♫ If you should see me walking
Through your dreams at night
Would you please direct me
Where I ought to be
I’ve been looking for a crystal ball
To shed the light
To find a future in me…
To find a future in me…♫
To say that we have been thru a tremendous time of change in the legal profession is a wee bit of an understatement. Furthermore I believe that the rate of change is accelerating. This means that the changes that are coming at us like a Tsunami are totally unprecedented. New competitors, new business structures, new technology, new ways of resolving disputes, new ways of communicating, new devices and services…there is hardly a corner of the legal profession that will not be impacted. Then there are all the pressures from outside the legal profession to increase access to justice and bring the legal system within reach of the man on the Clapham Omnibus. Of course a tremendous time of change is also a tremendous time for opportunity.
Last year we heard from:
- Jordan Furlong
- Ross Fishman
- Sharon Nelson
- Ann Halkett
- Richard Granat
- Nicole Black
- Colin Rule
- Brian Mauch
- John Zeleznikow
- Michael Downey
- Robert Denney
- Mitch Kowalski
- Buzz Bruggeman
- Andrew Clark
- and yours truly!
It is precisely at this juncture that I am calling on my friends, colleagues and readers to submit their predictions for 2015 in order that all of us can benefit by the collective thoughts and gaze into the crystal ball to shed the light ..and see where we stand …in order to find a future in all of us..Posted in Adding Value, Budgeting, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, humour, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Make it Work!, personal focus and renewal, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
♫ Inch by inch, row by row, I’m gonna make this garden grow
All it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground…♫
Lyrics and music by: David Mallett, recorded by: Peter, Paul & Mary.
Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying: “The best way to predict your future is to create it”
Brian Tracy in his blog talks about the Golden Hour – a time that you set aside at the start of your day to work on the most important task you will have for your lifetime – namely your personal development.
[T]ake 30-60 minutes and read something motivational, inspirational or educational. Be sure that the first thing you put into your mind in the morning is positive, healthy and consistent with the kind of life you want to lead.
A colleague of mine, Tom Grella, has been following this philosophy for as long as I have known him. He takes an hour a day to read books and study leadership as it applies to lawyers. His time invested in this activity has paid off in spades.
Tom, the managing partner of McGuire, Wood & Bissette in Asheville, N.C., in 2012 was named the recipient of the Samuel S. Smith Award by the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Section.
“I cannot think of a more deserving honoree than Tom Grella. He epitomizes everything this award was created to recognize,” said Thomas Mighell, chair of the ABA Law Practice Management Section. “Tom stands out as a leader in LPM, the ABA and his law firm. His commitment to the improved growth and education of law practice management is steadfast, as demonstrated through his continued participation and leadership in LPM section activities.”
The lesson here is to start – today – in investing in yourself to become the person that you wish to be. Inch by inch, day by day, you will be making progress towards your goal.
Brian Tracy has great advice on how to make this happen. He says:
After you have completed your morning reading, take a spiral notebook and write out your top 10-15 goals in the present tense, exactly as if you have already achieved them. Write goals such as, “I earn $100,000 per year”; “I weigh 165 pounds and am superbly fit”; “I drive a brand new grey BMW”; “I live in a beautiful 3500 square foot home” and so on. Rewrite your list of goals every morning without referring back to the goals you wrote the day before. This is a very important success factor for you to practice in order to achieve your goals.
Only you will know what your goals are.. eHow says:
Think about what you value in life. Your goals and aspirations need to be in line with your values in life. Defining your values will help you to set a direction for your goals and keep you focused and on track.
Your goals can be as big and as broad as your imagination. They could be to help your family and your children excel. They could be to make your business succeed. They could be to build your relationship with your spouse to be strong and powerful. Or they can aspire to achieve world peace and help end hunger.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”
(cross-posted to tips.slaw.ca)Posted in Adding Value, Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Tips | Permalink | No Comments »
♫ Saying, you got to play your cards and roll those dice,
You may never get a second chance in this life;
Don’t waste your time, ’cause time will tell,
Good things yeah they hardly ever roll around twice.
No second chances… No second chances….♫
Lyrics, music and recorded by Damian Follett.
