do on a daily basis as an attorney.” The partners had no idea, however that the externship program they were running would ultimately lead them to a future partner in the firm. They also never anticipated the reciprocal referral partnerships they would enjoy as their former externs became lawyers. But that’s exactly what would happen. After moving into their first office space in 2011, Licari and D’Egidio soon realized that many people were facing uphill battles in saving their homes from foreclosure. “Mike came to me and wanted to introduce me to Eric Townsend, whom he’d worked with on the La Jolla seals case in law school, because he was not only a friend, but an outstanding attorney who was already working with distressed homeowners, and also happened to be a real estate broker,” says D’Egidio. Like Licari, Townsend was also a former Marine, who had extensive experience in real property law, including working with countless Southern California homeowners in foreclosure litigation and short sale negotiations, resulting from the ongoing recession. Later, the new partners would open a real estate brokerage led by Townsend, which would ultimately franchise with Harcourts USA.
© Bauman Photographers
Emerging Strengths in Specialty Practice Areas
© Bauman Photographers
As the increasingly busy attorneys at DLTS continued to deliver successful outcomes to clients, USMC veterans Licari and Townsend began to ramp up their pro-bono efforts for veterans needing legal representation, yet were suffering from financial hardship. “We knew that as attorneys we could make a significant positive impact on people’s lives, including our fellow veterans,” says Townsend. As the result, both partners have served on the Military Pro Bono Project in San Diego and are also active in the Wills for Warriors project, which helps provide estate plans for military veterans. Thus, the first specialty practice group at DLTS serving veterans was born. Cases in which the firm has fought for veterans include one in which DLTS represented a disabled, quadriplegic Marine veteran in a real estate fraud case. “Our client bought a house through the CalVet program that had numerous issues, making his house nearly unlivable. We sued for fraud and while we settled the case for twice the amount it would have cost to fix the house, we also worked with local non-profits and Home Depot to get the house repaired, with donations and the help of Home Depot’s volunteers. In the end, the Marine was able to keep his entire settlement,” says Licari. By 2013, D’Egidio recalls receiving a phone call, which would prove to be another game-changer for the firm. “Pratik Shah had been an unpaid intern for us in 2011. We’d had a great relationship with him, and after he graduated from law school, he’d taken a job with the Sacramento District Attorney’s office. He’d since moved to Los Angeles, and launched a successful Personal Injury firm. He called because he actually had too many cases, and needed help,” D’Egidio says. Soon enough, Pratik joined the firm, with a special passion for trial work, and plenty of courtroom experience thanks to his time at the DA’s office and in civil litigation. He was made the firm’s fourth partner in 2016. With Shah and D’Egidio helming the firm’s personal injury practice, Licari and Townsend were free to focus on other practice areas, including real estate, civil litigation, and transactional work. Given Shah’s passion to take on the insurance companies, and Townsend’s intimate knowledge of real estate, the two put their focus together and thus emerged the firm’s rapidly expanding Fire and Flood division. The Fire and Flood division arose out of demand, and in part because of the likeness these cases share with personal injury cases. “People are not being compensated fairly when they have leaks, or other plumbing problems, the majority of which are pipes bursting. They are insured, but their own insurance companies withhold what they need to replace losses caused by fires or floods,” Shah explains. Suffice it to say, DLTS’s success in this area is garnering a lot of word of mouth buzz, and referrals from fellow attorneys are coming in regularly. “Our Fire and Flood division is now our fastest growing practice area,” Shah says.
