Here's One Banker Who Can Really Help Your Law Firm Grow

Meet Wally Hayes (that’s him on the right), vice president of Bank of America Practice Solutions and one banker who can really help your law firm grow.

If you’ve attended any of our West Coast Rainmaker Retreat sessions, you may have met Wally.  I’ve had him speak a few times, and he’ll be at the Las Vegas Rainmaker Retreat on May 30-31.  I wouldn’t waste your time, or mine, if I didn’t think he had something important to convey to attorneys who may need some financial assistance for things that can contribute to your firm’s viability but that you may not have available cash to fund.

First, a little background:  Bank of America started its Practice Solutions group 18 years ago to provide lending to health care professionals – doctors, dentists and veterinarians.  It turned out to be a great business model for them, so they expanded it three years ago to include attorneys, CPAs and insurance professionals.

Here are the lending products Bank of America Practice Solutions offers for attorneys:

Partnership buy-in program – if you are ready to be a partner in your firm but lack the cash for the buy-in, you can obtain financing for up to 10% ownership in the business (up to $200,000).  BofA offers flexible payment options to fit your firm’s capital distribution schedule, and loan terms can be for up to 10 years.

Express loan program – BofA can lend an attorney up to $75,000 via an express loan application that they can typically turn around within 24 hours.   These funds can be used for marketing expenses, consulting fees, technology hardware, software, or even upgrading office furniture. 

Practice debt consolidation program – attorneys can leverage the equity in their practice to consolidate business-related expenses.  BofA will lend up to 65% of annual revenue to improve cash flow and lower monthly expenditures.

Commercial real estate program – this conventional loan product provides loans up to $5 million for the purchase or refinance of commercial real estate.  This is a 85% loan to value program, so attorneys will need a 15% down payment.  Terms include six months no payment, 12 months interest-only option and a payment schedule of up to 25 years to keep payments affordable.

Line of credit – BofA lends up to 10% of a firm’s previous year’s revenue.  Minimum loan amount is $10,000.

None of these loan products are tied to SBA lending, and they don’t provide loans for firm acquisitions.  Plus, you can’t just walk into your local BofA branch to get one; you’ll need to reach out to Wally via email at wally.hayes@bankofamerica.com or at 614-572-7644.

You can go here to learn more about Bank of America Practice Solutions for attorneys.

Of course, I am most excited about this program’s ability to provide working capital to attorneys and law firms for marketing consulting expenses.  There are so many lawyers we speak with who want to invest in marketing to take their firms to the next level, but don’t always have the cash on hand to do it.  This program is an affordable way to fund your dream of a more profitable practice.  Can’t beat that!

New Online Platform Connects Small Businesses with Attorneys

A new online platform that helps small businesses find attorneys was profiled today in the New York Times

Priori Legal, which started up last September, is the brainchild of two Yale Law School classmates inspired by the work they did in legal clinics that exposed them to an unmet need: affordable legal help for small business owners.

What makes Priori Legal different from online directories or legal services websites is that it vets attorneys and makes recommendations based on a small business owner’s specific legal needs.  To be able to offer services on the site, attorneys must fill out a comprehensive online application and submit to reference checks and interviews with Priori Legal staff.

Attorneys that offer their services on Priori Legal must agreed to discount their regular fees by 25% and provide prospective clients with a free half-hour consultation as well as information on pricing for expenses like filing fees and deadlines for delivering the work. 

Priori encourages attorneys to provide both hourly and fixed fee packages, and handles all the back office administration work, including invoicing and fee collection.   Clients pay Priori 10% of the attorney’s fees for use of the network.

Based in Manhattan, Priori Legal currently has more than 100 New York attorneys on the site and a few from other states as it seeks to expand its network nationwide.  It says it has already served hundreds of clients in New York state.

Attorneys currently participating in the network range from solo practitioners to those in firms of fewer than 50 attorneys.  Priori Legal says that 85% of potential clients who take the free half hour consultation go on to hire the attorney.

The site’s founders -- Basha Frost Rubin and Mirra Levitt – say that the site fills a need that small businesses have for transparency when it comes to legal fees.  They note that many small business owners are reluctant to retain counsel because they have no idea what it will cost and fear that a simple question could end up costing thousands of dollars.  Yet, competent legal advice can make a real difference in whether a small business is successful or not.

Priori Legal also features a blog with submissions from its network of attorneys.  For more information, visit www.priorilegal.com.

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On-Demand Seminar: How to Make Flat Fee Billing Work for Your Law Firm

Lee Rosen is one of America’s top divorce attorneys and practice management specialists who transformed his practice from relying on hourly billing to charging flat fee prices.

In Stephen Fairley’s one-hour interview with Lee, he explains in detail how he set out to fix his cash flow several years ago and in doing so he fundamentally changed his practice – for the better!

As a direct result of his “radical” decision to switch to flat fee billing (which many of his colleagues told him couldn’t be done), his revenues have never been higher, his profit margins are larger, and he’s building a lifestyle law firm!

Listen in as Lee and Stephen focus on hot topics like:

  • Why your clients will love flat fee billing
  • How to use flat fee pricing as a major differentiating factor
  • The inherent conflict of charging by the hour
  • Specific steps on how to position it with clients
  • Which practice areas can benefit from flat fee billing
  • Real world case study for consumer law attorneys
  • Practical considerations for litigation-based practices
  • How to improve your cash flow using flat fees
  • Best practices when implementing flat fee billing
  • 3 quick and easy ways to get started
  • Potential pitfalls to avoid when setting up your system

To access this exciting one-hour interview with Lee Rosen, click on this link:  How to Make Flat Fee Billing Work for Your Law Firm

Client Loyalty Begins With Listening

I read a piece in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago that has really stuck with me.  Entitled, A Simple Way to Earn Client Loyalty, the story goes like this:

A husband and wife in their 60s was referred to a financial adviser by their insurance company.  They were interested in purchasing additional life insurance to cover the mortgage on a new property they’d recently purchased so the wife could keep it if the husband died.

