The Marketing Issue
February 17, 2020 | Volume 1
A Note from the Editor
By: Betsy Kopczynski, Office Administrator, Epstein, Becker & Green
Happy New Year, Valentine’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, and Leap Year! Lots to celebrate in the first two months of 2020. I hope everyone’s year is off to a fantastic start!
Our jobs as legal professionals always come with challenges. Whether personnel issues, client related concerns, vendor relations, or finances, it's always a full schedule, a full day. With all the different “fires” to be dealt with in our busy days, it seems that marketing is always put on the back burner. Whether we just don’t have the time to develop a strategic marketing plan, or just to properly market our firms, it doesn't get the attention it deserves.
Well, today is your lucky day! In this Marketing-focused issue, you will find numerous articles to help you navigate through a road map toward a successfully developed, strategic marketing plan. So sit back and enjoy not only valuable marketing information, but some intriguing facts about Leap Year and a list of scrumptious lunch options, both in Legal Levity. Happy Reading!
Consider Earning Your CLM Designation
The current CLM study group is well underway! The next CLM exam date is
April 20, 2020
. If you are interested in taking the exam on April 20, you have until February 20 to submit your application. There are several requirements you must meet in order to be eligible to take the CLM exam. All these requirements can be found on ALA’s website
If you have an interest in taking the CLM exam but you still need to satisfy many of the education requirements to become eligible, you might want to consider purchasing the CLM Application Credit Webinar Bundle. The bundle is a one-stop shop solution to satisfying your education requirements, while learning at your convenience. The bundle can be purchased on ALA’s website
If you have questions regarding the Chicago Study Group or the process for applying to take the CLM exam, feel free to reach out to CLM Director
Build Relationships, Generate Referrals
By: Ken W.Brown, M.B.A.,
President of The Specialists in Law Firm Marketing™
Why are newsletters/e-blasts so effective?
Many lawyers seek the latest fad in marketing, hoping to gain an edge on the competition. Others sink huge amounts in SEO campaigns and pay-per-click, paying for any leads that come their way. Often those leads are of low quality and take an inordinate amount of personnel time to handle. However, despite many other online digital marketing options, newsletters/e-blasts continue to generate quality business opportunities. In fact, seasoned marketing experts rank newsletters/e-blasts as
one of the most effective techniques for imaging, awareness building, new client acquisition, and client retention
With newsletters/e-blasts, you can build a database of your known contacts including current and past clients, business contacts and other referral sources, and prospective clients who may need your services. This can be highly effective vs. “shotgun marketing” which is spending huge amounts of money to immerse the marketplace with your message, wasting your money on the majority of those contacted who have no need for your services.
Lower cost vs. many other digital options:
Advertising, especially in print or on TV, can be very expensive. Newsletters/e-blasts are one of the least expensive methods to directly reach your audience.
Image building/name recognition and market positioning
: You know that your services are great, but is your firm one of those that says “We’re the best kept secret in town”? Newsletters/e-blasts can be a highly effective tool to overcome that problem. Commit to doing it regularly and you’ll build top-of-mind awareness.
Build trust, relationships and referrals:
Newsletters/e-blasts are a great method to consistently demonstrate your expertise, show your commitment to the targeted market, showcase your talent, introduce new services, announce accomplishments and recognize new personnel and promotions. All of this goes toward further establishing your referral network, encouraging repeat business, and expanding your client base.
A proven method of communicating valuable information is through newsletters/e-blasts. If you provide quality information that is useful to your audience, they are more likely to read it – and to read the next issue and those thereafter.
Systematic method of contact: If you want a system to regularly reach your target market, with key messages that will impact, newsletters/e-blasts are a great tool.
Connecting with your contacts:
Statistics show that people open emails from their known contacts. Knowing this fact, you can keep your firm’s name in front of your audience – and they’ll be more likely to remember you when a need for your services arises.
Over 90% of business owners and individual consumers check their email at least once a day, most doing it several times a day. This means that your newsletters/e-blasts will have an opportunity to gain a quick review and potential response.
By: Laura Sears, CLM,
Chief Administrative Officer, Gould & Ratner LLP
I hope your 2020 is off to a rousing and successful start and that all of you have renewed your membership with ALA national and the Chicago Chapter! Many of you had to justify your continued membership.
This time of year is always a good time to consider the value of an ALA membership, along with strategies to ensure our respective firms understand what ALA membership contributes to their success (and ours!). It’s worth the effort to remember – and remind – both ourselves and our firms that membership in ALA gives us:
- The ability to remain aware of everything that is going on in the legal industry, such as best practices, new technology, why we need it, what problems are being faced, trends, staffing issues…
- Access to 50+ chapter educational and networking activities – and that’s just this year. There’s something for everyone, and our Chapter events are included in the cost of your dues…
- Subscriptions to The Administrator’s Advantage newsletter and national’s Legal Management magazine that offer timely articles on an array of topics affecting our firms…
- Online communities and our listservs that provide answers to our questions practically instantly…
- Ready access to peers in Chicago and around the world to help guide us. We can contact anyone from ALA at any time and ask a question, seek advice or commiserate…
- Instant feedback on who is using what product or service – ask an ALA member for their insights…
- Connections with our colleagues that provide us with the ability to reflect and re-energize outside of work…
- Business partners who are ready to support us and our firms with information regarding their products and services…
- Opportunities for volunteer leadership that provides us with added experience and exposure to new people, leadership training and organizational dividends that pay off in our careers…
- Chapter and national websites that provide us with information and tools we can use to manage our firms…
- The Annual Conference & Expo that features nearly 100 educational sessions focusing on legal industry trends and developments, unparalleled networking opportunities and a 3-day expo…
- Specialized conferences planned by national that will enhance your legal management intelligence…
We know that you will return from a meeting, event or conference with new information and ideas to implement. Share those with your management team and firm leadership so they know the value that you have gained from being a part of ALA.