Fortification of the Firm’s Focus & Future Plans The collegial dynamic that exists amongst the team at DLTS is something that all partners agree has been integral to their success. In addition, Licari says that the fact that the partners all share a similar vision for Pratik Shah
the future plans of the firm keeps their business running smoothly. “Having a law license comes with great power and great access—access that many people don’t have. Our life’s work is to use that power for good. Using that power to represent individual consumers and small businesses against bullies is what we do best. We recognized early on that the biggest benefit of running our own firm is in choosing who you represent. Since we have the ability to choose who we fight for and who we represent, it makes sense to use the power, access and skills to represent those that need it most.” Those who retain DLTS will find that “we provide clients with personal access,” according to Shah. “We don’t have case managers handle our cases. When you meet with any of our attorneys, that attorney handles your case. We are accessible, no matter how large or small a case may be. Each client gets the representation they deserve.” Continuing he adds, “In order to provide that quality representation, we make sure to thoroughly understand our clients’ needs. We understand that every client is different and thus has a different story to tell. Part of our job is to tell our client’s stories, and we cannot effectively do so unless we have a close, personal connection with them.” Because so many of the firm’s clients come by way of referral from fellow attorneys, Townsend says that it is vital that the referring attorneys know that DLTS is happy to co-counsel on cases. “The majority of our cases come from other attorneys. If the case is referred by a younger attorney, and they want to learn the business, we will happily provide them with practice guides, templates, and guidance on how to learn the business. We want to help young attorneys, both within and outside of our firm, to grow. On the other hand, if a larger firm is overwhelmed because their marketing has been more successful than anticipated, we help lighten the load. Every year we have paid out more and more referral fees,” he says. Of course, the firm wouldn’t be on the receiving end of so many referrals, were it not for the premium service the attorneys at DLTS deliver time and again. “When we take on a referral, we absolutely understand the weight that carries. We have built trust with referring attorneys so they know that their client will receive great representation, their reputation as an attorney will be preserved, and their financial interest in the case will be protected,” D’Egidio says. Likewise, DLTS is also careful about who they refer their clients to for cases outside of their wheelhouse. “Our reputation is on the line with every client. We know that and we take it very seriously. We take care of our clients first, our employees and referral sources second, and we know growth and profitability will continue to follow,” says Townsend. “When we refer cases to other attorneys, we are very careful with who we work with and we understand that works the other way as well. We have relationships with some of the
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
biggest firms in Los Angeles and San Diego who entrust their clients and their reputation to us. The biggest compliment we receive is when attorneys refer us multiple cases. That means we took care of the client, we took care of the referral source, and we built trust, which is a winning proposition,” he adds. Unsurprisingly, as the result of their efforts, the attorneys at DLTS have amassed an impressive list of awards and accolades, after less than a decade in business. A sampling of awards earned includes membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, inclusion amongst the Best of the Bar lists, Distinguished Service Awards from the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, inclusion in the Daily Journal’s Top Young Attorneys, and Super Lawyers Rising Star awards. Moreover, awards for one attorney are an award for the firm, according to D’Egidio, as the team functions in some regards as one unit. “Traditional firms often have strict restrictions when it comes to tracking employee hours and employee freedom. We’re the opposite. Being a few minutes late, or taking a few extra minutes on a lunch break doesn’t really matter. What matters to us is our employees trust that our leadership has their back and supports their growth. The biggest compliment we can get from our staff is employee retention for the long term, and getting to know their families and watching their lives grow with us. We want to work with our team to grow,” says Licari. As far as growth is concerned, all four partners are looking forward to what the coming years will hold. “We have several big cases in the pipeline, including a major class action lawsuit against Sysco, and a case that involves intellectual property rights regarding a popular animated series,” says Shah. Beyond that, the sky is frankly the limit for DLTS. “We are very excited about the next five years,” says D’Egidio. “We are expecting and looking forward to continuing growth. We honestly enjoy working with one another, and we know that we are doing good work for people who need our help. So, while it’s sometimes difficult to juggle our careers with family life—we all have young children—none of us would be where we are without the support of our wives and kids. Without a happy, healthy, home-life, a successful work-life is near impossible, so we all owe a lot to our families. We pay forward that support by doing our absolute best in everything we do.” n Contact Arthur P. D’Egidio, Esq. D’Egidio Licari Townsend & Shah, APC 7801 Mission Center Court, Suite 240 San Diego, CA 92108 619.550.3011 firstname.lastname@example.org www.dltslaw.com
