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ORANGE COUNTY

Volume 144, 2018 $6.95

5 Absolute Musts for Effective Law Firm Intake

Consultwebs.com Zero $ Investment: Fast Lane For Lawyers on LinkedIn

D. B. Wienke

6 QUICK Ways to Give Your Firm The EDGE Over Competition— With Examples

Ashley Krohn-Loftus

11 “MORE” SEO Specialists Share Their Best Tips for Lawyers

Chris Dreyer

How to Become a Motivational Leader at Your Firm

Brian Tracy

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2018 EDITION—NO.144

TABLE OF CONTENTS 8 How to Become a Motivational Leader At Your Firm by Brian Tracy

12 Community News 10 Zero $ Investment: Fast Lane for Lawyers on LinkedIn by D. B. Wienke EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER Brian Topor EDITOR Wendy Price

14 Five Absolute Musts for Effective Law Firm Intake by Consultwebs.com

CREATIVE SERVICES Skidmutro Creative Partners

ATTORNEY OF THE MONTH

16 Gregory M. Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC, Santa Ana There’s Always a Plan

CIRCULATION Angela Watson PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Griffiths

by Dan Baldwin

STAFF WRITERS Dan Baldwin Jennifer Hadley CONTRIBUTING EDITORIALISTS Brian Tracy D.B. Wienke Ashley Krohn-Loftus Chris Dreyer Petris Lapis 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.

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22 Eleven “MORE” SEO Specialists Share Their Best Tips for Lawyers by Chris Dreyer

26 How Lawyers Can Mindfully Cope With Changes Coming to the Legal Profession by Petris Lapis

28 Six QUICK Ways to Give Your Firm the EDGE Over Competition—With Examples! by Ashley Krohn-Loftus

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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 2018 by Sticky Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without written permission from Sticky Media, LLC. Printed in the USA


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How to Become a Motivational Leader at Your Firm by Brian Tracy

A leader should not only guide others to ensure great professional success, but also inspire, influence, and most importantly, motivate their employees. Here is a guide by Brian Tracy on how to become a motivational leader at your firm. The Leader as Role Model

It’s been said, “Leadership is not what you do, but who you are.” This, however, is only partially true. Leadership is very much who you are, but it cannot be divorced from what you do. Who you are represents the inner person, and what you do represents the outer person. Each is dependent on the other for maximum effectiveness. The starting point of motivational leadership is to begin seeing yourself as a role model, as an example to others. One key characteristic of leaders is that they set high standards of accountability for themselves and for their behaviors. They assume that others are watching them and setting their own standards according to what they see.

Leadership Power

In business, there are several kinds of power. Two of these are position power and ascribed power: Position power is the power that comes with a job title or position in any organization. If you become a manager in a company, you automatically have certain powers and privileges that go along with your rank. You can order people about and make certain decisions. You can be a leader whether or not anyone likes you. 8

Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 144, 2018

Ascribed power is the power you gain because of the kind of person you are. In every organization, there are people who are inordinately influential and looked up to by others, even though their positions may not be high up on the organizational chart. These are the men and women who are genuine leaders because of the quality of the people they have become, because of their characters and their personalities. Over the years, we have been led to believe that leaders are those who stride boldly about, exude power and confidence, give orders and make decisions for others to carry out. However, that is old school thinking. The leader of today is the one who asks questions, listens carefully, plans diligently and then builds consensus among all those who are necessary for achieving the goals. The leader does not try to do it by him- or herself. The leader gets things done by helping others to do them.

Motivational Leading

This brings us to five of the qualities of motivational leaders. These are qualities that you already have to a certain degree and that you can develop further to stand out from the people around you in a very short period of time. 1. Vision. This is the one single quality that, more than anything, separates leaders from followers. Leaders have vision. Followers do not. Leaders have the ability to stand back and see the big picture. Followers are caught up in day-to-day activities. Leaders have developed the ability to fix their eyes on the horizon and see greater possibilities. Followers are those whose eyes are fixed on the ground in front of them and who are so busy that they seldom look at themselves and their activities in a larger context. The most motivational vision you can have for yourself and others is to “Be the best!” Many people don’t yet realize that


excellent performance in serving other people is an absolute, basic essential for survival in the economy of the future. Many individuals and companies still adhere to the idea that as long as they are no worse than anyone else, they can remain in business. That is prehistoric thinking. We are now in the age of excellence. Customers assume that they will get excellent quality, and if they don’t, they will go to your competitors so fast, people’s heads will spin.

self-delusion, of living in a fantasyland. The motivational leader insists on seeing things exactly as they are and encourages others to look at life the same way. As a motivational leader, you get the facts, whatever they are. You deal with people honestly and tell them exactly what you perceive to be the truth. This doesn’t mean that you will always be right, but you will always be expressing the truth in the best way you know how.

2. Integrity. This is perhaps the single most respected quality of leaders. Integrity is complete, unflinching honesty with regard to everything that you say and do. Integrity underlies all the other qualities. Your measure of integrity is determined by how honest you are in the critical areas of your life. Integrity means this: When someone asks you at the end of the day, “Did you do your very best?” you can look him in the eye and say, “Yes!” Integrity means this: When someone asks you if you could have done it better, you can honestly say, “No, I did everything I possibly could.” Integrity means that you, as a leader, admit your shortcomings. It means that you work to develop your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. Integrity means that you tell the truth and you live the truth in everything you do and in all your relationships. Integrity means that you deal straightforwardly with people and situations and that you do not compromise what you believe to be true.

5. Responsibility. This is perhaps the hardest quality to develop. The acceptance of responsibility means that, as Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here.” The game of life is very competitive. Sometimes, great success and great failure are separated by a very small distance. In watching the play-offs in basketball, baseball and football, we see that the winner can be decided by a single point, and that single point can rest on a single action, or inaction, on the part of a single team member at a critical part of the game. Life is very much like competitive sports. Very small things that you do, or don’t do, can either give you the edge that leads to victory or take away your edge at the critical moment. This principle is especially true with regard to accepting responsibility for yourself and for everything that happens to you.

