The Legal Chamber Newsletter • August 2011
A Lawyer's Top 10 Books For Summer
We all need a little inspiration every once in a while. Below are some of our favorite books available that may get you just as excited about law as you were in your 1st year. Don’t take our word for it, test them out for yourself:
Ladies And Gentlemen of the Jury—This book boasts “The Greatest Closing Arguments in Modern Law” and definitely comes through. Everything from Nuremberg and the trial of the Chicago Seven to “Leopold and Loeb’s” infamous quote “Spare them, for they know all too well what they do.”
The Reversal—A newish Michael Connelly book that has all the renegade lawyer stuff you need.
America's Dumbest Criminals: Based on True Stories from Law Enforcement Officials Across the Country—It’s pretty much all in the title by Daniel R. Butler and Leland Gregory. Don’t be afraid to laugh.
In the Interest of Justice: Great Opening and Closing Arguments of the Last 100 Years—If you liked Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, above. you’ll like this one, too.
Rules of the Road: A Plaintiff Lawyer’s Guide to Proving Liability—It’s always good to get other people’s thoughts and insights in your profession.
Theater Tips and Strategies for Jury Trials—Before you call me crazy, answer one question: why not? Hide it behind a Sports Illustrated if you must, but some of the most memorable moments in law come from these kinds of outrageously inspired acts: “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”
You Can’t Teach Hungry - Creating the Multimillion Dollar Law Firm—John Morgan gives you advice on how to expand and get rich.
Law & Advertising—Its more of a textbook than anything else. However, this Dean Fueroghne book will give you ideas and legal perspectives for your next marketing campaign.
A Time to Kill—You can’t fight it, John Grisham has a knack for this stuff.
A Look at Ridiculous "Business Expenses"
How do you enjoy the benefits of being a successful lawyer without taking on too much personally? The key has always been a steady flow of cases generating some decent money. It's one of the things that make big law seem attractive, but what about the rest of us solo practitioners and small firms during a dry spell? You put your lawyer hat on, get creative, and stretch your money by writing off some business expenses. Just don't get carried away!
Below are a few of the most outrageous “business expenses” we’ve come across. We don’t recommend any of them, but if you do make an outrageous purchase like a helicopter, pick us up for a spin:
- Anietra Hamper was a newscaster who claimed over $20,000 in deductions for things like bedding, wildly expensive clothing, and even self defense classes. You may have guessed by now that she was “randomly selected” for an audit and paid accordingly.
- Believe it or not, you cannot write off hiring an arsonist. Sure, it’s entertainment, but if you are like the failing furniture store owner who decided to get his $500,000 insurance claim and deduct the “business expense” of hiring an arsonist, prepare for the worse. The claim was denied and the man was jailed.
- Pet Sitting and whisky are both not allowed, but comically large implants like in the case of Chesty Love are deductable.
For even more tax related hijinks, check out the TurboTax list of their “10 Craziest Deductions.”
Copying Marketing Efforts is Not a Marketing Plan
No two practices are the same. Neither should any two marketing plans.
A friend who owns a private practice was telling me about his new online marketing plan. He had gotten a list of different places to register his services (like Yelp.com) and purchase ad space. The list came from a Criminal Defense lawyer who was having luck finding clients online.
The problem with merely copying an online marketing scheme, even in the same field of practice, is that you’re not going to be targeting your ideal clients. Your advertisement needs to reach your ideal client. So how do you do this for yourself?
Research. First you will want to drill down what type of clients you would like to consult. This can include the case type, your legal specialty, age group, geographic region, and income level.
Next you will want to find online communities and blogs that center around your topic. These are great places to network. For example, if you are a family lawyer who specializes in San Francisco Bay Area divorces, you would want to talk to groups like Meetup.com’s Bay Area Divorce (& Contemplating Divorce) Support Group.
There are many other chat rooms, blogs, and websites dedicated to education and personal stories surrounding all types of legal problems. Find your ideal market and see what you can to do help out. There is a good chance you’ll get some business out of it, too.
Lawyer Tip #25: Putting the Pieces Together
If you are a regular reader of our legal marketing tips, you should be well-versed in marketing your practice, weeding through problem clients, increasing your word of mouth referrals, and generally building a more successful future for your law firm.
Client acquisition can be one of the trickiest and most costly efforts involved in running your practice, so it is vital to do research before putting all your eggs into one marketing basket. If you can, test each medium for yourself. Every law practice is different, and the same marketing strategies that work for a colleague might not work for you.
For your reference, I’ve included an overview of some of the marketing mediums currently available to attorneys and their practices. Take a look at each one, do your own research, and equip yourself to make a decision that works.
Online Lawyer Directories
Clients find your name in the directory, and then call your office for more information.
Subscribe to specific geographic locations and categories of law. Receive detailed e-mails from clients regarding their case. Contact clients if interested.
List your name in the book with other attorneys.
- Yellow Pages
- Super Pages
Search Engine Marketing & Search Engine Optimization Firms
Pay money to market your own website.
Receive referrals from people who go to the bar looking for legal help.
- State & County Bar Associations