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The Rainmaker Blog

Law firm marketing and business development strategies

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Look Me Up at the ABA Solo & Small Firm Summit on Sept. 30

Posted in Law Firm Development

Look Me Up at the ABA Solo & Small Firm Summit on Sept. 30The theme for the ABA Solo & Small Firm Summit in Cincinnati on Sept. 29-Oct.1, 2016, is Be All the Attorney You Can Be and you are sure to get a briefcase full of great tips, with a full slate of nationally recognized speakers sharing the tools and resources solos and small firms need to succeed in today’s competitive legal marketplace.

I am honored to be presenting at the ABA Solo & Small Firm Summit twice on Friday, Sept. 30. At 8:30 a.m., I will be teaming with David Lefton of Barron Peck Bennie & Schlemmer Co. LPA, Cincinnati, to speak on:

Strategies for Building a 7 Figure Law Firm

If you’re like many of the attorneys you have goals, dreams and ambitions, but struggle to break or consistently break the million dollar mark…and every once in a while you wonder if it’s really worth it all. The skills that helped build a good 6-figure practice are not the same skills you will need to build a great 7-figure business. So if you’re tired of beating your head against the wall and you’re ready to take a fresh look at how to break out of the cycle you’re stuck in, then attend to discover:

  • What it really takes to build a 7-figure law firm – no hype and no B.S.
  • How to position yourself as a recognized expert and attract higher quality clients.
  • Three biggest reasons why you’re not getting more referrals and how to overcome these hurdles.
  • The two things every Million Dollar Law Firm has in place (you will never achieve 7-figure revenues without both of these).
  • Two key metrics you must measure every month if you want to grow your law firm.

At 2 p.m., I will be presenting with Dan Tann of the Law Office of Daniel J. Tann, Philadelphia, on:

5 Strategies to Double Your Referrals

For many attorneys, referrals are the gold standard when it comes to obtaining new clients. However, too many attorneys rely on referrals that may or may not come. A strong referral base is based on cultivating great relationships with referral sources. Many referral sources will only send you referrals if they know you can and will make referrals back to them. In this program, learn proven strategies to increase your referrals.

I hope you’re planning to join more than 200 solo and small firm lawyers for this year’s ABA Solo & Small Firm Summit. If you are, be sure to look me up before or after my presentations!

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Breaking the 7 Figure Barrier: An Explosive Interview with Small Business Guru Michael GerberBreaking the 7-Figure Barrier: An Explosive Interview with Small Business Guru Michael Gerber

INC Magazine has called Michael Gerber “The World’s #1 Small Business Guru,” and I recently interviewed him on how attorneys can take their firm to the next level of success.

As the author of a number of books on entrepreneurship, including the best selling Awakening the Entrepreneur Within and The E-Myth Revisited, Michael is arguably the most famous consultant for small companies. He coined the phrase “working on your business versus working in your business,” which has become the mantra for tens of thousands of business owners.

Michael has worked with over 70,000 small business owners over the last 40 years, teaching business owners who possess significant technical skills but few business skills how to transform their companies into world-class organizations.

The time I spent with Michael was transformative for my own business, and I know what he has to teach can transform yours as well. That is why we have created a new FREE audio interview that you can access at Breaking the 7 Figure Barrier: An Explosive Interview with Small Business Guru Michael Gerber.

In this exclusive interview, Michael discusses with me:

  • How the E-Myth Principles apply to law firms
  • The 4 stages of business and how to move from a job to a practice to a business to an enterprise
  • How to compete in an aggressive marketplace like legal
  • Why services don’t matter anymore and the power of differentiation
  • How to build a law firm that works without you
  • Why you must shift the conversations you have with prospects from money to value and how to do this
  • Tips to creating a lifestyle law firm

Sign up now to get this free interview and we will send you a link to download the audio interview as well as a PDF transcript.

 

How Marketing Automation Saves You Time and Money

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Marketing automation software automates, streamlines and helps you measure your marketing activities. It makes you smarter, faster and more efficient. You use it for email marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, lead conversion, social media, client retention, ROI measurements and more.

