1 BUILD YOUR REPUTATION YOUR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT BY SARAH THORNTON AND KELLY B. STOUT, ESQ. Tips From A Compulsive Marketer Whether you ve been practicing six months or 16 years, new clients are something you should always have on the radar. As a public relations and marketing professional, I can provide some insight on how to make marketing and business development a regular part of your practice. Don t worry; it is not as painful as it might sound! I happen to love marketing and believe in its power to build a business, so I m a little biased in this area. At the recent ABA Spring Conference in Las Vegas, I spoke to a group about this very topic, along with attorneys Dennis L. Kennedy, John R. Bailey and Professor Jeffrey Stempel from UNLV s Boyd School of Law. The most common question asked was, Where do I begin? Winston Churchill once said: Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. This is particularly applicable to attorneys starting new firms. Starting a practice is not the end of your road to success, it s the beginning. You will have a lifetime of trials and triumphs related to business ownership, and in order to keep your forward momentum, clients are required. To start developing your professional and firm brand, there are a few things you should consider: 1. Website 2. Online presence including attorney rating sites and social media outlets 3. Public relations sharing the good news about your firm 4. Sharing your knowledge 5. Getting involved in the community What should my Website Say? 1 There is no question that marketing for attorneys and law firms is, in large part, done online. We may use print, radio and television advertising to remind our target audience that we are here, but when potential clients want specifics, more than 90 percent will turn to the internet. When prospects start their online searches you want them to be able to find you quickly. Once they do, your website should reflect your practice, philosophy and key selling points. Make sure to mention your practice areas, include online bios and photos and give visitors an easy way to get in touch with you. If you are hesitant about putting a personal or phone number on your site, consider including an online contact form.
2 Social Media When discussing the panelists numerous awards at the ABA conference, one participant posed the question: If everyone is a Super Lawyer, is it really worthwhile to pursue? In my opinion, yes. Everyone is definitely not a Super Lawyer, especially not those who have been practicing for 10 years or fewer. And, Super Lawyers, in particular, has an excellent website and online marketing program. All for the price of free. What do you have to lose? There are a handful of attorney-rating sites that allow you to nominate yourself, or have a colleague nominate you, free of charge. You can choose to upgrade your profile once you are selected, in order to take advantage of the search engine optimization opportunities. Public Relations Public relations is an important part of your firm s brand development because it directly relates to your reputation. When you are quoted in an article about your given field or a case in which you are involved, you are seen as an industry expert. When you are mentioned in a business or legal publication for an award or distinction, you are seen as a leader. And there is a good reason for that you are. While they are not always (or even often, really) used in their entirety in print publications, press releases are a great way to summarize your firm or personal news. You can post them on your website or social media pages and submit them to online press release distribution sites, often without charge. Sharing Your Knowledge If you can find an audience that suits your expertise, I encourage you to make the time to share your knowledge with its members. If you have never spoken professionally, volunteer with the Clark County School District s PAYBAC program or Law Day activities; both will allow you to speak to students about your career. This is an easy way to develop speaking skills without the additional stress of worrying about embarrassing yourself in front of colleagues. Also, make sure to keep in contact with colleagues in your target audience so they know you are available when there are relevant speaking opportunities. Another great way to share your knowledge is by writing articles. Like this one! Many Nevada business and legal publications, including Nevada Lawyer, publish editorial calendars every year. If there is a topic you are particularly interested in, you can pitch your idea to the editors or simply write and submit the article and hope they use it. continued on page 23 August 2012 Nevada Lawyer 21
3 There s a better way to build or expand y our client base. Join the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS). A public service of the State Bar of Nevada, the LRIS provides free referrals to those who can afford an attorney but don t know who to call. When you enroll in the program, you gain access to the 25,000 referrals LRIS makes each year.,!79%2 2%&%22!, ).&/2-!4)/. 3%26)#% Benefits include: s,ow A YEAR DUES s %XCELLENT RETURN ON INVESTMENT s 0ROSPECTIVE CLIENTS ARE PRESCREENED BY,2)3 STAFF s!ll PRACTICE AREAS AVAILABLE We advertise so you don t have to. To fill out an application, visit today! For more information call or toll free
4 BUILD YOUR REPUTATION YOUR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT continued from page 21 Making a Difference One thing we ve learned in marketing and public relations is that these tools of the trade can be used to demonstrate both your business and community leadership. But, if you aren t giving back to your community and profession, you won t have much to demonstrate. We re all busy, but if you want to build your business and career, community service is a key element. Find a professional or community organization you like and ask how you can help; it s good for the community and good for you. To find listings of nonprofit organizations in Nevada, do a quick search online and you ll find hundreds that could probably use your help. Tricks from a Reluctant Networker Nevada has a small legal community and your only currency is your reputation. This was the refrain I heard repeatedly from my first day of law school. Accordingly, I studied, kept my nose clean and tried to avoid doing anything that would get me featured on the Wild, Wild, West Blog or Above the Law. Marketing? I had just discovered the color of my parachute and law school kept me pretty busy I didn t have time to discover and develop my personal brand. I asked some experienced attorneys how a new lawyer could best market herself and her