Dunne & Dunne, llp D I V O R C E & F A M I LY L A W
San Diego Divorce & Family Trial Attorneys for a New Generation
DIVORCE EXPERTS DEALING WITH:
Reproductive issues IVF issues Surrogacy issues Same sex marriage with children issues Biological and non-biological parent’s rights issues Transgender parent’s rights issues
ALSO SPECIALISTS IN: Annulments Property division Child custody Child visitation Child support Restraining orders Domestic violence Grandparents’ rights
Anthony Dunne Dunne & Dunne, LLP 701 B Street, Suite 955 San Diego, CA 92101
WE PAY REFERRAL FEES 619-232-9260
4 SEO Tips Law Firms Can Implement Today by Jacob Maslow
aw firms need clients to survive, and the Internet has changed the face of business forever. However, there are some aspects that have remained the same over time. The in-person attorneyclient relationship isn’t in jeopardy, but it does require you maintain a strong local presence. Follow these quick and easy-to-accomplish tips to drive traffic to your site:
1. Localize Your Landing Pages If you want to rank locally, you need to localize your landing pages. Anyone can make a generic service page, but it doesn’t stand out enough to give you the leverage you need to rank above other local competition. A prime example of a landing page done right is this community page for Peoria. A quick glance over this page shows that the personal injury attorney can now leverage: • Keywords based on the local market (i.e. West Valley and North Peoria) • Evergreen content based on the location • ZIP code information to help rankings • School district information More importantly, the content shows that it was well researched and is valuable to the reader. This is the content that ranks above the competition in the search results.
2. Leverage Online Review Sites Online review sites are a gold mine for traffic. Yelp has over 73 million unique mobile visitors, 84 million unique desktop users and 26 million unique mobile app users every month. There are over 127 million reviews on the site, and users age 18-54 make up the majority of the site’s users. Local businesses can’t ignore review sites. Your business needs a profile on all of the top review sites: • Yelp • Angie’s List • Google Reviews • Avvo Focus on niche-based review sites as well as the most popular review sites mentioned above. A staggering 68% of consumers say positive reviews help them trust a business. If there are no reviews for your business or just bad reviews, you’re missing out on the potential trust factor that’s important in every business life-cycle.
3. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly Consumers and clients demand mobile-friendly websites. The time of just having a desktop version of a website is long gone. 22
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
There are more mobile device users than desktop users browsing the Internet, and it makes sense. People are always connected thanks to smartphones and mobile devices. There were over 2 billion mobile users in 2016, and if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, these users will click off and go to the competition. Google provides a mobile-friendly test that you can use for free. Type in your URL and run the test. You’ll quickly find out if your website is mobile-friendly and will also be able to open a mobile usability report. Follow Google’s recommendations, make the necessary changes and hire a web designer, if needed, to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. More importantly, make sure your site is responsive so that your site visitors are able to view your site across any platform. This will ensure that your site is ready for any future viewing and resolution changes.
4. Follow Best Practices If you want to succeed with driving local traffic to your website and business, you need to follow the best practices. A lot of these practices are basic, but many business owners fail to implement them properly—or at all. A few of the very basics that are a must-have include: • Perform keyword research. • Build local citations. • Create and maintain a social media presence. • Measure your traffic using Google Analytics. You’ll also want to create a blog that discusses your profession, answers potential client questions and acts as another source of driving traffic to your website. When you follow the best practices and the tips outlined above, you’ll build a strong foundation that forces your site higher up in the search results and gets noticed by potential clients and customers. It takes some work to get everything you need done in order, but it’s worth the effort for sustained, organic traffic to your website and law firm. n Jacob Maslow is a marketing consultant at Consultwebs.com who uses his experience in link building and content creation to enhance the visibility of our clients’ websites. A goal-centric individual, Jacob works behind the scenes to ensure that clients grow their leads and ROI every quarter through innovative approaches and routine testing. He focuses on his clients’ biggest concern: Quality content.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S LEADERS IN… • ESI Processing & Hosting • Data Acquisition & Forensics • Managed Document Review • Paper-based Discovery Services • Court Reporting
FREE MCLE SEMINARS!