We have a busy and high-value March in store and hope you will make plans to attend one or all of our planned events! Check out the
to find out more about our Small/Mid-Size/Local Office Group’s Winter Business Partner Fair, Annual Charity Event and Law Firm Leaders Event.
Further your connections with our legal community, learn about products and services offered by our Business Partners, and benefit from cutting edge education!
Bi-Monthly Recap: New Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Requirement
By: Walker Lawrence, Associate, Levin Ginsburg
On January 21, Walker Lawrence, Associate at Levin Ginsburg, presented a program on recent amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act and the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act. Below is a summary of his presentation.
Several significant changes in the law are in store for employers as they move forward in 2020. These changes will require employers to review their employment policies, update employment agreements, and develop new training programs. Below is a brief update of those changes and how employers should begin preparing to address them in 2020.
Amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act
The Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”) was amended to expand its coverage, require mandatory sexual harassment training, and require annual reporting of employment claims.
The amendments to the IHRA expand five key provisions:
- The definition of “Discrimination” was expanded to include “actual or perceived” members of a protected class;
- The definition of “working environment” is no longer limited to the physical location to which an employee is assigned to perform services for an employer;
- The definition of “employer” was expanded to include any entity that employs one or more persons (instead of the previous 15-employee requirement);
- The definition of an “employee” was expanded to include non-employees, including independent contractors, vendors and others performing services for the benefit of the employer; and
- The amendments enacted into law the Illinois Supreme Court holding that employers are responsible for the acts of “nonmanagerial and nonsupervisory employees only if the employer becomes aware of the conduct and fails to take corrective measures.”
The amendments to the IHRA require most employers (e.g. at least one employee) in Illinois to implement a sexual harassment prevention training program.
The IHRA provides that:
The Department shall produce a model sexual harassment prevention training program aimed at the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. The model program shall be made available to employers and to the public online at no cost. This model program shall include, at a minimum, the following:
- an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with this Act;
- examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment;
- a summary of relevant federal and State statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, including remedies available to victims of sexual harassment; and
- a summary of responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment.
To no one’s surprise, the state has not released the “model” training program to help employers comply with the new law. At this point, best practice dictates patience as employers wait for guidance from the State because employers have until December 31, 2020 to comply.
Beginning July 1, 2020 employers will be required to make annual disclosures to the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Those disclosures include the following:
- Total number of settlements involving the employer in the preceding year related to a claim of unlawful discrimination that (a) occurred at the workplace; or (b) involved the acts of an employee whether at work or not;
- Breakdown of the total number of settlements by type of claim: (a) sexual harassment or gender discrimination, (b) race, color or national origin, (c) religion, (d) age, (e) disability, (f) military status, (g) gender discrimination, (h) other;
- Total number of adverse judgment or administrative rulings;
- Equitable relief ordered against the employer with respect to the covered claims;
- Breakdown of the total number of adverse rulings by type of claim (a) sexual harassment or gender discrimination, (b) race, color or national origin, (c) religion, (d) age, (e) disability, (f) military status, (g) gender discrimination, (h) other.
The amendments to the IHRA increase an employer’s potential exposure to litigation involving IHRA claims, require new data to be collected with the State, and develop and implement new sexual harassment training programs.
The Illinois Workplace Transparency Act
Many employers require employees to sign confidentiality agreements when they are hired, terminated or as part of a settlement agreement. The Illinois Workplace Transparency Act (“IWTA”) will require significant changes and updates to many of those agreements and policies. These changes are designed to increase transparency and protect employees reporting harassment and discrimination in the workplace. These changes went into effect January 1, 2020.
Reporting to the Government
Under the IWTA, no contract or document can prohibit a prospective, current or former employee from reporting any “unlawful conduct” to a government entity. This applies to employment agreements, handbooks, policies, NDAs, severance agreements, settlement agreements, and non-compete agreements. Employers also cannot prevent any employee from testifying in a criminal action or unlawful employment lawsuit.
Any policy or agreement that an employee is subject to as a condition of employment that restricts an employee from making any truthful statement about an unlawful employment practice is prohibited. Examples of these policies or agreements would include a confidentiality policy in a handbook or non-disparagement clause in an employment agreement. Each of these clauses would prevent an employee from disclosing potentially harmful truthful statements about an employer.
The IWTA provides a safe harbor if these policies were negotiated, the employee receives a bargained-for benefit, and the employer expressly notifies the employee of the employee’s right to:
- report any good faith allegation of unlawful employment practices to any appropriate federal, State, or local government agency enforcing discrimination laws;
- report any good faith allegation of criminal conduct to any appropriate federal, State, or local official;
- participate in a proceeding with any appropriate federal, State, or local government agency enforcing discrimination laws;
- make any truthful statements or disclosures required by law, regulation, subpoena, or legal process; and
- request or receive confidential legal advice.