firm. While suggestions varied, the common theme was that I should build relationships, so that when someone made a referral, my firm and I would come to mind. Clearly, networking was required. This revelation gave me pause. In my mind, networking involved mixers where I would wander aimlessly and engage in awkward small talk with an endless stream of strangers. Needless to say, I was reluctant to throw myself into the fray. However, I have learned that networking doesn t need to be a contact sport. Building relationships doesn t happen in an instant and quantity doesn t compensate for quality. I knew that an Eddie Haskell-like style wouldn t accomplish my goal and that it would take more than using the five questions I rehearsed before OCI. So I decided to take it slow, maintain existing relationships and become involved in activities I enjoyed, during which I would gradually form genuine relationships with new people. Join Something For my first foray into networking, I joined the New Lawyers Committee at the Clark County Bar. The structure of the meetings meant I didn t have to struggle to make conversation with the feared strangers. Meetings have an agenda a list of things to talk about: Instant networking. Finding an organization that you re passionate about provides an easy way to connect with other members. I loved my law school clinic experience and when the Thomas and Mack Legal Clinic Community Advisory Board decided to add two alumni members, it seemed like a great fit for me. The time commitment is small, so I was confident that I would be able to handle it. The last thing I wanted was to be over extended; failing to meet my new responsibilities wouldn t help me market my firm or myself. Joining an organization is another way to branch out into the larger community (i.e. meet non-lawyers). However, be careful not to give legal advice to its members unless you intend to represent the organization that can cause problems. continued on page 25 August 2012 Nevada Lawyer 23
5 BUILD YOUR REPUTATION YOUR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT continued from page 23 Volunteer for an Event If time is an issue, volunteer for an event. Volunteering has introduced me to new people, and having a job to do quells my anxiety about the dreaded small talk. Working a registration table gives me a reason to talk to everyone who comes in the door. Judging a law school competition means being paired with another attorney. While I ve never come away with a new best friend, I do have shared experiences with several new people. Become an Expert A newly minted lawyer can be an expert, even if only in a narrow area. Recently, there was a vacancy on a CLE panel discussing the proposed revisions to the HIPAA Privacy Rule. I was asked to fill in because I practice in healthcare administration. Although I wasn t an expert on the proposed revisions, I was familiar with HIPAA and, with some research, parsed its effect on a couple of narrow sub-topics. My presentation handouts included my firm s logo and this may lead to future speaking engagements. If the law is a second career, you may already be an expert on another subject. The point where your expertise intersects with the law could become a topic for an article or a CLE course. Even if you re uncomfortable speaking as a legal expert, you surely have expertise. I have spoken to students at my law school about topics such as interviewing and studying for the bar. While no one ever refers a case that calls for expertise in these areas, giving these presentations allowed me to practice public speaking and increase my firm s exposure. Likewise, speaking to the broader community, on topics that are not law related, gives you a chance to demonstrate lawyerly attributes (like confidence and thorough preparation), and you will inevitably have a chance to hand out business cards and give your 10-second elevator speech about what you practice. the time, the case isn t a good fit with my firm and I refer her to someone else. However, last time she called I took the case because it involved administrative law, one of my practice areas. Lo and behold! Relationships generating business! It seems that this networking thing can work. Sarah Thornton is a communications specialist and the president of Sarah Thornton Public Relations. She has worked with the legal industry throughout her career and serves on the Clark County Bar Association s Community Service Committee. Contact Thornton at KELLy B. Stout is an attorney with Bailey Kennedy in Las Vegas. Stout practices primarily in commercial litigation, professional ethics, healthcare law and appellate advocacy. She can be reached via at or by phone at Before making any communication about legal services, be sure to consult the Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct, particularly Rules 7.1 through 7. Maintain Relationships Building relationships takes time, but nurturing the ones you already have is easy and fun; you re just spending time with friends. One of my classmates (and my networking idol) formed a book club as a means of keeping in touch. Although we rarely discuss the book (the only rule is that no one has to read the book), we meet monthly and have a great time. As time has passed, we ve brought in new friends and it feels suspiciously like networking. Similarly, I ve remained friends with one of my law school professors. From time to time, she calls me when she knows someone who needs a lawyer. Most of August 2012 Nevada Lawyer 25
Managing Partner s Guide How To Market A Boutique Personal Injury Law Firm Using My Unique Method Of Education-Based Marketing by Trey Ryder Lawyer Marketing Specialist Inside You ll Discover The Fatal
Advancing Women at IBM 2012-2013 Executive Research Study Your Journey to Executive Insights from IBM Women Executives from the 2012-2013 Advancing Women at IBM Executive Research Study Table of Contents
How to Get Hired for a Cybersecurity Internship by Wilton Jowett Introduction This guide provides information relevant to those seeking an internship in the cybersecurity field. The first section covers
How to generate leads and attract today s prospects Building Trust Through Content Marketing p 212.757.7572 e email@example.com Contents 3 Executive Summary 4 What Is Content Marketing? How Content
88 Social Media Marketing and Ethics for Lawyers Kristen Marquis Kristen Marquis is an attorney and digital media expert with a background in marketing. Through her company, WebPresence, Esq., she works
WHAT S INSIDE INTRODUCTION:WHY MEDIA IS IMPORTANT.................................. 2 TYPES OF MEDIA.......................................................... 4 Newspapers...............................................................
