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9 posts from October 2008

October 31, 2008

Want to avoid your clients?

OK, I'm not advocating this, but if you've got just a minute and don't want to talk to that client who goes on and on and on ..., try Slydial.  The free service promises to to connect you DIRECTLY to a person's mobile voicemail.   They don't answer, but get your message, and you can go back to being productive. 

Asking for your help.

Below is an email I received from Doug Sorocco, fellow legal blogger and great friend.  Please take time to read it and help if you can.
Howdy everyone!

As many of you know, I have spina bifida and have been a strong advocate on behalf of all those affected with this disability as well as the 65 million U.S. women of child bearing age.  As you are probably aware, all women of childbearing age should be taking a multivitamin that contains folic acid in order to increase the odds that a child will not be born with spina bifida.  I was honored to be the Chairman of the Spina Bifida Association of America the past number of years and I am now a member of the Board of the International Federation for Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida in Brussels.

Along with our time and energy, Kristen and I are both financial supporters of the Spina Bifida Association.  I have also been fortunate that my firm, Dunlap Codding, has supported my work these past 12 years and given tens of thousands of dollars in financial and in-kind donations.  We all believe in the mission of the organization and the work that it does.

I am now asking your financial support as well.

In conjunction with the Association's Roast of Stephen Colbert of the "Colbert Report", we are raising additional funds through donations and car raffle tickets.  The car being raffled this year is a Hybrid Lexus RX 400H – the winner will be able to drive in style, comfort and fuel economy.

I promise you – the Spina Bifida Association is an amazing steward of the funds we raise and the impact we are having in the world is at least 10x the actual size of our organization.  You have my word that the funds raised will be well used.  If you are interested in learning more about what we do - I invite you to go to

I – and all those affected by spina bifida – need your financial generosity and support at this point in time.

If you can buy a raffle ticket, please fill out the attached form.  Buy two tickets and you get a $25 price break!  Only 2500 tickets will be sold – so your odds of winning are great.

If you are in the DC area, please purchase tickets to the Roast – it should be the event of the year in Washington, D.C.  I can only imagine what members of Congress and The White House, given an open microphone, will say to Stephen Colbert!  The tables will be turned.  The link to purchase tickets is:

If you cannot attend the Roast, you can still make a donation and support the work of the SBA.  I am extremely grateful for any contribution you can make and anything you can give, no matter the amount, will make a difference.

The link for Roast tickets and donations is:

One last request – please forward this email and attachment to at least ten people in your email address book.  The last time I requested your assistance in writing to Congress, I was overwhelmed with the number of people who responded.  It was astounding, frankly, and I believe that we must have gotten 15-20 more replies than the number of people I emailed.  So – forwarding this email will not take a lot of time, but the impact of forwarding the email is immeasurable.

Kristen and I thank you for your financial generosity and time.  Most importantly, we thank you for your incredible support of the work I have been doing on behalf of the SBA.  Together, we have truly made a difference in the lives of millions of people throughout the United States.

Kristen, Karl and I wish you, and your family, the very best for the holidays,


October 28, 2008

Ten Rules About Hourly Billing

After the great response I got to yesterday's Ten New Rules of Legal Marketing post, I've decided to share a few more "Rules" of Hourly Billing I've culled from my blog and my speeches.  Enjoy!

1.  Ask your clients what they buy from you.  If it isn’t time, stop selling it!

2.  Imagine a world where your clients know each month how much your bill will be so they could plan for it.  They do.

3.  If you don’t agree on fees at the beginning of a case, you’ll be begging for them at the end of it.

4.  Sophisticated clients who insist on hourly billing do so because they’re smarter than you are, not because they want you to be paid fairly.

5.  When you bill by the hour, your once-in-a-lifetime flash of brilliant insight that saves your client millions of dollars has the same contribution to your bottom line as the six minutes you just spent opening the mail.

6.  Businesses succeed when their people work better.  Law firms succeed when their people work longer.  Your clients understand this -- and resent you for it.

7.  Every time your clients jokingly ask you, “Are you going to charge me for this?” they aren’t joking -- and they’ll check next month’s bill to be sure.

8.  The hardest thing to measure is talent.  The easiest thing to measure is time.  The two have absolutely no relationship to one another.  Your law firm measures talent, right?

9.  Would you shop at a store where the cost of your purchase isn’t set until after you’ve agreed to buy it? You ask your clients to.