This is the sixth post in the series on lawyers and marketing. We have previously looked at the product mix, the people who provide your services, how you promoted your services and the place where you render your services. In this next instalment of the examination of the 7 P’s of marketing we have not yet looked at the physical evidence that you use to wrap around your (largely intangible) legal services. This physical evidence is the material part of the services that you render.
What do we mean by the physical or material evidence of your services? Your clients will be looking at every physical and visual element of how your approach the market. They will be looking at your office and how it is laid out, how businesslike and professional it is and asking themselves…does it exude the right sense of trust and confidence? The physical environment in which you operate will send out many visual and physical clues as to your practice.
They will be looking at your waiting room and consciously or not be wondering if you match their expected price point by the way you have decorated your office combined with your choice of colors, furniture, artwork, magazines and the like. Is there a kid’s play centre or place for an office dog or even an aquarium? How is the space laid out? While functional is always good, people are also looking at how it is organized and what thought has been given to clients who may have to wait. Is there Wi-Fi? Air-conditioning? How are your employees ..and yourself…dressed? Are the chairs and tables comfortable, clean and professional?
What is the ambience of your office and in particular your reception area? Is it quiet and respectful? Or do you overhear conversations going on in the office? Is their quiet music playing in the background that provides a soothing atmosphere? You need to ensure that you have matched your ambience with the messages that you want projected about you and your legal services. Where is your office located and what does that say about your services? Is the signage directing people to your office clear and fresh?
Do you have a logo and corporate color scheme? Is it reflected on your office stationery, business cards, website and in all other forms of marketing that you employ? This corporate branding is increasingly important today in projecting your image to your clients and others.
Speaking of your website, have you had it professionally designed and have you kept it current with regard to recent events, articles and such? Does it render well on mobile devices such as smartphones? Do you have a blog? Have you updated it with new articles on a continual basis?
When a client comes in to sign documents, do you provide a folder with your logo and contact information printed on it for the documents, along with a business card, a pen with your logo embossed on it and perhaps a brochure on the firm that speaks to the full range of services that you render?
When you send out (by snail mail) copies of documents, articles of interest to clients and the like do you have printed notes with your name and logo on it to which you can write a few words to personalize the delivery of the documents or articles?
Does your signature block in your email contain your logo and links to your website and other information (such as a privacy disclaimer)?
If you sponsor events, is your logo, business name and color scheme reflected in the sponsorship materials?
Think about some other businesses with whom you have recently visited and reflect on these elements. While your services may be intangible, the physical evidence that you wrap around those services can be a strong element in how you market your services. After all you want to get it right since you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression!
(published concurrently on tips.slaw.ca)Posted in Adding Value, Business Development, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
♫ It doesn’t have to be like this
All we need to do is make sure we keep talking…♫
Garry’s last post on tips.slaw.ca inspired me to write about using dictation on both PCs and Macs. I have been a long-standing fan of voice recognition and the latest versions are even much better than earlier versions. While there is voice recognition built into the Windows operating system, I haven’t seen it used in practice. Rather, I have found that people use DragonDictate for the PC, currently at version 13; or on the Mac, you can use either Dragon for the Mac, Version 4 or use the Dictation & Speech capabilities built into Yosemite. The best thing about the latest version of dictation in Yosemite is that you can download a file and use dictation what are you are on or off-line. This is a significant advantage over prior versions. It’s a matter of fact that this column was “written”, if you can call it that, using Yosemite’s dictation capabilities. Another improvement in dictation in Yosemite is that you can use continuous dictation. Prior versions meant that you could only dictate up to the size of the buffer.
It is amazing how easy it is to use and I am referring to both Dragon Dictate for the PC as well as Dictation in Yosemite. I work on both platforms and use voice recognition on both.
Garry noted that he does most of his work either on an iPad or Microsoft Surface and barely touches his keyboard. I have to say my experience is much the same (except that I prefer laptops over tablets) and I agree that I am much faster using voice recognition than I am typing. Furthermore, voice recognition never misspells; but it could substitute a synonym or possibly a word recognized in error, in which case you still have to proofread your work. But it is literally amazing to to talk to your computer and see your text appear, correctly transcribed and formatted, on the screen.