Instead of just emailing them an answer and collecting his commission, the adviser set up a meeting with the couple to see how the potential purchase fit into their larger financial plan. 

When he met with them, he discovered that the retired couple was living largely off the husband’s pension – and that the pension had no survivorship rights.  If something happened to the husband, the wife would only have Social Security to fall back on for her living expenses.

The adviser recommended the couple buy enough life insurance to cover the second property mortgage and the potential loss of the pension income.  What was going to be a $100,000 insurance sale turned into a $400,000 insurance sale, and the adviser now likely has a client for life as well as a good referral source.

This tale illustrates the fact that client loyalty begins with listening, then digging deeper to get the whole picture of a potential client’s needs and taking the time to talk with them about how you can help.

Attorneys are, as a group, notoriously gregarious, but you need to learn how to listen carefully if you hope to retain clients and successfully cultivate referral sources.  Take a page from this financial adviser’s book and look for ways to provide added value beyond what the prospect’s initial problem may be, and you too will start collecting clients for life.

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FREE REPORT:  8 Reasons Small Firms & Solos Should Publish an E-newsletter PLUS 3 Steps to Get Started

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:

  • The cost benefits of an e-newsletter
  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter
  • And much, much more!

To get your free report now, click here.

Chicago Bar Foundation Seeks to Re-engineer the Law Firm Business Model

Taking a page from Silicon Valley startups, the Chicago Bar Foundation is seeking to re-engineer the law firm business model through a venture called the Justice Entrepreneurs Project, a legal business incubator for young attorneys looking to start their own firms.

According to a recent Businessweek profile of the project, the foundation is seeking to address two major problems plaguing the U.S. legal services market:  an oversupply of attorneys and an undersupply of clients that can afford the current going rate for basic legal services.

The foundation, which is the charitable arm of The Chicago Bar Association, leased a warehouse in the Chicago Loop and started recruiting young lawyers to join the 18-month program last summer.  They started with 10 attorneys for the first six months, and rotate in 10 new recruits every six months.  The first six months are spent doing pro bono work with local legal aid groups while the participants work on setting up their own firms.   Each lawyer in the program gets a $1,000 monthly stipend, which the foundation said is usually covered by his or her respective law schools.

One recruit, Nora Endzel, joined the project fresh out of DePaul University School of Law.  She reported that she has 10 paying clients and has covered her bills since October.  She found that one of the biggest challenges was figuring out what to charge, balancing being able to make a living and being affordable to middle class and other clients of more modest means for her family law practice.

Endzel settled on a flat fee structure, charging between $250 and $1,500 depending on the complexity of each case.  She told Businessweek that her clients are people who work full time and “just can’t afford the uncertainty of $400 an hour forever to solve some sort of legal challenge.”

The project shows young lawyers how they can operate their firms more efficiently by sharing office space, using technology and instituting new billing structures.  Bob Glaves, Chicago Bar Foundation executive director, says that he hopes the fledgling project teaches new lawyers how to think like entrepreneurs: ““They’ve learned a lot about the law in law school but not necessarily about how to run a practice or how to run a business.”

Amen to that – and two thumbs up to the Chicago Bar Association for their innovative approach.

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FREE REPORT: How to Use Blogs as a Secret Weapon in Your Online Arsenal

One of the secret tools of Internet marketing for attorneys is the power of having a targeted blog. According to HubSpot, B2B marketers with a blog generate 67% more leads per month and B2C marketers generate 88% more leads per month than those without a blog.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:

  • Why you must have a blog in order to stay relevant
  • 3 keys to successful blogging
  • 7 Guidelines for achieving ROI
  • Your 3 choices for managing your blog and social media efforts
  • And much more!

Click now for your FREE REPORT: How to Use Blogs as a Secret Weapon in Your Online Arsenal. 

Law Firm Compensation Study Finds Female Equity Partners Earn Less

I hate to say it, but it will probably come as no great surprise that a recent Compensation in Law Firms study from Keshet Consulting found that female equity partners are compensated less for the same billable hours and business origination as male equity partners.

The study, originally launched in 2010, surveyed a fairly equal number of male and female equity partners, non-equity partners and associates in both large (31-200 lawyers) and small (1-30 lawyers) firms.

From the executive summary of the report:

Our findings show that compensation is gender based with male equity partners receiving more compensation than women equity partners do. This fact is true when female and male equity partners bill the same number of hours, generate the same levels of origination, have the same level of law firm tenure and work in the same size law firms. The levels of compensation differences increase with the more women increase their billable hours and origination, the higher the tenure and for those who work in larger law firms.

The report goes on to explore the “why” and finds that “institutionalized discrimination” is the major factor in compensation differences between the sexes. It notes that compensation committees in law firms tend to be highly segregated by gender, race and ethnicity, with white males dominating those organizations. 

To download a free copy of this report, visit keshetconsulting.com.

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Free Teleseminar Oct. 3: 10 Secrets to Developing Client Loyalty

Do you know that there is a significant difference between client loyalty and client satisfaction?