Forced arbitration agreements may be void under the law if they are not in compliance with IWTA. They must include “a written exception for claims of harassment or discrimination, as provided under Section 2-102 of the Illinois Human Rights Act”. Agreements to arbitrate will be deemed void and unenforceable if they prevent the public enforcement of harassment claims.
Like the other restrictions, confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements would be void under the IWTA unless:
- confidentiality is negotiated by both Parties and both Parties are bound by it;
- employee is advised to have its own counsel;
- specific consideration is given to the employee for the confidentiality provision;
- prospective claims are not released; and
- the employee is given adequate time to review (e.g., 21-days) and rescind the separation agreement (e.g., 7-days).
The IWTA requires broad sweeping changes that will require employers to update their policies, rewrite agreements, and evaluate their severance procedures.
These are only a few examples of the changes that will impact Illinois employers in 2020. With an employee friendly governor in Springfield, Illinois businesses have to adapt, update and prepare for the legal landscape in 2020. Most of these changes will require employers to change existing policies, update handbooks, increase training, increase hourly rates of pay, modify agreements, and review their hiring practices going forward.
If you have any questions regarding these or any other employment laws, please contact Walker Lawrence at (312) 368-0100 or
at Levin Ginsburg.
The Big Picture: Why Photos
Ensure Web Credibility
By: Michelle Kaffko,
Founder, Organic Headshots
Did you know that while it takes an average of 60 seconds for someone to read about 200-250 words, it takes only 1/10th of a second for our brain to digest and understand an image? The average internet user spends only 10 seconds or less on a single webpage, and only 5.59 seconds reading written content on a website's main page. In general, web content (e.g. websites, social media, press posts, and blogs) with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. That means if you've got ANY page on your website that's all words and no pictures, only 6% of visitors will stay on that page and actually read it. In other words, your potential clients would rather SEE what you're all about than READ what you're all about.
Raise your hand if you have ever submitted a budget for creating new marketing materials and heard groans from your partners. It's not an easy task to get partners to agree to spend money on marketing, because if you're doing it right, it's a long tail game with hardly any immediate gratification. You must spend weeks, months, and years in your marketing workshop to build, update, and repeat the messages that create and strengthen your brand. And what works and what doesn’t work to bring in new clients isn’t always trackable and can sometimes seem randomized and unpredictable. So, it can be difficult to get the powers that be to write a check for something that isn't as black and white as other company expenses like coffee for the breakroom.
But we all know that marketing is the only thing keeping more work coming in, because marketing, in a nutshell, is every single written, visual, and verbal message about your law firm that reaches the eyes and ears of your potential clients. Building your firm's brand and promoting its great reputation through the marketing materials you create (such as the firm's website, advertisements, press releases, and social media posts) are what bring existing clients back to the firm, and gets those elusive new clients to call.
In our 15 years of taking photos for Chicago's top law firms, here are the most common requests we've gotten for marketing images:
- Professional Headshots: We can all agree that first impressions matter, but as times change and we do so much more of our work virtually through email and phone calls than in person, sometimes the first and even the only time you will "meet" someone is through their photo. Think about how many people you work with closely over email, such as vendors, clients, or fellow ALA members, whom you have never actually met in person. Your only interaction with them visually could be the avatar of their face that pops up in their email or on their Linkedln profile. Now imagine that this is a potential client's experience with your law firm. They're on your website for the first time or reading a blurb about a founding partner in a local magazine or blog. You're going to need a photo of that attorney that in only 1/10th of a second can portray knowledge, experience, confidence, and warmth. A personal first impression that leaves a viewer feeling like they have met this attorney in the real world.
- Group Photos: Just like a headshot doesn't only show the world what your clients look like, photos of practice groups are a way to portray stability and assurance. A great group photo shows the firm's strength as a team and its solidarity. To a client, it's a great visual message that they're not getting the knowledge and experience of just one person, but that a whole team of professionals.
- Action Shots: Photos of attorneys in action are also a great visual representation of what your firm does for its clients. Peppering your website with images of your attorneys conferencing with each other around a boardroom table, pleading a case in a trial, or researching and analyzing documents will plant the seeds of service in a client's mind, helping them picture your people working hard for them.
Now that you understand why photography is such an important part of a law firm's marketing plan, how do you choose the right photographer? With so many photographers to choose from, it can start to feel like comparing apples to apples. Here's a quick list of things to look for and questions to ask your photographer before booking:
- Specialty: Does the photographer specialize in headshots? And do they have experience with corporate headshots for large groups? Sometimes photographers are known for wearing many hats and accepting any gig that keeps them shooting. Some can shift from one photography category to the next pretty seamlessly, but others have trouble, so make sure your photographer has experience specifically in headshots for companies and that they can prove their experience in their portfolio. If all you see are photos of weddings on their website, be careful of trusting them with corporate or commercial photography; they may not have done much of this.
- Skill: Check the photographer's portfolio. Do the headshots in their portfolio reflect skill in posing and coaching so that everyone looks their best and most relaxed? Make sure their portfolio shows both consistency in skill and a range of looks to prove that they have listened to each client’s needs and crafted an image for their use that flatters them best.
