Page 1


Letter from

the publisher... On January 1st, Attorney Impact Magazine will take a major step forward as we introduced our first issue to Oklahoma and the rest of the United States in our future issues. We are a bi-monthly magazine meaning that we will publish a total of 6 issues a year. We are enthusiastic about the possibilities are for the magazine, as well as the attorneys that read it. We are also publishing a digital version of the magazine, which is the next chapter into publishing and communication with our readers.It will allow us to develop new sources of revenue to strengthen our ability to continue our journalistic mission as well as undertake digital innovations that will enable us to provide you with high-quality journalism on whatever device you choose. We will introduced the digital subscriptions simulatiously with the printed version of the magazine. If you are a office delivery subscriber of Attorney Impact, you will continue to have full and free access to our news, information, opinion and other features on your smartphone and tablet. You can also access it from a computer at AttorneyImpact.com. I look forward to the hearing back from the readers about what they liked or didn’t like about this issue, and what they would like to see in future issues as well. I can be reached by email at publisher@attorneyimpact.com Thank you for being apart of this extraordinary time with us,

PUBLISHER AND FOUNDER KEVIN MCDUGLE EDITOR BRAD POST SENIOR EDITOR CHANCE HAWKINS ASSOCIATE EDITOR JOSEPH BOJANG CREATIVE DIRECTOR BEN ALLEN CONTACT US ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: ADVERTISTING@ATTORNEYIMPACT.COM EVENTS: EVENTS@ATTORNEYIMPACT.COM QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT CONTENT: EDITOR@ATTORNEYIMPACT.COM ALL OTHER INQUIRIES: MAIL@ATTORNEYIMPACT.COM

Attorney Impact Magazine is published bi-monthly by Business Impact Media 8155 E 46th St • Tulsa, OK 74145 918.409.2101 • FAX 866.332.5151 mail@attorneyimpact.com www.attorneyimpact.com Subscriptions are $20 for 6 ISSUES. Mail checks to Attorney Impact Magazine 8155 E 46th St • Tulsa, OK 74145 Copyright ® 2012 by Business Impact Media. Attorney Impact Magazine, Lawyer Marketing Services, eXpect 3 are registered trademarks of Business Impact Media. All rights reserved. Reproduction without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited.

All request for permission and reprints must be made in writting to Attorney Impact Magazine, c/o Reprint Services, 8155 E 46th St • Tulsa, OK 74145. Advertising claims and the views expressed in the magazine by writers or artist do no necessarily represent those of Attorney Impact Magazine, Business Impact Media, or its affliates.

Kevin McDugle

Publisher and Founder Attorney Impact Magazine

4

JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact

O C


14

42

20 46 6 Practice Success 8 By The Book 11 Q A’s 12 Root Issues &

ON THE COVER

18 Attorneys in Prison 22 Charity Lawyer 26 Boarding Pass 38 Case by Case

Jan Dils– Since 1994, Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, LC, has offered professional, caring service to all of her clients.

30


10 Habits

The

of Highly

Successful Law Firms

1.

Selecting a Managing Partner to Manage.

Too many firms still pass the management baton like a hot potato that nobody wants.The problem is that firm managers who really focus on growing and managing their firms have little time for their own clients and may lose their own practices entirely. They also can lose the respect of many partners who believe that you need to maintain a substantial practice to be credible as a manager.

2.

Being a "Best Place to Work."

Companies that have the best "people development" cultures have the best track records of superior, sustained financial performance and stability. That was the conclusion of a study by McKinsey & Co., and it appears to be as true in the legal world as in the corporate world. In 2005-2006, the following firms ranked among the best 100 places to work in America, according to studies of employees conducted by Forbes magazine: Atlanta-based Alston Bird; Boston-based Bingham McCutchen; Rochester-based Nixon Peabody; and Seattle-based Perkins Coie. Furthermore, Alston Bird has more than once appeared in the top 10 in rankings.

6 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact

Whoever said, “Practice Makes Perfect” was talking about these law firms. Spotlighting only the best of the best in they’re field.

3.

Institutionalizing Client Service.

The most successful firms, again and again, have adopted a variety of programs to insure that their clients get the most consistent and best possible service experience they can. Most of these leading-edge firms have also adopted specific mission and values statements that keep employees focused on the institutional values associated with service to clients. Client surveys are also conducted by successful firms such as Reed Smith, Nixon Peabody, and Alston Bird. Reed Smith has an in-house pro, a former General Counsel for a major company, who focuses all of her time on surveying clients and getting closer to them; Alston Bird has hired a former CEO to perform a similar function outside the firm; and Nixon Peabody surveys the quality of "internal service" provided by each department, as well as "external service," following the notions of the quality management movement, which emphasizes internal as well as external service measurement.

4.

Living With Your Clients.

Many leading-edge firms don't just make greater efforts to "understand" their clients; they actually find ways to live with them. Kramer Levin often sends lawyers to reside in client quarters, and McGuire Woods holds team meetings that include clients as speakers and as sounding boards. Reed Smith does both, and has even "acquired" the inhouse legal department of a major client in a unique deal that yields greater expertise for the firm and beneficial cost management for the client. The firm also incorporates the knowledge of its clients into the Reed Smith University program for business training skills — a program developed in conjunction with Wharton Business School that benefits lawyers and staffers in the firm.


5.

Emphasizing that Clients Belong to the Firm and NOT the Lawyers.

More and more leading-edge firms follow subjective compensation schemes that are placing greater emphasis on things such as client satisfaction, quality work product, and doing what is needed for the team. Those previously mentioned firms that have launched service team initiatives — to better serve specific clients or industries with dedicated teams of professionals — also understand the importance of seeing clients as valued assets of a firm to be maintained and protected.

6.

Using Technology to Improve Your Marketing and Client Relations.

It would be hard to gain any advantage over competitors in this era without making use of technology as a tactical weapon in your arsenal. Thus, it is not surprising that leading-edge firms are using technology to stand out above the crowd in a variety of ways. At Bingham McCutchen, managers and practice leaders have desktop "dashboards" that provide instantaneous institutional readings on key metrics such as billable hours, unbilled time, realization on collections, and cash receipts by client or by matter.

7.

9.

Knowing and Promoting Your Core Focus.

The days of full-service firms getting by with a "we do it all" message are over. "You can't honestly say you are the best at everything," Zimmerman explains, noting that his firm is built on core strengths in the corporate, finance, public and private equity, and high stakes litigation areas of practice.

10.

Being Involved in Charity and Community.

Leaders at the fast-rising firms understandably reject any notion of doing good in order to do well. But it just so happens that almost all of the fast-rising firms seem to have an emphasis on community service and participation that is much more than cosmetic. In fact, some law firm managing partners have told me they would not consider acquiring a firm that had no sense of community citizenship.

Developing these 10 habits of success is not a short-term program, however, and a note of caution is warranted. Organizational habits take time to develop and they are not truly effective until they become a basic part of a firm's DNA.