Just because a client is satisfied does not necessarily mean that they will be loyal to you over the years.  A loyal client consists of the following:

  • Overall satisfaction of doing business with your law firm
  • Willingness to build a relationship with you and your company
  • Willingness to be a repeat client
  • Willingness to recommend you to others
  • Reluctance to switch to another law firm

PILMMA president and founder Ken Hardison knows just how to keep a client both satisfied and loyal.  On Thursday, October 3rd at 1 pm ET (10 am PT), Ken will share the 10 rules you and your staff should follow in order to achieve client loyalty.

Click on the following link to register for this free LawMarketing.com teleseminar: 10 Secrets to Developing Client Loyalty.  Everyone who registers will also receive an audio recording of the live session.

 

Sign Up Now for ATLAS Lawyers Seminar Sept. 25-27 in Fort Lauderdale

I will be a featured speaker at the ATLAS Lawyers Become Limitless: Legal Marketing and Management Seminar on September 25-27, 2013 at the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Founded in 2008, ATLAS Lawyers brings practicing lawyers together to discuss not only how to get business but how to handle the work. ATLAS brings some of the most forward-thinking speakers to educate attorneys and law firm staff on how to best market a legal practice, more effectively manage employees, cutting-edge topics for small law firms, and other critical facets of the business of practicing law.

The group has no membership fees, and the only charge to attend our seminars is the cost of your meals. If you are not satisfied or your questions are not answered, they will give you back your money guaranteed! 

“Our goal is for you to meet with other attorneys who are constantly striving to improve their law practice,” says ATLAS founder J. Christopher Munley, the managing partner of leading Pennsylvania personal injury law firm Munley Law. “We want you to pick up tips from others and share your own secrets to success so that everyone in attendance can go home and grow their practice. At every one of our seminars, our attendees leave feeling energized and excited about the possibilities for developing their client pool and improving their practice structure.”

I will speak on 5 Ways to Leverage the Power of Blogging and Social Media to Get More Referrals and Generate More Leads, where I will share with seminar attendees:

  • The 3 biggest mistakes attorneys make when it comes to blogging and social media
  • The secrets of blogging that make it work
  • What it really takes to generate leads from your blog
  • How to integrate social media into your content marketing efforts
  • How to use the Rainmaker Social Media Blueprint™
  • Best practices top attorneys are using
  • Driving targeted traffic to your blog & website using social media

To register for the ATLAS Lawyers seminar, visit www.atlaslawyers.com/reg-attendees.html.

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Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

At The Rainmaker Institute, we define a “7 figure lifestyle law firm” as one that allows you to have the lifestyle that you want to live!

It’s more than just money or achieving a million dollars in revenue.

It’s about creating a lifestyle where you do what you love and building a business around your core values and interests.

In this recording of an interview between Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, and nationally recognized attorney John Bisnar, Stephen asks John to share with us some of the secrets he has used to create a law firm that allows him to go into the office only one day a week and take, on average, 3 to 4 months of vacation every year - all the while managing a very successful, multi-million dollar law firm!

You will receive either a CD or MP3 recording, plus we will email you a pdf transcript of the interview.

This interview will help you discover:

  • The difference between a law practice and a business
  • How to identify superstar employees to help you run your business
  • The difference between an Office Manager and a Business Manager
  • The 7 essential systems your firm must have & how to implement them
  • How to micromanage the client experience
  • Critical keys to success
  • And much more!

Click this link now to order Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line.

 

Expansion of Your Practice a Great Reason to Attend a Rainmaker Retreat

Utah business attorney Graham Norris attended our Las Vegas Rainmaker Retreat earlier this month, saying it was perfect timing because he is expanding his practice into different areas and increasing the size of his practice.

Naturally, the content we provide about the systems you need to manage your law firm profitably really resonated with Graham:

Here are upcoming dates and locations for the Rainmaker Retreat:

Sept. 20-21: San Francisco, CA

Oct. 25-26: Chicago, IL

 Nov. 15-15: New York City

Dec. 6-7: Los Angeles, CA

You can get more information and register online for any of these sessions at RainmakerRetreat.com.

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FREE Seminar: How to Attract Clients in Today’s Marketing Jungle

When it comes to law firm marketing, it is truly a jungle out there! Mastering social media, SEO and Internet marketing strategies – and making sure your efforts align with legal marketing rules – can give even the most eager attorney pause.

In his new one-hour seminar, Stephen Fairley will lead you through the step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues. You will learn:

  • How to target market to get your ideal client
  • Why your firm is not getting more referrals and how to change it
  • How to select the right marketing tools that will work for your practice and personality
  • Effective online and offline marketing strategies
  • How to create a financial plan to fund your marketing budget
  • The 5 critical components of a Marketing Action Plan (MAP)
  • 4 ways to create a unique competitive advantage
  • What is critical to have in place today’s hyper-competitive online focused marketplace

This FREE seminar will also give you a preview of the 65 different marketing techniques and strategies taught at our 2-day legal marketing boot camp.

Click on this link to register now for the FREE How to Attract Clients in Today’s Marketing Jungle seminar.

 

New Republic Follow-Up: How to Fix Law School

In a follow-up to its article on The Last Days of Big Law, the New Republic asked law professors, writers and practitioners about how they would improve law school

Here are the six and a quick synopsis of what they said:

Alan Dershowitz, Harvard University professor of law: Make law school two years, with a third year dedicated to the student’s area of practice.

Mike Kinsley, editor-at-large, New Republic: Get rid of the Socratic Method of teaching.

Paul Campos, University of Colorado Law at Boulder professor of law: Stop providing an unlimited source of student loans to law students.

Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate: Fewer people should attend law school, and more should drop out.

David Lat, managing editor, Above the Law: Make a gap year mandatory between college and law school.

Mark Chandler, general counsel, Cisco Systems: Let law students intern for money and credit.