3. Courage. This is the chief distinguishing characteristic of the true leader. It is almost always visible in the leader’s words and actions. It is absolutely indispensable to success, happiness and the ability to motivate other people to be the best they can be. In a way, it is easy to develop a big vision for yourself and for the person you want to be. It is easy to commit yourself to living with complete integrity. But it requires incredible courage to follow through on your vision and on your commitments. You see, as soon as you set a high goal or standard for yourself, you will run into all kinds of difficulties and setbacks. You will be surrounded by temptations to compromise your values and your vision. You will feel an almost irresistible urge to “get along by going along.” Your desire to earn the respect and cooperation of others can easily lead to the abandonment of your principles, and here is where courage comes in. 4. Realism. Realism is a form of intellectual honesty. The realist insists upon seeing the world as it really is, not as he wishes it were. This objectivity, this refusal to engage in self-delusion, is a mark of the true leader. Those who exhibit the quality of realism do not trust luck, hope for miracles, pray for exceptions to basic business principles, expect rewards without working or hope that problems will go away by themselves. These all are examples of

Motivate Yourself First

You become a motivational leader by motivating yourself. And you motivate yourself by striving toward excellence, by committing yourself to becoming everything you are capable of becoming. You motivate yourself by throwing your whole heart into doing your job in an excellent fashion. You motivate yourself and others by continually looking for ways to help others to improve their lives and achieve their goals. You become a motivational leader by becoming the kind of person others want to get behind and support in every way. Your main job is to take complete control of your personal evolution and become a leader in every area of your life. You could ask for nothing more, and you should settle for nothing less. Leadership presence is also an important quality in a leader. Check out our free webcast on how to build personal influence in your organization n Brian Tracy is the Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. One of the top business speakers and authorities in the world today, he has consulted for more than 1,000 companies and addressed more than 5,000,000 people in 5,000 talks and seminars throughout the United States and more than 60 countries worldwide. He has written 65 books and produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on management, motivation, and personal success. Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 144, 2018

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Zero $ Investment: Fast Lane for Lawyers on LinkedIn Why remain invisible to nearly 550+ million LinkedIn professionals? by D.B. Wienke

L

Of all social media sites, LinkedIn remains the most popular social network used by attorneys, according to the ABA 2014 Technology Legal Survey.

inkedIn, recently acquired by Microsoft, has grown dramatically from its nascent beginnings to attract professionals from many business categories. It’s a virtual fast lane, outpacing Facebook in relative percentage growth in professional users. There are 5 million professionals in your California geography and one might be your next best client.

board stewardship, among others. Amplify your worth with a great profile. Your client vets you first on LinkedIn. Scott L. Malouf, a social media and e-discovery attorney at ScottMalouf, offers “… an up-to-date, detailed profile demonstrates your deep experience. When meeting a new potential client, you can skip the lengthy elevator pitch and focus on listening to the potential client’s needs. Then, you follow up with a LinkedIn request, possibly highlighting aspects interesting to the potential client.”

Source: CEO.com

Expand Your Legal Influence

Be Highly Visible—Visibility Creates Opportunity When asked, attorney Michael J. Napoleone, J.D. at RichmanGreer, remains visible in several ways. “I have found LinkedIn to be an effective resource for growing my professional network through introductions, posting updates of what I am working on, sharing articles I’ve written, and connecting on a more professional level than through other social media platforms.”

In-House Counsel at 68% Usage Legal professionals have become more active on LinkedIn, according to a 2015 survey by Zeughauser Group and Green Target. Key findings from the report show that 68% of in-house counsel used LinkedIn for professional purposes in the last week, up from 62% last year. For in-house counsel, their top reasons for visiting are “professional networking with colleagues, connecting with outside counsel and getting professional and business news.”

75% Search for Lawyers Online, First Statistics shared recently by LexisNexis cite that 75% of your future clients or potential referral sources are searching online before making their move. Your activity can lead to all sorts of benefits— new clients, speaking engagements, invitations for non-profit 10

Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 144, 2018

Connecting with referral sources is an important aspect of attracting new casework. Stephen Zaloom, J.D., LL.M of Jeck, Harris, Raynor and Jones, P.A. believes in the utility of leveraging LinkedIn groups. “I’m a member of alumni groups—both national and regional—in my field of law. When useful articles are posted, I may tweet them and share them on LinkedIn to find them later on.”

Colossal Wins Your efforts will consistently build online recognition for your name and your firm—all thanks to the free SEO conducted by LinkedIn on your behalf. Not a penny to be spent. And your LinkedIn content is mobile-friendly—viewable on any device.

Key Takeaways 1. If you regularly attend business receptions, you understand the intrinsic value of expanding your personal network through consistent engagement of new colleagues. Consider a daily or weekly schedule of 15 minutes with a cup of coffee to boost your LinkedIn activity; you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the feedback you receive. 2. Authenticity breeds like and trust. That’s where good client relationships live. Be authentic and share value in the form of quality information. 3. Be consistent and stay involved. You’re starting a conversation with your peers, with people you don’t know and with others who seek to draw a larger truth out of your comments or idea.  n CEO, Ms. D. B. Wienke is a LinkedIn keynote speaker, coach, workshop presenter, profile optimizer and content creator. As a former chief marketing officer and sales executive at Fortune 500 firms, her career spans 25 years of award-winning work in leadership roles with News Corporation, PNC Bank, and Martin Health System among others. Her consulting sessions include her companion workbook, The LinkedIn Club Playbook (in its third printing) loaded with “under the hood” lesser known techniques, to ramp up your knowledge quickly. More may be found at LinkedInClub.com.