Among many things, marketing automation allows you to:

  • Identify, track and engage prospects online
  • Segment your prospects for targeted messaging
  • Nurture leads through drip email campaigns with no human intervention necessary
  • Create and manage lead-generating landing pages
  • Measure the revenue contribution of every email, e-newsletter or other marketing effort

Email marketing is one of the most effective uses of marketing automation. Consider these statistics:

  • Companies that automate emails are 133% more likely to send messages that coincide with the purchase cycle of their customers.
  • Relevant emails drive 18x more revenue than broadcast emails.
  • Personalized emails generate up to 6x higher revenue than non-personalized emails.
  • The #1 reported benefit of email marketing automation is the creation of more and better leads.
  • Automated emails get 119% higher click rates than broadcast emails.

Most attorneys have a finite amount of time to dedicate to legal marketing, so having a process in place that nurtures a lead along the path to becoming a client and having data that demonstrates the most effective marketing tools for your law firm is a great benefit. That is what marketing automation delivers.

This infographic from a recent Entrpreneur.com article shows 9 different ways that automation saves you time and money:

How Marketing Automation Saves You Time and Money

How to Figure Out What You Need to Spend on Law Firm Marketing

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

How to Figure Out What You Need to Spend on Law Firm MarketingWhen it comes to law firm marketing, it takes 7 to 10 meaningful “touches” to move someone through the sales process to get them to the point where they are ready to hire you. (A “touch” is an interaction between you and your prospect — an email, a phone call, a social media exchange, etc.)

This means that implementing an under-funded law firm marketing plan is just as bad as not using any marketing plan at all. If your marketing plan only has enough money behind it to produce a couple of meaningful touches, it will be almost as if you never tried to reach prospects at all because it won’t break through all the other marketing efforts made by other attorneys vying for that person’s time and money, including your biggest competitors.

So how much do you need to spend for law firm marketing?

There are 10 things you need to consider when determining what to spend on law firm marketing:

  1. Your practice area.Some practice areas require significantly more time and money to market, like litigation and personal injury.
  2. Your profit margins.The larger your margins, the more you can invest on marketing and new business development. Some practice areas have bigger profit margins (litigation) while others have notoriously low profits (insurance coverage and residential real estate).
  3. Your annual revenues. It is not unusual for successful law firms to spend between 15% and 40% of their annual revenues on marketing and business development.
  4. Your target market.Any time you are marketing directly to consumers, your marketing budget must be bigger because of the intense competition for consumers’ attention.
  5. Your market area. For many professional service firms, like doctors, lawyers and accountants, it is usually limited to up to 25 square miles.
  6. Your competition.Analyze your competition—are there lots of you vying for the same business or just a few?  What kind of marketing strategies are they using? How are they positioning their firm?  If you have to compete with lots of other firms for the same target market, you will need a bigger budget.
  7. Your systems. In general, the better systems you have in place for implementing the plan, the less money you have to use. For example, if you use direct email marketing as part of your plan, you can reach potential clients with greater frequency at a low cost.
  8. The typical marketing cycle.How long does someone take to make a decision after they have gathered all the information they need? Is it measured in minutes, days, weeks, or months? The longer the marketing cycle, the more money you need to spend on marketing because after you have given them the information they need, you still need to stay in touch with them.
  9. Your average sale. How much does your average client spend with you? $500? $5,000? $500K? $5 Million? Typically, the higher the price tag, the more you need to educate your client as to the benefits of your services and provide more evidence of your credibility.
  10. The lifetime value of your average client. How much does your average client spend with you over a given timeframe? If they spend $1,000 a month with you annually, and the average client stays with you for three years, then the average customer is worth around $36,000 to you. If you know that, you know how much you can afford to spend on landing each client before it starts to negatively impact your profit margins. If your average client only makes one “purchase” from you and never comes back, then you will need to use lower cost marketing strategies to reach them.

Once you have figured all this out, you’ll have a good idea of what you need to adequately fund a marketing plan for your law firm.

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Learn How to Launch a Mass Tort Practice

Posted in Business Development for Law Firms, Law Firm Development

Learn How to Launch a Mass Tort PracticeI know there are many attorneys who have wondered at one time or another if they should pursue a mass tort practice. After all, mass torts is a highly lucrative area of practice for personal injury attorneys — much more so than if you are only taking on single event cases.