What are your thoughts? I’d be interested in knowing, and will publish the most enlightening here.

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Practice Made Perfect for Lawyers CD Set

The Practice Made Perfect CD set and manual applies Stephen Fairley’s unique High Impact Marketing System to the practice-building challenges faced by solo practitioners and partners at small law firms.  

It includes dozens of specific marketing and sales recommendations that can be easily and quickly applied to your firm, including:

  • The only 7 sure-fire ways to get clients in your door NOW
  • Why advertising doesn’t work for most small law firms
  • The 7 reasons why people don’t buy from you           
  • How to market and sell with USP’s (Unique Selling Proposition)           
  • Using audio logos to attract immediate attention for your business
  • Using low-cost, high impact marketing strategies           
  • Strategies for achieving maximum results from all of your marketing efforts           
  • How to discover your Ideal Target Market
  • 3 critical factors to remember when looking for new clients
  • The NEW sales cycle for professional services
  • How to retain your best clients

Click here to order your Practice Made Perfect for Lawyers CD set and manual now.

 

New Republic Big Law Exposé=Lord of the Flies Redux

Big law, medium law and small law are all abuzz about the New Republic article on The Last Days of Big Law by senior editor Noam Scheiber. It’s a lengthy look into how Big Law partners and associates have evolved into skilled carnivores whose rise to the top depends on the number of bodies they can pile up to break through to equity partner status. 

Or, as the article illustrates: 

As demeaning as life can be for a partner these days, it’s altogether soul-crushing for an associate...One Mayer Brown partner named Mike Mascia was sufficiently scarred by the struggles he endured as a younger lawyer that he has since become famous around the New York office for his advice to junior colleagues. Your best hope at landing clients, Mascia says, is to attach yourself to an aging partner and “steal his clients when he retires.”

So why would any sensible human being want to be at Big Law? The “generous salary, the esteem of one’s neighbors, work that was more intellectual than purely commercial” is yesterday’s business model. 

Today’s business model?

“Stable” is not the way anyone would describe a legal career today. In the past decade, twelve major firms with more than 1,000 partners between them have collapsed entirely.

There are currently between 150 and 250 firms in the United States that can claim membership in the club known as Big Law, the group of historically profitable firms that cater to the country’s largest corporations. The overwhelming majority of these still operate according to a business model that assumes, at least implicitly, that clients will insist upon the best legal talent instead of the best bargain for legal talent. That assumption has become rickety. Within the next decade or so, according to one common hypothesis, there will be at most 20 to 25 firms that can operate this way— the firms whose clients have so many billions of dollars riding on their legal work that they can truly spend without limit. The other 200 firms will have to reinvent themselves or disappear.

The Big Law paradigm has shifted and I’ve found that among our client group of solos and small firms, many who survived did so by taking their career fates into their own hands...the only safe place to be in law these days.

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FREE REPORT: How to Use Blogs as a Secret Weapon in Your Online Arsenal

One of the secret tools of Internet marketing for attorneys is the power of having a targeted blog. According to HubSpot, B2B marketers with a blog generate 67% more leads per month and B2C marketers generate 88% more leads per month than those without a blog.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:

  • Why you must have a blog in order to stay relevant
  • 3 keys to successful blogging
  • 7 Guidelines for achieving ROI
  • Your 3 choices for managing your blog and social media efforts
  • And much more!

Click now for your FREE REPORT: How to Use Blogs as a Secret Weapon in Your Online Arsenal.

 

Knowing When It's Time to Go...to a Rainmaker Retreat

Let me ask you something:  Have you had time this year to enjoy the lifestyle you deserve?

Or has it been nose-to-the-grindstone since January 1?

Are you searching for a way to build your practice and still have time for what you want to do?

Isn't it about time you started growing your practice, instead of struggling just to get by?

Then you owe it to yourself to check out an upcoming Rainmaker Retreat.

Over 9,000 attorneys have benefited from implementing the proven Rainmaker Legal Marketing System, because each Rainmaker Retreat has 5 unique distinctions:

It is specifically designed for Attorneys at Small Law Firms and Solo Practitioners. While associates and partners at large firms (50+ attorneys) will receive benefit, the Rainmaker Retreat is designed to meet the needs, challenges, and financial budgets of solo practitioners and small law firms.

This is a Working Retreat. You not only come to listen, learn and discover, but also to practice and apply.

This is NOT an introductory course. The Rainmaker Retreat focuses on in-depth discussions of cutting-edge strategies and revealing secrets of highly successful attorneys used by only an elite group of lawyers.

Focus on Return on Investment (ROI). Everything about this workshop is focused on one goal—helping you achieve the best results by finding more and better clients in the least amount of time using the least amount of money possible.

100% Satisfaction Guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied at the end of the first day, just let us know, turn your materials in and we will refund your money.

Don’t let time – and your competitors – pass you by. 

You can register right now, right here

Take the plunge and get the lifestyle law practice you always wanted by attending the New York Rainmaker Retreat on May 31-June 1.

Can’t make it to New York?  Then register for one of these upcoming Rainmaker Retreats:

  • July 26-27, 2013 – San Diego, CA
  • August 16-17, 2013 – Las Vegas, NV
  • September 20-21, 2013 – San Francisco, CA

Go to www.rainmakerretreat.com or call 888-588-5891 to register now.

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FREE Rainmaker Retreat Preview DVD – Learn Before You Go!

If you want to learn more about the Rainmaker Retreat and why it is a proven legal marketing system that has helped over 9,000 attorneys find more and better clients, then click here to receive a free DVD of your colleagues (and even your competitors) describing their experiences at our 2-day law firm marketing boot camp, the Rainmaker Retreat.