With offices in LA Downtown, LA Century City, Irvine and San Diego DTIGlobal.com
501 West Broadway, Suite 400 San Diego, CA 9210 Office: (619) 234-0660
Call us for information to schedule a complimentary in-person or webinar MCLE seminar on a variety of electronic discovery topics.
Butterfield Schechter LLP is one of Southern California’s largest law firms dealing primarily with ERISA and Employee Benefit Law matters. As part of our overall Employee Benefits/ ERISA practice, our firm has significantly enjoyed working with a large number of local family law attorneys and their clients on QDRO matters. Pension issues are critical when dividing marital property. The complexity of the QDRO rules demands engagement of competent and experienced benefits counsel to comply with these rules. Our attorneys combined have over 60 years of experience in: Analyzing and valuing the community property in all types of retirement plans, stock option plans and other executive compensation plans, disability pensions, and severance benefits Drafting QDROs at competitive pricing to divide these benefits
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
McIntyre’s Civil Alert Organized Succinct Summaries by Monty A. McIntyre, Esq.
Monty A. McIntyre has over 30 years of experience as a mediator and arbitrator. More than 35 years of experience as a civil trial lawyer representing both plaintiffs and defendants in business and commercial, bad faith, brain injury, construction, land use/CEQA, medical malpractice, personal injury, real property and wrongful death cases. To schedule a meeting with Monty A. McIntyre contact Kelsey Hannah at ADR Services, Inc. at 619-233-1323 or email@example.com
CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL Appeals Chango Coffee, Inc. v. Applied Underwriters, Inc. (2017) _ Cal. App.5th _, 2017 WL 2302170: The Court of Appeal dismissed defendant’s purported appeal from the trial court’s order denying its renewed petition to compel arbitration under Code of Civil Procedure section 1008(b) because an order denying a renewed motion or application under section 1008(b) is not appealable. (C.A. 2nd, May 26, 2017.)
Arbitration Heimlich v. Shivji (2017) _ Cal.App.5th _, 2017 WL 2351269: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order confirming an arbitration award but denying defendant’s request for Code of Civil Procedure section 998 costs. The trial court had determined that defendant had failed to make a timely section 998 claim to the arbitrator, but the Court of Appeal disagreed. It held that defendant was not required to present his section 998 cost request to the arbitrator during the arbitration hearing because an offer which is not accepted “cannot be given in evidence upon the trial or arbitration.” (Section 998(b)(2).) In the request to confirm the arbitration award, defendant established that the arbitrator had refused to hear any evidence of plaintiff’s rejection of defendant’s section 998 offer. The Court of Appeal concluded that defendant had timely presented his 998 claim to the arbitrator, the arbitrator should have reached the merits of that claim, and the arbitrator’s refusal to hear evidence of the 998 offer warranted partially vacating the arbitration award. (C.A. 6th, May 31, 2017.)
Attorney Fees Kinney v. Clark (2017) _ Cal.App.5th _, 2017 WL 2131382: The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal of a post judgment award for attorney fees on the basis that it was frivolous. Plaintiff had been contesting attorney fees since 2008, and had been declared a vexatious litigant by the Los Angeles Superior Court, the Second District Court of Appeal, and the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The Court of Appeal imposed 24
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
an expanded prefiling order, under Code of Civil Procedure section 391.7, requiring plaintiff to obtain leave of the presiding judge before filing new litigation (including any appeal or writ) against defendant or her attorney in a court of this state, even when he is represented by counsel. (C.A. 2nd, May 17, 2017.)