Cultivating Transparency and Trust.

Lawyers and other professionals at Bingham confess to being "shocked" at how much information the firm shares, even in the recruiting process. The words "open" and "transparent" and "honest" come up over and over again when employees are asked to describe the firm culture.

8.

Treating Your Alumni Like Members of Your Firm.

Some dinosaur firms operate like a cult, shunning members who leave and maintaining an insular focus and belief that the "best and the brightest" never escape the walls of their compounds. But the majority of leading-edge firms take a very different cultural approach toward their alumni, realizing that they are a rich source of referrals and eventual in-house contacts at large corporations.

Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

7


The “How To” guide for all things legal. Proceeding in right direction the first time and to do so By The Book.

Should a blog be included on a law firm website

to provide clients a one-stop-shop? I understand your desire to have a ‘one-stopshop’ for clients and prospective clients. What you are giving up though is the essence of blogging – enhancing your word of reputation and building relationships with relevant influencers and amplifiers. Amplifiers/influencers (A-list bloggers, reporters, publishers, editors, association leaders, conference coordinators) are a more important target audience for your blog than clients/prospective clients. It is virtually impossible to engage these folks through a blog inside of a website.You’ll rarely, if ever, get influencers/ amplifiers to cite or share your content if it’s inside of a website, and you’ll never get these folks to look at your information/insight/commentary on such a blog as anything more than marketing or advertising. The number one place people turn for the name of a lawyer is to someone they trust. People then Google the name of the lawyer they receive. Lawyers, no matter their area of the law and no matEven when people first find the name of a lawyer on ter the type of clients they serve, can strive to be a the Internet directly, without first turning to some- lawyer’s lawyer who gets their work by relationships one they trust, people will go through the same pro- and a strong word of mouth reputation, as opposed cess on Google. They’ll do research and be heavily to advertising, which many people see law firm webimpacted by how the influencers/amplifiers engage sites as. Don’t get me wrong – websites are needed by many lawyers, I just see another, and perhaps betwith you and you them. ter, way of getting work. 8

JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


We asked for the top 3 QUESTIONS from attorneys, to see how they ANSWER the clients and handle the cases that come to their firm.

Q: Can I get sued for sharing information to one of the partners at my previous employment?

that evidence, they can use any other evidence they have gathered to prove the chrage. Such as, smell, admissions and other witnesses statements.

A: The

In short, there is not one piece of evidence that the prosecutor needs. However, it does not seem like they have a lot of independent evidence to prove publc intoxcaton.

only way you can be successfully sued for defamation is if you lie about your former boss to the partner. Truth is an absolute defense to any claim for defamation. Of course, that does not mean your former boss will not sue you and tie you up in court. It only means that if you tell the truth, you will prevail in any case against you for defamation.

Q: If my house was surrendered in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, am I still liable for it? Q: If I was accused of public intoxi- A: You say that you surrendered the house in a chap cation and there was no blood test 13 bk. Has the Lender filed a foreclosure and taken title? If so, you have no liability. Is your wife a or field sobriety tests taken, does co-debtor in the chappter 13 filing? Is there still valthis make the charge capable of be- id insurance on the property? Too many questions arise to properly answer the question. Often times, ing uphold in court? A: Usually, public intoxication is defined as follows: A person is guilty of intoxication if the person under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors, to a dgree that the person may endanger the person or another, in a publc place or in a private place where the person unreasonably disturbs the peace.

That said, blood tests and field sobriety tests, if admissible, are used as evidence by the prosecutor to prove the offense of "public intoxication". However, while I am sure the prosecutor would like to have

a lender will continue insurance to protect their interests.

Gary Norris has practiced law in Ventura County since 1976. He is a fourth-generation Southern Californian who graduated from UC San Diego in 1972 and Mc George School of Law in Sacramento in 1976. He began work as a lawyer as a Deputy District Attorney in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, where he prosecuted criminal cases and was responsible for child support enforcement for more than three years. Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

11


The source for “Grass Roots” marketing. Tips to weed out the competition and fertilize your law firm.

Planting The Seed Where to start is just as important as what to sow.

Grassroots marketing, sometimes known as guerilla marketing, starts from the ground up. Instead of launching a message you hope will appeal to many people, you target your efforts to a small group and hope the group will spread your message to a much larger audience. Grassroots marketing often uses unconventional or nontraditional methods. Grassroots marketing often costs less than more conventional marketing efforts, but can produce big results. Targeting Your Efforts Target people or groups you identify as influential, then count on them to use their influence to spread the word about your product or idea. A book author might decide to send free books to Amazon's top reviewers in hopes they'll post favorable reviews about the book, which will then attract more readers, and buyers, to the book. A restaurant might give away free or discount coupons to frequent diners, with the aim of having them rave to their friends and family about the restaurant's food. Costs Since you're targeting your marketing efforts to a small group, grassroots marketing often costs much less than broader marketing efforts. Grassroots marketing often features low-cost and free campaigns, such as posting on social media or message boards, holding giveaways and contests and other low-cost efforts. 12

JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact

Rather than take out expensive print advertising to reach a broad audience, grassroots marketers can afford to launch several smaller-scale campaigns to reach separate defined audiences. Examples Some companies or businesses have recruited groups of people to spread the word about the product. In return, members of these street teams receive free giveaways or recognition, but usually no monetary rewards. A street team might hand out coupons, post reviews on websites and put out comments on social media. The team's job is to tell as many people as possible about the product or idea. YouTube videos, websites and contests are other vehicles for grassroots marketing.

“If you waste time marketing to groups who aren't interested in your product, or who have no influence with other groups, you won't gain from your efforts. “

Considerations Grassroots marketing is most effective if you can identify a definite market segment and appeal to the likes and dislikes of that segment. If you waste time marketing to groups who aren't interested in your product, or who have no influence with other groups, you won't gain from your efforts.Though you can't always measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, developing a way to gauge the effect of a campaign, such as printing a coupon for people to turn in or counting the number of visitors to a website, can give you an idea of whether your efforts are producing fruit.