Instead of us telling you how these 2 days will transform your practice, listen to your peers describe their experiences in their own words by clicking here to order your complimentary DVD right now.

 

May 16 Online Seminar: Rainmaker Secrets to Building a Referral-Based Law Firm for Litigators

Most litigation attorneys have a difficult time building a consistent book of business. They go from one extreme of having too much work to handle to the other extreme of waiting around for the next case.

On Thursday, May 16, at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET, I will share with you the secrets we have uncovered from working with thousands of top litigators on how they have transformed their business from the traditional “feast or famine” approach to having a consistent pipeline of clients by implementing a proven referral system.

You will discover:

  • The top 2 reasons why you aren’t getting more referrals right now and how to fix it
  • How litigation attorneys can easily keep in touch with all their former clients, prospects and referral sources in less than 1 hour a month
  • 6 questions you must pro-actively answer to get more referrals
  • The top 4 referral sources for litigators and where to find them
  • How to use LinkedIn to connect with referral sources
  • The 5 best times to ask clients for a referral

Register here for the May 16 online seminar and discover how attorneys just like you are using this information to build 7-figure law firms.

If the time doesn’t work for you, register anyway and we’ll send you the recording of the full online seminar to watch at your convenience.

 

PI Attorneys: Join Me in Myrtle Beach for PILMMA Legal Marketing & Management Summit June 6-8

Join me at the Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing and Management Association (PILMMA) Legal Marketing & Management Summit on June 6-8 in Myrtle Beach, S.C., when I will be making a special presentation on Secrets of a Lead Conversion Specialist: Turning Browsers into Buyers & Prospects Into Paying Clients.

There are a host of other nationally renowned speakers who will be joining me for this three-day super summit, including:

Erin Brockovich is President of Brockovich Research & Consulting, and is currently involved in numerous environmental projects worldwide. Erin is a true American hero whose icon status and “stick-to-it-iveness” only fuels her determination to expose injustice and lend her voice to those who do not have one.

Jay Henderson began his corporate training career with the Covey Leadership Center, helping to launch Dr. Covey’s best-selling book, First Things First. He has helped many organizations implement Covey Leadership Training. He also is a certified instructor of Dr. Covey’s three internationally recognized leadership programs: Principle Centered Leadership, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and First Things First.

Josh King is Vice President of Business Development & General Counsel of Avvo. He is responsible for the company’s business development, finance, business operations and legal affairs. He is also a frequent writer and speaker on First Amendment, media and professional ethics issues. 

See the entire line-up of experts who will be presenting on law firm marketing and management strategies at this conference and visit the PILMMA website for more details.

You should also know about PILMMA’s 100% money-back guarantee – if, after the end of the Summit, your trip has not been worthwhile, PILMMA will refund 100% of your registration fee and up to $500 in documented travel expenses.

For those who are not already members of PILMMA, you will be able to attend this two-day summit and get three months of PILMMA Gold Membership rights at one all-inclusive rate. PILMMA members and non-members can register online -- simply click this link and learn how you can start growing your law firm faster than you ever imagined!

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Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line

At The Rainmaker Institute, we define a “7 figure lifestyle law firm” as one that allows you to have the lifestyle that you want to live!

It’s more than just money or achieving a million dollars in revenue.

It’s about creating a lifestyle where you do what you love and building a business around your core values and interests.

In this recording of an interview between Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, and nationally recognized attorney John Bisnar, Stephen asks John to share with us some of the secrets he has used to create a law firm that allows him to go into the office only one day a week and take, on average, 3 to 4 months of vacation every year - all the while managing a very successful, multi-million dollar law firm!

You will receive either a CD or MP3 recording, plus we will email you a pdf transcript of the interview.

This interview will help you discover:

  • The difference between a law practice and a business
  • How to identify superstar employees to help you run your business
  • The difference between an Office Manager and a Business Manager
  • The 7 essential systems your firm must have & how to implement them
  • How to micromanage the client experience
  • Critical keys to success
  • And much more!

Click this link now to order Secrets to Building a 7-Figure Lifestyle Law Firm: Proven Strategies from the Front Line.

 

Are You Asking Your Clients the Right Questions to Get Repeat Business?

A recent post at LawMarketing.com is a good read for every attorney struggling to get repeat business from existing clients:

What Clients Really Want

A client who has hired a lawyer as outside counsel assumes that the lawyer is qualified to do good legal work. Otherwise, the lawyer would not have made the cut in the first place. Quoting a client, Nat Slavin, former publisher of Inside Counsel, said: “Smart is what gets you in the door. How you manage the relationship is what keeps you inside.” The relationship is what builds loyalty.

“We have conducted more than 1,000 client interviews,” said Slavin, who now runs a company that helps law firms grow their businesses. “As a result, I have a pretty good sense of ‘what clients want.’ They want lawyers who can fix their problems. They want lawyers who can make their lives easier. They want lawyers with whom they can have a close and enjoyable personal relationship.”

In 2011, the Association of Corporate Counsel conducted a survey of chief legal officers and general counsel. Forty-two percent came from private companies, 34 percent from public companies, and the rest from non-profits, subsidiaries of foreign companies, LLCs and other organizations.

Survey respondents look for good value for the money they spend, reasonable cost, transparency between the lawyer and the client, and understanding of issues facing the client and its industry.

The most pressing issues expressed are:

  • Keeping apprised of company issues with potential legal implications,
  • Reducing outside legal costs,
  • Dealing with too much work and too few resources,
  • Staying on top of developments in the law,
  • Communicating changes in the law to management, and
  • Demonstrating the value of the legal department to management.