Settlements Krechuniak v. Noorzoy (2017) _ Cal.App.5th _, 2017 WL 1967796: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order entering a stipulated judgement for $850,000 pursuant to a memorandum of settlement. The settlement called for payments totaling $600,000, and included a stipulated judgment for $850,000 in the event of a breach. In his appeal, defendant contended that the stipulated judgment amount included a liquidated damages penalty of $250,000 that was unenforceable under Civil Code section 1671, but he did not make this argument in the trial court. The Court of Appeal ruled that defendant had forfeited his contention. The determination of whether a contract provision is an illegal penalty or an enforceable liquidated damage clause is a question to be determined by the trial court and, on review, appellate deference to the trial court’s factual findings is required unless the facts are undisputed and susceptible of only one reasonable conclusion. (C.A. 6th, May 12, 2017.)
Class Actions Bartoni v. American Medical Response West (2017) _ Cal.App.5th _, 2017 WL 1476182: In a wage and hour class action case, that also alleged violations under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA), plaintiffs appealed the trial court’s denial of the motion for class certification. The Court of Appeal denied defendant’s motion to dismiss the appeal because the PAGA claims remained and it deemed plaintiffs’ appeal to be a petition for writ of mandate. The Court of Appeal concluded the trial court’s denial of class certification rested in part on an incorrect legal assumption about the nature of rest periods and therefore granted the writ and ordered the trial court to vacate the portion of its order denying class certification for claims regarding the failure to provide off-duty rest periods. (C.A. 1st, filed April 25, 2017, published May 24, 2017.) n
2015 Fragomen SD Attorney Journal - 1st Proof.pdf 1 10/6/2015 7:45:44 PM
“When claims are wrongfully denied, we know how to fight back on your behalf.”
San Diego trial lawyer Greg Ryan got his start as an insurance attorney. He later expanded his expertise to include construction law, business litigation, personal injury and employment law. This “AV Preeminent rated Attorney” is known as a meticulous investigator and legal strategist. Ryan consistently and clearly presents cases to key decision-makers; this often helps clients achieve their litigation goals without the expense of a courtroom battle. When court is unavoidable, Ryan & Associates has the experience and knowledge to battle for your rights. “When the claims are wrongfully denied, when payment is refused, or when policyholders are victimized by insurance professionals, we know how to fight back on your behalf.”
1010 SECOND AVENUE, SUITE 2500 SAN DIEGO, CA 92101
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
IS YOUR LAW FIRM MAKING THE BEST IMPRESSION?
Specialization matters. Having represented more law firms over the last 25 years than any other broker in the region, no one understands their real estate needs better than I do. — Jason Hughes President & CEO, Hughes Marino
We’ll help you put your best foot forward. From logos and brochures to websites, strategy, writing and beyond, we’ve got you covered! Jenny Strauss, Partner & Brand Strategist (215) 460-0835 firstname.lastname@example.org
hughesmarino.com (619) 238-2111
View our portfolio at skidmutro.com 26
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
Sales and Marketing are Not the Same by Mike O’Horo
There is an understandable confusion among lawyers about the difference between Sales and Marketing. First, lawyers still struggle to understand marketing, as demonstrated by the fact that most lawyers’ marketing considerations are limited to one of marketing’s four P’s: marketing communication and other forms of Promotion. Law firm Marketing departments still have little or no role in defining the other three P’s, i.e., what services (Product) the firms should/will offer, how they will Price them, and how best to distribute those services and go to market (Place). In either context—individual lawyer activity or institutional business function—selling remains the new kid on the law firm block. Many lawyers still have difficulty getting the “S” word out of their mouths, preferring the less culturally threatening euphemism, “marketing” or “business development.” Even lawyers who aren’t burdened by these concerns innocently use the two terms interchangeably. When I ask lawyers to differentiate the terms, their answers reveal a gut-level appreciation that marketing is somehow broader, more diffuse, while selling is more focused and has more to do with immediacy and closure. (I have no idea what percent of lawyers share this visceral perception. Perhaps it’s just a characteristic of those who opt for sales training.) So, for law firms, is the difference between marketing and sales merely semantic and, therefore, unimportant? I’ll argue that the difference is both meaningful and important.
