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   March 2002


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The New World of Law Practice Marketing

Larry Bodine

Real pals. It’s 7 p.m. Do you know where your lawyer is? You do if you’re a client of the Colorado firm Orten & Hindman (www.ortenhindman.com). O&H lawyers are available to their clients outside of office hours through the new ÒA PALÓ (Attorney Pager Availability Line). The A PAL system is designed for board members and managers who need immediate responses to questions. The pager system can be accessed from 5 to 10 p.m. and on weekends. Clients dial a special phone number to leave a message, and a lawyer will call them back within 15 minutes. Now that’s making yourself accessible to your clients.

When Bigger Is Better It happens all the time. You give people your business card, and they use it to write reminders about what you discussed. Not only is there barely room for the notes—they also wreck your card. Lawyer Burton L. Bruggeman of Orlando, Florida, has come up with a nifty solution: oversize business cards with room for notes. He got the distinctive 3-by-5-inch cards at www.levenger.com. Presenting your card with a handwritten note about yourself makes the exchange more memorable.

The Party’s Over Good follow-up is good marketing. Regrettably, many law firms sponsor a seminar or throw a party for clients but neglect to take the most important step: They fail to follow up with the attendees. However, not so with Lex Mundi, an association of independent law firms. Lex Mundi recently exhibited at the American Corporate Counsel Association. Everyone who attended its booth was sent a letter and a brochure with a firm directory, plus a fax-back form for additional information. Great example of what follow-up can be.

Industrial classification. "Don’t market your organization. Instead, organize around the market,"says Richard L. Upton, national director of business development for Foley & Lardner. An example of what Upton means can be found on virtually every law firm Web site: a list of the firm’s practice descriptions. Though firm sites present information to the external public, their practice lists reflect their internal administrative organization. But clients (a.k.a. the market) are organized by industry. So, true to Upton’s advice, the Foley & Lardner site lists the industries that the firm serves. See how it works at www.foleylaw.com.

Too flashy. Does your Web site have an introductory video? If so, you should delete it. Web site usability concepts, still new to the legal profession, assure that Web sites are obvious, self-explanatory and easy-to-use. Yet many law firms put impediments on their sites that literally turn clients away. Prefatory flash videos are the number one violation. For pointers on site usability, check out www.lawmarketing.com/publications/legalmar ketingtech/pub214.cfm, or buy the book

Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to the Web by Steve Krug ($24.50 on Amazon.com).

Larry Bodine (lbodine@lawmarketing.com)is a Web and Marketing Consultant who advises law firms on how to get more business. Based in Glen Ellyn, IL, he can be reached at (630) 942-0977.