The biggest challenges include regulation/legislation, general economic outlook, growth, globalization, competition/maintaining market share, controlling risk, being sole risk manager, increasing litigation, lack of funding, healthcare reform, compliance, internal actions with legal implications, quality of law firms, being spread too thin, need for a strategic business partner, and training and motivating a law department as well as the company’s executives.

Continue reading the full post at LawMarketing.com here.

And be sure to sign up for this great free report on LawMarketing.com’s home page: 15 Strategies for Attorneys to Increase Google Rank, Control Online Reputations and Maximize Content.

 

Looking for a Place to Practice With No Competition? Head to the Country

A New York Times article earlier this week focused on something many lawyers are looking for: a place to practice with virtually no competition. That place is rural America.

According to the article, nearly one-fifth of Americans live in rural areas, but less than two percent of law practices are located there. In Bennett County, S.D., Fred Cozad, the lone lawyer that has been serving this county seat for 64 years, is retiring. When he does, the nearest lawyer will be 120 miles away.

Last month, South Dakota became the first state to pass a law to incentivize attorneys to practice in rural areas, offering an annual subsidy similar to the ones healthcare providers have enjoyed for years. 

Cozad says there is plenty of work and opportunity for lawyers in Bennett County. The county and the city of Martin have to bring in lawyers to handle municipal legal matters, further taxing already slim budgets. 

Thomas Barnett, executive director of the State Bar of South Dakota, says that opportunities for highly varied legal work is especially great in rural areas, where help is needed for everything from land law to estate planning to contract law to family law. 

The new law designed to attract lawyers to rural areas in South Dakota goes into effect in June, and includes a $12,000 annual subsidy. A five-year commitment is required, and the pilot program hopes to attract at least 16 participants.

Of course, South Dakota is not the only state facing this problem. If the thought of 6-month winters depresses you, there are other more temperate states with underserved rural areas, including Georgia, Arizona and Texas.

If this has piqued your interest, check with your state bar; several have programs already in place to seed attorneys into rural areas.

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FREE REPORT: 8 Reasons Small Firms & Solos Should Publish an E-newsletter PLUS 3 Steps to Get Started

In less than a few hours a month, you can produce an effective electronic newsletter, also known as an “E-newsletter.”

An E-newsletter is a customized electronic newsletter that is commonly used in business, but rarely in the field of law. If you are truly interested in the long-term success and sustainability of your practice, you need to learn how to leverage technology and the Internet to build it.

Here’s what you’ll discover when you read this report:

  • The cost benefits of an e-newsletter
  • How to incorporate your e-newsletter with your social networking
  • How an e-newsletter supports your marketing efforts
  • How to get started right away with your e-newsletter
  • And much, much more!

To get your free report now, click here.

 

 

The Rise of Alternative Fee Arrangements

This post at LawMarketing.com sheds light on a hot topic right now: the legal billing system and the rise of alternative fee arrangements:

Law firms are under increasing pressure from clients to reduce costs and justify expenditures, and alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) are rising to the challenge. While AFAs aren’t exactly a new concept to the legal industry (personal legal services have been offering them for years), they are now becoming more prevalent in new practice areas, such as corporate law and litigation work.

It’s a major shift for a profession that has historically been married to the billable hour. If we go all the way back to 1958, it was the American Bar Association’s Special Committee on Economics of Law Practice that first recommended the billable hour approach, which was widely adopted and deeply entrenched in the legal industry for decades.

But the Global Financial Crisis brought with it significant changes for everyone, including law firms, which have responded in a resounding way. Budget conscious clients now have an endless array of options; fixed fee, phased fee, collared fee, value fee, holdback, blended rate, contingent fee, for just about any legal service.

According to a 2010 survey by Altman Weil, 95% of law firms now have some kind of alternative fee arrangement in place. Yet according to a whitepaper from Jaffe PR that same year, clients – not law firms – are spearheading the use of AFAs. So is the legal industry really ready to embrace the AFA model?

As a virtual data room provider used by law firms to reduce costs and increase efficiencies, Firmex takes a great interest in the AFA conversation. They’ve brought together a series of research findings to help paint a clearer picture of what impact AFAs are having on the legal industry:

NOTE: Go sign up for this great free report on LawMarketing.com’s home page: 15 Strategies for Attorneys to Increase Google Rank, Control Online Reputations and Maximize Content.

 

Reconnect with Your Top Clients & the Rewards Will Follow

Many of us are so busy trying to find new leads that we forget about the best source - our past clients.  But there is new business from old contacts to be mined; here is how you do it:

Start by identifying your top 10 clients and set up appointments with them face-to-face over the next couple of months. Have an open and honest discussion with them about the state of their business, how the economy/tax law changes/healthcare law changes are affecting them, what actions they are taking as a result, what resources they need and how you can help them.

Perhaps they really need a business loan and you know of a local banker you could introduce them to. Or they may have to let a few employees go and are afraid of being sued. Maybe they need to do some asset protection right away in case their business fails to protect them against creditors.

The idea here is to not wait until they come to you; be proactive and address the issues in an open and honest way. They'll appreciate a listening ear and your legal advice. (And for heaven’s sake, don't bill them for the lunch!)

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Looking for more Rainmaker Revenue-Generating Ideas?

One click of your mouse will take you to our website where you can see the current issue and subscribe to our complimentary monthly e-newsletter that will be delivered to your inbox every month. 

Each issue is chock-full of legal marketing information you can put to use right away and share with your staff to maximize the effectiveness of your legal marketing plan. Click here now to subscribe to The Rainmaker Institute Law Firm Marketing Newsletter.

