Archive for the ‘Managing your law firm’ Category

Giving Back – Part 2

Following my most recent post about the charitable and community efforts of one of our licensees, I learned of something rather remarkable undertaken by another, a Kansas City car accident lawyer (who is also a Kansas City bankruptcy lawyer) .  Some 13 years ago, Darrell Castle and his wife Joan started an orphanage in Bucharest Romania for homeless Gypsy children.  What began as a 2-person effort has now grown into a full non-profit organization known as  Mia’s Children (named after the woman who runs it).  Thirty-five permanent children as well as others benefit from the mission.

While this may have nothing to do with running a law firm, it does say a lot about the people who are running it and is well worth acknowledging.


It happens every year at this time like clockwork.  Well, a couple of things do.  There is the OMG feeling that it can’t be that Thanksgiving is actually upon us already, and there is the phone call from Max and Doug (names changed).

The reason for the call is always the same.  “Rick, we have had another excellent year for case fees.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that we are staring down the barrel at some serious taxes as a result.  Is there anything we should consider adding to our marketing that will help us get even more cases next year (that we can order and be invoiced for before the end of the year)?.  We would rather reinvest what we can instead of just giving it to Uncle Sam.”

You know what?  That is a GREAT question.  One that I put out there to you to ask yourself whether or not you want to ask it yourself.  For Max and Doug, they don’t let a year end without exploring this question with me.  I invite all or our licensees to do the same thing.  Just let me know IF you would like to discuss and we can set up a time to do so, or send me an email if you prefer to handle the exchange that way.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and thank you for everything in 2011.

Striking Back at Tort Reform

As just about everyone in the legal profession knows, the “poster child” case for tort reform is the one involving the infamous fast food hot coffee spill.  It is unfortunate how little the general public actually knows about this case and others like it.  It is for that reason that we can only hope that viewers will watch the HBO documentary examining the dangers of tort reform entitled Hot Coffee.

Here is the Trailer for the show.  Even more compelling is the Synopsis.

Of course, it remains critical to keep empowering messages out there like those available through Market Masters-Legal, “The Most Powerful TV Ads in the Country”.

Faces Of Fear?

At the health club I belong to there are banks of TV’s suspended from the ceiling for viewing while sweating away on every different type of cardio machine known to man. I often use my lunch break to exercise and it is not uncommon to see TV ads for lawyers appear on one or more of the screens at any given time. Nothing remarkable about that. This past week, though, something caught my attention and got me thinking. It was an ad, cleverly disguised as a public service announcement, with a clear negative message targeting your profession.

The “ad” shows an indoor basketball court with a bunch of kids shooting baskets and a young woman on camera narrating. She talks about how she used to work with children in a facility just like this until it was sued and forced to close. While she is talking, the youngsters disappear from the screen one by one. Her message, “stop frivolous lawsuits”. Of course, no details of the case were presented, only a plea to visit .

Who is backing this? A very credible sounding organization known as The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform (which has its own website ) .  Who is really backing it? No way of knowing for certain, but it is not hard to speculate. That is less important than the fact that this concerted and organized effort is out there feeding the fears of the uninformed in an effort to manipulate their support to not do business with you. What can you do about it? Keep your strong positive empowering TV commercials on and pervasive. Discuss with your local, state and national Bar associations, especially the American Association of Justice to develop strategies to counter these messages. Don’t wait. This is not going away anytime soon.


Keep It Simple Stupid” or “Make It Super Sophisticated”?

My latest travels took me to visit with our licensees in Columbia, SC.  Frankly, it was long overdue, but I was welcomed warmly and enjoyed their true southern hospitality.  One of the most important things they wanted to accomplish was for me to see, first hand, the primary potential client base from which they need to draw in order to be successful.   So, they loaded me into their car and took me to Pig On The Ridge, an annual barbecue competition that draws from all around.  It gave me an opportunity to see, meet and speak with many good people that comprise what they consider to be their target demographic.  The point of this (beyond enjoying barbecue and my first taste of boiled peanuts) was that we all can get caught up in trying to look and be as sophisticated as possible in what we say and do as law firms.  It is natural to want to be impressive.  However, our licensees in Columbia correctly recognize the critical importance of communicating to their clientele on their level in a manner that they will best receive it.

The late American journalist, H.L. Mencken once said, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”  I suppose that his intention is open to debate.  But one interpretation can certainly be that keeping it simple and direct, while still being impactful, is never a bad strategy.  In fact, it is the best strategy.  Nothing puts you in a better position to do that than the TV commercials produced by Market Masters-Legal …Period.  How is that for simple and direct?

The Maine Ingredient for Success?

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein

Paige, Jim and I had the pleasure of making the 3- plus hour drive north to Portland, ME last week during the peak of foliage season (can’t say we didn’t factor that in to the timing) to visit with one of our longest tenured licensees, Joe Bornstein.  He welcomed us with open arms (literally….a big hug for each of us).  I have long marveled at the genuine caring Joe exudes to his clients, staff and anyone he works with.  His many loyal employees reflect that concern for others in what they do as well.

Joe often talks about how different he feels that “Mainers” are from just about anyone, something that he believes needs to be addressed in all of his extensive marketing.  While that may be true, positive response to being taken care of promptly, fairly, compassionately and respectfully is universal.  What Joe has worked so hard to instill into his practice will work anywhere.

Market Masters-Legal commercials predispose consumers to liking you.  Having their positive feelings reinforced starting with their first contact with the firm, and continuing with their subsequent experiences thereafter, is something that our licenses benefit from every day.  Most are very good at doing this.  I will talk about them in future posts too.  This one was a chance to acknowledge Joe Bornstein for a job very well done.