Length and Process of a

Medical Malpractice Suit

Victims of medical malpractice often have serious financial issues directly related to their damages. Medical expenses and lost income associated with a 14 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact

medical malpractice case often bear down and put already troubled families into a downward financial spiral. Given the backlog of cases in the US courts in general, it may take six months to a year or more before a medical malpractice claim is settled. Often times, this is too long for families struggling with out of hand bills. Your attorney can give you options to get some money

up front, if your case stands a good chance at success. How Long Will a Malpractice Lawsuit Take? The time it takes to complete a medical malpractice lawsuit depends on the complexity and strength of the case, as well as the bandwidth of the court of jurisdiction. Most medical malpractice lawsuit will end up set-


“A medical malpractice attorney will be working to find the best balance between getting an injured patient and/or their family members their money quickly, while still making sure they get a fair amount.�

tling out of court, but still require that both sides file motions and go through discovery through the court process. A medical malpractice attorney will be working to find the best balance between getting an injured patient and/or their family members their money quickly, while still making sure they get a fair amount. Often times, a case may be settled

faster for a lesser amount of money, but the family will potentially lose several hundred thousand dollars or more. Alternatively, cases that win at trial tend to have much greater payouts, but can take several years before any money is paid. Initial Process of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Once the complaint has been filed

and all involved parties notified of the lawsuit, both sides will begin the process of discovery. During discovery, both sides will request information, evidence and related documentation from the other in an attempt to gather the facts and build their respective cases. During discovery, the defense and plaintiffs will need to hire an expert medical witness to consult on the

Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

15


case and to advise on the merits of the medical negligence complaint.

jury award is now over $1 Million. So why not go to trial every time? The fact is that medical malpractice litigation is very Expert Medical Witnesses expensive, time consuming and not guaranteed. If an atA neutral third party expert medical witness will be torney passes on a settlement offer only to find that a called upon by both sides to investigate the details of detail in the case may jeopardize its success, then both the case, establish the standard of care, and determine that attorney and their client loses. if and how medical negligence occurred. Depending on the state in which the complaint was Collecting the Money filed, the expert medical witness may be either a gen- Once a settlement or successful jury verdict has been eralist, or a specialist in the field of medicine involved reached, the case is completed and the plaintiff is paid in the lawsuit. Each state has laws governing the extent for all their damages. At this point, there are two comof specialty required by an expert witness in a medical mon options for the injured patient and/or their family malpractice case. members to collect the money; Lump-sum payment or In addition to establishing negligence, the expert wit- structured payments. ness must also determine if, and how the negligence lead to additional undue injury or damages to the pa- Structured Payment tient. Structured settlements or awards are often the option chosen in cases of birth injury, or malpractice to young Negotiating a Settlement children. The reason the courts often set up these If it is established, through the discovery period and types of funds is to ensure the child has money to covmedical expert opinion, that the case has merit, then er long-term or permanent medical care. the defense will likely begin their attempts to settle the In some cases, plaintiffs will later regret not receiving case out of court. a lump-sum payment and attempt to “sell” their strucJust like any other type of negotiation, the defense at- tured payments. This is often a mistake, as companies torneys representing the medical malpractice insurance that buy these types of structure,“over time” payments provider will do their best to minimize the amount of offer much less than what the beneficiary would othmoney that their client will have to pay out for the law- erwise receive. suit. Additionally, they will try to avoid having to go to trial due to the cost of doing so. Lump-Sum Payment A lump-sum payment is generally the best and least Why Settle? complicated way to collect the award or settlement Over 90% of medical malpractice cases settle out of money. Most plaintiffs and their attorneys favor this court, and for good reason. Neither side wants to go method of collection as it allows for the most options to court, because it is expensive and time-consuming. with regard to covering expenses and setting up funds Generally, only those cases where neither side can for future medical care. agree on a settlement amount will go to trial, and even then it is usually a last option. Paying Attorney Fees and Legal Expenses Since almost all medical malpractice lawyers charge Settlement Amounts vs. Jury Awards their clients on a contingency fee basis, they are not The average out of court settlement for a medical mal- paid for their services or reimbursed for legal expenspractice lawsuit is just over $425,000, while the average es until the case is concluded.

Upon conclusion of the malpractice lawsuit, the attorney will be paid as per the agreement outlined during the lawyer hiring process. Generally, attorneys will first recoup all the expenses that they paid during the prosecution of the lawsuit, after which they will be paid a percentage of the remainder for their legal services. 16 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

17


A Kendall County jury on Tuesday found former Pedernales Electric Cooperative attorney Walter Demond guilty of felony theft, money laundering and misapplication of fiduciary property for helping arrange secret payments of co-op money to relatives of Pedernales officials. The jury sentenced Demond, 63, to 10 years of probation and a $10,000 fine. State District Judge Dan Mills also gave Demond 500 days in jail — 100 days a year for five years — and imposed $212,000 in restitution. The money will be paid to Demond's former law firm, Clark, Thomas & Winters, which ceased operations earlier this year.

to relatives of former Pedernales executives. During the trial, Demond denied criminal wrongWalter Demond doing and attributed many of his actions to following Bennie Fuelberg's orders. Prosecutors never called Jurors began deliberations Thursday morning but went home without a verdict and returned on Tuesday after the Memorial Day holiday. Demond and his attorneys showed little emotion when the jury issued its verdict.

"This verdict should send a chill through the spine of all corporate lawyers" Prosecutor Harry White argued against probation, telling the jury that as a lawyer, Demond should have Before leaving the law firm in 2009, Demond headed Clark Thomas' energy section and was Pedernales' top known better. outside lawyer. He was described in court as a close "If we allow Mr. Demond to just get probation, what is friend of Fuelberg's; the latter served as a best man at the message being sent?" White asked. "That you can Demond's wedding, and the two owned a hunting lease be the lawyer to large electric companies \u2026 and together. if you violate that duty, if you steal from a client, that's Today, Pedernales is run by a new CEO and directors not a big deal." who have enacted a number of reforms. All have said Demond received a harsher sentence than the one they are eager to put the Fuelberg era behind them. given to former Pedernales General Manager Bennie Fuelberg by a Blanco County jury in February. Fuelberg "This verdict should send a chill through the spine of all got five years of probation, including 300 days in jail, corporate lawyers," Pedernales board President Larry Landaker said Tuesday. "General counsel has a higher and is appealing his sentence. duty to the law and the corporation's shareholders. It Both men were prosecuted for their roles in arranging is not an acceptable defense to say that 'I was following about $700,000 in secret payments of co-op money orders of management or the board. 18 AUGUST 2012 Attorney Impact


David Baldacci: Absolute Passion At 51, Richmond native David Baldacci retains the boyish good looks and megawatt energy of his 34-year-old self, back when he made headlines when his first novel, a politically charged thriller called Absolute Power, sold in 1994 for what would become a total of $5 million in book sales and rights to a blockbuster movie starring Clint Eastwood. He hasn’t slowed down since. With 24 novels (and counting), 110 million books in print and film production on the horizon, Baldacci explains, “I feel more energized today than I did at 35. I have a great sense of the privilege and freedom I have as a writer.” ‘IT FLIES OFF MY FINGERS ONTO THE PAGE’

But all Baldacci ever wanted to do was write: “I never shut up as a kid.That’s one reason my mom bought me a journal with blank pages [to write in] because I think she figured it would shut me up if I were writing.”

and Wish You Well (2000), a fictional story of a 12-yearold girl set in the mountains of Virginia where his maternal grandmother and mother lived. “We’ve raised enough money to film it, I have a production team in place and we have it with a prominent director/actress now to see if she’s interested in directing,” he explains. Meanwhile, Baldacci has enjoyed scouting locations for filming. Baldacci was approached last summer by “NCIS” executive producer Shane Brennan; the resulting television pilot “King and Maxwell” based on Baldacci’s popular characters Sean King and Michelle Maxwell (ex- Secret-Service-agents-turned-private-investigators featured in five Baldacci novels) is being shopped to networks. Baldacci will have a consultant credit and may have an executive producer credit down the road. LIVING THE DREAM

