By Danielle M. Hall, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, Office of the Disciplinary Administrator
Last week, I discussed the importance of converting a document to PDF rather than printing and scanning. To recap, when you scan a document, you are creating an image-only PDF rather than a “true” PDF. The downside, you lose a lot of key functions in the PDF when you scan the document. If you missed last week’s Tech Tip, I encourage you to go back and look. You can always find the Tech Tips archive on the KBA website at https://www.ksbar.org/blogpost/1106646/LPM-Tech-Tips.
In last week’s tip, I provided instructions on how to convert a Microsoft Word document to a PDF. This week, I want to provide you with instructions for another commonly used document in the legal practice, Microsoft Excel.
There are a couple of ways to convert an Excel file to PDF. You will see that your options are similar to that in Microsoft Word.
Option 1: Save As a PDF
Click the File
Click Save As.
Select your file location.
In the File Name box, enter a name for the file, if you haven't already.
In the Save as type list, click PDF.
Click Options to set the page range and what to publish (such as the entire workbook or just active sheets).
Option 2: Print to PDF
Click the File tab and select Print.
In the Printer options, select Print to PDF.
A pop-up box will appear, select your file location and enter a name for the file, if you haven’t already.
In the Save as type list, click PDF.
Click Options to set the page range and what to publish (such as the entire workbook or just active sheets).
Now you know how to convert both a Microsoft Word document and a Microsoft Excel document to PDF. So, no more printing and scanning. If you prefer using WordPerfect for your word processing software, you can find instructions here that will walk you through converting a WordPerfect document to a PDF.
Stay tuned, in the coming months we will begin to explore the functions in Adobe, so you can see why creating a “true” PDF is worth it.
Posted By Danielle M. Hall,
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2018
By Danielle M. Hall, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, Office of the Disciplinary Administrator's Office
On multiple occasions I have seen lawyers print a document, walk over to the scanner and scan the document to create a PDF. Sure, this is relatively easy to do; however, when you scan the document in this manner, what you are actually doing is creating an image of that document rather than creating a true digital document.
There are clear downsides to an image-only PDF. For instance, you lose search capabilities, because the image-only PDF contains just the photographed images of pages without the underlying text layer. Additionally, their text usually cannot be modified or marked up for the purposes of editing. The only way to correct these issues is through using an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) application. Unfortunately, if you only have Adobe Reader, you won’t be able to perform this function. You must have Adobe Acrobat or some other tool to OCR text from a scanned document. The other issue with OCR is that, depending on the quality of the image, or the recognizability of the writing, it may not be 100% accurate.
Instead of scanning a document into an image-only PDF, I highly recommend creating “true” or digitally created PDFs by using software such as Microsoft Word or Excel. For instance, if you have created a document in Word, converting it to a true PDF is just as easy as creating an image-only PDF, without even having to walk to the scanner.
Here are the steps for converting a Word document:
Click File, then click Save As.
In the File Name box, enter a name for the file, if you haven’t already.
In the Save as type dropdown list, click PDF.
You can also create a PDF in Word by using the print to pdf option, following these steps:
Click File, then click Print.
Under the Printer option, select Microsoft Print to PDF.
Stayed tuned to next week’s Tech Tip for instructions on how to convert other documents, including Excel Files.
By Danielle M. Hall, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, Office of the Disciplinary Administrator's Office
Microsoft Outlook has a "spell check" feature that can be helpful in preventing those pesky misspelled emails we all have sent when trying to reply quickly to a matter. The great thing about this feature is that it doesn’t just highlight the misspelled words in the email while drafting. In addition to highlighting the misspelled word, it also causes a pop-up window to appear after you have clicked send. This pop-up window allows you one last opportunity to fix the error by offering suggestions to correct the mistake.
For some reason, this feature comes turned off by default in Outlook. As a result, if you want to take advantage of it, you will have to turn it on. To turn on the Spell Check feature:
Click the File tab, and then click Options.
Click to turn on Always check Spelling before sending.
