The Legal Chamber Newsletter • November 2011
Getting the Most Out of Holiday Fundraising
The Holiday Season is here! This time of year is outstanding for connecting with new clients and lending a helping hand to those in need. Having spoken with lawyers from across the country, below are a few of our favorite ideas. They combine networking and helping out those less fortunate. What is there to lose?
Most of the battles these days involve getting potential clients through your door. How about a donation collection box in your office? For example, the St. Anthony Foundation runs an annual Food and Clothing drive in the Bay Area. A number of law firms do their part by installing collection boxes in their lobbies. It gives the staff an easy way to help and encourages other folks (i.e. prospective clients) to come into the office.
Set a goal and advertise as a donation drop location for a local charity in your area on your website, Facebook, and Twitter to spread the word.
Or skip the brick and mortar approach, and instead raise awareness of your firm and a good cause directly through your Twitter and Facebook accounts. A number of companies are pledging a donation for each “Like” on Facebook and/or each Tweet. Make sure your guidelines are clear and watch it spread like wildfire. Nothing is easier or more cost effective for patrons. They make a few clicks and don’t even have to pay to support some great causes: the charity and your firm.
Create Repeat Business With a Holiday Card
Direct mailing can be one of the most effective advertising methods available. You have a database of past clients, but you may not have utilized that information outside of billing. Don't underestimate the imprint created by holding a tangible piece of paper!
Emails can too easily be deleted. Radio stations can be changed and telemarketing can be off-putting for the obvious reasons. Why not send a Holiday Card this season?
Sending “Seasons Greetings” to your clients works for you three-fold:
First, it shows you care and value their business. Don’t forget that this is also the loneliest time of the year for many people. A simple “hello” can go a long way.
The second reason is that it reestablishes a line of contact. It makes past clients feel more comfortable about coming back to you or calling for a consultation.
Third and finally, the cards can be handed off like flyers or business cards. Since holiday gatherings are rampant this time of year, your past client can refer you to a friend by passing along your mailing. These word of mouth referrals are the best kind of advertising you can't buy.
Top 3 Cloud Services: All Your Files, All the Time
In today’s technology immersed world, you should be able to access all of your files all of the time – that is the goal of cloud computing. Everything from your basic attorney-client retainer agreement, to a brief you wrote five years ago should be located in your cloud.
However, some cloud services offer more unique small or large business options than others.
Below are the 3 best options out there. Don’t get left behind!
Egnyte is the premier cloud service and comes in at just $4.99-$49.00 depending on the needs of your firm. It offers all of the backup and tech support that’s standard in the cloud world. Additionally, there’s no need for a server. Egnyte even offers Local Cloud for syncing your online files with your local network attached storage (NAS).
Google Docs is another great (and FREE) option. If you have a Gmail account, then you also have access to Google Docs. Ideal for smaller amounts of documents like intake forms and other boilerplate paperwork, Google Docs allows an outstanding and easy collaborative workspace for your office.
Apple’s iCloud is a no-brainer for those of us who have made the commitment to Apple products, although it is also compatible for PC users. iCloud is ideal because it has the user-friendly integration we expect from Apple, and keeps everything from photos and iTunes purchases to documents and apps, all in one place. iCloud even syncs contacts, notes, and bookmarks too, so you’ll always have access to your files with just a few touches of the screen.
Giving Your Clients the “Reality Check”
Most of the legal cases covered by the mainstream media are either criminal matters involving "celebrities" like Dr. Conrad Murray, or ridiculous multi-million dollar verdicts. It’s therefore understandable that clients sometimes have pretty outrageous expectations for what their case is worth. If those expectations aren’t met, then it’s possible (or likely!) they will be dissatisfied with your services.
The first step in giving clients a “reality check” is explaining the feasible outcomes of their case. Work with them to agree upon a desired goal. Your honesty is key here.
It’s also crucial you explain “why” based on the merits of their case. It’s ideal to have a few good examples of similar cases to show you’re on par. Clients who are still insistent on a single outcome or settlement figure may not be ones you want to take.
Discussing the client’s expectations before taking their case is instrumental in keeping your clients happy and invested in your services. Their increased knowledge of how the law works will also make it easier for you to explain any complexities of the case. Clients with exorbitant outcomes in mind will often become your personal nightmare. Screen clients carefully - it could save you a major headache later on.