To boomers with their own dreams, he believes it’s “only too late when someone’s delivering your eulogy. … “My mother passed the day before Mother’s Day 2011. So every book inscription was ‘Happy Mother’s Day.’ KING OF THE THRILLERS I don’t tend to get really emotional about things or Though best-known for thrillers filled with secret break down, but [afterwards] I went and sat in my car agents, assassins and conspiracies (his latest book, The and couldn’t really move,” he recalls. Innocent, released in April, has a main character Balda- I have lived longer than I have yet to live – that’s comcci calls “a stone-cold hit man”), Baldacci has penned pelling and makes you think. You don’t want to waste three non-thrillers, as well: One Summer (2011), a time on anything.” story about love, loss and fractured relationships; The Christmas Train (2002), a romantic Christmas story; 20 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


CharityLawyer offers plain language explanations of complex nonprofit law concepts, discussions of current events and links to valuable resources for nonprofits.

MOUs versusContracts When nonprofits need to put something in • Parties to the Contract. Who needs to be writing, they frequently choose to avoid enter- included? Is it a traditional two party contract ing into an intimidating legal contract and inor do additional parties need to be obligated? stead opt for the less threatening MOU. MOU stands for a “memorandum of understanding.” Nonprofits tend to view MOUs as a kinder gentler way to document their intentions. However, a contract is, at its core, an offer by one party to do something, an acceptance by the other party, and the promise to exchange something of value to seal the deal. Under this definition, the MOUs we see nonprofits create are almost always bare bones legal contracts.

• Term. How long will the contract last? Should the term be based on the passage of time or the occurrence of a specific event or milestone? Will it renew automatically unless notice to terminate is provided?

• Scope. Why are the parties entering into a contract? What good or service (or the combiEven if an MOU is an enforceable contract, MOUs nation of the two) is being provided under the rarely include the level of detail required to resolve contract? misunderstandings when they arise. For this reason, we advise our clients to enter into contracts that fully document their expectations. A bare bones agreement may feel less intimidating but it leaves quite a bit to argue about if a party’s expectation is not fulfilled under the contract. The better practice is to create a non-binding MOU to memorialize the key terms of the deal. The parties can then rely on the MOU as basis to move forward with the negotiation of a more complete contract. Another technique we use to soften nonprofit contracts is to get creative with the titles. For example, to better reflect the more collaborative nature of nonprofit endeavors, we use titles such as “Collaboration Agreement”, or “Affiliation Agreement” in place of Joint Service Agreement or Acquisition Agreement. To flesh out the terms of a contract consider the parties’ intentions with respect to the following: 22 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact

• Responsibilities of Each Party. What is expected of each party to the contract? The duties of each party should be separately spelled out in the contract. • Termination. Is the contract terminable at will? Is notice required to terminate the contract and if so how much notice is required? • Confidentiality. Will the parties have access to one another’s confidential information? Do the parties want to keep the terms of the contract confidential? • Covenants. Do the parties require one another to make additional promises to do or not to do something?


• Indemnfication. Are the parties promising to indemnify one another if a party to the contract creates liability for the other party? • Choice of Law, Jurisdiction, and Venue. For parties in different jurisdictions, what law will govern interpretation of the contract? Where will any lawsuits be filed? Should alternative dispute resolution such as arbitration or mediation be required? Nonprofits that use contracts that are clear on the above points will be more likely to avoid disappointment down the road. If the project does go awry, nonprofits with solid contracts will be in a far better position to deal with the other party’s failure to hold up their end of the bargain.

Ellis McGehee Carter Ellis McGehee Carter is a nonprofit lawyer practicing in Phoenix, Arizona and Seattle,Washington. She is the founder of Carter Law Group, P.C. and has been advising nonprofits, tax-exempt organizations, and socially responsible companies with respect to corporate, tax and regulatory issues for over 15 years.

Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

23


Whether your traveling on business or pleasure your time is important and BOARDING PASS makes it easy to plan ahead and know what to expect to see, taste and experience. Ah Italy! The Roman ruins, Renaissance art, medieval villages and Venetian canals create visions so pleasing to your eyes that it's easy to forget about your other senses. And while the cultural beauty, rustic traditions and genuine Italian hospitality always leave a good taste in your mouth, it's the cuisine that truly seduces all who travel to Il Belpaese - the Beautiful Country. From the tip of Sicily to the peaks of the Dolomites, Italy is one incredible feast, a smorgasbord of regional cuisines that defines its people and thrusts this savory country high into the world rankings of culinary arts. In fact, if you squint in the bright Italian sunlight, the flat canals of Venice appear like fettuccine, the Leaning Tower of Pisa resembles the leaning noodle of cannelloni, and the great Colosseum looks like, well, a giant pizza pie! Okay, those may be slight gastronomic exaggerations, but it is undeniable that few countries celebrate their food-and celebrate with food-as Italy. Here food is simple, fresh and delicious: the three pillars of Italian cooking. Each morning village marketplaces pulse with locals buying the finest, freshest produce. Wooden stalls spill over with rosy tomatoes, giant eggplants and deep green zucchinis still wet with dew. The natural fragrance of wild mushrooms, basil, rosemary and sage saturate the air. These are the perfect ingredients that create the robust flavors of Italian foods we all know and love. Delightful and dazzling are two words that often 26 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


spring from diners' lips after they swallow a scrumptious piece of gnocchi made around the Amalfi Coast. Protecting Italy's western shores like a great stone lion, the Amalfi Coast is well known for its beautiful cliffs and breath taking views over the Mediterranean. But as you'll quickly learn, its cuisine soon will dominate the minds of millions. Lessons during this culinary tour focus on handmade pastas, savory sauces, fresh seafood and pizza. In between classes and sightseeing tours of local villages like Positano and Ravello, you'll learn about the beauty of limoncello, a homemade liqueur made with locally grown lemons that's the perfect aperitif on a warm, clear day on Italy's western seaboard. Contact a trusted travel agent at World Travel and start packing your favorite measuring cup for the ultimate in culinary adventures that will serve up Italy in as many courses as you can handle. Travel agents can connect several cooking tours, allowing you to learn about various styles and regions in one trip. They can add a culinary tour at the end of your already-planned Italian sightseeing vacation, like a dessert you will never forget. They can even include other ingredients, like a bicycle or sailing trip. However you want to see and taste Italy, your travel agent has the recipe right for you. Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

27


The first 115 years of women lawyers in Philadelphia is upon us.The entrance of women into the legal profession was one of the most important developments in the history of the Philadelphia bar. Local strides have ranged from slow, measured steps by a few, to the veritable army of women lawyers marching among the ranks of the legal profession today. The assimilation of women into the legal profession has been marked by successful struggles against societal and legal obstacles to women practicing law. Although there is no one story to tell of the woman lawyer in Philadelphia, the many different stories are like the paintings of one artist, with a common aesthetic concept and composition. You see the common themes in each, beyond the predominant differences.The earliest years in the late nineteenth century chronicle numerous tales of novel beginnings and the opposition to those beginnings. The ability to attend law school and gain admittance to the bar was, by and large, a product of protracted litigation throughout the United States, including Pennsylvania. The resistance was supported by expressed beliefs such as women were "too kind," "not cold-blooded," "not possessed of a high grade of intellect," "lacked the physical strength to handle heavy case loads," and "attractive women would unfairly sway juries." Even the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 30 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


right of Illinois to deny Myra Bradwell's admittance to the bar in 1873 in Bradwell v. Illinois. The concurring opinion cited "the natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex" as the rationale for denying women the right to practice law. Reactions by the women seeking admission to the bar resulted in demonstrable common themes in their careers of persistence and seizing opportunity, in addition to patience and impatience, each appropriate at its own time.

