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   October 2001


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Practice Development

CLIPS: THE NEW WORLD OF LAW PRACTICE MARKETING
By Ross Fishman

Gold Star trial. Each year on Take Your Daughter to Work Day, members of the litigation firm Anderson Kill & Olick conduct a mock trial to show their daughters what they do. In 1998, the trial alleged the case against The White Star Line, the operator of the R.M.S. Titanic. In light of the blockbuster opening of the movie Titanic, the daughters were so interested in the trial that the firm posted the comprehensive trial materials on the Internet, and generated enormous traffic. It continues to be used as an educational tool in schools around the nation. Go to www.andersonkill.com/titanic/home.htm.

Hot Button How do you know a firm is hot? When it’s in sufficient demand to need a "Media Kit" button on its Web site, detailing the general background that reporters typically want when writing stories about the firm. Brobeck Phleger is one such firm ( www.brobeck.com/why_brobeck/media_kit.asp). And if you haven’t caught Brobeck’s landmark CNN TV commercials, they are available on streaming video at www.brobeck.com/news_events/ads.asp.

Cutting-edge warmth. Looking to put a face on the firm and warm its image, Boston-based Hutchins, Wheeler & Dittmar decided to distribute more personal mailings during the holidays. In 1999, its holiday card—which read, "This year for the holidays, Hutchins, Wheeler & Dittmar is sending you samples of some of our finest work"—opened to an adorable photo of 19 firm members’ children. They were all wearing matching handmade HWD sweaters. In 2000, the card’s cover claimed that, "At Hutchins, Wheeler & Dittmar, we work hard every day to stay on the cutting-edge." In the interior photo, firm lawyers and staff are ice skating (or falling) wearing HWD knit hats. It’ll be fun to see what they do for 2001.

& That’s That Law firm logos are becoming more sophisticated and corporate, using numbers, bullets and slashes instead of the traditional "and" and "&". Chicago powerhouse Katten Muchin & Zavis ( www.kmz.com) has dropped the ampersand entirely, using vertical lines between each name to become Katten|Muchin|Zavis. Recently, Lord Bissell & Brook also spruced up its previously traditional logo by transforming its ampersand into a shield ( www.lordbissell.com). It’s another way that law firms are bridging the gap between themselves and their clients.

Hear your e-mail, see your voice mail. As part of a major overhaul of its information and telecommunications technology, Canadian law firm Aird & Berlis ( www.airdberlis.com) recently installed a "unified messaging communication system." Developed by Octel, a Lucent Technologies spin-off, the system allows lawyers to access both e-mail and voice mail from their phones or their computers—they can either read or listen to the messages. Yep, text-to-voice technology actually lets users listen to e-mail messages over the phone. The technology lets the lawyers choose how to receive messages, so no matter where they are, they can be in constant communication with their assistants or clients.

Ross Fishman ( rossfish@aol.com), a lawyer and president of Ross Fishman Marketing, has received 11 national marketing awards, including the 2000 Legal Marketing Association’s Best of Show Award. (847) 432-3546.