July/August 2003  Volume 29, Issue 5
July/August 2003 Issue
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by Larry Bodine
The New World of Law Practice Marketing

Tell, don't sell
Every month Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell, a 25-lawyer government and regulatory firm based in Concord, New Hampshire, touches base with its clients via its popular e-newsletter. "Government & Regulatory Review" features topics such as state wage laws, environmental rules and consumer protection statutes. Each issue contains links back to the firm's site, www.gcglaw.com. "[T]he firm has created a storehouse of knowledge ('tell, don't sell') of great marketing value," says Amy Campbell of Infoworks! in Boston. She manages the e-newsletter as the keystone of the firm's marketing strategy. It's working: The distribution list has grown from 700 to more than 1,900 contacts. And thanks in part to the newsletter, the site got 5,555 unique visitors in March 2003 alone.

Literally delivering services
When people can't travel to a lawyer's office, it's time to take the law to the people. That's exactly what plaintiff's personal injury lawyer Robert K. Rainer of Revere, Massachusetts, has done by inventing MobileLawOfficeUSA. It's a customized minibus containing a complete office and staffed by a paralegal who has a bus driver's license. It can meet clients at their homes or any other location. They just call a toll-free number or send an e-mail, which gets routed to a participating firm in the client's area. Once the firm schedules a consultation, the minibus arrives on the selected date. "MobileLawOfficeUSA is targeting law firms that have moderate income clients who are catastrophically injured, disabled, elderly, or who may live in rural areas," Rainer says. It has served more than 1,000 clients since it started rolling in 1999.

A culture on the map
Few in the legal profession outside of Cleveland were familiar with Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff before Darryl Cross started as chief marketing officer in 2002. Now the firm has an active business development -- meaning "sales" -- culture and is known across the nation. Cross created a business development advisory board of 24 lawyers, which identified the need for sales training. "We developed a true Dale Carnegie-type sales funnel strategy with eight defined stages that allow us to comply with ethics rules, while still effectively targeting prospects and turning them into clients," Cross explains. He personally conducts one-hour sales training classes for the firm's lawyers every week. "Some firms would consider creating a sales culture to be heresy, blasphemy or sacrilege. Our firm is a maverick. We like to do business development."

Count the ways
Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, a 70-lawyer intellectual property firm in Washington, D.C., has enough Ph.D. clients to form its own laboratory. And it uses a slick combination of flash animation and content to get the point across on its site, www.skgf.com. The highlight, a "Patent & Trademark Gallery," displays a counter that rotates through the numerous patent and trademark numbers the firm has registered. When visitors hover their cursor over a number, it stops on a graphic illustrating the client's unique idea. Clicking on the graphic -- which can be a neon-colored shoe or two cloned lambs -- brings up a story about the innovation. An exceptionally smart impression.

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.