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COMMUNITY news n Chernoff Law Firm, PC, a leading civil litigation law firm based in Scottsdale, has opened an office in Irvine. The new office expands the firm’s litigation practice and allows it to provide a broader reach for its clients, according to founding shareholder Mark D. Chernoff. The firm’s MARK CHERNOFF new offices are located at 19800 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 1000, Irvine, CA 92612. “Our clients have interests that extend beyond Arizona, often in Southern California. Being able to address their needs in California provides added value and convenience. Our new Irvine office gives us the opportunity to satisfy our clients’ needs and gives them continuity of a single professional relationship in both states,” said Mr. Chernoff. Chernoff Law Firm focuses on civil litigation, primarily business, banking, real estate, probate and trust, and personal injury litigation matters. The firm handles cases ranging from large class actions to basic breach of contract claims. n Terry K. Davis, founder of the Law Offices of Terry K. Davis, was recently named to the 2018 Southern California Super Lawyers list. “I am grateful for the opportunity to help our clients and appreciate our clients’ and the legal community’s recognition of our efforts,” said Davis. TERRY DAVIS Only 5% of attorneys in Southern California receive this distinction. Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Southern California via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. Throughout his career, Davis has been instrumental in the battle for representative employee rights. As a consequence of the judgment and decision in a case Davis tried against the State of California Department of Veterans Affairs in 2001, then California Governor Gray Davis ordered into law Assembly Bill 76, which clarified the law in California by commanding businesses to give a work environment free of provocation even when the harasser is not utilized by the organization or company.

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Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 144, 2018

n Kimberly A. Valentine, principal attorney at Valentine Law Group, APC, has been named to the Top 50 2018 Orange County Super Lawyers list. She has been named a Super Lawyer each year since 2014, in addition to being named a Top 50 Woman lawyer in Southern California. She was the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association’s Top Gun KIM VALENTINE award recipient in 2011 and 2008 as the top Elder Abuse litigator. She was also recognized in 2008 as a California Trial Lawyers Associations “Street Fighter” Award finalist. Valentine Law Group attorney Jennifer L. Turner was also named to the 2018 Orange County Super Lawyers list. She had been named a Super Lawyer Rising Star each year since 2013. Prior to JENNIFER TURNER joining Valentine Law Group, Ms. Turner has practiced in areas of law including elder abuse, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and serious personal injury at firms dedicated to advocating for the rights of the injured, including Wilkes & McHugh, P.A., a nationally recognized firm. n Callahan & Blaine Founding Partner Daniel Callahan and Supervising Trial Attorney Edward Susolik have both been named to the Top 50 2018 Orange County Super Lawyers list. Mr. Callahan was the winner of the prestigious OCTLA Trial Lawyer of the Year Award three times, in 2000, 2004, and 2012. He DAN CALLAHAN has been named one of the Top 10 Attorneys in the United States by the National Law Journal. He was voted California Business Trial Lawyer of the Year by California Lawyer Magazine. In addition, Mr. Callahan has been named one of the Top 100 trial lawyers by the American Trial Association. Mr. Susolik has been recognized ED SUSOLIK by his peers as one of the “Top 100 Attorneys in Southern California” for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018—one of only a handful of Orange County attorneys given that distinguished honor by Super Lawyers Magazine.


n Todd G. Friedland, Partner at Stephens Friedland, LLP has been named to the Top 50 2018 Orange County Super Lawyers list. Friedland served as the Orange County Bar Association President in 2016 Mr. Friedland’s practice focuses on commercial litigation and TODD FRIEDLAND strategic counseling including complex contract disputes, class actions, unlawful business practices, trade secrets, business torts, real estate and appellate matters. Prior to forming Stephens Friedland LLP, Mr. Friedland practiced with the multi-national law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. Mr. Friedland was also a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Paul Boland and the Honorable Alexander H. Williams of the Los Angeles Superior Court, and a Judicial Extern for the Honorable Alicemarie H. Stotler, U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Friedland served as the Orange County Bar Association President in 2016. n Hueston Hennigan, LLP Partner John C. Hueston has been named a Top 10 2018 Southern California Super Lawyer. Based in the firm’s Newport Beach office, Hueston is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, has been recognized twice as a “California Lawyer of the Year,” JOHN HUESTON including for his recovery of $5.15 billion after trial. Mr. Hueston is a recipient of the Anti-Defamation League’s Marcus Kaufman Jurisprudence Award. As a prosecutor, Mr. Hueston was presented with four awards by three U.S. attorneys general for his trial work, including the highest award bestowed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Hueston is a past President of the Orange County Bar Association, the second largest bar association in the State of California, and a former President of the Federal Bar Association of Orange County.

n Kahana & Feld LLP is pleased to announce that attorneys Yaron Shaham, Esq. and Mimi Ahn, Esq. have joined the firm’s business litigation and employment law practice group. Mr. Shaham joins the firm as a Partner and brings nearly 15 years of experience in business litigation with an emphasis on banking and financial services MIMI AHN and bankruptcy serving the mortgage and lending industries. He was most recently Of Counsel at McGlinchey Stafford, where he litigated on behalf of commercial banks, consumer finance companies and others in the financial services sector. Ms. Ahn will support litigation across all practice groups. Ahn is an experienced litigator with an emphasis on employment YARON SHAHAM law and insurance defense matters. Ahn earned her J.D. at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, where she received the State Bar Pro Bono Award from the California State and the Leadership Award. n Wayne R. Gross, Partner at Greenberg Gross, LLP has been named to the Top 50 2018 Orange County Super Lawyers list. Mr. Gross served in 2013 as president of the Orange County Bar Association, the second largest bar association in the State of California. Mr. Gross has been selected to serve as lead trial counsel by companies and executives in their most important business JOHN HUESTON litigation matters, including cases involving the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Food and Drug Administration, as well as class actions, cases alleging unfair business practices, and health care litigation. He has been repeatedly recognized for his outstanding trial work, including recently being selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2017.