In the midst of mounting pressure from state bar associations over ethics concerns, Avvo announced the end of its fixed-fee legal services offering, Avvo Legal Services, in July. Avvo Legal Services charged potential clients $39.95 to speak with a lawyer participating in the program. Avvo facilitated the connection through its website depositing the $39.95 in the lawyer’s account and then debited $10 from the lawyer’s account for a “marketing fee.” Similar fixed-fee offerings for document review, business formation, and family law services were also in development or deployment. Avvo clearly hoped that the transaction structure and label on its fee would make clear that the arrangement was not fee-splitting but multiple states were unconvinced.
In June, 2017, three New Jersey Supreme Court committees issued a Joint Opinion stating that the legal service program operated by Avvo “is an impermissible lawyer referral service, in violation of Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(c) and 7.3(d), and comprises improper fee sharing with a nonlawyer in violation of Rule of Professional Conduct 5.4(a).”(ACPE Opinion 732, CAA Opinion 44, and UPL Opinion 54)The New Jersey Supreme Court opted not to review the issue in June, 2018.
Shortly after New Jersey’s opinion, the New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics released its own opinion (Opinion 1132, 8/8/17) that payment of the “marketing fee” to Avvo Legal Services was an improper payment for a recommendation. New York examined the Avvo rating system, guarantees, and refund policy for dissatisfied clients deciding that such steps clearly conveyed to the public a recommendation of a lawyer.
New York also noted in passing that other issues might also be created by the Avvo arrangement including confidentiality problems arising when evaluating issuance of a refund and the ability of a lawyer to offer competent legal services under the restrictions imposed by the service but ultimately noted that a decision on those issues was unnecessary given the larger context of the service being improper as a whole. Most interestingly, New York noted that Avvo might be meeting a legitimate public need unmet by traditional marketing but argued, “…it is not this Committee’s job to decide policy issues regarding access to justice, affordability of legal fees, or lawyer quality. Our job is to interpret the New York Rules of Professional Conduct.”
Potential Opening for Avvo
In their rulings, New Jersey and New York had joined several other states including South Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in finding the service improper under the Rules. The news was not all bad for Avvo, however. The North Carolina State Bar opined in Proposed 2018 Formal Ethics Opinion 1 (April 19, 2018) that participation in Avvo and similar services could be permissible under certain circumstances. (That draft was apparently sent back for further study.) More significantly, The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, the body overseeing attorney discipline, issued a 124-page report recommending loosening of professional conduct rules to allow lawyers to engage for-profit referral services like Avvo.
The report argues, “Prohibiting lawyers from participating in or sharing fees with for-profit services that refer clients to or match clients with participating lawyers is not a viable approach because the prohibition would perpetuate the lack of access to the legal marketplace.” The Illinois Disciplinary Administrator, Jerome Larkin, solicited public comment on the report, which he wrote, through August 31, 2018. Chief Legal Officer for Avvo Legal Services, Josh King, has made a similar argument saying, “…When the Rules get rigidly applied like this, it has two really bad effects. One is really good lawyers pull back. And the second impact it has is it makes it harder for consumers to get access to legal services.”
Acquisition by Internet Brands
Ultimately, the decision to sunset the Avvo Legal Services product may be more business-driven than reactionary to state bar pressures. Avvo was acquired by Internet Brands back in January, 2018. That folded Avvo into a company with existing properties like Lawyers.com, Nolo, and Martindale-Hubbell. Initially, analysts predicted the acquisition would be a positive step for legal consumers.
Following the acquisition, Avvo’s founder and CEO, noted, “Medical is way ahead in this area – in how hospitals interact and maintain relationships with consumers in new ways. ‘There’s a brand that I trust associated with this medical need, and I go to that website, I interact with a nurse on call 24/7, and if I need more they can set that up.’ This is an example where the consumer bypasses the search environment because they have a relationship. The medical profession is working hard to keep that relationship going. Legal isn’t doing any of that. But that’s another reason this deal is attractive: tapping in to the innovation [Internet Brands] has had in other verticals. Being able to get on the phone and talk to people who’ve solved these issues in, say, medical, is super attractive.”
Months later, most of the Avvo leadership including its former CEO, CFO, CPO, CTO, and chief legal officer had made plans to leave and Avvo Legal Services was given a sunset date. The apparent need Avvo filled has not evaporated, however, and the ABA and several states such as Illinois may be looking for ways to enable and govern such services in a way that provides safety for both participating lawyers and prospective clients.
