In fact, a LexisNexis survey showed many attorneys lose nearly 40% of their billable hours to bad record keeping and inefficient tracking.
It would be bad enough for just one week, but add that up for a whole year and it makes a huge difference to your firm’s bottom line.
Why That’s Harder for Solo & Small-Firm Attorneys
Lost billables are an even bigger problem for solo and small-firm attorneys. Why?
In a word: interruptions. Since solo and small law firm attorneys wear a lot of hats, they do a lot of things — sometimes all at once. These distractions interrupt workflow and make it tough to consistently keep accurate billing records, mainly because they’re recreated by hand later during downtime, and often in a word processing program.
So yes, better record keeping means more billable hours. But it also means more time away from serving your clients and growing your business — the ultimate lawyer’s Catch 22.
That’s why LexisNexis Firm Manager online practice management now includes the new Money Finder feature.
Money Finder Does All the Work. You Keep All the Money.
While you’re busy practicing law, Money Finder scours your data within LexisNexis Firm Manager and analyzes whether or not you’ve billed for all your activities.
Appointments, tasks, documents, notes, phone calls, and more are tracked and corralled on one easy-to-view screen.
You can then pick and choose whether you want to bill those activities now, later, or not at all.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now. Evan Jowers also has over 150 US associate placements in Hong Kong / China in the past 6 years, and our full Asia team has numerous more placements, and each of those placement experiences (as well as other persons we represented but did not place, usually due to an internal transfer choice that we supported) adds in some measure to our understanding of the market. There is a story behind every placement after all. It’s therefore pretty easy for us to get a good read on the market and what hiring trends will likely be like during the next 6 months or so, in any market condition. In fact, one main reason that senior US partners meet with us regularly in Hong Kong / China is because even when they are not hiring they look at Evan and Robert as a great source of information on the market and to get a feel of what their counterparts at other firms are thinking, simply because we know so many key folks in the market and get their opinions and predictions on things on a daily basis.
Back in October ’13, it seemed pretty obvious that by February and March we would be in a bit of a hiring boom, as long as the markets continue to ramp up as they were starting to. Clearly, we are now in a full blown IPO boom in Hong Kong / China.
But what does this mean for US associate lateral hiring in Hong Kong / China going forward in the coming weeks and months? Obviously, the lateral hiring market has become a lot better. However, it’s not simply a situation where the relatively early stages of a hot market upturn (let’s hope it lasts a year or more) translates into immediate US associate hiring. It is also not a situation where if a hot market continues for a year or more that a hiring boom coincides with the length of such a nice corporate / cap markets deal flow boom.
Thus, despite a buzz in the lateral hiring market and the inevitable 5 fold increase in cold callers claiming they would like to make some quick cash with your resume by emailing in on your behalf to firms they greatly exaggerate ties to (well they don’t say those exact words, but I am accurately translating 95% of them for you), it simply is not the case that all or even most of the better US corporate / cap markets practices (referred to as “corporate” from here on out) are hiring multiple US associates in Hong Kong / China right now and in fact about half of them are not (yet) actively hiring more than one, and in some cases still not hiring at all. With that said, we find that the better US corporate practices in Hong Kong / China commonly hire in bunches (meaning 2 or 3) when they do decide to hire in the relatively early stages of a deal flow boom, especially the HK IPO / US cap markets boom that is occurring now in Hong Kong / China.
For example, one of our top 10 US firm clients in Hong Kong / China hired 2 new junior US corporate associates in December, hired again recently, and are looking for two more at present. Another one of our top 10 US firm clients in Hong Kong / China had a key opening to fill in their US cap markets practice, and they have found their new hire (through Kinney, on an exclusive search), but because they also like very much some of our other candidates, they are likely to hire a 2nd US associate soon, and possibly even a 3rd. Another top 10 US firm client of ours has two fantastic mid level M&A associate openings and we are helping with that on an exclusive basis as well and those hires will likely be made this month. That same firm hired an M&A associate from Kinney in HK late last year. These are just examples and there are other positive ones. Things are obviously hot on the hiring front at these top US firms in Hong Kong / China, but these hiring sprees are only of 2 to 5 associates and once that is done there will not be a big need most likely for the rest of the current deal flow boom in Hong Kong / China that could last through ’14 and even well into ’15 (should we be be so lucky).