MOST DIFFICULT INTERVIEW QUESTIONS When preparing for an interview, go through the following list of questions and write down appropriate responses. Don t memorize your answers; review them for content
Developing Stronger Relationships with Centers of Influence (COIs) trust is only nourished and developed over time Developing Stronger Relationships with Centers of Influence (COIs) When financial advisors
Six Essential Social Media Tools for Every Small Business Win More Clients & Make More Money without Spending a Penny By Matt Heinz Principal & Chief Marketer Heinz Marketing LLC Passion. Focus. Results.
Edition 1.0 Copyright 2010 Foster Web Marketing Edition 1.0 by Tom Foster Design & Layout by Zine Graphics All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, or transmitted
Social Media and Crisis Communications Policy R ISK MANAGEMENT HANDOUTS OF L AWYERS MUTUAL 5020 Weston Parkway, Suite 200, Cary, North Carolina 27513 Post Office Box 1929, Cary, North Carolina 27512-1929
A Social Media Primer for Lawyers Introduction What Is Social Media and Should You Be Using It? Many lawyers have questions about the new social media phenomena. What is it? Should they use it? What is
Operation Outsourcing By Andrew J. Levinson www.operationoutsourcing.com Copyright 2010 Operation Outsourcing Disclaimer Legal Notice: - The author and publisher of this report and the accompanying materials
Communications Toolkit Part 1 of 3 This online download includes toolkit copy without the FAQ and Sample sections. Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Colorado second edition TABLE OF CONTENTS
Tips for Applying to Graduate School in Clinical Psychology 1 A Student s Perspective on Applying to Graduate School in (Clinical) Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide Sophie Choukas-Bradley, M.A. Doctoral
INTERNET MARKETING A Guidebook to Small Business Success 30 things you can do today to start seeing results tomorrow 3 Introduction 4 Website Effectiveness 7 Traffic Generation 16 List Building 19 Contact
Vermont Bar Association Seminar Materials 2013 Solo and Small Firm Conference 4c) Blogging for Fun and Profit May 16-17, 2013 Basin Harbor Club Vergennes, VT Faculty: Daniel P. Richardson, Esq. ESSENTIALS
2012 Legal Marketing Survey Report Greetings and welcome to the 2012 Legal Marketing Survey Report. Avvo and LexBlog have partnered to publish their first annual review of the legal marketing industry.
A Meetings Industry Guide to Community & Government Relations A PROJECT OF THE JOINT MEETINGS INDUSTRY COUNCIL (JMIC) A GUIDE TO COMMUNITY AND GOVERNMENT RELATIONS who is The Joint Meetings Industry Council
Internet Marketing 101: How Small Businesses Can Compete with the Big Guys Small businesses often feel they are at a distinct disadvantage when competing against large enterprises and their massive budgets.
How to Win Your Injury Case By Brian Beckcom Table of Contents Disclaimer What It Means to Win (or Lose) Your Case How to Get the Most Out of This Book The Ten Most- Asked Questions Ten Questions People
Careers in Association Management Benjamin Butz Executive Director, Inc Beau Ballinger AARP Jennifer Connelly American College of Healthcare Executives Emily Crespo TH Mgmt., Inc TM Welcome to the Workforce,
Turn Your Organisation Into A Volunteer Magnet Second edition Edited by Andy Fryar, Rob Jackson & Fraser Dyer Copyright 2007 This book has been produced as a free resource by, and for, members of the international
ATTORNEY ADVERTISING UPDATE: WEBSITES, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND BLOGS D. TODD SMITH Smith Law Group, P.C. 1250 Capital of Texas Highway South Three Cielo Center, Suite 601 Austin, Texas 78746 (512) 439-3230 firstname.lastname@example.org