Did you know that as a KBA member you have access to the KBA Lending Library?
The Lending Library is a free service to members offering a comprehensive selection of books on topics relating to practice management, technology, lawyer well-being, and career development. The books are available for a short-term loan and can be mailed to you upon request.
By Danielle M. Hall, KBA LPM Committee Member, Office of the Disciplinary Administrator, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator
Have you ever sent a Microsoft Word document to multiple colleagues in your office to edit, only to find it a cumbersome process to then go through and make the suggested changes from each person in the original document? Instead of going through each document one by one and making the suggested changes in the original document, try merging the tracked changes into one document to save time. Here’s how you do it:
Click Review> Compare > Combine.
A pop-up window will appear letting you choose the Original Document and the Revised Document.
Under Original Document, click the down arrow and choose the document you sent for review.
Under Revised Document, choose the document you want to merge.
In the Label unmarked changes with box, type the name of the person who made the suggested changes.
Click the More
Under Show changes in, select New document.
Word will then open a new document that combines the original document and the copy you merged. The screen will be divided into three sections:
the combined document,
the original document, and
the revised document.
You can hide the original and revised document screens by clicking Compare> Show Source Documents > Hide Source Documents, or by clicking the x’s in the upper right-hand corner of each section.
You can merge more revised copies by saving the document that contains the combined changes and merging an additional copy into that document just like you did before. You would repeat this process until all revised copies have been merged.
It was recently announced at the National Association of Bar Executives Annual Meeting, which was held last week in Chicago, Illinois, that the Chicago Bar Association is no longer restricting access to their How to Video Library. The video library is produced by the CBA’s Law Practice Management & Technology (LPMT) Division. The CBA LPMT Division regularly sponsors training and demonstrations of hardware and software geared to legal professionals. Archives of these programs are available in the video library. The library can be accessed at https://lpmt.chicagobar.org/how-to-video-library/. You can learn everything from managing your Google or Microsoft Outlook calendar to formatting documents. You will find videos on career issues, firm management, and even social media and marketing. This is a great resource and I encourage KBA members to go the CBA LPMT website and watch some videos. I must also say thank you to the Chicago Bar Association for providing access to such a great resource!
Most of us use Microsoft Word frequently in our day-to-day work, however, if I had to bet, I would say that most of us are probably not taking advantage of keyboard shortcuts to work more efficiently when creating documents.
If you have ever created a document which included the § and ¶ symbols, you know that it can be cumbersome to insert these special characters in Word. Typically, you would need to:
Click the Insert tab
Click More Symbols
Select the Special Characters tab
Choose the special character you want to insert, and finally select Insert
Constantly taking your hands off the keyboard in this manner to point and click with your mouse can add up to a lot of wasted time. So, what if I told you that there are shortcuts to all this clicking with a mouse?
First, if you are using a PC you will want to make sure you have the number lock enabled on your keyboard, and that you are using the numeric keyboard on the right. The shortcut on a PC for § is Alt+21, and for ¶ is Alt+20. For Mac users, your shortcut for § is Option+6, and for ¶ is Option+7. It is that simple!
When presenting CLE on data breaches, I often explain when
talking about phishing that we’re not talking about the kind you do on a
Saturday afternoon at the lake. Instead, we are talking about a cyber-attack
that uses email as a weapon.
The goal of a phishing email is often
to trick the recipient into clicking malicious links, downloading infected
attachments, or sending sensitive information. For instance, when an employee
clicks on a link or an attachment in a phishing email, malicious software can
be installed on the computer. This could lead to malware spreading to other
devices, captured passwords, stolen files, or even those files being held for
ransom. Instead of trying to break directly into servers, criminals are using,
and betting on, social engineering to gain access to your information. We read and open email communication all the
time. As a result, human psychology is a prime target for criminals to gain
access to our accounts, to our computers, and to our data.
According to the 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report
by Verizon, almost of half of all malware is installed via email, and falling
victim to a phishing email can have major consequences such as significant
downtime, loss of access to data, and even the need to replace computer
equipment. To avoid these situations,
one must educate themselves on what email phishing is and how to recognize it.
Below you will find 5 tips for recognizing a phishing email.