- Licensing: Sometimes staff headshots and corporate portraits can fall under a "commercial photography" category. Talk to your photographer before your session to make sure your shoot includes licensing to use the photos however you need. Standard copyright law assigns the copyright to the photographer, so a license needs to be prepared in order for you to use, publish, or alter the photos after they've been taken. Ask your photographer what the license would include and make sure there are no hidden fees for you to use, publish, and place the images in marketing pieces, or if there is a fee, that it is reasonable and understood beforehand.
- Organization: When putting together a group headshot, the hardest parts are scheduling time slots for each individual, finding and prepping a room for the photos, and figuring out how to get the people who can't be there on that day also photographed. Ask your photographer if they will help you make a schedule for the day, so each person is photographed quickly and easily, and keep workday disruption is at a minimum. And does your photographer have a plan for getting matching photos for stragglers, people who call in sick on photo day, or when you add new staff in the months and years ahead?
- Personality: Talk to your head shot photographer before booking them and introducing them to your staff. Make sure they're friendly, professional, and can put people at ease, because their interaction with the photographer will show on their faces in their photos. We've actually heard a surprising number of stories from clients who switched to us from past photographers because they didn't present themselves professionally or they made people feel uncomfortable in one way or another.
- Price: Don't be surprised or discouraged if you find a wide range in photography pricing while you're researching photographers for your project. Photographers price their services on a lot of factors, including their own costs, skill level, time, and availability. There isn't much of a set industry standard or rule book for pricing, so just make sure all of the options in the package are spelled out ahead of time, and ask how the pricing will change if you add or remove people from the shoot or change the scope of the project.
ALA Chicago's Annual Charity Event
March 12 | 4:30 - 7:30 PM | Porter Kitchen
for its annual community service event which will combine service, networking, great food, and cocktails. This year, we are going to get a little dirt under our nails as we partner with
My Block * My Hood * My City
to create seed bombs to plant in garden boxes in vacant lots across the neighborhoods of Chicago. This event will be interactive, fun, and purposeful. Work alongside your fellow members and business partners as we team up to
We encourage you to invite your work colleagues for this team building and enriching activity. Come for the service, stay for the fun!
You don’t need a green thumb to be a part of this event! Let’s partner together, add a little sweat equity, and Grow opportunities for positive Connections to help
My Block * My Hood * My City
in their mission to build garden boxes to be planted with wildflowers, vegetables, and herbs to start street gardens and neutralize vacant properties. This vital community organization works to connect youth to new opportunities and experiences through eye opening exploration and supports block clubs on the South and West sides with training, resources, and volunteers to serve seniors, schools, community centers, and more.
All proceeds will go to support:
The One Strategy You Need to Implement
on Social Media in 2020
By: Spencer X. Smith,
Founder, AmpliPhi Social Media Strategies
Among the main concerns I hear with clients and prospective clients in regard to social media are, “How do we know if we’re doing the right things? What should we measure? How do we know if we’re winning?”
Above all else, I’ve found one strategy that works with EVERY client, and I’ll share that strategy with you shortly. First though, a little background on where this comes from.
When I was just out of college, I had the good fortune to be hired by IBM. Big Blue describes its three core values as:
- Dedication to every client’s success;
- Innovation that matters, for our company and for the world; and
- Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships.
My time at IBM taught me that if you have core values — that are written and accepted by fellow IBMers —
you’d better live those values
. Putting clients first, innovating for the sake of mankind, and trust in all relationships all sound like great aspirations, but I saw them in action every day in our company. In sum, these three
core values were both genuine and authentic.
As a result of that experience, I’ve held IBM and its research in the highest regard. I know the quality of its data is both world class and, more importantly, something from which we can learn and take action. Check out this recent IBM study of 4,800 CxOs (CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, CMO, etc.): IBM posed this question: “What is your biggest barrier to an integrated digital-physical strategy?”
The overwhelming response? Sixty-three percent said they lack a cohesive social media plan. What does this tell us?
Determining where social media fits in your existing business is really hard.
What you say (messaging), where you say it (platform), and how often you share (frequency) are all factors — amongst others — that determine your success. Without a plan, though, how do you know what success really looks like?
Going a step further, if you observe a company actually doing social media well (i.e., large follower counts and high engagement on posts), it may be a little tough to determine why it’s actually working. Should you simply emulate what they’re doing? What if the techniques they’re using are not appropriate for your target audience?
There’s one strategy you can implement today that will make things dramatically easier for you; however, like IBM, be
genuine and authentic
in all things social media. Most of the emerging social media platforms (like Instagram Stories and Facebook Live) can be summed up in one simple word: unproduced. Instead of content that is highly edited or refined by a graphic designer, users are typically uploading photos or videos directly from their phones with very little concern for lighting, sound quality, or finishing touches.
If any editing is done whatsoever, it will consist of simple captions, a filter to emphasize feeling or highlight a particular location, or even drawings on the screen. What does the rise of these emerging platforms and techniques tell us? People using these social media platforms desire simple, raw content. They value authenticity first, production-quality second. They want to see if
you really are who you say you are
As an example, I personally advocate that business people like me consider exercising and producing content (writing articles, etc.) first thing in the morning. Before the workday begins, and before things get too hectic, you can create a Personal Branding Power Hour to begin your day on a fantastically productive note. To support my assertions, I provide proof on social media documenting how I actually do these things myself. I take a quick snapshot or video with my phone, share the proof with my audience, and get back to work. Every one of us with a smartphone currently owns our own media company. At any time, we can show the world what’s going on around us, and our audience can share in our experiences. As both an individual and as a representation of your business,
what are you sharing with the world
Do you highlight your outstanding customer service as a component of your business? Prove it. Show your audience that you’re practicing what you preach. Do you tout the quality of your products and production process? You don’t need a professional film crew to create a documentary. Use the smartphone in your pocket to provide proof now.