Locally, Caroline "Carrie" Burnham Kilgore fought for eight years for the ability to formally study law. The journey from commencement of her legal studies to becoming a licensed attorney spanned sixteen years. Carrie Kilgore began life as the daughter of a wealthy woolens manufacturer. Unfortunately, she was orphaned at age 12, and her guardian stopped her education and put her to work in the family factory and kitchen. At age 15, she was a teacher in Vermont; at 18, a teacher in Wisconsin. With her salary from teaching and domestic work, she Nationally, Margaret Brent is rec- was able to continue her education. ognized as the first woman lawyer After teaching in Wisconsin, Kilgore in this country. She arrived in the moved to New York to study medicolonies in 1638 and practiced law cine. She moved to Philadelphia the in Maryland. In 1869, Belle Babb year following receipt of her mediMansfield passed the Iowa state bar cal degree. and became the first woman in the United States formally admitted to Prior to attending law school, Kila state bar. And in 1884, Belva Lock- gore began the informal study of wood became the first woman ad- law in 1865. She later registered mitted to practice before the U.S. formally as the law student of DaSupreme Court. mon Kilgore in 1870, before their marriage. She was denied admission Prior to the presence of women to the University of Pennsylvania in lawyers in Philadelphia,The Legal In- 1871 and was denied permission telligencer published an article with to be given the bar examination in intended humor concerning the no- 1873 and 1874. Kilgore's struggle to tion of women as lawyers. The Au- attend law school ended successgust 10, 1855, article cited the kinds fully with legislation in Pennsylvania of rules the courts would have to enabling women to be admitted to develop in response to women in law schools in the state. In 1883, court. Included among them were: she became the first woman grad"No lady lawyer is ever to kiss the uate of the University of PennsylvaJudge for an arrest of judgment; No nia Law School and the first woman cradles allowed in Court; and the admitted to practice law in Philapenalty for infraction of the rules delphia. In 1886, she became the is . . . obliging her to attend to her first woman admitted to practice household duties." law in Pennsylvania. Perhaps a trailblazer by nature, she had previously Groundbreakers: The First Genera- become the first female doctor in tion New York when she received her

medical degree in 1864. In ruling that Kilgore was entitled to be admitted to practice law, Justice P. Thayer of the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia stated, "if there is any longer any such thing as . . . the sphere of woman, it is . . . a sphere with an infinite and indeterminable radius . . . Everywhere now she is permitted by the common consent of mankind to select and pursue her own vocation . . . the revolution is over. It was so gradual that perhaps you did not observe it." Kilgore had a distinguished career. She was appointed the first woman master in chancery in Pennsylvania. In 1890, she became the fourth woman lawyer admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Kilgore was well known as a suffragist who unsuccessfully initiated legal proceedings to gain the right to vote. She unsuccessfully attempted to become the first female Juvenile Court judge in Philadelphia in 1901. As of 1900, there were about 1,000 women lawyers in the United States. Turn-of-the-century reports of additional women lawyers practicing in Philadelphia include Margaret Center Klingelsmith, also a Penn Law grad and the librarian of the Biddle Law Library of the University of Pennsylvania. Frances Keay Ballard attended Penn Law after her unsuccessful attempts at Harvard Law School. She applied to Harvard in 1899 and endured an extensive and unsuccessful challenge to the school's

Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

31


32 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


admissions policies, which were not changed to admit women until 1950. She maintained a private practice in Philadelphia in 1902, served as head attorney for the Legal Aid Society and taught college classes in law. Historical literature notes few women lawyers who practiced in Philadelphia before 1900. Among them were Kilgore, Klingelsmith, Diana Hirschler and Isabel Darlington. The 1900 Philadelphia Business Directory listed only three women lawyers: Diana Hirschler, Caroline Kilgore and Ruby R. Vale. In 1915, A. Florence Yerger of Philadelphia was reported to have been practicing law for eight years. The 1920 Philadelphia law directory listed four women lawyers: Cecelia P. Bass, Helena Haines, Margaret P. Klingelsmith and Caroline K. Kenworthy. Kenworthy was noted in 1938 to have the only all-female law office, with three associates practicing with her. She initially practiced with her father and later practiced with her sister, Joan Kenworthy Vieser. Darlington achieved distinction many years later when, at the age of 75 in 1941, she was elected president of the Chester County Bar Association, thereby becoming the first female president of a bar association in Pennsylvania. A recent survey by Catalyst, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the professional advancement of women, indicated that in 2000, almost fifty percent of the students enrolling in top-tier law firms were women; nearly sixteen percent of law firm partners nationwide were women; and nearly fourteen percent of Fortune 500 company general counsels were women. Locally, among the city's largest law firms, the number of female equity partners in 2000 ranged from seven to twenty-seven percent, with the total number of female attorneys ranging from twenty-two to thirty-seven percent. Among members of the firms' executive committees, women members ranged from zero to forty percent. The era of "firsts" among women has rapidly wound down in recent decades. A significant indicator of progress is that what was once a rarity is occurring with some frequency. The statistics cited above still reflect significant gaps that remain to be closed. In essence, as the century turns again, in spite of the progress made by women lawyers, "we've got miles to go before we're done."

Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

33


Meet the rest of Jan Dils... ANGIE THOMPSON Dedication to providing a voice for those who are not always heard is the driving force behind Angie Thompson and her work as an Attorney for Jan Dils. After personally meeting with her clients, Angie works on preparing each claim, then represents her clients at hearings. Prior to joining the Jan Dils team, Angie finished her law degree and completed an internship with The Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. Angie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Westminster College in 2004. She went on to earn her Juris Doctorate from Duquesne Law School in 2008. Angie is also accredited within the Department of Veterans’ Administration, which gives her valuable experience, knowledge and insight into many areas of specific concern to veterans.