Inconsistencies in Email Addresses and
Domain Names. Always check the email address of the sender to
see if there are any inconsistencies. For instance, the email may imply it
is coming from a company such as Apple, however, you might see that that
the email address is coming from a Gmail account. Another scenario is
where the username in the email address uses the company name, but it is
misspelled. Finally, make sure to look at the domain name to see if it
matches up to the username. An example would be AppleAdmin@fastweb.com.
Cleary, this would not be from Apple.
Inconsistencies in Links. If
you receive an email asking you to click on a link, a good method to
employ is hovering over the link to see where it will take you. The key to
this technique is to not click on the link while doing it. If you hover
over a link that is supposed to take you to a Google Doc, but instead the
link says it will take to gamemachines.altavista.org/wp-includes/wp-access.php,
this is a clear sign of a phishing email. Recently, I have seen emails
that appear to be a Microsoft SharePoint email, but were actually phishing
emails. When you hover over the link, the word SharePoint is in the link,
however, it is followed by words that don’t match up. Even though SharePoint’s
name was in the link, what followed was an indicator that it was a
phishing email. So, make sure to pay close attention to the link when
Demands Urgent Action and/or Seeks
Personal Information. "Update your information or your account
will shut down in 24 hours.” This
is a good example of a social engineering technique used by criminals to
prompt email recipients to provide personal information. These emails can
often create a sense of urgency and should be warnings signs to you that
the email is probably fake. Using common sense in these situations will go
a long way. If you are unsure about a request made, the best thing to do
is pick up the phone and call to verify the email before providing any
Includes an Impersonal Message. Phishing emails will often use greetings such
as "Dear Account Holder/User,” "Dear Sir or Madam,” or may not even have a
greeting at all. This could be a sign the email is a phishing
Includes Poor Spelling and Bad Grammar. Major companies take the time to ensure their
communications contain proper spelling and grammar. Most won’t message their customers without a
few rounds of editing. So, if you spot something
misspelled or the email is filled with grammatical errors, you can be
confident the email is more than likely a fake.
Good to Be True Offers. If you
receive an email that offers some sort of incentive to click on a link or
download an attachment, and the offer seems too good to be true, that
email is probably a scam. The likelihood that it is a phishing email goes
up if it comes from an unrecognized sender or the recipient did not
initiate the contact.
While this list gives you some examples of what to look
for, remember cyber criminals are always coming up with new methods of attack.
The best thing to do is take time to review emails carefully, use common sense,
and if anything looks off, don’t click. Ultimately, taking a second to the
review the email before you click will save you both time and potentially money
in the long run.
If you find yourself struggling with time management issues,
such as failing to stay on task, ineffective scheduling, or procrastination,
you may want to consider implementing a time management technique. One such technique
is the Pomodoromethod. This time
management method was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s and is
named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer which was used by Cirillo as a
university student. (Pomodoro is Italian for tomato.)
The idea behind the technique is simple: you set a timer for
25 minutes and work on only one thing for the duration of that time. When the
timer rings, you reward yourself with a short break. This technique forces you
to focus on that one task for a set period, while taking breaks to avoid mental
fatigue. For instance, rather than working on a brief until it is "done,” you
work on it until your 25 minutes is up. Then, you get up and stretch (or
whatever else you like do to on a break) for 5 minutes. Once your break is over, you go back to
working on the brief for another 25 minutes, and so on, until you complete 4
pomodoros (25-minute segments). After completing 4 pomodoros, you take a longer
The goal should be to work towards task completion to meet
your daily goals. As a result, you first
will need to create a prioritized task list to determine what your work day
will include. Using the task list and implementing the Pomodoro Technique
should help you to avoid interruptions and distractions while improving your
concentration. The more you can concentrate, the more work you should be able
to complete. The key, however, is to not fall victim to checking your email,
looking at social media, or chitchatting during the pomodoro.
If you want to try implementing this simple time management
technique, here is quick recap:
Pick a task.
Set a time to 25 minutes.
Focus on that task for
the entire 25 minutes.
When the 25 minutes is
up, take a short 3-5 min break.
After 4 pomodoros,
take a longer 20-30 min break.
A kitchen timer will definitely do the
trick, but if you are looking for something more hi-tech to use, there are
plenty of Pomodoro Technique apps out there for both Apple and Android devices.