Now DragonDictate for the PC is much more fully developed then Dictation for the Mac that is part of the OS. However, if all you need is dictation plus some formatting, then dictation for the Mac maybe just fine. I have written extensive papers for conferences using just dictation for the Mac. Why don’t I use DragonDictate for the Mac? Unfortunately, the versions of Dragon that I have, namely versions 2 and 3, are incompatible with Yosemite. I may upgrade but for the moment I’m happy with Dictation in Yosemite.
PC users would be delighted with all the additional commands that you get with Dragon for the PC. You can literally browse the web, save your work, apply detailed formatting and do much more by voice commands.
When it comes to interfacing with your computer it doesn’t have to come to just using a keyboard. All we have to do is make sure we keep talking…
(cross posted to tips.slaw.ca)Posted in Law Firm Strategy | Permalink | 2 Comments »
Those who died – those who live, you will not forget
If this year’s your last year – we will not forget…♫
Lyrics and music by Michael Reynolds, recorded by Felicia Urquhart.
This is a guest post from Chris Green of Greenway Legal Centre in Langley, BC. I have been a fan of Chris’ email newsletter for some time but this post truly struck home for me. It is reproduced here with his kind permission and approval. By the way you can subscribe to Chris’ newsletter by visiting his website.
Our November newsletter each year is always a departure from our usually irreverent and light-hearted banter. It is the one edition that we try to play straight, in deference to the solemnity of our topic: saluting the sacrifices made by our veterans in wars past and present. This year is no exception, especially in light of the cowardly murder of a guard of honour on the steps of our National War Memorial. Last year’s piece, Charlie’s Tree, was one of our most read postings ever, and it recently attracted a link to a new YouTube video, “The Black Sedan”. Scroll down to the comments to watch the Jon and Larry’s video and see if you can spot Charlie’s Tree.
The tragic events in Ottawa have led to a lot of talk around the water cooler at GreenWay, and interestingly, one of the main themes has been the changing nature of Remembrance Day. Hal commented to me last week, as he completed preparations to lead his youth pipe band to play at the Pitt Meadows Cenotaph, that when he himself had been a young piper in the band, the war still seemed so very real, as his fellow pipers included many veterans of the Second Great War, who treated the annual piping gig at the cenotaph as a personal act of remembrance.
Like Hal, my younger life was populated with the veterans of both wars, so those conflicts have always seemed more like current events-like headlines from last week’s newspapers, rather than chapters in a history book. One needed to go no further than the dinner table for anecdotes or reminiscences of the war, and the lives of almost all of the adults in my life had been touched by the war, be they parents, grandparents, teachers, employers or mentors.
In consequence, for them and for me, Remembrance Day has always been a time to remember real people: my father, who fought in Italy, my step father, who stumped around for the rest of his life on an ankle destroyed by shrapnel in France, or Grandfather Green, who once famously summed up the entire First Great War, and surviving the trenches of the Somme, in a single sentence:
“Yeah, I visited France once – didn’t like it much.”
As the veteran’s numbers decrease, and we contemplate a time in the not too distant future when we mark the passing of the last veteran of WWII, (just as we recently saluted the passing of my namesake Florence Green, who was officially the last known veteran of WWI, when she passed in 2012,) of necessity, the nature of Remembrance Day changes.
Increasingly, I think, the day is viewed, at least by younger persons, as an abstract contemplation of the horror of war, or a day to pause and pray for peace. Laudable thoughts for sure, but so very different from putting your elbows on the beer-soaked, terry-towel tablecloth in a smoky Legion hall, in company of those who were actually there, and getting maudlin hoisting a few, to toast those who still live in your memory.
And for how much longer will those Legion halls, smoky or not, feature prominently in Remembrance Day celebrations? Sadly, despite the fact that this year will likely see record numbers turning out for the wreath-laying ceremonies, it appears that their days are numbered. Once a mainstay of every small town, Legion halls are quietly disappearing everywhere. No vets to visit them and no money to support them.