So how do you go about exploring this area of the law for your law firm? You should consider attending a Mass Torts Nexus Success Course — four days of training on how to add a mass tort docket to your practice.

The four-day Mass Tort Nexus course is specifically tailored for PI attorneys looking to enter the mass torts space. Whether you are a solo practitioner, small or large firm, they will teach you the business side of managing a mass tort practice.

On Sept. 23-26, I will be speaking on Lead Conversion and Facebook PPC Intake at the Mass Tort Success Course at the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. My topics are designed to help attorneys pursuing a mass tort practice attract and convert prospects for MDL litigation, including IVC Filter product liability, talc, proton pump inhibitor, Risperdal, Xarelto, Taxotere, and more.

In addition, attendees will hear from an all-star panel of attorneys speaking on current, emerging and ongoing Mass Tort litigation, including:

  • John Dalimonte, who serves on the Steering Committee of the Cook and Bard Medical IVC filter litigations.
  • Bryan Aylstock, who is one of three coordinating Co-Lead Counsel members overseeing five separate MDLs for Proton Pump Inhibitor litigation.
  • Derek Braslow, who serves as Liaison Counsel in the Risperdal litigation.
  • James Onder, one of the lead attorneys in the City of Saint Louis consolidation for Talcum Powder litigation.
  • Joseph Osborne, who has served in leadership positions on the Stryker Nexgen Knee MDL, the Biomet M2 Hip MDL, the Stryker Hip MDL, the American Medical System TVM MDL, as well as numerous other multidistrict litigations.
  • Ryan Thompson, who focuses on pharmaceutical and medical device litigation and has served as Co-Lead Counsel on the Incretin Memetics Litigation, as well as in leadership positions on numerous MDLs.

The next Mass Torts Nexus course is Nov. 13-16 in Fort Lauderdale at the Riverside Hotel. For more information and to review the course agenda, visit masstortnexus.com.

 

4 Reasons You Don’t Get More Referrals & How to Fix It

Posted in Generating Referrals for Attorneys

There are four primary reasons attorneys don’t receive more referrals:

  • 4 Reasons You Don’t Get More Referrals & How to Fix ItYour referral sources are not adequately educated about what you do
  • You are too vague about who your perfect client is
  • You aren’t consistently communicating with your clients
  • You are not consistently reminding them to send you a referral

So how do you identify your best client referral sources? Listen! When it comes to communicating with clients, listening is often more important than talking. It is by listening that you learn what clients want, and then you can give it to them. Which makes for more referrals and better client retention.

Here are some important methods you can use to actively listen to clients:

Open feedback. 
Always offer clients a way to provide feedback, through your website, an online survey and in your e-newsletter campaign. Simply asking for their thoughts is often enough to garner some important insights.

Transactional feedback. 
If you’re a regular Starbucks® customer, you have undoubtedly received a free survey at some point with your receipt. You provide them with some feedback online and you get a free drink for your efforts.  What attorneys can learn from this is the importance of asking clients for their thoughts about their experience with your firm after the case is over or at important points along the way. Keep your finger on the pulse of how satisfied they are with how your firm is treating them, and you’ll have a satisfied client who is more likely to refer you to others.

Social media interaction. Monitor your social media channels to see what people are saying about you. You can search for your firm name on Twitter and Facebook, and you should be regularly monitoring Avvo, LinkedIn groups, Yelp! and Google for other comments about your firm.

Client satisfaction surveys. Using formal client satisfaction surveys is another good way to gauge client experiences with your firm. Send one out after each engagement is closed and respond immediately and personally to any negative feedback.

Once you have gathered a list of good potential client referral sources, you need to educate them on what your ideal client looks like.