Regardless of what social media platforms you use, adopt a culture of genuine, transparent behavior. This mindset will position you as an outlier in the most positive sense possible, and you’ll engender trust with your target audience. When developing your social media strategy, start with this word:
to our newest ALA Chicago Members!
Regional Office Administrator
Dinsmore & Shohl
Director of Administration
Fox Swibel Levin & Carroll, LLP
Rakoczy Molino Mazzochi Siwik LLP
Legal Secretary Manager
Hinshaw & Culbertson
Gould & Ratner
Gould & Ratner
Human Resources Assistant
Foran Glennon Palandech
Ponzi & Rudloff PC
Law Office Administrator
Jackson Corporate Law, P.C.
Law Firms Need Chief Branding Officers
By: Ross Fishman,
In Law, and every other profession, the firms with the strongest brands charge higher rates and generate greater profits. If you want to credibly charge more per hour, you must convince the market that your work is worth more. That is, you must either:
(a) Start doing objectively better legal work than you’re doing now, or
(b) Convince clients that your current work is worth paying more for.
The obvious problem is that it’s nearly impossible to do (a) and very few firms know how to do (b).
What Separates the Leading Law Firms is: The Brand.
In “Confessions of an Advertising Man,” advertising pioneer David Ogilvy said:
“There isn’t any significant difference between the various brands of whiskey, or cigarettes, or beer. They are all about the same. And so are the cake mixes and the detergents, and the margarines… The manufacturer who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for his brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit.”
Clients tend to feel the same way about their law firms: “They’re all about the same.” And when services are similar, their pricing must be too. What separates similar-looking services and products is the brand. Studies show that the strongest brands in every industry lead the pack. Is Marlboro the world’s best-selling cigarette brand because they actually taste better than their competitors? Of course not. But people still pay extra for the red-and-white box. Why? The Marlboro brand.
Building a strong brand is the single best investment a firm can make in its future fortunes.
After decades focusing their marketing departments on MarCom activities, savvy law firms in the 2010s started adding more business-development professionals. Now it’s time to move to the next level and add in-house branding expertise as well. Here’s how the pieces fit together:
- Marketing creates the opportunity, it tells prospects that you’re out there, it builds awareness and name recognition and helps add you to the short list.
- Business–development activities help you get selected off the short list.
- Branding lets you charge more for it. A brand isn’t a logo or website. It’s your marketplace reputation. It’s the perception of value you create, the expectation clients have for the services you provide. A brand defines and sells the organization’s culture to its own personnel. IBM’s brand is why “no one ever got fired for buying” them. It’s the same for most of the AmLaw 50 firms.
Case in Point: Skadden’s dominance was created by Joe Flom’s branding brilliance
Joseph Flom was the historic leader of Skadden Arps Slate Meager & Flom and was largely responsible for Skadden’s remarkable growth in size, stature, and revenue in the 1980s and ‘90s. Flom candidly admitted that he’d helped build the powerful Skadden brand proactively and strategically. In the early 1990s, he was an in-house marketer at Winston & Strawn. Most major law firms at that time still considered marketing to be distasteful and beneath them. The widespread perception was that only mediocre firms would be so weak or mercenary as to proactively market their lawyers’ services or hire marketing professionals.
But Flom had seen an enormous opportunity and secretly hired 20 full-time in-house public relations professionals to broadcast the Skadden brand to the media. Skadden quickly gained omnipresence―their deals were regularly written about in every major legal and business publication. They seemed to be absolutely everywhere.
Skadden quickly became the world’s best-known law firm
, the first global law firm brand, the first firm with $1 billion in revenue. Sure, they were great lawyers, but so were innumerable other top NYC firms that few executives outside of Manhattan had heard of. Flom was a visionary, possibly the most strategic marketer in the history of the legal profession. Skadden built their brand thoughtfully and intentionally. So can your firm.
It’s time for law firms to hire Chief Branding Officers
, like their corporate counterparts.
Nearly all major law firms today have a skilled Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or Marketing Director. Some also have separate, independent Chief Business Development Officers (CBDO) or combined CMBDOs. In my 30 years’ experience, only a small handful of these skilled professionals deeply understand branding. It’s just outside of their skillset. Today’s big-firm marketers are mostly department administrators, attending meetings, managing the team, helping set priorities, and generally keeping things running smoothly―it’s a critical function. Very few of them know how to create and grow a true brand or have the time to do so. This is an enormous missed opportunity for firms looking to lock in their reputations or raise their rates.
The brand is the reason that the top firms get to charge more money.
A brand is what persuades nervous clients to pay much more per hour for big firm work they could get at similar (some would say superior) quality at smaller firms. “No one ever got fired for hiring Skadden.” Or Kirkland & Ellis. Or JonesDay. Or the other top brands, whether large or small firms. Case Study: BCLP.
