Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices

Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices

How Do Clients Choose a Lawyer? The Hidden Power of Asking for Referrals

Posted in Law Firm Advertising, Law Firm Communications, Law Firm Marketing, Law Firm Public Relations

AFAP May 2015,jpgI recently came across an article about consumer purchasing that made me reflect on my own purchasing decisions… and then led me to wonder whether those lessons could be applied to how law firms go about attracting and retaining clients.

“The secret science of shopping: Why we buy what we do” by Belle Beth Cooper, which was originally published on the Crew blog, then republished on TNW (The Next Web) News, reports that we are more likely to make a purchase when we are with friends than when we are with relatives – and that when we see others making purchases, we are more likely to make a purchase than when we are alone.

What can this tell us about how prospective clients may go about choosing a specific lawyer – or deciding whether or not to use a lawyer in the first place for a particular matter? If we think about the power of a referral by one of our existing clients to their friends and colleagues (perhaps contrasting it with their likelihood to use our services if a relative suggests our firm!), we may spend a bit more time encouraging clients to feel free to mention our names to others who may be able to use our services. If we know that someone who has been referred to us is likely to value our services more highly than one who found us in the on-line equivalent of a phone book, that may alter how we approach our dealings with clients as well.

Lawyers are not in the business of selling themselves in the way that car dealerships or McDonald’s are, but with a little imagination the lessons the corporate world has learned about attracting and retaining customers can be applied by those in any field who want to expand their customer or client bases.

Let me know your thoughts about this or any other matter, either in the comments section below or directly via email.

2015 Edge International Global Partner Compensation System Survey

Posted in Knowledge Management, Law Firm Design, Law Firm Economics, Law Firm Human Resources, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Management

Edge Survey,jpgEdge International is pleased to announce the release of its 2015 Global Partner Compensation System Survey, authored by Edge International partners Ed Wesemann and Nick Jarrett-Kerr. This is the fourth triennial survey that we have conducted (the first was published in 2006) with a view to gaining an understanding of differences in firms’ approaches to compensation by nationality over time.

The authors write, “The result of this year’s survey was precisely what we anticipated. The basis and process used to compensate partners is continuing to follow the trend we saw from 2006 to 2012 in that they are becoming increasingly harmonized among law firms around the world. However, there continues to be some interesting cultural differences.”

Wesemann and Jarrett-Kerr go on to outline those cultural differences, which include the greater use of subjective compensation systems in Canada and the U.S. than in other countries, and a preference for a “lockstep system” of compensation everywhere in the world but North America. They then provide a detailed analysis of the results of the survey.

I invite you to download this interesting and useful document either from the links on this page, or directly from the Edge International website, where you can simply click on the red banner.

You are welcome to comment on this new publication, or on any other matter, in the comments section below, or to contact me directly via email.

 

 

Writing Tips from a Pro

Posted in Law Firm Communications, Law Firm Public Relations

Pinker2Whether asked to deliver a speech or write an article for a magazine whose audience is primarily non-lawyers, many lawyers find it a challenge to present their ideas in a clear, straightforward fashion without resorting to legalese.

In a recent blog post, Eric Barker offered some assistance to anyone who is stymied by the prospect of a blank page. The post, entitled “How to Be a Better Writer,” distils some of the key guidelines on effective writing that are offered in the best-selling book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, by the noted cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker.

Barker’s summary ranges from pointers that will have direct relevance to those with expertise in a particular field (like the law) – “Beware the curse of knowledge” – to ones that should help anyone faced with the task of putting words together clearly and concisely: “You don’t have to play by the rules (but try).”

Barker’s quotes from Pinker and summaries of his suggestions are likely to lead most people decide to read Pinker’s entire book, but in the meantime they serve as an interesting guide that can immediately be put to work.

I welcome your comments on this or any other matter, either below or directly via email.

 

 

How Much Do You Know about the Internet?

Posted in Law Firm Technology

GloverSam Glover, founder of The Lawyerist, believes that all lawyers must be familiar with the fundamental operating principles of the technology that we use every day. In his opinion, basic knowledge of the internet and how computers work is essential to the maintenance of legal competence as set out in the American Bar Association’s Rule 1.1. – specifically Comment 8, which talks about “the benefits and risks associated with current technology.”

Glover argues that without knowledge of how the internet came into being and how it works, we cannot competently assess the risks to clients and ourselves of various security threats, or even the use of computer functions that have become commonplace – such as working with a cloud.