However, there are also just as many top US corporate practices in Hong Kong / China which are either not hiring US associates at all yet or are have one opening at the moment (the type of opening that can exist in the slow to average hiring market that we saw in Hong Kong / China for much of ’13). First off, if a top US firm in Hong Kong / China does not have a leading US cap markets practice in China and a leading local HK IPO practice (they pretty much go hand in hand), then they will not have such urgent staffing needs in the current IPO boom. Also, some of the top 5 US cap markets practices in China, while being very busy, simply did not have to hire multiple lateral US associates in order to keep up with the deal flow increase (due to being well staffed already and also having mandarin fluent internal transfers from their US offices to come over), at least for now. Also, keep in mind that top US firms’ global management, while loosening the purse strings quite a bit since the great recession, are still going to make their even busiest partners jump through some hoops to get approval for new hires and this can slow down the pace of US associate lateral hiring in Hong Kong / China, even in a boom market, at some firms. Top US firms are, for the most part, going to still be conservative in green lighting new lateral hires, even though the great recession is pretty far back in our rear view window by now. Until there is a true boom market again in the US, deals will continue to be leanly staffed in US and abroad at major law firms, because until then, firms have the leverage in the hiring market (unlike, for example, in ’06 and ’07 when the market leverage resided more with associates).
So what type of US associates are getting hired in Hong Kong / China during this current and relatively young cap markets boom in Hong Kong / China? Taking a look, for example at the recent, current and expected shortly new hires at top 10 US firms in Hong Kong / China described two paragraphs above, it becomes pretty clear what is required – All of these recent and current lateral hires are fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, most being native Chinese (for most of these spots being native chinese would not give a per se advantage over a non native who is fluent in mandarin and chinese). Less than half come from top 10 peer firms, with most coming from top 30 firms. This is quite a difference from ’12 and ’13 when it was difficult to land at such US firms in Hong Kong / China without coming from a peer top 10 firm, although there were relatively few such openings then, compared to the current boom market, and naturally a log jam of great candidates competing for those spots.
Yes, it is easier to upgrade your firm (regarding prestige ranking) in a US to Hong Kong / China move or a within Hong Kong / China move now, but firms are continuing to be very selective and any upgrading of firm type in such a lateral move has a lot to do with a limited number of Mandarin fluent US associates available on the market (due to firms hiring them and also NYC market getting better and such folks not always as quick to move to Asia now as they were from ’08 to ’12) and being able to start quickly (already on the ground in Hong Kong / China). The top US firms in Hong Kong / China are going to continue to be very selective and have the same JD academic requirements during this boom period. However, some top 10 US firms in Hong Kong / China are fine with hiring associates from top 30, 40 or 50 firms because of the state of the market and the skill set and background they are looking for. Almost all of such positions are going to require Mandarin, and most will require reading and writing Chinese as well. JD academic remain same as before, although there are usually a few cases in boom hiring markets in Hong Kong / China where a firm’s Asia partners get an exception granted by global management regarding a new hire’s grades being just off the cut off for the firm’s policy on that particular law school.
In a boom market hires are made a lot quicker. The interview process can be concluded in a week or two instead of 2+ months (as can be the case in a slow or more normal hiring market in Hong Kong / China. One of our recent placements at a top 10 US firm in Hong Kong was verbally given an offer during her first day of interviews. Hiring partners are aware that their target candidate pool for an opening shrinks quickly in a hot market, they have a full green light from firm management to make a hire, and they have urgent need to staff new deals coming in. Thus, interview processes and offer decisions are made quickly.