Do you know what “BCLP” is
? Consider the recent merger of two quality firms, US-based Bryan Cave and UK-based Berwin Leighton Paisner, now called “BCLP” for Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. This new 1400-lawyer global BCLP firm is building its brand from scratch. The most-common naming convention would be to select the biggest or best-known of the merger partners, or the one with the name that worked best in multiple languages (here that would have been Bryan Cave) and call themselves “Bryan Cave Leighton” or “Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner” with the plan to gradually lapse to simply “Bryan Cave,” a short, simple, memorable, and easy-to-spell name that should work in languages worldwide.
Of course, as easy as these decisions are in theory, they can be difficult emotionally and politically. Although I have no inside knowledge of the BCLP naming negotiations, I’ve been involved in at least 50 of these discussions in other firms worldwide. The decisions are commonly made to salve the professionals’ egos rather than select what’s in the long-term strategic interest of the larger organization or its critical brand.
Some early indications suggest that the combined firm will primarily use “BCLP,” rather than the firms’ actual names. If true, the new “BCLP” firm could be starting at a disadvantage. Nine-hundred-lawyer Bryan Cave was founded in 1873, with 25 pre-merger offices. Berwin Leighton Paisner’s 675 lawyers worked from 14 offices in 11 countries, dating to 1970, with its constituent parts dating back as far as 1932. That’s a lot of boots on the ground pushing out those firms’ names to global buyers of big-firm legal services.
However, the “BCLP” letters have no legacy, no reputation. Few high-powered executives in 2019 were bellowing, “Get me BCLP!” For credibility in new-business meetings, the firm’s lawyers must say e.g., “We’re the old Bryan Cave firm.” So, someone needs to build the BCLP brand, and fast. Someone must be singularly focused on persuading the marketplace that “BCLP” lawyers are worth US $1000+ (~885 Euros) per hour. And that’s not what most CMOs do. They’re pulled in too many other important directions and rarely have that expertise. Every leading firm could benefit by having someone fiercely dedicated to figuring out what their unique story is, how it’s different. What makes it better than its competitors. And how to tell that story persuasively to the marketplace day after day. Month after month. Year after year.
That’s simply not a skillset most CMOs possess. A leading legal CMO-headhunter recently told me that law firms don’t understand the value of their brand and they’re not hiring for that skill. That’s such a missed opportunity―
a skilled Chief Branding Officer can have more impact on a firm’s profitability than nearly every other C-level position
Imagine the growth in revenue and profitability if every single lawyer was perceived by its buyers to provide significantly more value? How much more profitable would a firm be if it could raise every lawyer’s rates by $25 or $100 or more per hour? How much stronger would it be if it could attract the top laterals and recruits? Firms with the strongest brands can do that.
Big firms need their own Joe Flom, someone purely focused on making the firm a must-use entity. Someone must be in charge of persuading the best laterals that their fortunes would be greatly enhanced if they left the high-quality firm where they’re currently working to join this new organization. Someone must convince the marketplace that their professionals are worth paying a sizable premium for.
That’s what a skilled CBO can help accomplish. The major corporations understand this and are desperately focused on building and maintaining their brand. It’s why people pay extra for fungible Marlboro cigarettes or Nike shoes, or drink Coke rather than Pepsi regardless of objective taste tests. And it’s why “no one ever got fired for buying Skadden.”
Law Firm Innovation and Marketing –
Collaboration is Key to Success
Stephanie Dorssom, Digital Marketing Manager, Husch Blackwell
The corporate legal world is highly competitive, with thousands of law firms competing for the work from a lot of the same organizations. As a result, law firms must not be complacent. In this day and age, law firms are touting innovative solutions and products to meet the needs of clients in an effort to offer differentiating factors that could possibly give them a competitive edge. From the Internet of Things to blockchain to bots, from design thinking to AI, these innovative buzz words are now commonplace in the legal industry – but will they impact how clients purchase legal services? And furthermore, what is marketing’s role in the innovation process?
Bottom-line: Mastering client service and embracing innovation are how firms will succeed against disruptive technologies and will beat their competition. This requires a combination of:
- Intrapreneurs – Individual forward-thinking attorneys that listen to their clients’ needs and create small, innovative solutions that are highly advantageous to clients.
- Marketing Professionals – An integrated network throughout the firm that also serves as the front line to clients. This group is the best mechanism to communicate broadly to attorneys about changes occurring in the market, while also promoting each intrapreneur’s success internally and externally, organically generating demand for change.
What about Marketing’s role? Implementing the following strategies will help promote a firm’s innovative client offerings.
- Branding – Does your firm have a subsidiary in order to create and license proprietary technology solutions? Does it have its own logo and brand? Consider working with your in-house risk management team to set one up if you plan on launching new technologies. From there, make sure all offerings under this umbrella are branded including website content, email and social media graphics, event materials, collateral, etc.
- Website – Add a dedicated page to Innovation on your website. Be as specific as you can about your offerings and how they lead clients to victory. Include specific case studies, infographics, statistics, client testimonials and thought leadership pieces. Check the page monthly to keep it fresh. Search engines love new webpage content.
- Email Marketing – Have you built a targeted distribution list of clients and prospective clients that would be interested in any new innovative offerings? Solicit contacts from attorney intrapreneurs as a start and build from there.