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
Marketing Defined I define marketing as a continuous, closed-loop leadgeneration process: 1. Define demand, 2. Profile and identify specific groups most likely to experience and act on that demand; 3. Understand the language that those profiled use to articulate a) the business problem, opportunity or other basis for their need or desire and b) their basis for preference among competing offerings. 4. Translate our understanding of demand and preference into desirable products and services that enjoy competitive advantage within their categories and markets; 5. Price those offerings to sell profitably; 6. Distribute and otherwise bring those offerings to market efficiently; 7. Communicate all of the above to profiled buyers through trusted channels; 8. Communicate qualification information to sales to help guide their decisions about how they will allocate scarce sales time and resources; 9. Obtain feedback about sales receptivity or resistance, competition, usage and satisfaction from sales channels and buyers; and 10. Use that feedback to inform Step 1 and begin another cycle, continuously improving.
Sales Defined By contrast, I define sales as a continuous, closed-loop leadconversion process: 1. Make contact with receptive members of the profiled market segment; 2. Test the buyer’s willingness to acknowledge the demandtriggering problem or opportunity cited in marketing communication to this buyer group; 3. Investigate this stakeholder’s perceived cost of doing nothing, i.e., the presence or absence of a compulsion to act, e.g., the perceived strategic, operational, economic and emotional consequences of the demand-triggering problem or inability to exploit the opportunity; 4. Discontinue sales investment if the cost of doing nothing is low enough that the buyer has the option to delay or avoid action; 5. Identify all other decision stakeholders and facilitate aligning them behind a smart, self-interested business decision whether or not to commit to invest in a solution and take action; 6. Relate our solution offerings to the business situation, needs and limitations; 7. Obtain agreement that our solution will produce the desired outcome, and that our collaboration will be successful culturally; 8. Define the mechanisms by which the buyer prefers to implement the action decision; 9. Monitor solution implementation and client satisfaction; and 10. Feedback all of the above to marketing for inclusion in their process. Law firms need to define these functional roles in a way that separates their responsibilities clearly, and brings a hard business approach to the three major areas of acquiring and retaining clients: Marketing, Sales and Implementation. All three of these areas have tactical, strategic and competitive dimensions, which we can classify as follows: • Tactical: Issues relating to “product,” including features, advantages, benefits and differentiation. • Strategic: Issues relating to specific business and industry applications. • Competitive: Issues relating to relationships between you and the client or the competition. One critical element is knowledge of the client’s business and industry. To allocate the firm’s resources efficiently and minimize duplication of effort, the firm should focus on the differences among sales, marketing and implementation rather than their similarities.
Marketing’s Focus Marketing’s focus should be on service offerings and organizations. Targets include industries, market segments and demographically defined clients. A marketing campaign
should include the strategy and tactics involved in identifying and qualifying opportunities, while simultaneously positioning your services. (By positioning we mean: 1) Mind share— your identity in the client’s mind. 2) Competitiveness—your position in relation to competitors.) Marketing’s responsibility is to differentiate you clearly from competitors and offer reasons for clients to think of you first in your field. Marketing bears the front line responsibility of identifying who you are, what you do and what opportunities exist in the marketplace. Marketing must also establish a connection between prospective clients and you. It’s best if you can develop an actual dialogue with potential clients. On the other hand, Marketing must make the initial decision about who you want to select as potential clients. That is, which opportunities represent the best chances for mutual success and an estimation of general need and desirability as a future client. This also includes, at the tactical level, information regarding your services, the firm and benefits of choosing you. Finally, Marketing must present the unique business value of your services, and differentiate the firm apart from its products and services. This is where value selling begins. The result of good marketing should answer four questions: 1. Who are you? 2. What do you do? 3. Why are you different? 4. Why should I care?