We believe that the handful of top tier US firms’ cap markets practices that are hiring US associates now in Hong Kong / China will make most of their US associate hires for ’14 by April. By then, some of their other peers in the top tier that are not yet hiring US corporate / cap markets associates will be hiring multiple laterals. However, the majority of the US associate hires during this current boom in Hong Kong / China at top tier US firms will be made within a 5 month period. Even if the boom goes well into ’15, there will not be another several months period of so much hiring. The top US firms will continue to hire in 2nd half ’14 and into ’15 (as long as the boom lasts), on an as needed basis of course, but there will most likely no longer be a need for multiple associate hires in the same month (or same week as we are seeing now at some firms) by the same office.
A number of firms in Hong Kong / China have urgent M&A US associate openings as well, including at top 10 US firms. Those positions though are being filled differently than the China US cap markets openings – in that for the M&A spots the interviewing and offer decision process is taking longer now than for the US associate hires needed to support all the new IPO work coming in.
Also, keep in mind that during IPO booms US associates hired to be in a mix M&A and cap markets practice or even to have more of a focus on M&A will in many cases have mostly cap markets work in their first 6 months or so at their new firm. This will happen because there will simply be an overflow of IPO work coming in to any top tier US firm in Hong Kong / China which has a solid US cap markets practice in China.
If the IPO boom continues through this year, then at some point this summer or early fall, a number of 2nd tier US firms in Hong Kong / China will be hiring multiple US associates in a relatively short period of time as well, as the over flow of high end deals can’t all fit in the top tier US cap markets China practices. Some deals will be turned down by top tier US practices and then of course get gobbled up by 2nd tier US cap markets practices. We find that the hiring frenzy for those 2nd tier firms in such periods of sudden great deal flow in cap markets can be a bigger hiring frenzy than the earlier one by the top tier firms. This is because some of these 2nd tier US cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China are pretty small sized and they will have to ramp up very quickly.
While things were very hot over the past two years in other SE Asia markets, such as the Philippines for example, SE Asia deal flow has slowed down quite a bit in ’14. There are some openings in HK and Singapore which do not require Mandarin, but in HK most of those positions end up being filled by Mandarin speakers anyways. Singapore is a rapidly growing US big law market, but it can still be difficult to break into that market unless you have a connection to Singapore (or at least SE Asia) and are currently at a top 20 US firm, in the right practice area. Even during busy Singapore markets, there is not all that much hiring and those spots for US associates at top tier US firms and magic circle firms in Singapore are very competitive.
The interview process for US associate candidates at Pan Asia practices is dragging out quite a bit at Hong Kong and Singapore firms at present, because of the focus on hiring needs for China practices and there being plenty of great candidates on the market who don’t speak Mandarin but could fit well in any Pan Asia practice.
We think there will be an uptick in hiring of English only US associates in Hong Kong by the fall, but only if the boom continues throughout ’14. At some point, Pan Asia US partners have openings and in many cases it can be because the mandarin speaker they hired in the past few years has now been recruited by an top US China practice. When the Hong Kong / China markets are booming for a sustained period of a year or more, then almost any hiring need by any US partner in Asia will get green lighted by management (unless the biggest US recession of our lifetime is taking place) and the top tier US firms will sometimes hire a stellar English only speaker for a China and Pan Asia mix role when there is not a suitable (by their high standards) mandarin speaking candidate available for the spot. Until that happens, it will continue to be very difficult for a non Mandarin speaker on a job search in Hong Kong / China, but its not impossible.
In fact, one of our top 10 US firm clients in Hong Kong has now a great 4th to 6th year M&A US associate opening and English only is ok.
As always, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a call with Evan Jowers, for detailed information on any opening and also the market in general, or simply to get good career advice.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
1. The Sharing Economy has its own Wikipedia entry. But it has nothing to do with giving away business.
You learned how to share in kindergarten. Preschool if you were a precocious tyke. And yet, perhaps it’s dawning on you just how truly wrongheaded some of those early lessons were. Velcro shoes, for instance, obviate the need for any sort of lace configuration.