HEATHER E. VANHOOSE Before returning to her home state of West Virginia, Heather gained a valuable mix of education and experience that make her such an important part of the Jan Dils team. She graduated from Hobart William Smith colleges (Geneva, New York) in 1999 with a double major in political science and environmental studies. She then attended Roger Williams University School of Law and graduated in 2002. Upon graduation from law school, Heather moved to Washington D.C. and was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar. Not long after that, Heather moved home to West Virginia and practiced law for over four years with the not-for-profit firm Mountain State Justice. There, she focused on helping low income families with consumer protection issues. Heather joined the Jan Dils team in the summer of 2007 and is now focusing on Social Security and Veterans benefits. Heather is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR).

JIM LEACH Prior to teaming with Jan Dils in Personal Injury matters, Jim Leach acquired extensive experience practicing cases involving personal injury and death in West Virginia, Ohio and Virginia. A former Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the Wood County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Parkersburg, Mr. Leach received a Bachelor of Science Degree and his law degree from West Virginia University. Licensed in West Virginia, Ohio, and Virginia.

34 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


KATHERINE J. HARTUNG A Bridgeport native, Katherine became a classically trained opera singer at Shepherd University, where she was a Joseph McMurran Scholar and graduated in the top 1 percent in her class. Instead of pursuing the stage, however, she pursued law school, sending her on a path that led her to representing Social Security disability claimants at the Jan Dils Law Firm. After earning her degree from the West Virginia University School of Law, Katherine clerked at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals’ workers’ compensation division. She then practiced toxic torts litigation at a private law firm, representing factory workers who had developed diseases from their exposure to harmful chemicals. Her legal background has helped Katherine develop outstanding legal research and writing skills. But what she enjoys the most is meeting one-on-one with clients at intake assessments and while preparing them for hearings. She’s found that she can have a reassuring tone. Katherine is a member of the West Virginia Bar Association and Generation Charleston.

CHELI DYER Drawing on her background as a teacher, Cheli Dyer makes it a point to educate her clients about the process they face while helping them to obtain Social Security disability benefits. An Ohio native, Cheli decided to pursue a second career in law after graduatingmagna cum laude from The Ohio State University with a degree in psychology in 1996. She earned her master’s degree in elementary education from Ohio State in 1999 and spent several years in the classroom. Additionally, Cheli has a master’s level certificate in public relations. She went on to earn her law degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 2010, where she again graduated magna cum laude. She also served as the chairperson for the school’s Moot Court Team, the charter president of NCCU Law’s chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and as the vice-dean of Delta Theta Phi, a law fraternity for which she later served as the Executive Director of Student Relations. When she isn’t practicing law, Cheli enjoys watching sports, playing volleyball and staying active with her children and husband. She also is a lifelong racing fan and had the opportunity to get an up-close look at NASCAR while serving as a legal intern with the general counsel of Red Bull Racing, Inc., in Mooresville, North Carolina. She is a member of the West Virginia Bar.

SHANNAN HINZMAN As a certified Social Security Advocate, for Jan Dils’ law practice, Shannan Hinzman shares her experience, knowledge and a caring attitude with each and every client. Having previously been contracted by the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review of the Social Security Administration, she has thirteen years’ experience in the area of Social Security law. She graduated from WVU in 1995 with an Associates degree in business administration and psychology. On a daily basis, Shannan processes and reviews medical records looking for information that demonstrates our clients are medically disabled while arranging that information in a format that allows our attorneys and advocates to convince the Judges that our clients are disabled. She is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR). Shannan is a dedicated worker and a great asset to our firm. Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

35


Growing A Family By Adoption If you have decided to grow your family through adoption, you want to adopt now. There is an urgency of having time slip by without having the child of your dreams. Congratulations on making the decision to adopt. Arriving at the decision to adopt is the hardest part. Now action is necessary. Put your-

We make decisions everyday that aren’t always law related it’s these decisions that shape who we are, sometimes you just have to take things on a case by case basis.

self in motion to accomplish these 1. Decide whether adop7 Key Steps to Adopting in the next tion is right for you. Talk with 30 days and you will have a baby in others who have adopted. Talk toyour arms within about a year. gether about whether adopting is right for you both. People arrive at Here are the steps to adopt the adoption decision at different in the shortest amount of times and on different commitment levels. Make sure you both are fully time: on board with this very important life change.

2. Investigate adoption resources. Many resources are available to you to learn about the adoption process and decide whether an attorney, an adoption agency, an adoption matching service or a combination is right for you.

3. Sign up with one or more adoption attorneys, adoption agencies or oth-

38 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


er matching services. Take ble scenarios you might be present- Tap into this deep well of support action. Commit to go forward with your plan. Once you sign up with an adoption service provider, you are on the path to becoming parents through adoption.

ed with will help you be ready to make decisions quickly.

6. Share with your family and selected friends that you are adopting. The pros-

4. Create materials to pect of adopting will become more present yourselves to a real to you if you talk about it with potential birth mother. A your extended family members and birth mother will likely want to see photos of you and read information about your lifestyle to decide whether to choose you as the parents of her baby. Your adoption service provider can usually guide you as to how to prepare materials to present yourself well.

by the power of your belief.

Follow these 7 simple steps within the next 30 days and you will be parents very soon! If you would like more information about adopting from a trusted, experienced adoption attorney (and adoptive mom), visit:

selected friends. You do not need www.OrlandoAdoptionAttorney.com to tell the whole world if you don't want to, but telling key support people in your lives will help them as well as you be ready to welcome a child into your family.

7. Believe that you are about to become parents 5. Prepare to make deci- through adoption. Begin sions about a birth mother thinking of yourselves as parentsmatch. There will be many deci- to-be. There is positive energy in

sions you will need to make quickly your belief that will propel people when a birth mother is presented and events toward making your to you. By reading books on adop- dream of becoming parents a reality. tion and discussing together possi-

Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

39


40 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


facebook.com/attorneyimpact

twitter.com/attorneyimpact

«

linkedin.com/company/attorneyimpact

attorneyimpact.com/googleplus

Attorney Tech has the latest and hottest gadgets to help your firm stay on top of your game and ahead of the pack. #AttorneyTech

Rethink the Laptop. The new Samsung Series 9 with Intel Core i5 processor. At just .58” thin, you’ll rethink size. With a10.6-second boot time, you’ll rethink speed. And with its head-turning design, you may just rethink everything you’ve thought about your old laptop. $1,399.00 • www.samsung.com

Thin, light and portable. Nexus 7 was built to bring you the best of Google in a slim, portable package that fits perfectly in your hand. It was made for eBooks, movies, has access to over 600,000+ apps, music and magazines (like Attorney Impact). $199.00 • www.google.com/nexus/#/7

Mobile stress reliever. Short of having a court reporter follow you around, keeping track of every detail that transpires during a case can be near impossible. The Livescribe Echo Smartpen makes it easier. This handy device can record and link the conversations around you into your notes as you write. $149.95 • www.livescribe.com Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

41


ARE CLIENTS FINDING YOUR FIRM? I’ve sometimes joked that SEO is like getting a date – if you try too hard, you’re going to mess it all up. All joking aside, lawyers who are interested in search engine optimization (“SEO”) can actually get a lot done with just a little work.