Last month, while visiting Ucluelet, I glanced down a side street and noticed a boarded up building with a large For Sale sign – it was the Ucluelet Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Hall. My trip home took me along Hastings Street in Burnaby, where the wrecking ball has now claimed the former home of Branch 148 of the Royal Canadian Legion. Closer to home, I happen to know that the Port Moody City Hall keeps a ‘development package’ under the front counter, touting the virtues of the Clark Street Legion Hall as a great opportunity for re-development, in case any developer drops in to inquire about possible sites.
What will Remembrance Day look like, years from now, when there are no veterans of the Great Wars, nor Legion Halls remaining? Until recently, I would have predicted a slow decline – a secular day off with all but a quiet handful of wreath-laying politicians ignoring the meaning of the day, but I think I’ve changed my mind.
Consider that, with each year of the Afghanistan conflict, as the casualty list grew, so too did the crowds at Remembrance Day ceremonies.
Then, remarkably, came the spontaneous gatherings on the overpasses along the Highway of Heroes, a moving tribute to the fallen warriors returning home, made more powerful because they were impromptu, home-grown and unsanctioned.
And then came Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.
The spirit of Remembrance, if indeed it had begun to wane, has been re-kindled for another generation.
This year, please, join me at the cenotaph. This year, it’s important.
Thanks Chris for reminding us of what is important. Indeed we will not forget…Posted in Adding Value, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
♫ Boy, you’re going to carry that weight,
Carry that weight a long time
Boy, you’re going to carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time…♫
This is a guest post from Ann Mehl and originally appeared in her Newsletter and blog under the title “The High Note“. To say that it struck a note is putting it mildly. I hope you find it to be as moving and reflective as I did. It is reproduced here with her approval and consent.
While scanning the radio in my car for a good song, I stumbled upon an interview with Paul McCartney. He was funny and engaging, so I stopped to listen for a while. He was asked about his voice, and if, at age 71, he could still sing all those old Beatles songs. His answer was honest and revealing. “Well,” he said. “I can’t hit all the high notes like I used to, but I’ve probably got better technique now, and you learn ways around that.” Some of those techniques? Changing the melody ever so slightly, letting his back up singers hit the high notes for him, or simply calling upon his audience fill in the blanks. Music legend Sir Paul McCartney has had to learn that even he has musical limitations.
This got me thinking: How much of our lives are spent trying to chase a high note that we are no longer capable of hitting? And what does this cost us in terms of health and happiness? In my own life, I know I hit a high note when I ran my first marathon at 3:26, a personal record for me. It’s unlikely I will ever do it again, and that’s okay. I’m interested in different goals now. But it can be very hard to let go of who we used to be, or who we imagine we still are. We see it all the time in professional sports: the athlete who retires, only to “unretire” six months later. The boxer who wants “one more fight” when everyone around him knows he should have quit years ago.
Most of us are not athletes or professional performers, but we do know what it’s like to chase our former glories, and to hunger for that intoxicating high note. Maybe it’s the version of ourselves that is 10 years younger, or 20 pounds lighter. Maybe it’s the earlier excitement of a new job, or the rush of a new romance. Most of us yearn for these peak experiences, and once experienced, seek to recreate them.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to a lot of frustration and heartache in the present. The problem with chasing only these moments, is that they are generally very fleeting, if they exist at all. And we can miss out on some of the really great moments happening in between. Martina Navratilova said it best: “The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else.”
I knew of one serial entrepreneur who made a killing on his first venture, to the tune of almost $10 million. He went on to create several other successful companies after this, but none as big as the first. Measured against this impossible standard, he felt he was constantly failing, even when, by all outward signs he was a massive success. To his family and work colleagues, he had become a bitter pill who could not enjoy his own success. He was enslaved to the high note, in his case, some arbitrary number below which anything spelled failure. He was Sisyphus, compelled to roll an immense boulder uphill, only to become demoralized every time it rolled back down on top of him.
There are two basic roads that we can travel: one is the road to freedom, and the other is the road to tyranny. The road to tyranny is based on always hitting the high note, and a refusal to accept anything else. It enslaves us to the past, and blinds us to new opportunities in the present. After all, who are we if we can no longer hit the high note? The road to freedom, on the other hand, accepts that all things are in a constant state of flux: our bodies, our minds, our relationships. What we are able to do in our 20s and 30s is very different from what we can do in our 40s, 50s and beyond. And not only is this okay, it is natural.
