The Legal Chamber Newsletter • December 2010

A Lawyer's Favorite 5 Gifts for 2010

Even my dentist sends out a Holiday postcard to all of her patients. Staying in touch with your clients means they're much more likely to refer a friend or give you repeat business (our condolences to the wills and trust folks—you may not have the same experience).

This time of year is also when you've got to show your support staff how much you appreciate them. Keeping morale up in the office likely means doling out some kind of Christmas bonus or gift to your employees, like a booze cruise or catered dinner.  But what should you get that lawyer who referred you that big case and didn't ask for anything?

Check out the hottest gifts for lawyers in 2010 - they're also all pretty affordable.

  • The Barnes & Noble Nook (starts at $149/$249 color) is an amazing little e-reader. In addition to books and magazines, you can watch videos, send books and passages you've read to friends, it will read to you, and its touch screen allows zooming and landscape views. You can even load your own electronic documents on it to keep them accessible on the go.
  • Almost every car these days comes with a GPS navigation system; but if you didn't buy into that right away (like me), then you should check out the Garmin GPS. It's a nice gift for the document server or delivery person who has put in some extra trips for you. They even have something for the outdoorsy folks.
  • The Flip Ultra HD Camcorder ($145 on Amazon) is the easiest way to document your testimonials and statements - a full 120 minutes worth! It's also great to catch those Christmas Party moments and relive them over and over again.
  • It's the worst being the only kid on the block without an Apple product. The lineup of touch screen iPod Touches accommodates a wide range of prices. They're basically the same thing as an iPhone; you can load apps, videos, games, and all that stuff without having to pay the price for a phone contract. They even have Wi-fi and Bluetooth.
  • The classic gift from one professional to another is a writing utensil, and there aren't many better than Mont Blanc. The company has a vast selection of widths, lengths, points, and styles for any budget, even you big spenders. We use them most of our days jotting notes and writing things - why not do it in style. It's the Mercedes-Benz of pens.

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3 Simple Tips for Holiday Advertising

3 Simple Tips for Holiday AdvertisingDuring the Holiday Season there's a dramatic increase in attorney advertising for more reasons than you can count: DUI/DWI, personal injury cases from winter accidents and trip mishaps, not to mention divorce and custody disputes. There are tons of lawyers out there and we're all trying to get our piece of the action.

If you're thinking of advertising anytime soon, make sure you are getting your message across effectively, concisely, and in a unique method that will set yourself apart. No matter what your practice specialty may be, these 3 tips will help you streamline your advertising scheme and get the most bang for your buck.

Highlight your unique skills in a simple way.

We all have certain aspects that we believe set our practice apart. Whether it's house calls, free consultations, or some other incentive, you should play up your skills first and then show that you can offer something that's one of a kind. Making your ad easy to understand means it won't get lost in the shuffle.

Find your target audience and reach them.

For the same reason that bail bond shops are in bad neighborhoods, you should figure out whom you want to reach and use the right means necessary to convey your message. Sure you can do an auto-injury billboard like everyone else, but try to think outside the box. It's best if you can give potential clients something they can use like a bottle opener with your DUI/DWI hotline number to your office.

Start now!

It's already almost Christmas, so you're going to want to get on whatever advertising campaign you think is the best (online, radio, print, television, etc.). Time is of the essence, and the sooner you get started the quicker you can begin bringing those new clients into your office.

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Negotiating Your New Year's Resolutions

The New Year is quickly approaching and there are resolutions to make!

Okay, that's a little enthusiastic for something that most of us will forget by the stroke of midnight anyways. However, it is a great time to take a step back from your practice and think about what is working and what is not. Don't be afraid to clean house and streamline your business.

Look at these areas of concern to see how your firm sizes up:

Office Dynamic—Most practices have a mission statement or underlying charge. It gives clients insight into your firm, and your employees an underlying objective to their work. Take notice of inefficiencies around your office and meet with your staff to solve them. The New Year Meeting is a great time after the holidays to refocus.

Client Flow—Access your various strategies of cultivating clients and see if they're worth the cost. It feels good to actively advertise, but it's not worth wasting money. Don't be afraid of changing how your market your practice this year.

Cost Cutting—When you're going through your firm with a fine-toothed comb, look for places to cut costs. Discount paper supply and using different postal options are an outstanding way to begin.

Firm Growth—If you have the caseload like LegalMatch lawyers, you're probably looking for some help with the volume. Lucky for you, good legal help is abundant and can be had cheap. I'm not saying to offer an internship to a veteran, but it's important to remember that new associates will push you to do great work and you can make them responsible for bringing in clients as well.

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Legal Tip #10: Keep Your Clients in the Loop

For the average Joe or Jane client, dealing with legal issues can be an overwhelming and stressful ordeal.  As such, it is your job to sweeten the pill.  Keep clients updated, be patient, be pleasant, and let them feel that they have some measure of control over their legal situation.  Jane (or Joe, for that matter) is paying YOU to handle their legal matter, and she is entitled to regular updates about her case.

Give your client a call periodically to keep them abreast of any new case details.  Even if nothing has changed, call them and remind them that you are there, you are still working hard on their case, and you have not forgotten about them.  Don't have the time?  Have your secretary or paralegal do it.

Still too much of a hassle?

If you don't have time to make phone calls, a personal email or letter is still better than nothing.  Just don't do them the disservice of shooting off an automated response.

Act kindly, keep in touch, and we assure you — your clients will appreciate your professionalism.

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