Here are the top 5 things your referral sources need to know:

  1. What your perfect client looks like. You need to answer this question very specifically – i.e., “My ideal client is a high net worth individual ($1 million or more in assets) in their 40s who owns their own business” not “anyone who has money.” The clearer you are with your description, the easier people can envision who you want to work with.
  2. Why someone should hire you. I have written frequently about your UCA (unique competitive advantage) — it answers the question, “Why should I hire you?” Be sure your referral sources understand the precise reasons why you are better than your competitors and how you are different from them.
  3. What problems you solve. By helping your referral source understand the kinds of problems you solve for clients, they will know what to listen for in daily conversations and be able to recommend you to someone who mentions having a problem you solve.
  4. How you follow up. Your referral source needs to feel comfortable that you will follow up promptly and professionally with the people they send your way.
  5. Why referrals are important to you. Let your source know that you rely on referrals as a way to build your business and how much you will appreciate their referring people to you.

And finally, always remember to thank them and let them know that their referral is meaningful to you and your firm.

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How to Stop Failing at Law Firm Marketing

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

How to Stop Failing at Law Firm MarketingLaw firms rarely ever fail for lack of talent.  They fail due to a litany of bad business practices, inefficiencies, infighting and hubris, as well as a number of other reasons that have nothing to do with the intelligence or talent of the lawyers themselves.

The problem, according to Frank Wu, Chancellor and Dean of UC Hastings College of Law, is that:

“Smart people overestimate the importance of being a smart person. To be the best lawyer, or the best collection of lawyers, is not enough; it doesn’t even guarantee you stay in the game. It is necessary to be great businesspeople, too. Or to affiliate with great businesspeople, which means recognizing that the technical skills needed to be a great lawyer might (or might not) correlate with the other skills needed to thrive.”

In today’s hyper-competitive legal services marketplace, it is not enough to be smart or even to do a great job for your clients. You must find a way of differentiating yourself and your firm so that prospective clients have a reason to choose you over your competitors.

This is what law firm marketing landscape is today, in the words of David Alvin, author and international speaker on marketing and branding:

Your competitors aren’t ‘posers.’ It may make you feel better to think that, but you are wrong. They are great at what they do — just like you. They understand their customers’ needs, are listening to the marketplace, and are providing great products and services. They are hiring smart, treating their employees well and supporting families — just like you. And, unfortunately for you, most of them are very, very nice people.

Why do I emphasize this? Because we have to get out of the mindset that our success is dependent on our quality, commitment, caring people, honesty, integrity, trust and truly listening to our customers. Today, being very, very good at all of those things just gives you permission to compete in the marketplace. It no longer gives you a competitive advantage. If you aren’t good, you won’t survive today. And boasting about those trite and basic qualities relegates your business, in the minds of your prospects, to the scrap heap of commodity.

To truly excel in today’s hyper-competitive categories, you have to move beyond the merely foundational, and into the aspirational. This isn’t about what your customers aspire to — it’s what YOU aspire to! To effectively market your business today, being great is not enough. You have to offer more, be better at something and more effectively market your competitive advantage and not merely your competency.

If you haven’t found a way to truly differentiate yourself yet through law firm marketing, then don’t let another year go by without attending a Rainmaker Retreat. Here are the remaining dates for 2016:

You can register online for a Rainmaker Retreat or call 888-588-5891 for more information.

 

Best Practices for Attorneys on the Top 4 Social Networks

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

Best Practices for Attorneys on the Top 4 Social Networks According to the ABA, 78 percent of attorneys are on several social networks. However, many are not using them correctly. They either (a) use it as just another advertising channel; or (b) they post all the same information across all social media networks; or they (c) don’t engage potential clients and referral sources and make it only about the number of followers or fans they have. They neglect to take into account the unique attributes of each social media site and their results directly suffer because of it.

Here’s what we’ve found works best on the top four social networks for attorneys:

Facebook: the top destination for B2C attorneys, Facebook posts by lawyers get more shares and likes if they contain a personal anecdote or other human element. Directly promoting your firm is a non-starter on Facebook—unless you are talking about your wins. We’ve had several clients who have had great success talking about the wins they have had for their clients on Facebook.

Instead of using direct promotion, add your spin to contemporary news or trends, share an inspirational quote, talk about why you do what you do, talk about how your firm is expanding to help even more people, or post something about your charitable endeavors or the way you treat your staff to a thank you party or a gift certificate for their birthday. By the way, B2B attorneys shouldn’t neglect Facebook. Many of our clients have found it to be a great tool due to its massive number of connections. Other must-do’s on Facebook: photos, video, Call-to-Action button.

