Lawyer Advertising

Yesterday was the last day of July, and baseball fans know that this day is important because it’s the trade deadline. (Seamheads and baseball lawyers understand that it’s actually only the nonwaiver-trade deadline, but why take the fun out of it?) So I spent some time this weekend following the interwebs to see whether the Red Sox would do anything to improve their league-leading team (and even better, thwart the Yankees from improving at the same time).

At one point, there were reports that the Red Sox had traded for A’s pitcher Rich Harden. But the Sox scuttled the deal once they learned that the oft-injured Harden had a hospital bracelet tattooed on his arm to save time. (They ended up acquiring left-handed pitcher Erik Bedard, who is injured slightly less often than Harden.)

But as I was watching the annual trade-deadline special on the New England Sports Network after Sunday’s game (apparently, I have no life), I saw a laptop commercial that only a law firm could appreciate.

Whose ad it was and why it made me think of the sorry state of law-firm marketing, after the jump.…

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I don’t know who Janofsky and Walker angered, but they are off the marquee at Paul Hastings. Yep, this Friday, “Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & LLP” will officially become “Paul Hastings.”

We’ve already noticed that Paul Hastings has a snazzy new logo.

But did you know that Paul Hastings also has a video to go along with their rebranding? Oh yes they do! Clearly, Messrs. Janofsky and Walker were just way too inside the box for the new and exciting Paul Hastings…

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We always appreciate when our readers send us tips about the seemingly endless supply of crazy lawyer websites and advertisements that are floating around in cyberspace. Just when we thought we’d seen it all, someone out there goes and raises the bar of craziness.

When we received a tip pointing us to the website of Barry Glazer in Baltimore, we actually thought it might be fake. Honestly, it almost seemed too ridiculous to be true.

Fortunately for all of us, Barry Glazer is quite real. Apparently his TV commercials have made him something of a legend in the Baltimore area, and not without good reason. One look at Mr. Glazer’s tagline tells us that we’re not dealing with your average lawyer:

“Legal advocate for the injured, disabled, and urinated upon”

Yes, you read that right. For four decades, Barry Glazer has been mounting a one-man crusade against insurance companies. In keeping with what appears to be a urine fixation on Mr. Glazer’s part, many of his ads deliver a simple message to these companies:

“Don’t urinate on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”

These pee-centric statements are just the tip of the iceberg that is the eccentricity of Barry Glazer. If nothing else, he is certainly the most interesting lawyer you’ll encounter all day.

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Latham & Watkins is about to join the likes of Ballard Spahr and Cox Smith in requiring their associates to pose for mandatory body shots for the firm’s new website.

According to an email sent out to all Latham attorneys yesterday, the new photos are part of an ambitious project to redesign the firm’s website and advertising materials to make them “world class.” Or, as one tipster put it: “Latham wants to look as prestigious as DLA Piper by forcing associates to submit to ridiculous photo shoots.”

Indeed, Latham has hired Gittings Photography, a studio specializing in, among other things, law firm photography. According to the Gittings website, they have been hired by firms such as Baker & McKenzie, DLA Piper and Jones Day, and they are already touting Latham as a client.

It seems, however, that Latham has grand plans to go beyond the traditional attorney portraits that appear on these other firms’ sites. Find out just what Latham management has in mind, and what Latham associates should be prepared for, after the jump.

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Law firm advertising is expensive and certain methods may be cost-prohibitive for small firms. For instance, a small firm may not be able to afford a television or print campaign. Enter online marketing including, among other things, Google AdWords and sponsored links. In 2009, a law firm filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin state court challenging certain marketing strategies as an invasion of privacy, as defined in the Wisconsin privacy statute. Luckily for consumers and small firms, the court disagreed.

The case involved the two most prominent personal injury firms in Wisconsin. One of them, Cannon & Dunphy, used a Google AdWords PPC (price-per-click) strategy (and other search engines) to bid on the name of the state’s largest personal injury firm, Habush, Habush & Rottier. In other words, when a user would search the terms Habush or Rottier, a Cannon & Dunphy link would show up in the shaded section as a Sponsored Link.