So you’re an adult with adult mortgage payments and adult car payments and adult allergy medicine payments. You probably need all the money you can get to support your allergy medicine habit. So why should you, adult allergy sufferer, give away an easy score? You shouldn’t. Sharing like that is for the birds.
We are in a brand-new era of strategic sharing that promises to unlock the highest potential of the human being: making money. The new sharing economy is predicated on matching dormant capital with smart entrepreneurs. You could be the smart entrepreneur.
But what of dormant capital…
2. There are too many lawyers out there. Grab one.
If you’re reading this, you’re an attorney. And if you’re an attorney, you’re probably aware of the recent… unpleasantness in the legal job market. Thousands of attorneys are being minted every year and literally dozens of them are finding jobs. In a jobs climate like this one, an attorney with business is unwise to simply give that business away. Someone has come to you with a legal problem. Through grace, good luck, gumption, or good old-fashioned grit, you have landed a client. Know that you don’t have to go it alone. There are thousands of lawyers out there waiting to help you. They dreamed of careers in litigation, municipal bonds, real estate, and maritime law. You don’t know the first thing about animal husbandry? Super! There’s an attorney out there who grew up on a farm, loaded up on animal law courses, and would love to help your client set up their free-range emu egg operation.
But I suppose that kind of subject-specific expertise would be difficult to marshal in the real world. Which brings me to the third and most important reason…
3. There are companies who collect experts like Imelda Marcos collected shoes. Use them!
It’s understandable that you wouldn’t just hire that farm kid from the last paragraph right off the street. He smells like a barn. And besides, what do you say to a kid like that?
“I’d love for you to help me on this one small emu egg deal and then I’d like you to vamoose, capisce?”
No, no, no. This won’t do. But luckily it doesn’t have to. Let’s circle back to the original premise. Someone is begging for you to take their money. Except, you don’t have the requisite expertise to assist them. Luckily for you, a company like B3 Legal has that requisite expertise in spades. You cultivate the client and a certified genius from B3 Legal comes in and gets his hands dirty with the complex legal work.
If you don’t believe me–and trust me, I don’t blame you after that ill-conceived Henry Ford analogy that began this post–perhaps you would trust one of those certified geniuses. I emailed John Enteman, an attorney with a degree from Harvard Law and nearly four decades of experience and who also has offered up his expertise as part of B3 Legal’s team, to ask why someone would go through a company like B3 Legal rather than, say, referring their business elsewhere. His answer was unsurprising. “B3 Legal clients remain in control of the advice and work provided for their clients without introducing any third-party, independent attorney.”
It doesn’t take an expert to understand that companies like B3 Legal allow attorneys to keep more of the business that they find. When someone comes to you for legal advice, you don’t deserve a finder’s fee. You deserve their business. Contact them at email@example.com.
Giving away business puts me in mind of what Henry Ford once said about airplanes: “Wretched sky raptors will never make any goldarned sense to me.” (ed. note: Henry Ford almost certainly never said this.)
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.
How do you monitor your competition or clients on Twitter?
Do you know who the Thought Leaders are in your LinkedIn Groups?
Do you know how to research who those folks are?
How are you using Google+ pages to enhance your search engine ranking?
Did you know YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine?
Do you know what visual storytelling is and why its important?
Whether you are a marketing professional at a large firm, or a 3rd year associate at a boutique firm, social media can help you gain a competitive advantage and help you become a better business person, that is focused on your clients.
Practical Law provides legal know-how that gives lawyers a better starting point. Our team of attorney editors creates and maintains thousands of up-to-date, practical resources that go beyond primary law and traditional legal research to give lawyers the resources needed to practice more efficiently, improve client service and add more value. To learn more, take a free trial.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
Courts have taken a variety of approaches to determining who owns the pre-transaction attorney-client privilege after a merger, asset sale or other similar corporate transaction. Given the lack of a bright-line rule as to which entities will control the privilege, companies should understand and account for what will happen to attorney-client communications post-closing. The failure to do so may result not only in confusion, but in litigation between the parties and potentially having to relinquish privileged material.