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Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 144, 2018

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5 Absolute Musts For Effective Law Firm Intake by Consultwebs.com

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hether you are a large corporate law firm or small personal injury firm, your intake process is often the first interaction potential clients have with your firm. In a competitive niche like legal services, first impressions matter. The first intake call can mean the difference in not only signing clients who find you online, but also word-of-mouth referrals, and reputation as a firm. As long as your intake process is effective, it can help your law firm achieve your true ROI for your campaign and help increase the amount of leads that convert to cases. Most firms don’t even realize that a few things often get overlooked and even work against them when a prospect is looking for an attorney. By making common, unintentional mistakes, you’re telling clients that they aren’t important enough to call back or minimizing their hurt when they are going through an already stressful and difficult time. Make sure your firm is implementing these 5 steps to ensure your intake process is effective and improving your ROI. 1. The Ability to Reach an Actual Person We’ve all been there—calling for help only to hear a frustrating automated system or getting dumped into voicemails for weeks on end with no callbacks. Nothing is more frustrating and off-putting than spending 20 minutes on the phone without being able to reach an actual human being. When law firm prospects call your firm, they want to talk to a real person—and quickly. Tip: If developing an after-hours schedule to have a firm employee answer the phones is not in your budget, then consider Alert Communications. They offer an after-hours service, and phones are answered by an actual person. 2. Sensitivity Because they are looking for legal help, your prospective clients are already going through some sort of distress or hardship. People want to know that their legal representation is going to care about them as a person and their situation. This starts with the receptionist at intake. Right from the initial call, if there is a lack of emotional sensitivity or empathy, your potential client is going to feel unheard, uncared for, and they will look for someone else who does care. Tip: Consider developing a script (or multiple scripts) for incoming calls and training select staff to answer the phones. This way you will feel confident that you know who is answering the calls and what is being said to the potential clients. Using intake forms to gather pertinent information is also incredibly helpful. 3. Prompt Response Times If an attorney or paralegal takes too long to respond to an email, phone call, or voicemail, or even just doesn’t deliver case updates every so often, clients get pretty put-off. Firms take at least three days to respond to inquiries 42% of the time. People don’t want to wait three days for answers to their questions, 14

Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 144, 2018

to tell their story, or get an update on their case. When a potential client is calling the firm, they want to feel like their case is going to be a priority to the attorney. Tip: Attorneys have very busy schedules and often more-pressing things come up. Task a staff person with lead follow-up and appointment setting. Also consider having a dedicated person who returns all voicemails the same day. 4. Lead Tracking Leads and calls come in from various sources, such as phone calls, email, and live chats. But if you are not keeping track of all of this information in one central location, then chances are information is being lost. Sure, a Google Sheet or Excel Spreadsheet may serve you well, but if you do not have Customer Relationship Management software in place, it may be time to implement one. By storing all of your prospects and clients into your CRM, you are able move them through the pipeline, keep them organized, and ensure they are followed-up on. Tip: You can use CRMs to set reminders, send automated follow-up emails, and track correspondence, taking the guesswork out of the process. 5. Lead Nurturing and Follow-Up Clients need to feel important, like they are more than just another case file. Even after talking to a client during the initial intake, your firm should still follow up to see if they have any other questions. Are they interested in setting an appointment? Even after the case is closed, still following up about their status, experience, case, etc., can go a long way when they are giving word-of-mouth referrals to friends and coworkers. Tip: Using your CRM, it is easy to keep things up-to-date and never let anything fall through the cracks. You can schedule follow-up emails in advance for multiple clients and track progress along the way. Intake often gets overlooked and written off as a lesser part of the business, but intake is serious business. Without effective intake and proper notes, you never know the true return you’re getting. You also miss out on knowing where your opportunities for improvement are. You can learn a lot from each prospective client who calls in, even if it’s a case that isn’t in your practice area. Invest in your intake system and watch your return on investment improve as more cases flow in. n Editorial by Consultwebs.com Staff. Consultwebs.com brings law firms advantages that no other agency can. A firm that knows lawyer internet marketing. With beautiful and functional website designs that are skillfully developed to attract and convert website visitors, bringing more cases to their clients. They focus on your ROI, and their clients have full ownership of their websites and content. To learn more, visit Consultwebs.com.


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Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 144, 2018

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there’s always a plan For People, Businesses and Attorneys with Clients Facing Hard-To-Resolve Debt, Gregory M. Fitzgerald Says There’s Always A Way. “Debt relief outside of bankruptcy is actually quite specialized. These are clients and debt types that most lawyers don’t know and frankly, don’t want to know. After all, how are they going to pay any legal fees if they are broke? Isn’t bankruptcy the only option for them? Simply put, bankruptcy does not cover all debts and is not always necessary. I want lawyers to know that we can help those folks,” says Gregory M. Fitzgerald, Esq., Managing Partner at Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC. “We’re a debt relief firm, but we’re much more than just a bankruptcy firm. Our forte, our niche is clients for whom bankruptcy is not an option,” he says. “We call ourselves a Collection Defense Firm and press collectors at every step to prove their claims. Rather than assume amounts are due, we contend they are not due until the judge makes an order otherwise.” One of the primary missions of the firm is to educate consumers that there are options outside of bankruptcy. Many simply do not qualify for or want, or even need, to file bankruptcy. “We can assist consumers and small businesses with judgments, student loans, garnishments, and other debtrelated issues.” Fitzgerald says, “We actually have many lawyers as clients. A legal education is not cheap. And I’m not just talking about the tuition. Some get into financial difficulties. Doctors and other 16

Attorney Journal Orange County | Volume 144, 2018

professionals have school loans in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Let’s not forget the predatory loans and fly by night schools that many young people fall prey to. That’s another class of clients we help every day.” Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC was founded in 2013 with William James Campbell, Jr. with the goal of becoming California’s premier Collection Defense Firm. The firm currently employs 19 people, including four attorneys.

A CORPORATE EDGE IN THE PERSONAL TOUCH Fitzgerald says, “My edge is I really like what I do. I care about my clients’ situation. I really want to get them out of debt. I really want to find the plan for them. It can be quite a puzzle, a mosaic really. I love this work because there is a very real and tangible result for the client. A result that has a significant positive financial impact on their family. People are so grateful.” Fitzgerald finds another, personal benefit: these types of case results are much more rewarding that getting the guilty client off or a large award on questionable damages. Understanding that lawyers are advocates, it’s even more rewarding to win, and help someone get back on their feet financially.


