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   May/June 2002


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Practice Development

The New World of Law Practice Marketing

Larry Bodine

Popularity Contest Your Web site’s "link popularity" gauges the total number of other sites that link to yours. It is a key measure of how important your site is considered on the Internet. The greater your link popularity, the higher your site will rank in search engine results. You can get an instant link analysis on AltaVista, www.altavista.com. In the search box just type: link:www.xyz.com (where "xyz.com" is your domain name).

Talk is not cheap. Sills Cummis Radin Tischman Epstein & Gross in Newark, New Jersey (www.sillscummis.com), knows how to get new-business mileage from giving speeches. Last year, partner Victor H. Boyajian spoke on 11 panel discussions—but more importantly, he secured the moderator’s position on 10 of them. That way, he could invite clients of his capital markets practice to be on the panels, too. As a result, his firm’s deal flow increased from CEOs who were grateful for the exposure. But it didn’t stop there. The firm’s able marketing manager, Craig Levinson, created CDs with videotape footage of the discussions. He also gave transcripts of the panels to business magazines to reprint. Opportunities thereby developed with more than 20 companies, seven of which either became clients or referred clients. In January, Levinson picked up a Marketing Director of the Year award at the Marketing Partner Forum.

A Little Extra Means a Lot When BTI Consulting Group (www.bticonsulting.com) asked corporate counsel what their law firms could do to help them improve performance without cutting fees, it found that clients want a secure, online place to share information with their firms electronically. But 49 percent of the Fortune 1000 corporations who want an extranet with their outside law firm still don’t have one. With extranet technology now commonplace, the statistic seems astonishing. Extranets offer an easy way for firms to add value to the client relationship. If you’re not making use of them, ask yourself, why not?

Made to order. Thousands of people have set up My Yahoo pages, which display the number one Web destination according to user-defined preferences. Now Minneapolis-based Faegre & Benson has done the same on its site, www.faegre.com. At the firm’s home page, visitors click on "Customize This Page" so the site will display information based on their areas of interest each time they return. For example, visitors who work with specific lawyers at the firm can set up one-click e-mail access. Visitors can select practice areas of interest, and new articles and seminars for those areas will pop up first. Visitors can also register to receive e-mail notifications of new articles and seminars from among 60 practice areas. Here’s a site that is really tailored to the firm’s clients.

Legal tender enticement. To paraphrase Mark Twain, everybody talks about marketing, but few do anything about it. It is a universal challenge for firms to motivate lawyers to market. But Atkinson, Diner, Stone, Mankuta & Ploucha in Hollywood, Florida, has figured out a way. The firm offers cash bonuses of up to $5,000 to lawyers who develop and carry out individual marketing plans over a one-year period. The program is voluntary. However, says partner Adele Stone, who reviews the plans: "They have to do something different from what they’re already doing." Participants must file a detailed report each month and come to lawyer-marketing meetings. But for five large, who wouldn’t?

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.