At the root of all unhappiness is our refusal to accept that all things eventually must end: our youth, our beauty and eventually even ourselves. What we are really fighting against is our own mortality, and that is one battle we will never win. But like Paul McCartney, maybe we can learn some new techniques. We can accept that while a relationship has changed, it does not necessarily have to end. We can accept that while a job is no longer as exciting as it once was, it may offer its own kind of reward in the people we meet. We can accept that through age or infirmity, a parent is no longer the person we once knew, and try to develop a new connection based on who they are now.
I’m not suggesting we give up or don’t stretch ourselves, only that we don’t have to be slaves to our past successes (or failures). Graceful surrender to the here and now is always preferable to screeching, or God forbid, ruptured vocal chords. Paul McCartney may not be able to hit the high notes like he used to. All he can do is make friends with the voice he has now, and the many beautiful notes he still can sing. And when the voice cracks, or won’t go where he wants it to go, he invites the audience to sing along.
Thanks Ann for reminding us that unless we learn to gently acknowledge and adjust to the fact that we may not be able to hit the high notes like we used to, we will be carrying that weight a long time…
(Hat tip to Stewart Levine for originally drawing my attention to Ann’s article).
Thought for the Day: “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make” – Paul McCartney.Posted in Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, humour, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Make it Work!, personal focus and renewal, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
♫ You’re a leftover
Pastrami on rye
Succulent and delicious
Yes, the sandwich of my eye…♫
Lyrics, music and recorded by Hot Soda Apparatus.
I read an article today in Slate Magazine entitled “The UR-Deli – How Katz’s stays in business against the odds by Jordan Weissmann.” This article is about how Katz’s deli in New York City has remained in business in the lower east side of New York since 1888 while its competitors have failed.
The business model is to deliver a hefty pastrami on rye for $19.75. Believe it or not, that sandwich is not much of a moneymaker. The old-style delis are facing a conundrum: the very thing that makes them loved..those wonderful stacked pastrami and corned beef sandwiches – is the thing that makes it hardest from an economic standpoint. They don’t make much money.
Compare and contrast that with law firms: the very thing that makes us loved – delivering bespoke legal services – is the very thing that makes it hardest from an economic standpoint. We can’t seem to deliver legal services at a lower cost. We are facing a basic economic issue similar to these old delis…
How does Katz’s deli survive?
The reason Katz’s was able to live on while its competitors disappeared largely boils down to real estate. As Sax writes in Save the Deli, New York’s delicatessens can basically be divided into two groups: those that rent their buildings and those that own. Famous renters, like the Stage Deli and 2nd Avenue Deli, have closed in the face of rent hikes. Famous owners, like Carnegie and Katz’s, have lived on. (And when 2ndAvenue Deli reopened, it bought a building … on New York’s 3rd Avenue). If Katz’s had to deal with a landlord, it would likely have disappeared or moved long ago.
Is there a lesson here for law firms? Could – possibly – part of the solution to the access to justice issues be that law firms start owning their own office buildings? There are a number of advantages arising from this model. The partners of such a firm would be building equity in the property over time; that same equity could be used to retire older partners when newer partners purchase an interest in the business as well as the real estate asset. Keeping ownership of the office space may reduce the overhead costs that could help the firm render legal services to a broader base of clients.
Certainly the issue of trying to broaden the ability of existing law firms to deliver legal services economically to a wider group of society does not have any easy solutions. However, perhaps Katz’s and similar survivors have lessons for us today. Notwithstanding we are a leftover, perhaps we can still be the sandwich in a client’s eye…Posted in Adding Value, Change Management, Firm Governance, humour, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
♫ Our contribution to the revolution…♫
Lyrics and Music by Michael Jacobs and Patrick Regan, recorded and Created by Lucent Technologies Public Relations (2000) (this has got to be the geekiest music video I have ever seen!)