- Internal Communications – Is there a page for Innovation on your intranet? Consider housing important “how to,” best practices and processes documents there and spotlight innovative ideas on the homepage. Include innovation-related successes in internal newsletters.
- Blog – If you have a dedicated group of attorneys focused on developing innovative offerings for clients, prospects, start-ups, etc., a blog site might be a good consumable medium to explore. Frequent thought leadership can build the trust of clients and establish your attorneys and firm as a go-to resource. Be sure to link from your website to the blog and vice versa.
- Media Relations – Learn which media outlets in your area focus on innovation and entrepreneurship and offer to meet an innovation-focused writer for coffee to explain what your firm is doing in the area of innovation and who your firm’s intrapreneurs are. Follow and strike up a relationship with local start-up organizations; they often have newsletters that are looking for content. Search out innovation-focused events in your city and introduce yourself to reporters who cover them.
Law firms MUST stay relevant and the collaboration between innovation and marketing is KEY.
Leap Year and Rome's Year of Confusion
Some years fly by while others take a lifetime. But years are, generally, all the same—365 days that keep our daily lives in tune with the Earth’s revolution around the sun. Except years actually
all the same. Since our method of tracking time doesn’t mesh perfectly with the universe’s vast machinery, some years are 366 days with February 29 added to the calendar as the leap day. This added day makes a leap year. And leap years are the result of the longest recorded year in human history.
The year 46 BC was 445 days. This protracted almanac wasn’t the creation of any celestial event. Rather, the Romans, distracted by the chaos of the Late Republic’s civil wars, forgot to add the special leap months needed every few years to bring the pre-Julian Roman calendar in sync. Enter Julius Caesar, who decided to settle the issue. Declaring that the current year would be 445 days, Caesar sought to realign the timeline with the seasons so that the new “Julian” calendar could get a fresh start. Roman officials, annoyed at this referred to it as the annus confusionis or “year of confusion.” Alas, the Romans got through what was literally the longest year and in 45 BC a new system began. The Julian calendar outlasted Rome’s empire and was eventually tweaked in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. The problem was that the Julian calendar had too many leap years, so the new Gregorian Calendar sought to rectify the issue by setting a few extra rules for how leap years are assessed. For example, a leap year is set if:
- The year is evenly divisible by 4;
- But, if the year can be evenly divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless;
- The year is also evenly divisible by 400: Then it is a leap year.
For instance, the year 1900 wasn’t a leap year because while it could be divided evenly by 4 and 100, it couldn’t be divided by 400. The year 2000, however, was a leap year because it could be divided by 4, 100, and 400.
Some Leap Year fun facts:
- Our current Gregorian calendar ensures accuracy up to 3,333 years. By that time, we’ll need to add an extra leap day.
- The Declaration of Independence was signed during a leap year.
- The Titanic sank during a leap year.
- The odds of being born on February 29 are 1 in 1,500.
- People born on Leap Day are referred to as “leaplings” or “leapers.”
- According to Irish folklore, it’s acceptable for a woman to propose to a man on Leap Day.
Food Halls: New Places to Head for Lunch or Dinner
Are you tired of grabbing the same old thing for lunch every day? Are you looking for a wider variety of food, a bigger selection to choose from? Check out a few of the new and trendy Food Halls which have been popping up throughout the loop.
CNA Building – 333 S. Wabash Ave.
Open 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. M-F; 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sat.; Closed Sunday
Just opened, Hayden Hall is the newest food hall to hit the loop. Including 10 restaurants, a first-floor coffee bar, and two bars, the interiors are said to have been inspired by the 1893 World’s Fair. The restaurants include:
- Anaba Handrolls – A variation on sushi, meant to be eaten fresh at the cart
- Taqueris DeColores – Tacos, burritos, and options for vegetarians & vegans
- Victory Italian – Meatballs, pizza, Italian heroes
- 10Q – Korean Barbecue including wings, rice bowls, and fried chicken sandwiches
- Brown Bag Seafood – Seafood as you like it, including tacos, salads, sandwiches, and rice bowls
- Great Lake Meat Co. – Sandwiches, Brats, and both Chicago and Coney Island Style Hot Dogs
- County BBQ – Pulled Pork, Brisket, Rib Tips, Spare Ribs, Pulled Chicken
- Love Foods – Two salad bar islands plus a hot food bar
- Mana Food Bar – Korean-inspired take on meat-free foods
- Julia Coffee & Brioche – Coffee, breakfast, snacks
Revival Food Hall
125 S. Clark St.
Open 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. M-F
Open since 2016, Revival includes 15 food vendors on the ground floor of The National – a restored 1907 Daniel Burnham-designed 20-story historic building.