Here’s a quick SEO checklist for lawyers interested in improving their rankings: 1.Write down the name of the TOP city or state your law firm is targeting 2. Write down the TOP area(s) of practice your law firm is targeting 3. Combine your GEO + AOP + lawyer or attorney and those are your target keywords (eg Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorneys, Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers, etc.)

have a physical presence. 5. Make sure you talk about your top AOP on your homepage and link to a more detailed page within your site. Talk about your GEO but don’t beat it to death – restrict yourself to one or two “natural” mentions of your target geography. It doesn’t take much. Resist the urge to spam with a long list of 30 towns located all around your practice. “The Ft Lauderdale attorneys of Smith & Jones offer legal help to victims of personal injury in Broward County Florida.” is a good, sample sentence that illustrates how a little content can go a long way – there are three GEOs in there!

6. Consider the con4. Turn your attention to your site version mechanisms lo– make sure you put your law firm’s cated on your site – is it mailing address in real text in the easy to reach you? does footer or navigation of your web- your site “speak to” your site. It will be harder to get rankings audience? for cities/towns where you don’t

42 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


7. Carefully build incoming links to your website – it will make you an “authority” 8. Consider producing an animated PowerPoint or lawyer video and distributing it through YouTube.Video is too large a part of online marketing to ignore. 9. Over time, measure your results using an analytics package like WebTrends or Google Analytics. Don’t forget to track the phone calls by using a call tracking number unique

to your website. Now set a course to update your website content every 3-4 weeks over the next few months. Add a page or paragraph that simply talks about what you do best within your law firm… or a practice area you have targeted for growth. Forget about strategically filling the page with your keywords. You’ll hit them “naturally” enough when you put together your copy. If you’d really like to massage your copy, review it to make sure you hit all the synonyms and variations of your target keywords. For example: if you target personal injury cases, make sure you use words like injuries and injured as well. Develop your copy to express your idea a number of ways, not a number of times.

Overall, remember: Content + Authority = Rankings

White hat vs. Black hat SEO techniques can be classified into two broad categories: techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design, and those techniques of which search engines do not approve. The search engines attempt to minimize the effect of the latter, among them spamdexing. An SEO technique is considered white hat if it conforms to the search engines' guidelines and involves no deception. As the search engine guidelines are not written as a series of rules or commandments, this is an important distinction to note. White hat SEO is in many ways similar to web development that promotes accessibility, although the two are not identical. Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception. One black hat technique uses text that is hidden, either as text colored similar to the background, in an invisible div, or positioned off screen. Search engines may penalize sites they discover using black hat methods, either by reducing their rankings or eliminating their listings from their databases altogether.

Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

43


44 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


Cost of doing nothing different | Marketing Strategy Entrepreneurs not only create a product or ser- new clients or customers and a plan to take them from vice and become their own Chief Marketing Of- introduction to purchase. ficer, Publicity Director and Head of Sales. Many entrepreneurs are not, however, comfortable with the “Attract hundreds, even thousands sales end of business. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.There are countless trainings and teachers who can teach you their own step by step guides to identifying leads, pitching the product or service and closing the deal. But without a fundamental shift in the way the entrepreneur views his or her own value, the sales cycle will still stand as a huge challenge; a personal boulder in the road to success.

of potential clients to your offer without becoming a hustler.”

“Attract hundreds, even thousands of potential clients to your offer without becoming a hustler.” The transformation is a clear cut, heart based method of attraction marketing that is in alignment with a non-sales personality but that still teaches them how to close the deal with language that is within their comfort zone.

Shift your thinking from selling to transforming. I recently heard Max Simon, Big Vision Business, talk about shifting our thinking in the selling process from closing the deal to revealing the transformation your product or service offers to the potential end user. That’s a profound shift in thinking and here are some examples of real programs, what they offer and how a simple shift in thinking can make a big difference in the way these entrepreneurs will speak to clients about their offer.

What do I mean by Transformation? Here’s some examples of valuable transformational offers: “This accounting system uncovers an average of $3,000 in “found” money from your business budget that you can reinvest in growing your company.” The transformation is taking a client from a state of chaos in his or her money management to a place where they have total control over their cash flow and even understand where money might have been lost because of uncollected or outstanding invoices, recurring bills for services no longer used or other cash black holes. “My system brings 5,000 new leads to your business in three months and shows you how to convert them to clients.” The transformation is an infusion in potential

Is your business a hobby or a business? If you’ve written a book, created a program, developed a workshop or webinar, but no one knows about it, you have a hobby and not a business. If your book, talk, workshop or service will solve a problem, or transform the user, you have an obligation to take your business from the hobby level to the business level. The cost of doing nothing is choosing to keep your product, talent or service as a hobby instead of providing a transformation for others.

Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

45


LACES OUT Guys, this is the dress shoe of the season. Isn’t it time you joined the order of the monkstrap? Thing is, ther are ground rules. Here’s are heel-to-toe guide to buckling up.

1

GO MONASTIC They’re the dressiest of all men’s shoes. But don’t be all precious. The cool thing now is to treat monks like just another pair of kicks.

2

4

KNOW WHEN TO DOUBLE-BUCKLE Double monkstraps are more advanced–not for the sartorial faint of heart. Get it right, though, and you’ll turn twice the heads.

3

FRAMING IS HALF THE BATTLE Don’t be shy with those fancy shoes! Really make your monks pop by showcasing them with cuffed pants hemmed short.

WHY DO THEY CALL THEM MONKSTRAPS? Monkstraps were worn in European monasteries for centuries as part of the customary dresss.Then a monk visiting from England brought them back home with him. It’s the shoe of the season, but the heritage is way deep.

5

THE SECRET: BLACK POLISH, BROWN SHOES Breaking in shoes can take a while. Press fast-forward with brown shoes by burnishing the toe and the area above the heel with a little black polish.

46 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


6

Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

47


7 8

ONE PAIR,THREE WAYS Dudes like the Duke of Windsor and the Earl of So-and-So loved to pair monks with a suit. Which is exactly why you should wear your with jeans.

BEAT THEM UP (OR PAY SOMEBODY ELSE TO) If you’re impatient with the breaking-in process, you can always cheat by buying a pre-distressed version.

10

9

OUR FAVORITE FOR UNDER $150 Three years ago, most double monks ran 500 bucks and then some. Now you don’t need much more than a C-note. And guess what you can’t tell the difference.

WHO SAYS YOU HAVE TO USE THE BUCKLES? Take your double monks down a notch by leaving the top buckle unfastened. The vibe is “I make my own rules.”

