Lawyer Advertising

By now, everyone has seen the Volkswagen Super Bowl commercial featuring Max Page as a pint-sized Darth Vader. You know, Max Page — the kid who plays Baby Reed on The Young and The Restless. You mean to tell me you don’t watch a little Y&R? Yeah, I don’t either, and I also hadn’t heard of him until the ad came out.

If you are one of the four people in the world who hasn’t seen this commercial yet, check it out here (first ad). The minute-long video features Page dressed in a Darth Vader costume trying (and failing) to use the Force on everything from his dog to the washing machine to his sandwich, with the Imperial March theme playing throughout in the background. When his father comes home in his shiny Volkswagen Passat, Page runs out not to greet him but to attempt to use the Force on the car. As he focuses all of his energy on it, the Passat suddenly starts.

The audience is quickly made aware that the car started not because of this little Vader’s supernatural abilities, but due to the father starting it remotely from the kitchen. Although Page is wearing a mask, you can imagine the look of surprise on his face as he turns in astonishment toward his parents. As I read online from one random commenter, the commercial managed to capture the spirit of Star Wars better than Lucas did in his last three prequels.

What many people don’t know is that Volkswagen used some of the Force itself with its social-media marketing — and that campaign may provide useful marketing lessons for attorneys. The company managed to not only create one of the most popular commercials during the Super Bowl, but also saved itself at least $3 million dollars in the process.

Is there any way lawyers could implement something similar?

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To borrow a line from Sharon Nichols, I judge you when you have a poor website.

Like it or not, we live in a superficial world where your website is judged on a daily basis — and not just by me. Friends, colleagues, potential employees and most importantly potentially paying clients are all looking at you — watching, judging.

Of course, there’s the old adage that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but do you know why that’s an old adage? Because we all judge books by their cover, and by “book” I mean “your law firm.” But fear not, you of the static, monochromatic firm website that still lists now-departed associates. Your salvation lies in the hands of your beloved managing editor, David Lat — at least partially….

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I’d like to believe we live on a planet where reason dictates the choices we make as well as the policies of law firms. As numerous personal experiences and Above the Law articles have demonstrated to me, this isn’t always the case. And nowhere is this irrationality more perplexing than firm policies towards LinkedIn recommendations.

LinkedIn has a feature that allows lawyers and clients to write recommendations of each other. For a recommendation to be published online, it has to “accepted” by the person being recommended. The problem is, major law firms are prohibiting the use of LinkedIn recommendations by their attorneys (both inbound and outbound). Referrals and peer-to-peer recommendations are the lifeblood of most practices.

So why are so many firms prohibiting their use online?

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It’s time to crown the winner of our most recent caption contest, which featured what might very well be the best law firm website photo of all time….

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On Friday, we showed you what might very well be the best law firm website photo of all time. It came to us from the other side of the pond (where it had been noticed by RollOnFriday).

We solicited possible captions, with preference given to ones that would constitute alternative bios for the lawyer in question. You gave us a few good ones, so we decided to turn them into a caption contest….

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Say Cheese!!!

Yesterday our social media columnist, Adrian Dayton, asked you: What’s wrong with your law firm bio?

One possible answer: your photograph (or lack thereof). As law firm marketing consultant Dion Algeri told Adrian, pictures are “extremely important” to attorney bios on law firm websites. Over at Great Jakes, Algeri analyzes the lawyer photos on the websites of ten different law firms: Axiom, Babcock Partners, Boies Schiller, Cravath, Edelson McGuire, Greenberg Traurig, Linklaters, Proskauer, Walkers, and White & Case. He notes a trend: “[F]irms are now recognizing the importance of these images and are investing in more lush and engaging photos.”

We’ve previously explored the world of law firm website photos in the pages of ATL. We’ve poked gentle fun at the body shots at Ballard Spahr and the action shots at Cox Smith. We’ve marveled at the split personalities of lawyers at the Van Winkle Law Firm. We’ve ogled the hotties on the website of Davis Polk.

But we’ve never come across an attorney profile photo as awesome as this one….

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Don’t take it personally. Nobody is perfect, but unfortunately, when it comes to law firm bios — well, most of them stink. They tout the vast accomplishments of the lawyer: where they went to law school, if they graduated with honors, whether they were on law review. Then they often include a laundry list of each and every type of legal matter the attorney has ever dealt with in their life. The main problem is, attorney bios are often created with very little thought into strategy. This is unfortunate, especially considering how important bios are.

Your bio matters to decision makers. Ninety percent of general counsel claim the attorney bios are the most important part of a law firm’s website (2009 Wicker Park Group). Studies have also shown that bios are the most viewed pages on law firm websites, generating over 50% of the page views. If a good bio can help you land one more client this next year, what would that be worth to you? What about five new clients? Perhaps your bio deserves a little more attention than you are giving it.

There are three major problems that plague the bios of law firms, and some of them are pretty easy to fix….

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Managing expectations is a very important skill — when it comes to personal relationships, movie enjoyment, and, of course, dealing with your co-workers and clients.

You need to know how to set boundaries. After you’ve pulled two all-nighters in a row, for example, it’s okay to tell the partner you work for that you just can’t do a third. If you give an inch, your colleague or client will take the proverbial mile.

But has one South Carolina law firm taken boundary-setting too far? Check out the Client Expectations section of the Pincus Family Law website (via Jim Calloway, via ABA Journal):

We do not work on the weekends and do not provide emergency numbers for the weekends. There are times we may look at and answer your email over the weekend, but this is generally the exception and not to be relied upon by you that we are accessible on weekends.

And they don’t do windows, either.

Do not think we are perfect. We make mistakes. We are competent attorneys and paralegals, but we make mistakes. We will correct a mistake if we find it or if you point it out. Please do not yell at us, accuse us of not doing our job, or insult us over a mistake.

And please do not sue us for malpractice. We warned you at the outset that “[w]e make mistakes.”

And that’s not all….

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Have you ever really needed a Jewish attorney but just didn’t know where to find one? Well, have no fear, the Jewish American Bar Association is here. There’s an ad that’s been making its way around the blogosphere that can be seen at a bus stop in south Florida:

There’s just one little problem. The Jewish American Bar Association might not be exactly what you think it is….

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Jimmy Doan, mini Esq.

There are many, many personal injury firms in the world, and they often have to come up with gimmicks to set themselves apart. Those gimmicks have landed a fair number of them in our Adventures in Lawyer Advertising series.

A tipster recently sent along the website for The Doan Law Firm: The Ultimate Fighting Law Firm. It’s based in Houston and run by a Texas Wesleyan Law ’00 grad, Jimmy Doan.

Why don’t you click here and meet him? Make sure your speakers are on.

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