For an introduction to basic knowledge about the internet – or simply to assess whether our current knowledge is accurate and adequate – Glover refers us to a primer published on the general-interest news site Vox: “Everything You Need to Know About the Internet” by Timothy B. Lee. The article includes 18 clearly written and easily comprehended points that range across such questions as “Where is the internet?” and “What is an IP address?”

Even if you feel that you are well informed about internet-related matters, the Vox article is an excellent refresher. Like Glover, I recommend that all lawyers check it out.

I welcome your comments on this or any other matter, either below or directly via email.

 

How Managing Partners Can Help Administrators Achieve Firm Objectives

Posted in Law Firm Human Resources, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Management

AACoverI was pleased to have been invited to contribute an article to the Jan/Feb 2015 edition of Administrator’s Advantage, the newsletter of the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators. In it, I outline some of the problems typically faced by managing partners in their work with firms’ administrative teams, and the challenges faced by the administrators themselves. The goal of the article was to set out ways in which these two sectors of the law firm can work together more successfully and openly to achieve objectives that are of benefit to the entire firm.

The article appears on page 12 of the pdf version of the publication. I welcome your thoughts regarding the suggestions for collaborative action I have set out, and any others that you have used effectively to achieve firm objectives. You are welcome to contribute your feedback in the comments section below, or to contact me regarding this or any other matter directly via email.

 

Fake Legal Websites using Profiles of Real Lawyers

Posted in Law Firm Security

Fake FirmsSeveral publications, including the BBC online, are warning the public to double-check the credentials of lawyers they find on the Internet before giving them any personal banking or credit-card information. There are growing numbers of reports of unscrupulous sites that have copied information about reputable lawyers from highly regarded firms onto their own sites, in order to scam prospective clients. In one case reported on the BBC and elsewhere, the scam involved  gaining access to the credit cards of unwary consumers by advertising lower costs on traffic fines. The American Bar Association has reported similar schemes in the U.S. and elsewhere.

News articles focus on steps that prospective clients should take, such as checking the credentials and law-firm locations of specific lawyers against law-society membership lists. Law firms and individual lawyers should also keep a heads up to ensure that their identities are not being stolen and their reputations placed at risk by imposters.

As always, I welcome your thoughts on this or any other matter. Contact me either in the comments section below or directly via email.

 

Client Relationships, Firm Strategy, and Lawyers and Retirement: New Issue of EIC

Posted in Knowledge Management, Law Firm Client Service, Law Firm Communications, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Management, Law Firm Strategy

April 15 EICThe April, 2015 issue of Edge International Communique is now available online.

Check out feature articles by three of my Edge International colleagues:

– David Cruickshank talks about improving client relationships

– Bithika Anand addresses the issue of when lawyers should retire

– Sean Larkan shares some tools for building (or rebuilding) an effective firm strategy

Click here to subscribe to EIC.

I welcome your feedback via the comments section below, or you can contact me directly via email.

 

Does EQ Trump IQ?

Posted in Law Firm Communications, Law Firm Human Resources, Law Firm Public Relations

EQIn my experience, a significant number of lawyers could benefit from “Emotional Intelligence” (EQ) training.

We have accessed online testing and EQ training courses for a few individuals in our client firms. The metrics for results are anecdotal but have proven to be enthusiastically positive.

In this context, I am intrigued by Fast Company‘s story, “Inside Google’s Insanely Popular Emotional Intelligence Course,” by Vivian Giang. I thought you might be as well.

Let me know what you think about the concept of emotional intelligence, and its importance in the workplace – or any other matter – either in the comments section below, or directly via email.

 

Brainwriting Clobbers Brainstorming

Posted in Knowledge Management, Law Firm Innovation, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Management, Law Firm Strategy, Law Firm Training

brainwritingIn most law firms, brainstorming processes are dominated by power partners or simply those with force of personality. When this happens, the scope of the process is narrowed and many participants may be disenfranchised. If the goal of a brainstorming session is to tap the brain trust of all participants, then “brainwriting” might be a brilliant solution.

In an article about brainwriting published in Fast Company, Rebecca Greenfield writes:

[In her book Creative Conspiracy], Thompson found that brainwriting groups generated 20% more ideas and 42% more original ideas as compared to traditional brainstorming groups. “I was shocked to find there’s not a single published study in which a face-to-face brainstorming group outperforms a brainwriting group,” she said.

Have a look at the article and the accompanying video (which is less than four minutes long). Let me know what you think about this approach, or any other matter, either in the comments section below, or directly via email.