Once upon a time, a client-in-need would flip through the Yellow Pages in search of a lawyer that gave off a competent appearance – with “appearance” being the operative word. These days, a lawyer’s business card is their website, which is precisely why your online presence should be at the forefront of your client strategy. Discover how small/medium law firms and solo practitioners can play the online ‘court’, and win.
How to Build an Online Presence in a Day
In 2012, the legal research firm LexisNexis released a study in which they showed that 76% of Americans use online resources to find an attorney, with 53% using online resources to validate a lawyer’s credentials following referrals from friends and colleagues. In order for a law firm or solo practice’s online practice to succeed, several different online presences must collaborate and corroborate each other: A firm’s website will under-perform if it has no search engine presence or legal database it is attached to, just as a lawyer’s social media presence is moot without a professional website to lead prospective clients to.
Your Website: The prospect of spending thousands of dollars and countless hours building a website is unpalatable for many new firms. Thankfully, free alternatives abound. IM Creator offers dozens of professional, user-friendly website templates that can be used to build your firm’s website in a few hours, for free, and with no web designer or programmer needed. Its simple “drag & drop” editor lets you add your own content instantly, and websites built using our service are search-engine friendly.
Legal Directories: After search engine queries, legal directories are (according to LexisNexis) the second most popular way clients search for, validate, and select a lawyer. Once your website is up and running, make sure to link it to all directories you are registered with, as well as others that are relevant to your practice. Properly completed directory profiles also help boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), as they create connecting threads to validate your online presence.
Social Media: Many lawyers (and especially those who have worked in highly competitive “big” firms) maintain a love-hate relationship with social sites like LinkedIn. Nevertheless, LinkedIn provides further credibility to your online presence by linking your work to past clients and legal contacts. Creating a link between your firm’s website and these social media sites also allows future clients to search for personal and professional connections you may share.
Design for Legal Practices
On average, internet users spend about 5 seconds on a website before they decide to read on or “bounce” (online marketing terminology for a user who leaves the page before engaging with it). The “visual language” of a website conveys the tone of the practice it serves, and forms a significant part of a visitor’s first impressions.
Branding Basics: If you invest in any aspect of your firm’s branding, make it your logo. As we’ve seen, spending money on building your website is rendered unnecessary with a free online website builder, but you may still benefit from paying a designer to help you create a basic visual language that can be used as the aesthetic basis for your overall web design.
The Language of Colors: Much has been written about the branding message that colors portray in design. Law firms too must look the part they play, as clients tend to prefer sober, monochrome color-schemes in grayscale and navy blue that yield images of a business suit, not a hawaiian shirt. Context is important, though: In specialized legal fields such as family law, a website’s color scheme should reflect the kind of problems it is dealing with. In this case, a more muted palette of pale greens or blues softens the aesthetic tone of the site, and gives the impression that the firm is sensitive to the personal issues at hand.
Just Put Down the Stock Photography: Clients tend to want to put a face to a name when they are selecting a lawyer to work with. Instead of scouring the web for stock imagery, consider using a professional headshot or photo of your office. If you do need some stock photography to add further visual interest to your page, though, IM Creator have created IM Free, a tightly-curated database of relevant images that are free for commercial use.
Don’t Overcrowd: The best websites don’t overwhelm visitors with content. Website templates from site builders help effortlessly manage the organization of your website’s content, but it’s still important to continuously recite the “simplicity is key” mantra as you add content to your website.
How to Organize Your Site: With such a short initial time-frame to grab a user’s attention, it’s important to know what information should be relayed to prospective clients first. Web users from Western countries tend to start at the top left of a page then read left to right and down, meaning that the upper two-thirds of your page should contain basic information such as what you specialize in, a “call to action”, and a reason for users to explore further.