Sales’s Focus Sales builds on the foundation laid by marketing to answer a fourth question: Can you win the business? The focus is on the intricate fit to the specific business and the political realities that determine your chances of future success. Sales realities include developing enough understanding of the client's business to be able to determine whether the problem under discussion is sufficiently important to require any decision and, if so, on what basis the prospect would find your solution more desirable than the competition’s. Sales must also determine if strong enough relationships of the right type exist at various levels of the buying organization to offer a realistic opportunity for success. Will your influence and relationship survive the inevitable problems of a business marriage? This means that sales must understand the political nature of both organizations and their potential compatibility during the initial engagement and throughout the hopedfor life cycle of the business relationship. Otherwise, serious account development will be very difficult, producing a shortterm, low-yield account. Sales must also gain access to and get to know the people who can articulate the prospect’s business problem in terms meaningful enough to enable a decision, and be able to facilitate alignment of the decision stakeholders around an optimal decision that allows each to succeed personally and organizationally. Sales must also determine mutually acceptable Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
terms and conditions upon which to base the business transaction with that account, and enable favorable terms for future business. Finally, sales must determine if this is a good use of sales time and resources now. Is there a compelling reason for the client to make a decision in a defined time period?
Implementation’s Focus The final phase of client acquisition focuses on how to measure the client's success with your service solution. Notice that the focus is the client’s success. The terms and conditions agreed to by sales should ensure your success. Now it is time to perform on our commitments to the client. The implementation team develops the relationship at the service, business, company and political levels. This means that they continue to grow with the account by fulfilling the role of a resource provider at the business and personal level. Not only are services’ success essential, but to become a valued resource you must also ensure you are doing your part to promote the individual success of each client. In the competitive dimension, you must team with your allies within the account to anticipate, resist and isolate competitive attempts to take business away. Once you are the visible supplier you become everyone’s target. Client retention
is an area where many good sales and marketing efforts fail. Statistics show that it is cheaper to keep profitable business (not “any business”) than to replace it. This requires an emotional commitment to your client. You must care about keeping them. A proactive approach to ensuring continuous instant success is essential to a high level of client retention. As you did throughout the sales decision process, after the sale you must reinforce your position as a consultant or advisor, committed to knowing their business even better, helping identify and solve problems, being innovative in supporting clients’ success and continuing to help them grow. Constantly update the political map and make adjustments to your strategy if the political or business climate changes.
Conclusions Despite the cavalier use of expressions like “my client,” no individual “owns” an account. It is everybody’s responsibility to acquire and retain clients. Everyone in the firm owns stock in every account and must do their part to ensure its increasing value. Often, some individuals perform parts of all three elements (sales, marketing and implementation) of client acquisition and retention. It is prudent to remember that you are performing three distinct functions. Otherwise, it becomes increasingly likely that one or more of them will be done badly. Let’s summarize marketing, sales and implementation: Marketing – focus on positioning • Establish your identity • Defines products/services • Communicates benefits • Establish general or categorical need • Pre-qualifies opportunities • Differentiates you from competition Sales – focus on business and decision issues • Determines business fit • Tailors to specific needs • Establish business value • Develop terms and conditions of doing business • Creates business relationship • Establish political alignment with client Implementation – Focus on facilitating client success • Fulfills commitments to clients • Performs activities necessary to make client successful with your services • Develops lifetime business relationships that create future business n For 20 years, Mike O’Horo has been known by lawyers everywhere as The Coach. He trained more than 7,000 of them, generating $1.5 billion in new business. Mike can be reached at email@example.com.
Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 167, 2017
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE
Post Falls, ID PERMIT NO. 32
UNRIVALED JURY VERDICTS SET T L EM E N TS PERSONAL SERVICE REFERRAL FEES
PANISH SHEA & BOYLE is happy to discuss how
we may assist you in your case. Please contact
the Honorable Judge Peter Polos (Ret.) for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attorney Journal, San Diego, Volume 167