This is a guest post from Richard Zorza on his blog: Richard Zorza’s Access to Justice Blog. It is a very thoughtful piece about innovation here in British Columbia by the Legal Services Society when faced by massive budget cuts, as compared to what has been done elsewhere (such as the UK) when faced with a similar situation. This blog post follows Roger Smith’s recent visit to us here in BC (where I was fortunate enough to have a fascinating lunch with Roger and others at the LSS offices) and Roger’s own blog post (mentioned herein) on this topic. Hat tip to Erin Shaw, a lawyer who has an extensive background in policy analysis, dispute resolution and justice and law reform, for pointing this post to me this last friday in Victoria! This post is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.
I want to draw your attention to a blog post by the UK’s wonderful Roger Smith contrasting the BC and UK approach to cutting, and response to cuts in, legal aid budgets. His essential point is that the BC cuts, while apparently just as draconian, were structured to allow for flexibility and innovation, and the challenges were approached in that spirit.
A couple of paras of contrast from the post:
The crucial difference between our [UK] position and that of BC is that, unlike by Chris Grayling and the Legal Aid Administration, cuts were not seen as an end in themselves. Yes, the government wanted blood but, provided legal aid could work within a reduced budget, then its administration was left free to do the best that it could. At first, the extent of the slaughter left little wriggle room and lawyers still argue that they should have been the first beneficiaries of any discretionary cash. But, the Legal Services Society, the legal aid administrator, has gradually sought to re-engineer its purpose as not only to provide representation in core cases but to deliver self help and advice designed to assist people to resolve legal problems on their own.
The difference a decade after BC’s cuts is that I have come all the way to Vancouver to see the brilliant work that the Legal Services Society, the Justice Education Society and the Courhouse Libraries are providing in digital delivery to those on low incomes. Google clicklaw.bc.ca, families change.ca, familylaw.lss.bc.ca (soon to be mylawbc.org) for a host of cutting edge provision in the province. Even the Ministry of Justice is joining in. Legislation in 2012 allows the funding of an online small claims court, the civil resolution tribunal, which will come on stream next year. Try even to file an electronic document in our own dear courts. No chance. No imagination. No innovation. Just a Minister and a Ministry shorn of any interest save in reducing expenditure. Cuts, Mr Grayling, are the easy part. Making sense – or even the best – of them takes imagination and innovation. Get on a plane; meet your BC counterparts and be appropriately humble about your government’s limited imagination and barren approach to policy.
In some ways, the cuts in these jurisdictions put them roughly where the US is now. So the question is whether we approach digging ourselves out of the access crisis with the same creativity. Or are we only nibbling at the edge of change. Inevitably, in the US the answer is “it depends” usually on the state and on the quality of leadership in the state. But I fear that our fragmentation means that we lack national leadership on things like a broad roll-out of self-help centers, forms, unbundling, and the other elements of the continuum of services, and all the quality and cost benefits that would come from national strategies. An exception is special kudos to LSC, Pro Bono Net and others for creating a near-national network of websites (although all would agree that the integration could go much further particularly on the marketing/partnering end.)
I hope that we as delivery innovators never forget that there will always be cases in which lawyers are needed — even as we work through simplification and innovation in both community based and court-based legal aid to reduce that percentage. But I also urge right to counsel folks not to forget that explicitly or implicitly taking the position that lawyers are always needed makes their proposals far more expensive and both politically and legally much more likely to build resistance. It’s an interesting question how the recent Boston Bar (article) (Report) and Maryland Right to Counsel reports deal with this challenge.
The key, of course, is triage and the key to the politics of a solution to the differences in perspective is common research and understanding about triage.
p.s. There is a newly updated website on right to counsel developments, including an interactive map, recently launched by the Coalition.
I hope you have enjoyed this little contribution to the revolution! Thanks Roger, Richard and Erin!Posted in Adding Value, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
♫ I want you
Do you want me too?
I have one question
Can I help you?
Now watch me, what I do
Now thank you for coming through my drive-thru..♫
Lyrics and Music by: Julian Casablancas, Santi White, Pharrell Williams, recorded by Julian Casablancas, Santigold, and Pharrell Williams.
In the four prior posts in this series, we looked at how price is just one of seven components of the legal marketing mix. Part 2 discussed the product mix – and how changing your product mix may result in a great match between your services and the needs of the clients. Part 3 looked at who was on your team and how they deliver your services – and how this can have a big distinguishing effect on how clients view your services against the competition. In Part 4 we looked at promotion and how this can make your services stand out from the pack. In each of these posts we have looked at how each of these components helps distinguish your services from the competition; services that are distinguishable are priced differently, as they are no longer comparable with the competition.