48 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


8 Ways Staff Can Participate in Firm Development

lifeline to the firm. Attorneys rely on staff to help them be responsive to phone messages and email while they are busy with cases and deals. Staff members, especially assistants, need to take the time to get to know their clients. Have your attorney introduce you in person. Learn their communication styles and preferences. Develop a relationship with the client’s administrative assistant and other members of their 1. Provide remarkable client team (especially the accounts payservice: For many clients, an attor- able folks). ney’s secretary or assistant is their Remarkable client service is deWhile the burden of business development falls primarily on attorneys, staff members such as secretaries, administrative assistants, paralegals, technologists, librarians and directors can and should make significant contributions to the firm’s business development efforts. Here are eight ways staff can make a difference.

50 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact

fined differently by each client. Remarkable client service will open the doors to new and interesting work, and retain profitable clients. Remarkable client service will drive referrals and word of mouth advertising. Look for ways to WOW your clients in an individual and person way. 2. Create a Verbal Business Card (VBC): A verbal business card is an effective way to introduce your firm to other people. It is often used in social and profes-


sional networking situations. Some people call it an elevator speech. How would you answer these questions at a cocktail party? “So, where do you work? What do you do?” Many of us might answer in lawyerese, “I’m a litigation support specialist for a PI firm that handles med-mal cases.” What???? For example, I work for a law firm that helps land owners make money by developing underutilized properties. They rely on us to handle all of the legal and regulatory details so that they can focus on the business. A good VBC is intriguing. It invites questions. You should be prepared to communicate: - The firm’s value proposition, which is how you are helpful or valuable to your clients. Why are you worth “twice the fees” to your clients? - Three points of difference: What makes your firm different from the others? Why is that important to your clients? - Three stories of success: How have you or your firm made a client successful? What is the proof of your value proposition? 3. Be Alert to Opportunities: As you interact with clients and potential clients, network in the community and talk with friends, listen for opportunities for your firm. Your role is best seen as an internal referral source rather than someone soliciting business. For you to be effective, you must understand the practice areas and industries your firm serves. Find the right attorney who is the best match with the potential client and make the introduction. 4. Help attorneys manage their contacts: Working one’s network to develop relationships is critical

to business development. Many attorneys have a hard time keeping up with their contact information, which can hinder one’s business development efforts. Attorneys and firms should also be maintaining targeted e-mail lists so that they can communicate important and timely information to narrowly defined groups of clients and prospects on a moment‟s notice. Administrative staff can also help attorneys be more effective in social networking.

following fields: Name, Company, Title, Needs/Wants, Opportunities and Next Steps. Admin staff can help manage the monthly action list and assist with scheduling appointments. A strong attorney/admin team focused on setting up meetings is hard to beat.

7. Relationship Management: This is related to a number of points above, but worth mentioning as a separate concept. Admin staff can help attorneys build stronger 5. Become a part-time compet- relationships with clients by focusitive intelligence analyst: The ing on the details, such as: corporate world is rapidly changing a. Remembering client birthdays and attorneys need to keep up with and sending a card or small gift. the latest news of our clients’ and b. Managing a client/matter online prospects’c business and industry. calendar and keeping the attorney Admin staff can serve as intelligence and/or client team on track. gatherers and synthesizers, provid- c. Participating in client team meeting relevant information to attor- ings so that staff is aware of presneys and practice/industry groups, sure points, potential land mines and critical success factors of the including: a. Setting up news alerts, like Goo- project. gle Alerts, for key clients and pros- d. Generally making the attorneys, pects, reviewing daily alerts and client team and firm look good to providing only those stories/links the client. that are relevant to the attorneys. b. Setting up litigation alerts, such as 8. Marketing Materials: Staff Thompson/Reuters or LexisNexis, members are well positioned to reviewing daily and providing only create and assemble general marthose relevant cases to the attor- keting materials that attorneys can use when meeting with potential neys. c. Receiving email newsletters, re- clients, speaking at industry events viewing blogs and other online or hosting events. Keeping the web content via RSS feeds, culling out site up to date with relevant artiuseless information, and providing a cles, updated bios, upcoming events, summary of relevant information to press releases, speaking gigs, etc… is also very important. Staff can, and the attorney or group. should, play an important role in 6.Business Development Track- a firm‟s business development efing: One of the keys to success- forts. Marketing a law firm, as in any ful business development is having business, is a never-ending task. The discipline in planning and tracking most successful firms have strong your BD activity. Staff can help at- attorney-staff teams that together torneys develop a lead/prospect are marketing machines. tracking system. A simple system consists of a spreadsheet with the Attorney Impact JANUARY 2013

51


52 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact


5 STEPS TO

GR

Step One - Develop Your Plan One of the most important steps to take is spending time developing a plan, which includes identifying all of the functions that need to be covered immediately. It is also a good idea to identify the types of skills and bent needed to oversee each of these functions. Once you list all of these major areas, you can start to break things down into tasks, and then identify those activities that would be easily outsourced.

Step Two - Create a Job Description There are several reputable websites that act as a middle man for clients looking for independent contractors. This is a safe way of doing business for both parties, but you don't have to limit yourself to that arrangement either, if you have other ways of getting the word out about your outsourcing needs. List some examples of both macro and more focused tasks that the candidate selected can expect to be doing. Ask a trusted colleague to take a look at your description to see if it is missing any key components that might hamper opening up constructive lines of communication.

Step Three - Post the Job Description and Screen Your Candidates Every one of the first three steps needs to be approached with a lot of care and forethought, but it's noteworthy to mention that you really should take your time with this particular step, which is spending a lot of quality time in communication with those candidates that pique your interest. In my case, I was able to hire three individuals at the same time, and one of them rose to the top as a clear contender for the key operational position I had envisioned. Keep the other candidates on the back burner in case it becomes clear the individual you selected will not work out. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is "be slow to hire, and quick to fire" when it becomes apparent 54 JANUARY 2013 Attorney Impact

W

YOUR FIRM TODAY

that the relationship is not a good fit. The good news about engaging an independent contractor is that standard laws that protect employees do not apply, so you don't need to tiptoe around a difficult relationship for fear of litigation. They invoice you for work performed, and you pay them. When you decide it's not a good value, you ask them to stop doing their tasks and wash your hands of the problem.

Step Four - Set Up Clear Expectations Up Front, and Course Correct As Necessary Not all independent contractors understand that they are not employees. Communicating up front that you will not be taking out any payroll taxes for them, and ensuring that they understand that they are their own company and are responsible for the tax burden will help with many issues that may crop up later on. Finally, make sure you handsomely reward your superstars. There are all kinds of ways to do that: buying them equipment so that they don't have to do so out of their own pockets; paying for vacation days that are not part of any pre-set arrangements; bonuses, from a straight cash bonus, to purchasing them season passes to their favorite entertainment venue. The possibilities are endless.

Step Five - Wash, Rinse and Repeat As you grow your firm, you will identify steps that are idiosyncratic to your particular needs, which will help you in your search for new candidates when it's time to expand. It's a good idea to standardize and document things so that you don't have to reinvent the wheel when it's time for the next round of hiring. The new rules of engagement in this economy mean that we all need to adapt. This is a positive and beneficial way for both employers and would-be employees to make the best of a tough situation.


Law Services  

Law Services

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you