10.  There are 1440 minutes each day.  How many did you make matter?  How many did you bill for?  Were they the same minutes?  Didn't think so.

If you'd like to get more ideas like these in real time, follow me on Twitter.

Touch Your Audience with These Touchy-Feely Tips

Here's a must-read post from Laura Bergells with six "touchy-feely" tips that will help when you rehearse your next presentation (you do practice, right?). 

If you ever give presentations to clients, to peers or to juries, you need to be thinking about these practice ideas.  My favorite:
Record your presentation without video. Then, listen to it without watching the slides. I like putting my audio on my portable mp3 player -- and taking a walk. While listening to myself on the ellipse machine at the gym last week, I found an area of my presentation that dragged so dismally, I barely registered a heartbeat while chugging along at a high incline! I went back to the office for a rewrite and added more powerful visuals. Listening to "audio only" helps you spot pace and pitch problems -- but it also helps you later recall the words and inflections that work well.

October 27, 2008

More of Me Trying to Sound Brilliant

Episode Four of my interview with Jim Canterucci is up on his Personal Brilliance Blog.  Take a listen.

Ten New Rules of Legal Marketing

Legal Marketing has changed.  It used to be enough to keep an ad in the yellow pages and belong to the Rotary Club.  Not anymore.  Times are tough, so I present to you Ten "New" Rules of Legal Marketing.  Let me know what you think.

1.  "My lawyer can beat up your lawyer" isn't a marketing strategy.  "My lawyer will call me back before yours will" is.

2.  Google tells me there are 337,000 "Full Service Law Firms” out there.  Which one was yours again?

3.  Unless the person who founded your firm 100 years ago is still alive and practicing law, he's completely irrelevant to every client who's thinking of hiring you.

4.  Market to a "want" not to a "need."  By the time your clients realize they "need" you, it's often too late -- for them and for you.

5.  Your “keep great clients happy” budget should exceed your “try to get new clients” budget by at least 3:1.

6.  Thanksgiving cards say you're thankful for your clients' business.  Christmas cards say you're just like everybody else.

7.  Having the scales of justice on your business card says you're a lawyer -- an old, stodgy, unimaginative, do-what-everyone-else-has-done-for-fifty-years lawyer.  Same is true for your yellow pages ad.

8.  Speaking of yellow pages, don’t abdicate your marketing strategy to their salespeople.  They don’t know marketing.  They only know how to sell you a bigger ad each year.

9.  Your future clients have been living their entire lives online and will expect the same from you.  If you’re invisible on the web, you won’t exist to them.

10.  The single best marketing strategy in the world is to find your best clients and ask them, "How do I get more clients like you?"

Look for ten more rules next month.  For hundreds of legal marketing ideas, check out my Marketing Category on this blog.  And if you want to get these in real time, follow me on Twitter.

October 25, 2008

Co-Op Your Small Team

If you're looking for a solution to keep your small team on track, you should check out Co-Op, a lightweight, super-intuitive way to know what everyone in your team is working on right now.  It is a bit like Twitter meets your time sheet, and looks very cool.  Here's a screenshot:

October 15, 2008

Pretending to Act Brilliantly

My friend Jim Canterucci interviewed me for his Personal Brilliance Podcast.  He'll be posting portions of the interviews throughout this month and I encourage you to check it out. I'm not sure how much brilliance there is in my interview, but I always enjoy talking with Jim and I think you'll find some interesting things in there. 

I'd also encourage you to check out the rest of the podcasts.  I'm working though them right now, and I've got to say, so far all of them have been worth a listen!

October 13, 2008

Hello from Idaho

Picture of the season's first snow in Sun Valley, Idaho.

I just returned from Idaho, where I facilitated an Idea Market for Boise-area entrepreneurs (more on that in a future post), gave a speech to the fine lawyers at Hawley Troxell Ennis & Hawley and spoke about Innovation for Real Lawyers at the Idaho Bar's annual meeting.* 

I'll post my slides next week, along with some pretty cool thinking that came out of the Idea Market.  I'm going to be in Minneapolis, New York, Boston, Atlanta and London in the next two months.  I'd love to meet you when I make it to your city. 

Stay tuned.

*Big thanks go to friend Steve Nipper, Travis Franklin and the Idaho Bar Association for taking such good care of me while I was there!