ATTORNEY

OF THE MONTH

© christopher TODD studios

2018 2016


Fitzgerald is a very hands-on manager. He tries few cases these days and prefers to focus on the management of the firm. He says, “My partner loves the trial work, while I want to get the word out to as many people as I can and position them in the best possible way for successful debt relief. We try to micromanage the client experience and every process, department and team member has a specific role toward that goal. Given the fees we charge, we must be very efficient, and process driven.” His management style works well with a business model developed and refined since the firm was founded. The model is simple—provide clients in financial distress with a motivated and experienced attorney who can provide exemplary services for a low monthly fee. The motivation for excellence is obvious— the firm’s fees are usually based upon the results obtained. It’s a contingency hybrid: small monthly fee and a percentage of the savings achieved. This is what is so unique about the firm: they provide debt relief on a performance-based fee model. From pre-litigation to defense litigation to judgments, the attorneys will accept most cases where the fee is based upon a percentage of what they save the client. Clients are quick to praise their approach. “I was a victim of

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fraud, when I received a call from a settlement company that told me that they would help me eliminate all my debt and that they specialized in this process. I listened to this lie and because I was making a choice either pay the bills or buy food at the time. The services of this company and their claims seemed legit so I trusted them to do what they promised me over the phone. I was paying them a substantial amount of money every month to eliminate my debt but after several months of thinking that my debt was being taken care of when out of the blue I was sued by two of the companies that they were supposed to eliminate. I immediately found and hired Fitzgerald & Campbell and what a life-saving move for me and my family. They not only took on my case, but they were able to get every penny this other company scammed out of me. I (sic) just a short amount of time they have already gotten both lawsuits dismissed and one of the two debts settled. They are a legit company that quickly jumped on my problem and are working hard every day in solving my debt issue. They are always in direct communication with me and letting me know each step of the way what they are doing. Thanks to Fitzgerald & Campbell for being there for me and my family.” Ed—11/28/17 “In almost all our cases clients have poor facts, bad law, and


little to no money. Most clients admit ‘We owe the money, and we don’t have any money to pay.’ A lot of our clients come to us after they have lost the case already, by default or trial. All are financially distressed. We try to take that and turn it into something positive. And usually, we are successful,” Fitzgerald says.

WALKING THROUGH THE FIRE “I’ve personally been sued by many of the same collection attorneys who are suing my clients—years ago thankfully—so I have personally gone through the fire that they’re going through.” While practicing in Orange County handling criminal defense, PI, and debt cases, he earned enough to purchase an Irish Pub. That decision was a huge mistake that ruined him financially. He was several hundred thousand of dollars in debt and sued many times over—everything from Home Depot to liquor vendors to Federal lawsuits on copyrights for karaoke night. “I crawled out of that and created the business model I use today,” he says. The desire to be an attorney did not surface early in his life. “Honestly, I never had any dreams or aspirations to become an attorney. I just wanted to see if I could do it. I was a licensed

© christopher TODD studios

The Fitzgerald & Campbell Team: Phil Blende, Anna Marie Fitzgerald, Sam Miller, April Bayonne, Jackie Renfroe, Christina Blende, Adam Jauregui, Bill Carnahan, Gregory Fitzgerald, William Campbell, Tamara McNulty, Brenda Portillo, Whitney Rodriguez, Nancy Lozano, Elizabeth Cruz, Dyana Summers, Fabiola Parkerson, Victoria Meza

contractor installing wood floors, physically demanding work I knew I could only do for so long. I went to law school at night at a nowhere law school for the cheapest cost I could find. Because of this I knew I would always be self-employed. I’m entrepreneurial and consumer-oriented anyway, so I was destined to hang out my own shingle,” he says. He started practicing in 1991 and worked for a small criminal/ PI firm in Orange and went out on his own a year later. He was self-employed until 2006 when he went to a national firm that wanted to implement his debt defense/FDCPA (collection harassment) process. Fitzgerald left there to start his current firm in 2013.

THE PUBLIC DEFENDER OF THE CIVIL LAW Fitzgerald says, “We like to consider ourselves the Public Defender of the Civil law. By that I mean we have financially distressed clients who, for the most part, are ‘guilty’ (they owe the money) and can’t afford a ‘traditional’ lawyer. Or at least the traditional fees. They have legally weak cases and no money. It’s

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Contact Gregory Fitzgerald Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC 400 N. Tustin Ave., #375 Santa Ana, CA 92705 (855) 709-5788 www.DebtorProtectors.com

© christopher TODD studios

EXPERIENCE

a tough crowd to effectively represent, let alone make a living. One of our biggest challenges is getting consumers to understand that we are affordable and effective. A common lament, while wrong, is pervasive: I owe the money so why spend money on a lawyer when ‘nothing can be done?’ As most lawyers in their respective fields of expertise know, there is a lot that can be done by a skilled, experienced practitioner.” Fitzgerald & Campbell mostly handle defense work for consumers and small businesses. They do virtually no plaintiff work other than filing harassment lawsuits against collectors. They resolve any type of debt or claim (other that tax). The firm can settle claims before litigation, defend them if sued, resolve judgments/enforcement actions, and bankruptcy. Their core client is one that can’t or won’t file for bankruptcy or where the debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy such as in student loans or fraud judgments. There are a lot of collection attorneys, but not nearly as many attorneys do collection defense. Even fewer defend judgment enforcement actions like garnishments, levies, attachments, judgment foreclosures, charging orders, and judgment debtor examinations. Fitzgerald’s approach and his intimate knowledge of what his clients are experiencing garners praise from someone who says she went from disbeliever to true believer after contacting the firm. “Greg has helped us so much with a really bad situation we were in. I can’t even believe I am saying this about an attorney (no offense to attorneys but … ) he is actually caring, helpful, and honest. He spent so much time listening to our circumstances and answering questions before we even retained him. I was so impressed by his knowledge and honesty, and compassion for our dire situation. He does not BS, sugarcoat things, or make false promises, he is the real deal. If you are like me and look at reviews before hiring an attorney, I want you to know there is a reason why he has such great ratings on multiple review platforms which is also why I called him in the first place. Hope this review helps someone find a great attorney when they need one!” –Sierra W. 12/7/17. “The challenge is making it sustainable financially. After all, we are representing broke people on a contingency basis who are going to pay us later (and typically over a long period of time in small payments). Most lawyers are surprised this can even be done. It does require a significant infrastructure that we have now built. It requires good working relationships with opposing counsel that know we are honest, trustworthy and knowledgeable. It requires a team of dedicated people working hard to benefit our clients. With this all in place, we can do some great things.” Fitzgerald says.  n