In this post we are looking at yet another component of the marketing mix – namely the place where you deliver your services. Just consider the range of physical office configurations – from storefront offices on main street to walkup offices to Class A office space in a gleaming skyscraper. Each one of these sends an unwritten message to a potential consumer of legal services. Furthermore, you can practice as a solo, in an office sharing arrangement, an associate or a partner of a firm, large or small. Lawyers can maintain branch offices in the suburbs, in another town, province or state or even another country or continent. You can be a travelling lawyer who attends clients at their places of business, home, hospital, care facility, union hall or even a Starbucks. You can offer handicap access or after-hour access. Lastly but certainly not least, you can maintain a virtual office, using internet technologies to meet, share, collaborate and meet the needs of your clients who could be down the street, across town, in a distant city or even across the world. The range of possibilities are unbounded.
Indeed, bold lawyers have envisioned practising in ways that break the familiar constraints. Axess Law in Ontario has launched law offices that are embedded within Wal*Mart stores in Ontario and offer home, family, business services, legal contracts and notary services in an affordable and approachable context.
The range of offices and services that can be offered from different locations to meet client needs is as open and wide as your imagination. Perhaps one day a lawyer will open an office where a client can receive legal advice right in their car…and the lawyer would say…”Can I help You?” and then conclude with: “Thank you for coming thru my drive-thru…”
(cross-posted to tips.slaw.ca)Posted in Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
♫ That’s why I fell for (the leader of the pack)…♫
In the three prior posts on lawyers and pricing, we have looked at how price is only one part of the 7 components of the legal marketing mix. Part 2 discussed the product mix and how you can change your legal product mix to better meet the needs of your clients in a way that distinguishes your services from those of the competition. Part 3 examined how the people on your team can have a big impact on how your services are delivered. In fact, in Good to Great, Jim Collins said that the most important factor applied by the best companies is that they first of all “Got the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus.” In this post we are exploring how promoting your business can be a distinguishing feature, setting your business up as being different from the competition…allowing you to price your services differently from the competition.
Think about all the different ways that your clients learn about your services. Certainly word-of-mouth is the gold standard of referral marketing, but not everyone who is a client in your firm came in the doors as a result of a personal referral. When it comes to marketing your practice, the one truth is that whatever works today will stop working at some time in the future for reasons that you might never know. Accordingly you need to change up your promotional or marketing activities and keep trying new things. Small changes can have big effects.
Social media is all the rage today and for good reason. Facebook has now reached 1.3 billion people – and that doesn’t include anyone in China! LinkedIn and Twitter are the other members of the “big three” social media networks. Have a look at your Facebook page, your LinkedIn profile and your use of Twitter. You can choose to not be on any of these (after all you can choose how to market your firm and your practice) and if these wouldn’t resonate for you or your clients ..fair ball. What is worse is being there but not having updated anything for some time. This indicates lack of commitment and follow-thru. Same goes for a blog – I personally find blogging to be one of the easiest and more effective ways for a young lawyer to establish themselves and their expertise in the market, if done consistently and well. Combine a blog with your thoughtful use of twitter on developments in your legal area of choice and you can become known as an authority in short order. For a great overview of how Canadian lawyers are blogging see the Clawbies website – the Canadian Legal Blog awards. You can be as creative as your imagination will take you..provided you still stay within the marketing ethics of your jurisdiction.
If social networking is not for you, there are a host of more traditional marketing methods. In person presentations and webinars are one way to get known and demonstrate your knowledge of your area of practice. Financial institutions are always putting on presentations. If writing is your thing, then offer to do a regular column in a local or community newspaper (you can then reuse these articles in a blog or newsletter). You can clearly show your involvement and interest in local affairs, schools, sporting events, churches and other organizations and help them – thereby building your presence in the community.
Whatever you do, try to ensure that your marketing makes you stand out from the pack. After all that is its purpose – to show that you are different from the rest. You want your clients to have fallen for the leader of the pack.
(cross-posted to slaw tips.ca)
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