There are also Chrome apps available to use with your Chrome web browser, some
of which allow you to block websites during use.
Passwords are a critical part of account safety. They can sometimes be a pain to remember, however, they are the first step in ensuring the security and confidentiality of the data that is stored on the device or in the account associated with the password. Despite their importance, if you were to do a quick Google search of the most commonly used password, you will see that "123456” comes in at number 1, and "password” comes in at a close 2nd. Also topping the list are passwords such as "admin” and "abc123”. I would add for lawyers, I often see the use of some combination of a bar number, birth date, and last name. When presenting CLEs, I often refer to these passwords as being on the password list of shame. So, I ask, is your password on the list? If so, you may want to keep reading.
While the Rules of Professional Conduct do not outright articulate standards for passwords, the care a lawyer should use when creating passwords can be implied through KRPC 1.1 (Competence) and KRPC 1.6 (Confidentiality).
Comment 8 of KRPC 1.1 states:
To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology…
KRPC 1.6(c) states:
A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.
When read together, it becomes clear that a lawyer has a duty to maintain adequate computer security. So, if your password falls on my list of shame, you may want to reconsider its use.
To create more secure passwords, try the following suggestions:
Mix it up. use a combination of letters, numbers, special characters, and some capital letters.
Make it personal. Use password phrases or a random combination of words that mean something to you, but don’t include things like birthdates, bar numbers, or that favorite quote that you have as a banner on your Facebook page.
Don’t use short passwords. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack.
Don’t reuse passwords. I know it is tempting, but if your password is cracked on one account, you don’t want to give easy access to your other accounts.
Don’t write your passwords down. You may chuckle about this, but I still see some lawyers using the post-it notes on the computer monitor.
Don’t share your passwords. This is a no brainer.
Change your passwords regularly. The more sensitive the information is, the more often you should change the password.
And if all else fails, you could always leave it up to the professionals and use a password manager.
Posted By Administration,
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, June 19, 2018
By Stephen Fairley
Nothing has transformed the marketing of law firms in the last ten years more than the Internet. I was recently speaking at a bar association event when a gentleman asked, “Do people really look for lawyers online? I’m not sure people look for my kind of practice area on the Internet.” Although there’s no guarantee that someone Googles your exact practice area every day, there are more than 2 million Internet searches for the words “lawyer” or “attorney” every month.
Lawyers across the country are finding a steady drop in return on investment for their mass advertising efforts such as the Yellow Pages, television, and newspaper. A growing number of law firms are turning to the Internet with hopes of boosting their revenues and increasing their leads. For some this has become a reality, but most are still in the experimental stage. This article will give readers several of the best practices in becoming a rainmaker on the Internet.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the ongoing process of optimizing your website to be found on the search engines (Google, Yahoo!, and Bing are the big three) for the keywords and phrases with which you want people to find you. The goal of SEO is to drive qualified traffic to your website. It does not include pay-per-click (PPC) or paid search. There are more than 30 different components commonly used by SEO experts to help your website rank well. Below are strategies to get you started.
1. Know the keywords people use to search for your services. There are many tools you can use to find out exactly which keywords and phrases people use. I recommend you start with www.wordtracker.com and Google’s Keyword Tool, which can be found at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. In most searches, there are three parts used: geographical location, practice area, and the word “lawyer” or “attorney.” For example, someone looking for a personal injury lawyer in southern California may use “Los Angeles personal injury lawyer,” whereas someone in Chicago looking to file for bankruptcy may search for “Chicago bankruptcy attorney.” However, people are starting to use more and more words to describe what they are looking for: “I was injured in a car accident in Miami and need an attorney.” This is known as long tail search.
Key Action Points:
• Talk to your prospects and clients and find out what words and phrases they use to look for a lawyer in your practice area.
• Research those keywords and find out how many other people use them.
• Make a list of 20 to 30 words and phrases to use in your website.
2. Use keywords in your domain name. When possible, use the actual words with which you want prospects to find you. For example, Kevin Von Tungeln is a board-certified estate planning specialist in the state of California. His website address is www.estateplanningspecialists.com. Many law firms are still using the traditional method of naming their website the same as their law firm name, which can make it difficult to spell, harder to find, and does not assist their SEO efforts. However, be sure to check your state’s ethical requirements before settling on a new website name; some states do not allow lawyers to use any other domain name than their law firm’s name. Key Action Points:
• It’s okay to have multiple domain names.