»  EDUCATION

• Southern California College of Law , 1987 – 1991 • California Lutheran University, BS in Accounting, 1980 – 1984

»  AWARDS & REVIEWS

• Google Reviews—Excellent 4.5 Average Rating, March 2018 • AVVO Rating—Great 7.8 Average Rating, March 2018 • Yelp Reviewed—Excellent 4.5 Star Average Rating, March 2018 • BBB A+ Rated, March 2018

»  ASSOCIATIONS

• Member, Orange County Bar Association, 2013 – Present • Member, San Bernardino Bar Association, 2013 – Present • Member, Consumer Attorneys of California, 2013 – Present

»  HOBBIES/INTERESTS • Pets, Golf, Travel

• Enjoys travel to a different football stadium each year • Loves vintage autos and owns a 1969 Cadillac

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“MORE” SEO SPECIALISTS Share Their Best Tips for Lawyers by Chris Dreyer

“IF YOU WERE WORKING WITH AN ATTORNEY TO IMPROVE A LAW FIRM’S SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR #1 TIP TO GET RESULTS?”

T

his is the question we posed to more than 50 SEO specialists who have done SEO for lawyers. Their answers will provide you with good direction whether you’re formulating your own law firm SEO strategies or just looking for general advice. If you want to improve your own website rankings or your clients’ website listings in the search engines, then this expert Q&A roundup is what you’re looking for. Enjoy and share it with others. Thank you!

1

JOHN LINCOLN

ignitevisibility.com twitter.com/johnelincoln

I would follow the legal news, such as new large and groundbreaking cases that change the industry, legal news in the media, etc. I would comment on each development in blog posts and on social media. In addition, I would write blog posts on longtail terms and create guides around the biggest service terms they want to rank for. Finally, I’d make sure to have a conversion strategy around each segment of keywords.

2

JOEL KLETTKE

casestudybuddy.com

There are a lot of tips I’d love to share, from claiming and optimizing local listings, to making their web pages suck less (no oceans of jargon, please!) But I’m a content guy, so that’s where my head goes right away. A lot of lawyers think they need these big blogs full of content to attract links. Rather than dump a bunch of money into a blog—which takes time to maintain that lawyers don’t have, and a constant budget to feed that could be spent elsewhere—focus on creating a handful of really strong evergreen resources based on what your clients are constantly asking during initial calls. Think about it from a lead’s perspective: many have never hired a lawyer before. Content that helps them know what to expect isn’t just great for driving people to contact you, it’s also 22

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highly shareable. If I had a law client, I’d tell them to build the best-written, most visually engaging resources for people considering hiring lawyers, and then share the hell out of those.

3

STEPHEN FURNARI

lawfirmsuites.com twitter.com/stephenfurnari

As a content marketer, I would suggest that lawyers survey their clients and prospects about the most pressing questions or the most painful issues they have about the lawyer’s area of practice (i.e., “If my wife divorces me for cheating, will I lose custody of my kids?”). Lawyers need to pay really careful attention to the exact words clients use to describe their problems, since clients often describe legal issues differently from how a lawyer would. For example, I may be a securities lawyer, but a client may refer to me as a “PPM Lawyer.” I would then create very detailed content that answers those questions and provides actionable advice and case studies, using both blog copy and video. In these articles, avoid selling (i.e., if you cheated on your spouse and need to talk to a lawyer, call me). It just pisses potential clients off. The title for each post and video would be the question their clients ask in their own words—even if the terms/words used by the client are not how the attorney would describe the issue. By building a library of these question/answer posts, you begin to optimize your website for the long tail natural language search your clients will most likely use when they have a legal problem you can solve. As a side note, I see a lot of firms who do a good job with search rankings, but then do a crap job of creating a user experience on their site that converts (obviously not the clients of Rankings.io). If you do a great job of driving traffic but your clients are turned off when they get there, you’ve just wasted a lot of effort.

4

JOSH BACHYNSKI

www.seo-help.me twitter.com/joshbachynski

Give the web searcher what they are looking for better than everyone else.


5

STEVE WIIDEMAN

www.top10seotips.com twitter.com/seosteve

We work with 3 attorneys currently. My number one tip is to focus on building a solid taxonomy from aggregate competitor research (at the page-level) and to build as much supportive content under the primary practice area you are optimizing for. We did this for slip and fall recently and came up with over 50 new pages we could create around places people slip and fall and causes of slip and fall accidents. The results a week into the content build out were amazing.

6

JUSTIN HERRING

yeah-local.com twitter.com/JustinCHerring

We work with a lot of attorneys so here you go! There’s not just one tip which will get it done. They need to set up and optimize pages for each service they offer with 500 words of content and a video explanation, set up Google My Business, and get 20+ 5-star reviews, then get/build guest post backlinks to those service pages and the GMB listing. Should be ranking within months depending on the budget.

7

RYAN SCOLLON

www.ryanscollon.co.uk twitter.com/ryanbowlerhat

My #1 tip for improving a law firm’s SEO would be to get listed on industry-specific directories. A large majority of people look for a local law firm, so the Local SEO side of the project would be super important. Not only do law firm directories rank pretty well, being associated with that business category also helps build Google’s trust with your business. It’s a super competitive industry, so small jobs like this can make all the difference in getting you ranking at the top of the search results.

8

RYAN BIDDULPH

www.bloggingfromparadise.com twitter.com/RyanBiddulph

My #1 tip would be to create helpful, problem-solving content to lay a solid SEO foundation. SEO is about problem solving more than ever. Whether the firm hired skilled freelance writers or boosted its credibility by having lawyers write articles, the smart way to build your SEO on a solid foundation is to patiently and persistently write robust, thorough content through a blog.