LinkedIn: works best for B2B attorneys who know how to work it. On LinkedIn, you have the opportunity to post more in-depth thought leader pieces and share them with your own followers as well as targeted LinkedIn groups whose members will find your topic of interest. The site’s robust search features allow you do prospect for potential clients by searching your current client’s connections by job title or company. B2C attorneys can use LinkedIn to connect with and grow their referral network.

Twitter: immediacy is the watchword for Twitter; it has morphed into a news feed and lawyers should take the opportunity to hop on with insightful commentary on trending topics. You can identify those by checking the trends column on the left side of your Twitter page.

YouTube: if you have not broken into video marketing yet, you are missing a huge opportunity to connect with prospects searching for your expertise! Create a Brand Channel for your law firm, post informational videos and be sure to add relevant keywords so they can be found in search. Google owns YouTube, so having a presence there will help your search ranking.

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FREE Report: 10 Steps to Jumpstart Your LinkedIn Presence & Get More Referrals FastFREE Report: 10 Steps to Jumpstart Your LinkedIn Presence & Get More Referrals Fast

LinkedIn may be the most powerful social media tool for lawyers and litigators!

In my FREE report —10 Steps to Jumpstart Your LinkedIn Presence & Get More Referrals Fast — I’m going to show you how you can leverage LinkedIn to generate more and better referrals while connecting with clients in 10 simple steps.

What this free report has to offer:

  • Strategy: The exact strategy attorneys are using to get referrals from LinkedIn
  • SEO: How to optimize your profile for Google and other search engines
  • Avoid Common Mistakes: The biggest mistakes lawyers make and how to avoid them
  • Increase Profile Views: How participating in one feature can increase your profile views by 400%
  • Improve Profile Content: What to include and leave off your profile
  • Referral Sources: Where to find the best referral sources on LinkedIn

Learning how to use LinkedIn to your biggest advantage can take a lot of time and effort, but in this free report I’m going to cut to the chase and give you the exact steps you need to follow to tap into the vast resources on LinkedIn.

Whether you’re new to LinkedIn or you’ve been on it for years, I’m going to share with you the “paint-by-the-numbers” approach I’ve taught to thousands of attorneys who paid thousands of dollars to learn!

Download your FREE report now on the 10 Steps to Jumpstart Your LinkedIn Presence & Get More Referrals Fast.

 

5 Ways to Get Your Social Media Posts Shared

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

5 Ways to Get Your Social Media Posts SharedWhen it comes to posting on social media, you first need to remember the 60/20/20 rule:

60% of your posts should be about something educational in nature or of interest to your followers.

20% should be trending or hot topics (e.g., celebrity divorce if you’re a divorce attorney or a new update on the law if you’re an immigration attorney, or commenting on a news story)

20% should be about promoting your law firm or a call to action.

The main goal for law firms when it comes to participating on social media sites is to spread your influence beyond the direct circle of people who already know you. This occurs when your posts are interesting enough to share.

Here are the five types of posts that get the most social media shares:

How-to: These types of posts are perfect for attorneys since they pose a problem, offer a solution and detail the steps in-between. For example, How to Create an Estate Plan for Your Blended Family or How to Document Your Car Accident.

Lists: Lists are very popular on social media because they’re easy to scan and, frankly, humans just seem to like lists! Examples: Top 5 Ways to Beat That DUI Rap or Top 10 Reasons You Need a Lawyer for Your Startup.

What: Many of these focus on a particular topic and sometimes make comparisons. Example: What Attorneys Used to Know About Social Media and What They Know Now or What the New Florida Spousal Support Law Means for Women.

Why: The why post gives people your reasoning for reaching a particular conclusion on a chosen topic. Examples: Why You Should Talk to a Real Estate Attorney Before You Buy or Sell Your House or Why You Need to Review Your Estate Plan Every 2-3 Years.

Video: Nothing works better than video to illustrate a point or legal concept, and to give people a feel for what it would be like to do business with you. Even videos that have nothing to do with your area of practice but just evoke a pleasant emotion are worthy of sharing on social media.