Habush sued Cannon, alleging that Cannon’s online marketing campaign violated Wis. Stat. §995.50. That statute prohibits “the use, for advertising purposes or for purposes of trade, of the name . . . of any living person, without having first obtained the written consent of the person,” and provides a cause of action where such an invasion of privacy was unreasonable.

The result of the litigation, after the jump….

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The other day, I was watching television and I saw several commercials advertising divorce firms and personal injury firms. One ad featured a scene of nursing home neglect, followed by dramatic music and terms like “BEDSORES,” flashed across the screen in all-caps. Another ad featured William Shatner asking me if I needed legal help.

Two thoughts came to mind after watching these ads: (1) what shady television shows was I watching that would cause a legal marketer to decide that I was part of the target audience for people with issues relating to BEDSORES, and (2) does anyone actually decide to seek out a lawyer based on these seemingly ridiculous ads?

So I decided to investigate television advertising as a marketing technique for small and solo practitioners. Who, if anyone, stands to benefit from using television advertising?

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Why will some lawyers just never learn that “creative” law firm websites are a bad idea? Over the years we’ve seen an odd array of crazy websites, and, while I may question the sanity of their creators, I must admit that the ever-growing collection has provided hours of entertainment.

Today’s addition, courtesy of a friendly tipster, is in a class by itself. I wouldn’t have thought that we needed a new category for “fantasy attorney websites,” but Rachel A. Runnels, Attorney at Law, has proven me wrong.

Ms. Runnels, a solo practitioner hailing from the distant mythical land of Arkansas, has decided that her professional website is the best place to let her inner dork shine. The result is a world that is far more ethereal than the one I trudge through on a daily basis. Venture with me into the world of Law and Light as we explore what Ms. Runnels’ website has to offer…

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The excessively talented David M. Anderson.

We all know that the legal market is dismal these days. People will go to almost any lengths to land jobs. A perfect résumé touting your strongest attributes is key. Most lawyers implicitly understand that this means legal attributes – you know, things that portray a sense of professional competence. But every now and then we come across a special someone who throws conventional wisdom out the window and provides us with a perfect example of what not to do.

Today’s special someone is David M. Anderson of Mahoney Anderson LLC in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. A perusal of the Mahoney Anderson website raises several questions – not the least of which are who the Mahoney in Mahoney Anderson is, where Mr. Anderson went to law school, and what Mr. Anderson might have done in his legal career prior to working for his current mysteriously-named firm.

Thankfully, we have David Anderson’s marketing ad (gavel bang: An Associate’s Mind). It is a gem. It might not answer any of these questions, or, quite frankly, tell you anything that might make you want to hire Mr. Anderson. But it is certainly the worst most unique approach to attorney advertising I have seen in quite some time….

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Before this column launched, I spent several moments stewing over possible pseudonyms. After all, branding is everything. So, I wanted to come up with a name that said to my audience that I was a small-firm expert and a super-cool chick. Naturally, I picked the name that is synonymous with post-menopausal Jewish bubbies. Perhaps I still have a thing or two to learn about branding.

I am not the only small-firm lawyer with a problem selecting the right name. Indeed, after Jay Shepherd opened my eyes to the hyphen-crisis, I began noticing a comma-crisis. Specifically, I noticed that there are a lot of small firms with way too many last names strung together with commas.

Why is it that many small firms have such problems coming up with the perfect firm name? Let’s explore this age-old question….

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A few weeks ago, I was riding in a cab on the way to the airport. Right off the highway was a large sign for Le Massage Plac (the light for the “e” had died). I insisted that the cab driver make a pit stop. I needed to get le massage from Le Massage Plac[e], even if the dingy surroundings would give me le staph infection and require me to go le emergency room.

Yesterday I was walking through downtown Chicago and I was nearly run over by a food truck captioned The Meatyballs Mobile. I ran after the Meatyballs for several blocks. I just had to have a “Shweddy Balls” sub sandwich.

These experiences taught me firsthand the power of branding. What does this have to do with small law firms?

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