9

GREG LEE

www.bkv.com twitter.com/bkvadvertising

SEO and content marketing tactics have been widely adopted to the point that everyone has pushed out large volumes of decent content. Decent content on a subject matter is affordable on a weekly basis. Any decent writer can produce it. As a result, we see the same five tips, best practices, and how-to blogs across every website. You can try to make content that is 10x bigger and better. But that is costly and hard to do consistently. Instead, you can get more value out of the same resources by spending a bit more time on up-front research. Find out why your attorney is unique. Every attorney has special talents, connections, insight, history, and life lessons that go into their success as an attorney. And better yet, their passion to practice law. Have your writers and editors call in for a discovery meeting with the attorney that you treat as if writing a biography. Give writers a chance to ask questions and dig into areas they find inspiring about their subject. If you get your writers inspired about a person and that person’s passion for practicing law, you will get that special thing that pushes your content beyond the everyday, every-website blog posts.

10

KEN LYONS

www.measuredsem.com twitter.com/KenJLyons

As my #1 tip, I’d highly recommend that any attorney or law firm website prioritize speeding up their website. Google is hyper-focused on speed and getting users the information they seek as fast as possible, and that focus on speed as a ranking signal will only continue to grow. BTW here’s a fantastic list of 101 tips to improve site speed www.digitalexaminer. com/101-page-and-site-speed-optimization-tips/. We’re seeing some pretty incredible results with organic traffic boosts across client sites when we’re able to improve load times. Increasing site speed is also a scalable activity because many of the improvements you can make (like fixing render blocking CSS and JS) will boost load times for not just the page but the entire site. What’s more, the majority of law firm sites I’ve worked on and seen are notoriously slow. So, given how important site speed is to Google (and users), if a law firm focuses on boosting load times they’ll be miles ahead of their competitors.

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11

ALLEN MACCANNELL

www.webceo.com twitter.com/CloudBasedSEO

Don’t overstep the boundaries of your niche. When setting up a niche website, the most important thing to keep in mind is the audience you plan to attract. People who look for the nearest law firm in Google are unlikely to require a blog post about 10 ways to tell a competent lawyer from a fraud. Instead, they’ll want help with a very specific problem, which will show in their search request: for example, “bankruptcy law firm London” or “criminal lawyer Manchester.” Being a representative of your office, you know better than anyone what kind of services you provide. That knowledge is the foundation on which your site will stand. Aim precisely at the audience that wants what you have to offer. A legal service firm is meant to help people with a narrow set of very characteristic problems that you may find only where the law is involved. Some firms specialize only in a certain area, such as family law, and therefore deal with issues like divorce, alimony and child support.

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Other firms take on multiple areas; they cast a bigger net and occupy a wider niche. Takeaways: the content of your firm’s website must be optimized strictly for the issues you deal with. Act within your niche, or else you will attract an audience that needs something your website cannot provide. Most people look and fight for easy-to-think of topics and keywords because they can’t imagine how wide their net can be for catching potential customers. Instead of just using content ideas that are tightly associated with your main topic, you have to “go wide” with your research. People who might be interested in your products or services have lots of different problems and interests. And it is up to you to explore them and see which ones are relevant to your business. Then you can write SEO optimized content to bring them to your website and slowly nurture them into customers. n Chris Dreyer is the Founder & CEO of Rankings.io, which provides SEO (search engine optimization) services to lawyers, to help them obtain more clients, cases and revenue. To learn more, visit rankings.io or email Chris at chris@rankings.io.


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How Lawyers Can Mindfully Cope With Changes Coming To the Legal Profession by Petris Lapis

The legal profession is facing an avalanche of change in the way it conducts its business. We think we are used to change because that is the nature of law. We live in the changing world of courts, business, technology and legislation. Now we are also experiencing a world where books are being replaced by eBooks, where DVDs are being replaced by live streaming, hotels by renting rooms in people’s homes, taxis by Uber and bank loans by peer-to-peer lending.

to change exponentially with the advent of artificial intelligence. Legal software will only become cleverer at predicting rulings, conducting research and recommending courses of action. Although it will make our roles much more efficient, it will also come with a whole new set of challenges in the way we invoice clients and how we ensure the advice we are giving is correct and up to date. We will still need to know whether something has changed in the last few days which won’t have been incorporated in the predictive software at the time we are giving advice.

The following five trends are impacting the legal profession

3. SOCIAL MEDIA

1. OUTSOURCING

This trend has already impacted other professions such as accounting and is now impacting the legal profession. Some paralegal and litigation support tasks such as coding and document review are being outsourced, saving you time, money and the need to have some skills.

2. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Legal research has been done online for some time and already reduces the amount of time it used to take to research. But the quality of what is available to us in terms of legal research is about

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It has now become part of how we market our legal services, how we recruit, how we conduct research into the people we are recruiting and how we gather evidence to support our client’s position. It will only become more so in the future.

4. A MULTI-GENERATIONAL WORKFORCE

For the first time in history, we now have four generations working side by side in the legal workspace. We have traditionalists, baby boomers, generation X and generation Y working together. People are now working longer and it means in some places there is a generation gap of over 50 years between the youngest and the oldest employees. This requires levels of tolerance, understanding and communication we might not be used to.


5. ALTERNATIVE BILLING MODELS

The traditional billable hours model was not popular with our clients and was seen as rewarding inefficiency. As intelligent software becomes more commonplace, it will bring about further changes to the traditional billable hours model. The value of our advice will no longer bear much relationship to how long it took us to provide it. Global research by Deloitte has found other issues from a worldwide survey of legal clients. Nearly half of all legal service providers interviewed indicated that regulatory compliance, mediation and arbitration and litigation were growing areas in their businesses. However, the same researchers also found that loyalty to a law firm was not guaranteed. More than half (55%) of those interviewed said they had recently reviewed their arrangement with their legal supplier or would be doing so within 12 months. Deloitte also found that what people wanted from their law firm was now changing. Instead of pure legal advice, clients also wanted their lawyers to have more industry, commercial or non-legal expertise. They thought it would be helpful if they had digital, data, privacy & cyber security skills and if they were more proactive with their knowledge sharing. This may eventually result in law firms having partnering arrangements with other professions so that client needs can be more fully serviced.