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FREE Webinar: Leveraging the Power of Social MediaFREE Webinar: Leveraging the Power of Social Media

For solos and small firms, the goal of social media is lead generation and business development, pure and simple. How you get there is by building targeted relationships, providing solid content, and consistently adding value. Attorneys we have worked with at The Rainmaker Institute regularly receive 100-250 new leads every month just from efforts online and via social media.

Learn about the social media networks that will work best for your firm and how to leverage them to get more leads by watching my latest free webinar – Leveraging the Power of Social Media.

During this free one-hour webinar, you will learn:

  • 3 low cost marketing tools for maximizing your results from social media
  • The 3 biggest mistakes lawyers make with social media and how to avoid them
  • Top 10 steps to jumpstart your referrals on LinkedIn
  • Using Facebook to connect with potential clients and referral sources
  • How to get qualified leads on Facebook for 90% less than on Google PPC
  • How to use content marketing to position yourself as an industry thought leader
  • Insider secrets to getting more leads from your blog

If you want to discover real-world strategies that work for attorneys when it comes to generating and converting leads using social networks, learn how by watching this free webinar.

Register online now for immediate access to this free one-hour webinar.

 

Answer These 20 Questions to Develop Your Law Firm’s Social Media Strategy

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

Answer These 20 Questions to Develop Your Law Firm’s Social Media StrategyYou should never begin any marketing initiative without outlining a solid strategy. When developing a strategy for your law firm’s social media marketing program, you need to give serious thought to the five Ws and the H:

Who is your target market?

Why you want to use social media?

What do you want to accomplish?

Which social networks will you use?

When you will be posting for maximum benefit?

How you will execute and measure your results?

Here are 20 questions you need to answer to ensure you are developing a social media strategy that will actually help you achieve your overall law firm marketing goals:

  1. What is the reason you want to participate in social media?
  2. What do you hope to achieve?
  3. Which practice areas do you want to promote?
  4. What does your target market look like?
  5. Which social platforms does your target market use?
  6. What information is most important to your target market?
  7. Which life events are important to your target market?
  8. Which specific problems can you help your prospects solve?
  9. What path does your prospect take from searching to buying (the sales cycle)?
  10. Where does social media fit within the sales cycle?
  11. What tone should you take in your posts?
  12. What emotions do you hope elicit through text and visuals?
  13. How frequently should you post?
  14. What types of content should you post on each platform?
  15. What types of content best support your marketing mission?
  16. Where you will get the content on a consistent, long-term basis?
  17. What resources do you have to devote to social media?
  18. Who should be responsible for running your program?
  19. How does social media integrate with other aspects of your marketing program?
  20. How will you define success and measure ROI?

Created and executed correctly, a social media marketing program can help you connect with prospects and referral sources you may never have found otherwise and drive the engagement on to more richly rewarding places like your blog, website or newsletter. Just don’t start the journey without a blueprint.

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Deadline to Apply for Law Firm 500 Award is Sept. 15

Posted in Law Firm Management

Deadline to Apply for Law Firm 500 Award is Sept. 15Law Firm 500 celebrates velocity, innovation, and the entrepreneurial spirit of law firms of all sizes.

The recognition you receive from this important new award will help you differentiate your law firm, add new clients, and enhance your standing in your business community.

This prestigious award is similar to the Inc. 5000, which recognizes fast growing, independently owned companies in the U.S. The difference is that while the Inc. 5000 recognizes all businesses, Law Firm 500 is solely for law firms.

The award qualifications are simple:

# 2012 Minimum Revenue: $50,000

# 2015 Minimum Revenue: $500,000

# Operate an independently owned and operated, for profit law firm in the U.S.

There is no cost to apply and your revenues will not be published. If you meet these requirements, I strongly encourage you to apply.

Law Firm 500 is sponsored by several leading legal industry companies, including Thomson Reuters, Avvo, Affinity Consulting Group, and more, including The Rainmaker Institute. We believe an award recognizing growth and efficiency in delivering legal services is long overdue for the our industry.

Law Firm 500 award recipients will be honored on October 13-15, 2016, at the Law Firm 500 Award Gala and Conference in Key Biscayne, Florida, at the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne.

The deadline for submitting an application is this Thursday, September 15, 2016. Apply now at lawfirm500.com.