Where to Place Your Call to Action: Your “call to action” is your first point of contact, and a crucial piece of content on your site. For most law firms, this may simply be a phone number and email, but contact forms are also easily implemented and increasingly popular. Your call to action is best placed prominently on your site, either in the top right corner or about a third of the way down the page on the right, where visitors’ gaze naturally flows to.
The Importance Information Curation: Just like your LinkedIn page, clients want to know that you are active in the legal community. The front page of your website should contain links or summaries to any legal articles you have published, as well as relevant news about your firm that will lend further credibility. This includes membership to legal societies, presence on legal directories, and any other professional markers.
But beware: nothing degrades a website’s credibility more than out-of-date information. Social media widgets help to relieve the task of manual updating; with IM Creator, you can drag and drop live social feeds anywhere on your site, so that anything you post to LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, or Twitter will echo on your own site.
Testimonials: According to LexisNexus, 57% of people who used the internet to search for a lawyer checked a lawyer’s ratings and reviews, and 65% of those who did found them to be moderately to extremely influential in their decision. Encouraging existing clients to add reviews to legal directories and social sites LinkedIn is important, but many clients also look for testimonials on your website.
Geolocation: Adding a Google Maps widget to your website increases your SEO, but also helps prospective clients search for you locally. Google’s Places for Business automatically syncs all your key information – including your address, contact details, office hours, description, and ratings – onto one Google-synchronized page that will appear as soon as your name is searched for, or when a query like “law firms in my area” is inputted.
A Note on Costs: Few lawyers speak about the costs involved in legal advice upfront, but it can be helpful to add a page on your website describing how legal fees are determined, and whether or not you offer any free initial consultation.
Free Tools to Track Your Progress Online
Once you’ve synchronised your website with your social profiles and membership to legal directories and societies, there are a number of ways to track how your online presence is affecting the growth of your law practice:
Google Analytics: Perhaps the most comprehensive yet straightforward of data analytics tools on the market, Google Analytics is free to use, and comes with real-time tools to track the number of visitors to your website, where they are coming from, how long they spend on your site, and what they are clicking on while there.
Hootsuite: Hootsuite aggregates all your social media profiles into one account, so that you can synchronise and keep track of your social media presence. Instead of updating news to LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook one by one, Hootsuite also lets you schedule news that will be sent out to all your social media profiles at once.
WooRank: WooRank instantly reviews your website for its SEO ranking, then provides you with a list of recommendations to help you figure out how you can improve. WooRank also offers visitor data and social media tracking, but it also helps you to figure out things like SEO keywords and backlinks, as well as any inconsistencies in setup of your site.
The Internet Doesn’t Care about Size
The internet carries with it a powerful message: No matter how big or small your business is, a successful web presence leads to professional success. Creating a name for yourself has never been so straightforward – and inexpensive – even as competition is steep. Small firms and solo-practitioners don’t need a fancy office or a team of management and branding gurus in their trail. All they need is a well-designed website, and their name in all the right (online) places.
When I was a semi-professional card-counting blackjack player, I legally exploited casinos through an inherent mathematical defect in the game and placed my bets in direct proportion to my advantage. I kept track of ratios between cards to determine the size of this advantage, known as the “count.” If I did not have an advantage, I would sit out a few hands until the “count” was high enough for me to come back in to the game. I would spend hours counting cards just to get a one percent edge over the house.
An edge, even a small edge of just one percent, is all you need to get ahead of your competitors. If you are slightly ahead of them, you are still ahead and you hold an advantage over them. In the lateral game of recruiting partners with loyal clients, minor changes in major areas will also pay big dividends. Here are three ideas that your firm can use to increase the odds of potential laterals moving to your firm:
1. The Message. What is the story of your firm that is going to attract that lateral partner sitting on the fence? You need to spend time discussing this with those colleagues who are involved in the lateral recruiting process. This needs to be a consistent message but must not seem contrived. The story needs to be authentic, congruent and compelling.