Interesting Changes That Have Already Happened

What changes have I already seen professionals undertake? Here are some: • A not-for-profit family law firm where profits are either donated to a suitable charity or put back into to the organization or staff, rather than being paid out to partners as profits. • The use of emoticons in correspondence by one law firm because putting a happy face at the end of an email makes sure the other party knows you aren’t looking to escalate a dispute. • The formation of strong networks with other professionals who might refer work to you or vice versa. These networks might contain anyone from accountants, bankers, financial planners, insurance and stock brokers to health professionals. You can form these networks on an informal basis, or with regular monthly meetings where you all invite your clients to come along to a meet and greet. • One firm has a ‘digital festival’ every six months to keep clients up to date on relevant technology and any relevant legal issues or risks associated with using or not using it. • Apps which help people track what stage their file is at (eg text alert when search sent off to a government department

or when lease sent to tenant), when their next meeting is, the government bodies they will need to contact for different issues, etc. • Strategic positioning of law offices into non-traditional physical locations such as health or innovation hubs.

How Do We Mindfully Cope With This Amount Of Change?

Lawyers are traditionally conservative. We have a way we are used to being perceived, a way we dress and speak, a way we expect our office furniture to look and a standard approach to how business is done... pretty much, the way it always has been. Now we are being asked to shake things up and make changes to the way we do business if we are to stay relevant. Change can be a good thing. If you are old enough to remember black and white TV, cassette tapes you had to wind with a pencil when they broke, floppy disks or fax machines, you will know what I am talking about. Have you ever sold your house? Did you engage in a frenzy of cleaning, throwing out, moving furniture to new places and repairing things you had put up with for years? After it was all done, did you stand back and look at this sparkling house and wonder why you ever thought selling and moving was a good idea? Your legal practice could probably benefit from a similar clean out, repair and shake up. Instead of seeing these changes as a disruption, how about if you saw them as an opportunity to upgrade? Our very human reaction to change is to see it as a bad or threatening thing. After all, that is what kept us safe when we were evolving. Every change in our environment was a potential threat to our existence. Mindfulness asks you to see change, just as change. It is neither good nor bad, it is merely change. Mindfulness also asks that you acknowledge change is required and accept what that will mean. Acceptance means not railing against the need for change, but rather accepting it and working out step by step what can be done about it. Starting with small changes will make it easier. Pick something relatively easy, like building your referral network by one person a month and start there. Every step you take will count. After you have made a couple of smaller steps, you could tackle something bigger such as social media for your business if you haven’t already done so. The changes coming our way are neither good, nor bad, they are merely an opportunity for us to do business better. n Petris Lapis, Director, Author and Presenter of Petris Lapis Pty Ltd providing seminars and resources tackling the tough stuff and helping people succeed in careers and life. Helping people succeed one thought at a time. Visit now to find out more PetrisLapis.com.

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6 QUICK Ways To Give Your Firm the EDGE Over Competition— With Examples! by Ashley Krohn-Loftus

In legal marketing, it’s very common to hear our clients ask about their competition. Some of the top questions are: “What are they doing to rank #1?” and “Why are they getting more traffic than me?” These are great questions that both have very complex answers. However, there are some quick things you can do to gain an edge over your competition today. Below are a few ideas of uncomplicated and amazing campaigns. 1. Scholarship Contest Scholarships are a great, budget-friendly way to boost your traffic and backlinks, all while helping tomorrow’s scholars. See an example of a scholarship here. If scholarships aren’t your thing, another similar campaign is a veteran’s grant. 2. Tell a Story with Video Videos are a great option to give you an edge over the competition and give your clients an idea of who you are and what your firm is about. For a great example of a marketing video, see here. 3. Customer Testimonials Social proof is so HUGE. You work very hard to create strong, lasting relationships with your clients as part of your service to them, so in return many clients are more than willing to help. Get help from a marketing agency and ask clients to make a video about their experience. If they aren’t comfortable with a video, then ask them to leave a review on Google or Facebook. 4. Webinar You are the expert and those looking for an attorney are often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of attorneys. Make yourself stand out by highlighting your expertise in a video webinar responding to questions you get, topics that are regularly of concern in your practice areas, or something you are passionate about. Post on your social media, and you are helping people, while also helping your firm get traffic to your website.

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5. Holiday Social Campaigns It’s that time of year again. If Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter are more your style, try running a contest to give away a gift card. In this contest run over the Halloween holiday season, Marks & Harrison held a Pumpkin Carving Contest. This same gift card concept can be used throughout other holiday seasons as well. The options are endless, and the campaigns themselves are easy. To be entered, select a prompt such as, “Who in your life deserves some extra holiday cheer this year?” Ask people to like your page, share the post and tag someone who they think is deserving. 6. Sponsor a Rescue Organization Rescue organizations all over the United States and beyond are working tirelessly to help save animals. They can always use help and funding. Reach out to a local rescue and ask if you can sponsor a pet. In other words, pay their adoption fee, post about it on social media, and ask that the rescue organization give you a shout-out for doing so. If you need further assistance with social campaigns, please visit our social media page where you will find multiple resources to guide you on every step of the way, including our Lawyers Guide to Social Media, which will give you other examples of lead generating campaigns. We hope that you find these tools drive traffic to your site, increase your engagement and awareness, and, in turn, help your firm sign more cases. n Ashley Krohn-Loftus brings an extensive background in search engine optimization (SEO) and outreach to her role as Creative Lead at Consultwebs.com. Drawing on her SEO, social media and outreach experience, Ashley is responsible for leading the creative team. The team develops deeper audience insight through navigating and facilitating the process of creative projects from initial element mapping and brainwriting to outreach.


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Attorney Journal, Orange County, Volume 144  

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