 

How Facebook Graph Search Differs From Google Search

Confused about how the new Facebook Graph Search will differ from Google Search? Here is a simplistic look:

I would venture to say that this infographic may be a tad harsh with Google – for example, when I Google “best coffee shops” I did get some local listings for coffee shops in my area, but they were just coffee places close to me – not ones that I or anyone whose opinion I care about would necessarily say are the “best” coffee shops. Google also served up some articles from the Huffington Post and other publications for the best coffee shops in Houston and D.C., which I don’t care about.

What Facebook Graph Search is supposed to do for me when I type in “best coffee shops” is show me the places my friends like. That is an endorsement I can use.

See the difference?

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On-Demand Webinar: How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients

After paying your employees, the most costly part of your law firm is Lead Generation.

This year your law firm will spend almost 10 times as much generating new leads as it does servicing existing clients!

Generating leads for your law firm is very expensive, yet a common complaint of many attorneys is that they “need more leads.”

Lead Conversion is the most overlooked area at most law firms and it has the potential to save you tens of thousands of dollars this year!

How? By helping you convert more of those costly leads into more paying clients!

Get this on-demand webinar to learn:

  • 3 major areas to examine when analyzing your law firm
  • 5 numbers every law firm must track to increase their conversion rates
  • A simple diagnostic tool you can use to track your leads and fix your follow up
  • A proven system for converting more leads into paying clients

You can watch the How to Convert Leads Into Paying Clients webinar at your convenience by clicking here now.

 

Creating the Lifestyle Law Firm: What Business Are You Really In?

"What business are you in?" We all get asked this question a lot, and most attorneys would respond by saying, “I’m a lawyer” or “I practice (fill in the blank) law.” 

But in actuality, you run a business. If you are not in business, you are not practicing law. And the success of your business lies in how well you are able to:

Market your legal skills. As a solo practitioner, a partner in a small law firm, an associate or of counsel, your primary focus, after gaining competency as an attorney, is to understand the key principles of business development and law firm marketing and to apply them every single day. Not every attorney will be a top Rainmaker, but everyone can do something to grow and market their practice.

Create extraordinary experiences for your clients.  John Bisnar, founder of Bisnar Chase and a multi-million dollar Rainmaker, speaks often about the need to “micromanage the client experience”—controlling every aspect of how the client experiences your law firm. From how the phone is answered, to greeting them by name as they walk in the door, to minimizing the amount of paperwork you ask them to complete, to reserving your conference room with their name on the door, to returning client phone calls and emails consistently and promptly, everything should be focused on creating a positive experience for your clients.

Build deep and lasting relationships with your clients. Far too many attorneys only have a transactional relationship with their clients. They create an estate plan for them, they file a lawsuit on their behalf, or they set up a corporation for them. To be successful over the long term, you must think long term.

You must develop long-term, meaningful and influential relationships with your clients because the most expensive thing you can have is a one-time client. The first step is to stay connected with them. Regular, non-billable communication with clients is more important than ever in these difficult times.

You should be communicating at least 10 times a year with every current and former client. Send out an e-newsletter or email them an article you authored or read that would be of interest to them. Create a game plan for how you can build long term, meaningful and influential relationships with your clients and you will have built a solid foundation for a lasting business relationship.

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New Webinar: How to Attract Clients in Today’s Marketing Jungle

When it comes to law firm marketing, it is truly a jungle out there! Mastering social media, SEO and Internet marketing strategies – and making sure your efforts align with legal marketing rules – can give even the most eager attorney pause.

In his new one-hour webinar, Stephen Fairley will lead you through the step-by-step actions you should take throughout the course of the next 12 months to substantially increase your revenues. You will learn:

  • How to target market to get your ideal client
  • Why your firm is not getting more referrals and how to change it
  • How to select the right marketing tools that will work for your practice and personality
  • Effective online and offline marketing strategies
  • How to create a financial plan to fund your marketing budget
  • The 5 critical components of a Marketing Action Plan (MAP)
  • 4 ways to create a unique competitive advantage
  • What is critical to have in place today’s hyper-competitive online focused marketplace

This FREE webinar will also give you a preview of the 65 different marketing techniques and strategies taught at our 2-day legal marketing boot camp.

Click on this link to register now for the FREE How to Attract Clients in Today’s Marketing Jungle webinar.

 

Legal Infographic: How to Become a Paralegal

Do you know someone who loves the law, but not the prospect of law school?  If so, I am happy to share with you this interesting infographic from Schools.com on how to become a paralegal: 

How to become a paralegal
Courtesy of: Schools.com

Referrals are the lifeblood of law firm marketing

I have been talking about the law firm marketing system that every law firm needs to have in order to be successful.  Today’s post wraps up that discussion with referrals, the lifeblood of any successful law firm marketing plan.

Referrals don’t just happen.  They must be cultivated.  Sure you may get an occasional referral from a former client or someone you know, but if you want to take your legal marketing to the next level, you need a referral system.  How do you do build a referral system that will bring you the results you need?

You start by developing relationships with potential referral sources and generate consistent referrals from them.  These sources may include accountants, investment advisors, business leaders, or anyone who has influence with your target market.  Depending on your practice area, your referral sources will vary.

Developing a relationship is a two-way process.  It can’t just be you asking them for referrals when you see them.  It requires regular contact and you showing as much concern for their business as you are asking them to show for your practice.  Ask them how you can assist them in achieving their goals.