2. The Difference. The story also must extend beyond “a collegial culture and a robust platform.” That phrase is plain vanilla and is what everyone says. You need to say things that no other law firm can say. Most law firms do the same type of work for the same types of clients and employ the same type of people who do it.
You have to dig deep to find points of differentiation. Sometimes they might seem minor to you, but what might hold little relevance to you could be the main reason a partner moves to your firm. Don’t make judgments based on your world view but from the perspective of your prospects.
Some points of differentiation are visible on your website, such as the number of offices and the number of attorneys that are part of your firm. Other subtle but powerful points of differentiation I have come across in the past include:
• the high retention rate of partners.
• a commitment to marketing through a large and tenured marketing department.
• the process and protocols you follow to thoroughly integrate new partners.
• the structured social gatherings of your firm which makes client sharing and introductions flow easier. Do you have ‘fine wine’ and ‘craft beer’ committees to facilitate this?
• ways that make it easier for partners to communicate to each other so it is easier for them to help each other.
• technology tools that assist in collaboration on projects.
• leadership development training so that the partners are better equipped with skills required to lead teams.
• sales advisors who are adept at sniffing out pockets of opportunities. They can advise partners on how to orchestrate ways to get more business from existing clients and see patterns that are veins of gold for new vertical niches.
• the number of speaking engagements that are delivered each year at business conferences and trade association meetings.
• the amount of publishing from the partnership, including textbooks, trade journals, blogs, articles, regular columns and business books.
• the tenure of the administrative and support staff.
3. The Tools. Prepare simple communication tools that make it easy for recruiters and others to tell your story. Don’t ever say to a prospective lateral, “Just look on our website to learn more about us. It’s all on there.” Visiting a website takes work. Make it easy on them. Make readily available the information they will use to choose your firm.
Put together several one sheets and put them in pdf format so that they are easy to read. Put together three types of one-sheets:
1) a firm summary one-sheet that gives an overview of your firm including key rankings.
2) an FAQ sheet that answers the most-often asked questions of prospective laterals.
3) a one-sheet for each practice group that you are trying to expand. Have it hyperlinked to biography pages of key partners and recent hires in the group.
If you implement just one of these three ideas, I am confident that it is enough to give you a significant edge in your effectiveness to recruit partners. I know this because I spend all day talking to partners who are curious about other opportunities and I know what motivates them to move. When I have a client who actively works with me in building the story based on what I have written above, then I know it’s just a matter of time before we find a star partner who will move to their firm. And just like counting cards in blackjack, a slight edge in this game always pays big dividends.
Scott Love grows law firms and accelerates attorney careers by conducting partner-level and group searches for law firms and facilitating law firm mergers. He has been a career ‘headhunter’ since 1995 and is a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy. Scott lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, two children, and a toothless rescue dog named Smoky. He can be reached at 202-737-5555. To learn more, please visit www.attorneysearchgroup.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
Whether you’re fresh off the bar exam or hitting your stride after hanging a shingle a few years ago, one thing’s for certain: independent attorneys who start a solo or small-law practice live with a certain amount of stress.
Non-attorneys would think the stress comes from preparing for a big trial, deposing a hostile witness, or crafting the perfect contract for a picky client.
But that’s nothing compared to the constant, nagging, real-life kind, the kind you get from the day-to-day grind of being a law-abiding attorney.
Connecticut plaintiffs-side boutique litigation firm (12 lawyers) seeks full-time associate with 2-4 years litigation experience, top tier undergraduate and law school education. Journal or clerkship experience a plus; highest ethical standards and strong work ethic required. Familiarity with Connecticut state court legal practice is preferred, but not required.
The firm handles sophisticated, high-end cases for plaintiffs, including individuals and businesses with significant claims in a wide array of matters. Our cases often have important public policy implications, and are litigated in state and federal courts throughout Connecticut. Representative areas of practice include medical malpractice, catastrophic personal injury, business torts, deceptive trade practices and other complex commercial litigation, and products liability.
Additional information can be located on our website, at www.sgtlaw.com.