• Register your own name first, then register domain names with your keywords in it.
• Use www.godaddy.com to register multiple variations. Even if you are not going to use them now, you may want them later.
3. Create compelling copy. I strongly recommend you consider hiring a professional copywriter to write the copy on your website. Yes, I know, every lawyer out there writes for a living. However, the gulf between writing a great legal brief and creating compelling copy can be like the Grand Canyon. The number-one purpose of your website is to compel visitors to pick up the phone and call you. A great copywriter can create credible copy that will get your phone ringing.
Another purpose of your website copy is to help you rank well in the search engines. One way to do this is by using the exact same words and phrases you researched in step one in the copy of your website. Each page should focus on four to six phrases. For example, one page may focus on four phrases such as “Orange County California personal injury lawyers,” “Orange County California personal injury attorneys,” “Los Angeles California personal injury lawyers,” and “Los Angeles County California personal injury attorneys.” Key Action Points:
• Consider hiring a professional copywriter to write your website copy.
• Be sure to include on each page the keywords for which you want to rank high.
• Include a call to action on every page. Tell people what you want them to do: call you, register, sign up, etc.
4. Add fresh content regularly. Perhaps the top strategy used by high-ranking lawyers today is to add new, relevant content to their websites on a consistent basis. This is one of the major reasons for the explosion in blogs in recent years. A blog is a type of website that is regularly updated, and the entries are often displayed in reverse-chronological order with the newest entry at the top. Although some law firms are selecting blogs instead of websites, I believe there is a place for each in online legal marketing. If, for economic reasons, you are forced to select between one or the other, I recommend starting out with a blog. Why? Because they are very low cost (or free) as compared to websites and, if done properly, will help you rank faster than a traditional website.
Anyone can start a blog at no cost using sites such as www.wordpress.com and www.blogger.com. At a minimum, we recommend updating your blog weekly. For any serious traffic, you need to be updating three to five times per week. Lawyers who want to be at the top of the search engines update their blog three to five times per day. Google loves fresh content. The more relevant content your blog gives Google, the more it will love your blog by ranking it higher. Key Action Points:
• Search engines love fresh content.
• The more fresh, relevant content you post on your website or blog, the higher you will rank on the search engines.
• Blogs are a great place to get started, but in order to be effective they must be updated frequently.
• Update your blog at least three to five times per week.
5. Use video to keep visitors’ attention. Now here’s a truly depressing statistic: On average, 85 percent of your website’s visitors will stay for less than 30 seconds and will never return. Seriously? Yes. If you don’t believe me, check for yourself. Look at your website’s statistics log and see how many unique visitors you have and how long they stay on average. (Virtually every website has at least a basic statistics package; just ask your website tech or hosting company how to access it. If you are not already using Google Analytics, have your tech install it. It’s much better than most. And it’s free.)
The bottom line is that you literally have less than 30 seconds to impress your website visitors. I believe all of us would agree that the longer visitors stay on your website, the more likely they are to connect with you.
One of the best ways to increase the length of time a visitor stays is by using videos. Anecdotally, our clients have seen a four- to fivefold increase in length of stay after implementing videos on their websites. These videos should be one to three minutes long and focus on educating prospects and website visitors about who you are, who you help, and why you are different. These videos do not need to be professionally produced, but you may want to have someone add a short introduction including your website and phone number. Once you have your video ready, upload it to your website—and to www.youtube.com for additional exposure. Visitors are more concerned with content than production quality. If allowed in your jurisdiction, use video testimonials from your clients as well. Key Action Points:
• The longer someone stays on your website, the greater likelihood they will connect with you.
• Use videos to quickly capture their attention.
• Your videos should educate prospects about who you are, who you help, and why you are different.