Another key component of your law firm marketing plan is to create a system for connecting with prospects, clients and referral sources on a regular, consistent basis. This should include:

  • Monthly newsletters – keep them apprised of what your firm is doing, new employees, and content that is beneficial to them.
  • Annual Client Satisfaction Survey – find out what your clients think about the service they have received from your firm. 
  • Keep In Touch letters – on a regular basis, every 2-3 months, send a letter to referrals, prospects and clients just to touch base.  This top of mind awareness is crucial for generating referrals.
  • Referral Education System – your referral sources need to know what kind of prospects you are looking for.  It does no good for them to refer prospects to you who are not looking for what your firm offers.  Keep your referral sources updated on your practice areas and any changes in your firm if you want to receive high-quality referrals.

There are a number of systems that are vital for your law practice to be successful.  But your law firm marketing system is the one that drives the traffic in the doors.  Don’t skimp on your legal marketing system if you want to achieve the level of success that you dream of. 
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Unsure about attending a Rainmaker Retreat?
If you are still unsure about attending a Rainmaker Retreat, sign up for one of our complimentary teleseminars. These free one hour calls give you valuable law firm marketing and business tips that you can implement in your law practice right now. Don’t miss this opportunity to preview something that can revolutionize your law practice!
 

Law Firm Development: Are You on Target for 2009?

For many law firms, business slows during the holidays. And that makes it a perfect time to review your law practice.

Start by Asking 3 Questions

 

  1. Am I on target with my goals?
  2. Are my numbers lining up? (Examine your overhead, major expenditures, profit margins, etc.)
  3. Am I creating a business that supports and enhances the lifestyle I want to lead?

 

Create an Action Plan

 

After you’ve collected the data and done a bit of reflection as these 3 questions require, you’re only half-done. You now need to create an action plan. To help you with this, here are a few questions to answer and suggestions to guide you:

 

On Your Goals

 

If I’m on target with my goals, is there something I can do differently to make those goals happen sooner? What are these things I can do? If I’m not on target with my goals, what’s preventing me?

 

On Your Numbers

 

Do the numbers look good? Could they look better? How? What actions should I take? (i.e, “improving law firm marketing,” “cutting costs,”)

 

On Lifestyle

 

If I am creating a business that supports the lifestyle I want to lead, is there something that could be improved even more? What are those items? If I am not creating a business that supports the lifestyle I want to lead, what are the obstacles?

 

Action Plan

 

Now take a look at each category. List what you came up with. For example, under “goals,” depending upon how you answered the question, you could have listed either 1) Things you could do to make the achievement of those goals happen sooner, or 2) Obstacles in the way of your achieving your goals.

 

After you’ve listed all the respective items in their categories, then rank them from “Urgently Need to Address;” “Need to Address Soon” “Nice to Address But Not Essential.” And congratulations! You just created your blueprint for a better law practice in the coming year.

 

A Better 2009 Is Now Yours

 

By taking a little time at the end of the year to review your law practice, you’ll position yourself for an even better start to the New Year. Plus, by taking this simple step now, you’re already ahead of the competition, since most won’t be using the holidays to review their own law practices.

 

So . . what are you waiting for? Now’s the time to review your law practice and get a step closer to all that you deserve.

Five Successful Law Firm Marketing Strategies to Attract First-Rate Prospects

Ask any lawyer which area of law firm marketing they find the most difficult and you are likely to hear the same answer – over and over again – “I can’t find good clients”. Law firm marketing can be challenging; learning how to attract the ‘right’ prospects can be especially challenging. If you don’t find a way to attract good prospects, then your law firm marketing efforts stand little chance of succeeding.

The actions of law firm marketing for attorneys are absolutely essential. “Who” you market to is just as important.   You will want to develop a law firm marketing plan that attracts only those clients which you can help and those who will be the most profitable to your law firm.

Five Proven Strategies to apply to your law firm marketing plan for attracting the best clients:

  1. Target your clients – You must identify your Ideal Target Market (ITM). Without completing this first step, your law firm marketing strategies may be in vain.
  2. Demonstrate your service – Be clear and concise. Learn to bridge the language gap between you and your clients.
  3. Create a powerful audio logo – This is an extremely successful law firm strategy to have in place when meeting with prospective profitable clients.
  4. Use effective law firm marketing tools - When developing law firm marketing materials, remember, this may be the first impression you make on prospective clients – make it a good one.
  5. Disqualify clients – Don’t be afraid to say ‘No” to a client; you’ll be doing you both a favor if you are not a good fit.

Attorneys who implement these crucial law firm marketing strategies can rest assured they will be attracting only the most qualified clients.

Use these Proven Law Firm Marketing Strategies to Attract your Ideal Target Market

Successful law firm marketing requires a number of things; not the least important being gaining an intimate knowledge and understanding of the Ideal Target Market (ITM). This is a very important factor in implementing a strategic law firm marketing plan. Some attorneys balk at the notion of spending the time required to identify their ITM.   The amount of time spent getting to know your target audience will be more than worth the effort. In fact, not doing so can cause your firm to bypass valuable clients and to miss out on thousands of dollars in potential revenue.

Choosing a law firm marketing strategy to attract your ITM does not have to be a complicated process. In fact, by following these three suggestions, you will be on the road to accomplishing that goal.

Three Factors to Consider When Developing an Law Firm Marketing Strategy to Attract ITM:

  1. When you choose a law firm marketing strategy and incorporate it into your plan for ITM attraction, ask yourself the following: Does this strategy increase overall awareness about our firm; does it spell out who we are and what we have to offer?
  2. Will the law firm marketing strategy you choose convey a positive message? Will the ITM like who you are and what you offer?
  3. Will the law firm marketing strategy chosen increase your credibility, reliability and trustworthiness in the eyes of your ITM?

If you have answered “No” to any of these important questions, you might consider revamping the law firm marketing techniques you are considering to attract your ITM.