- Aloha Poke – Hawaiian Style Poke Bowls
- Antique Taco Chiquito – Midwest-Mexican Tacos, “farmer’s market style”
- Art of Dosa – South Indian Delicacy
- Brown Bag Seafood Co. - Tacos, salads, sandwiches, and rice bowls featuring seafood
- City Press Juice & Bottle – Organic Juice Cocktails
- Danke – Hand crafted specialty sandwiches with house-made meats
- Farmer’s Fridge – Veggie-forward menu including breakfast bowls, salads, unique dishes
- Furious Spoon – Ramen Bowls
- Hotchocolate Bakery – Both savory and sweet, from bagels to desserts
- Lito’s Empanadas – Mexican empanadas
- Mindy’s Burgers – Beef, turkey, veggie, and rotating special burgers
- Pizza City – Palermo’s 95th – Modern Italian specialties and Old-World favorites
- Revival Café-Bar – Coffee and cocktails
- Smoque BBQ – House-smoked meats with house-made rubs and sauces
- The Budlong – Hot fried chicken plates and sandwiches
- The Fat Shallot – Classic sandwiches, house-made soup and fresh salads
55 East Monroe
Open 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. M-F
Open since 2017, Forum 55 is close to Millennium Park and includes six fast-casual stalls from some of Chicago’s favorite chefs and restaurants. Plus, it includes one of the largest salad bars in the city, stocked with produce from Midwestern farmers.
- Broken English - Tacos, burritos and quesadillas
- Flame – Mediterranean grilled salmon sandwich, vegan Beyond Burger, Classic burgers
- Friends Sushi – Sushi, ramen, and poke bowls
- Prelude – Breakfast made to order
- Olive Mediterranean Grill – Authentic Mediterranean dishes, homemade pita bread
- Salad Bar – One of the City’s largest with produce from nearby farmers
- Sandwich Shop – Cold or hot carved stack specialty sandwiches.
108 N. State Street (Block 37), 3
Open 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. M-SAT; 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. SUN
Close to the theater district, Latinicity brings the flavors of Latin America to the heart of Chicago. Perfect for lunch, an after-work happy hour, or a pre-theater dinner, the eight featured food stations include:
- Burguesa - Burgers
- Chaufa Wok – Peruvian Style Stir Fry
- Ensalada – Soup and Salad Bar
- Mariscos – Latin Style Seafood
- Saladero Latin Grill – Steak, Chicken, Seafood
- Sushi & Ceviche – Includes Poke Bowls
- Machefe Taqueria – Design your own Mexican
- Tortas & Molletes – Latin Sandwiches
Time Out Market Chicago
916 W. Fulton Market
Open 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. M-TH; 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. F; 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. SAT;
9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. SUN
Located in the famous Fulton Market District, and spread across 50,000 square feet, this massive dining destination combines 18 eateries, three bars, a demo kitchen, a rooftop terrace and a video-installation wall into one space that encompasses the best food, drinks and culture that Chicago has to offer. Since this destination could warrant an article of its own, check it out at
A Roadmap to Success: Strategic Marketing Plans Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
By: Ken W.Brown, M.B.A., President of The Specialists in Law Firm Marketing™
Can you afford to waste time and money? Far from it. So why put your dollars into futile marketing efforts? You know that you must market or watch your firm die, but isn’t there a better way than just “staying busy” in marketing?
We believe that far too many firms jump into the marketing process without a clear vision and understanding of what they want to achieve and how they are going to accomplish it. This can translate into many thousands of dollars wasted on advertising, inadequate website design, ineffective seminars, fruitless public relations campaigns, etc. What is needed? A PLAN, A PLAN!
Strategic Marketing Plans: Basic Steps
There is truth in the statement “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
A Strategic Marketing Plan
involves several steps, including:
- Do a “situation analysis.” Before launching into new marketing programs, take time to analyze your issues and challenges. Look at the factors causing your firm to seek new marketing initiatives. Are your current market segments profitable? If your previous marketing and sales efforts have been ineffective, why? Do you need to diversify? Is the firm in danger of collapsing without new business?
- Select appropriate marketing techniques. Since marketing is based upon the needs and wants of your market, a single approach will not work for everyone. While this seems obvious, too many firms fall prey to the latest fads in marketing, instead of carefully determining what will be suitable for their targeted market. For example, a SEO (search engine optimization) campaign may be a great revenue generator for one type of firm but an abysmal failure for another. An experienced marketing professional can help you to choose what is best.
- Identify your most profitable markets. Far too many firms lack a clear definition of their target market. For example, don’t say that all of Orange County is your target market. You must be more precise. With over 100,000 businesses and 3.2 million people in Orange County alone, most firms cannot truly serve nor market to all of Orange County. Consider criteria such as industry, location, service needs, fee threshold, etc.
- Establish realistic goals. Develop reasonable objectives for revenue growth, profitability, market share penetration, increased image, etc.
- Implement your program professionally! Don’t make the mistake of choosing the right tool (e.g., seminars) but then employing it in a useless manner (i.e., cheap, low budget). Always maintain the same high quality in your marketing as you deliver in your service or product. Make sure that you have an adequate amount of human and financial resources to support achieving these objectives.
Thank You to our Bronze Level Sponsors
ABA Retirement Funds Program
Affinity Consulting Group
Avanti Staffing, Inc.
Beacon Hill Legal
Canon Business Process Services
CIBC Bank USA
Compass Group: Canteen
Gregg Communication Systems
Interior Construction Group, Inc. (ICG)
Impact Networking LLC
IST Management Services
Leonard Branding & Design
Micron Systems, Inc.
Porcaro Stolarek Mete Partners, LLC
R-4 Services, LLC
Rippe & Kingston
Risk Strategies Company
Robert Half Legal
The Brumbaugh Group
The Horton Group
Tuttle Printing & Engraving
U.S. Messenger & Logistics, Inc.
Werner Printing & Engraving