The Legal Chamber Newsletter • October 2010
3 Great Ideas to Boost Your Halloween Business
Hopefully you've picked out your costumes or have begun to stock up on candy — the Holiday Season is quickly approaching. The holidays are a great time to see family and friends, but don't miss out on all the free advertising opportunities.
Below are a few great ideas for drumming up some legal business this Halloween:
- Throw a Halloween party for a cause. One great way to help others and draw attention to your business is by having a party that raises money for a local charity or cause. Networking is all about relating on a common ground. Opening up your party to people united by a cause shows that your firm cares about the community.
- Host a Haunted House. The scariest haunted house I've ever witnessed was set up by a local real estate agent. He used his office and back lot to construct a maze staffed by his employees. As the kids ran through the haunted house, the parents would mull around outside talking and checking out the various business banners and leaflets.
- Put together an "accident kit" to give away to the parents of trick or treaters. It's easy and fairly simple to get disposable cameras with customized packaging; go a few steps further and include a checklist of information, your firm's pen with the phone number, and anything else you think may be useful. This idea can be adapted to nearly any area of law; if you specialize in real estate, then you may want to put together a "selling your home" package.
Tip #9: Learn To Say "NO"
Attorneys all go to law school for different reasons, but at the end of the day, it's often just about helping people take control of their lives. Assisting those clients who need it most is what makes your job feel rewarding (aside from making all that money, of course!)
Being a humanitarian and wanting to save the world is great if you have unlimited resources (i.e. lots of money). But if you don't, you need to only accept clients who can pay you. You are running a law practice, and a law practice is a BUSINESS that needs to generate income.
Have you ever noticed a little sign in the entryway of restaurants, bars, and retail stores? It says "We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone." It means "We get to decide who we work for."
Even if you want to, you can't help every one who comes scratching at your door. Learn to say "NO," and protect your sanity. You don't need the headache that comes from trying to please everyone.
That being said-- use your best judgment.
There will always be some people that really do need help, deserve help, and will end up being excellent clients. Learn to pinpoint and assist good clients. And learn to tactfully reject bad ones.
LinkedIn Use Gets Employee Terminated
You probably heard about the Minnesota IT company, TEKsystems, that used employee Brelyn Hammernik's LinkedIn profile as a basis for firing her. If you're not familiar with LinkedIn, you're missing out on an easy free opportunity to circulate your references and possibly drum up some new business. But as the TEKsystems case shows us, just be weary of what you divulge online.
In the TEKsystems firing, the company had a non-compete and non-solicitation contract with their employee Hammernik. Hammernik opened another business, and her LinkedIn profile encouraged her co-workers to "visit her new office and hear about stuff [they] are working on" with several mentions of "looking for new opportunities." The termination was pretty cut and dried.
The larger issue now is to what extent companies will be able to control employees' social media presences. So far, there hasn't been any company to our knowledge that's written in "un-friending" clauses when hiring.
Courts will also have to define "solicitation" on social media platforms. While LinkedIn promotes professional networking, other socially oriented platforms like Facebook are allowing business fan pages and job applications making it more attractive as a job outlet. Now more than ever, businesses are looking to employment contracts to protect their interests.
When You're Locked Out - Step Out
For a lot of us who aren't in private practice, especially the younger associates, we're working our tails off in hopes to achieve the next highest rank. Firms have become increasingly selective as a result of the over saturation. There seems to be no reason to keep an employee who isn't performing well when firms can draw from a bottomless pool of brilliant applicants. Increasingly, I'm hearing folks are preparing for the worst.
The ABA Journal recently covered a story about an Austin, Texas lawyer who proclaimed "firm loyalty is an antiquated concept in a world that is driven by the bottom line." Basically, if you're not bringing in new business, then you're going to get fired and your things will be sent to you. Biglaw doesn't care.
That's what many people are noticing and disliking about the profession and why more boutique firms are popping up. Whether you've found a niche in the market or simply are looking to hang a shingle, it's still going to be a dog eat dog world, but having control entails a sense of security.
A great way to make the transition from Biglaw to a smaller firm is with LegalMatch. LegalMatch works with a large volume of focused firms to put great clients in your office. LegalMatch allows lawyers to pre-screen their clients by reading the details of their case and deciding whether to respond. That means you keep clients and cases that you don't see value from taking up your time. Learn more about how we can help you increase the value of your practice today with a steady flow of clients who need your help.