6. Develop educational tools and promote them on your website. Education-based marketing is one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of lawyers. There is a great amount of basic information you know about your practice area that prospects want and need to know. Think about some of the questions your clients have about child custody and divorce or how to avoid getting sued by employees or ways to protect their intellectual property. Identify their frequently asked questions or biggest challenges and put together a short report (three to six pages long), a PowerPoint presentation, or even an audio CD, and offer a free copy to website visitors who give you their contact information. (Remember, if you cannot get visitors to call you directly, the second-best alternative is to persuade them to give you their contact information with permission to contact them.) Give your education material a creative title such as “7 Questions You Must Ask before You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer,” or “The 10 Deadly Mistakes People Make with Their Estate Plan,” or even “5 Strategies Inventors Can Use to Protect and Monetize Their Inventions.”
This kind of free educational information is a great tool you can use to start building relationships with many people who need your help but aren’t ready to walk in your door. It is not enough simply to offer people a free consultation. Almost every lawyer does that. Take it one step further and give them some great information that will help them think through the issues and challenges they are facing. Once you have created these educational tools, find every way you can to give them away to as many people as possible. Key Action Points:
• Use an educational report, white paper, or audio CD to inform prospects, clients, and referral sources.
• Every prospect has questions and challenges. Identify them and give them some information that indicates you can resolve their challenges and answer their questions.
7. Submit your articles online. Submitting short educational articles on the Internet is one of the easiest, fastest, and cheapest ways to increase your visibility and the traffic to your website. There are literally thousands of directories on the Internet that will republish your article on their websites at no cost. Simply Google “article directories” for a list. Key Action Points:
• Keep your articles short—between 400 and 700 words. Remember, people don’t read online, they scan. Use plenty of bullet points, clearly differentiate sections, and keep your paragraphs short.
• Write for a specific audience. Keep in mind your ideal clients, and write the article for them—not for other lawyers. Tell a case study. Use an example. Make it practical, interesting, and personal, as if you were speaking directly to the reader. Never use legal jargon unless you explain it.
• Grab their attention with the title. Make sure your title is less than ten words, has a number in it when possible, and tells them how to solve a problem. The title must grab the reader’s attention from the start. For example: “5 Mistakes,” “7 Pitfalls,” “3 Steps,” etc.
• Tell, don’t sell. Focus your article on informing and educating your reader about a specific topic. Don’t focus on “selling” your services. The goal is to get readers to visit your website.
• Don’t be generic. Give your opinion or state your perspective. People are looking for answers, not just questions.
• Determine if your article is a good fit for the site. Some sites target business professionals, others target individual consumers. Some have sections for each group. If they give you the choice, make sure you select the category that is most appropriate for your article and that best represents your target market.
• Only submit to websites that allow you to include your contact information with a live link back to your website. If they are not willing to give you a live link back to your website, go somewhere else.
• Give people a reason to contact you. Offer them a special report at your website or something else that will give them an incentive to contact you.
• Create a Google Alert at www.google.com/alerts to help you track where your articles are posted to and when they come out (set either your name or the title of your article as the Alert).
• Manage your expectations. Writing and submitting articles to various websites will rarely result in a new client. There are three major reasons why you should use this technique: (1) It will increase your visibility on the Internet. The search engines love free information (which is what your article is). (2) It will increase the number of visitors to your website through the direct links at the bottom of each article and by increasing the position of your website on the search engines. (3) It will increase your credibility. When an important prospect searches for your name on the Internet and comes up blank, that doesn’t look good. Having several websites with your articles posted on them immediately increases your credibility to prospects investigating which lawyer they want to hire.
8. Take action fast. One of the hallmarks of a top rainmaker is the ability to take action fast. It’s easy to put things off. It’s easier still to stay a cynic. The real challenge is acting on what you have learned. Here’s my challenge to you: Write down three to five specific strategies you will start implementing in the next 30 days. Give yourself realistic time frames and find someone to hold you accountable. Then go out and take action.
Stephen Fairley is CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, the nation’s largest law firm marketing company that specializes in helping small and solo law firms generate more referrals and increase their revenue.
Posted By Administration,
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Updated: Friday, June 1, 2018
This short video shows you how to create different signatures in Outlook. PLF Practice Management Advisor Sheila Blackford leads you through the simple process of how to create and customize your signature and also how to insert an electronic business card, a picture or logo, and a hyperlink to your social media accounts. Originally posted on the Oregon State Bar website on May 15, 2018, by Sheila Blackford.