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February 2010

Lawyer Advertisements in Liturgical Newsletters: One New Lenox, ILL Lawyer Finds It to Be an Effective Marketing Tool

Here’s an interesting story in the ABA Journal by Deborah L. Cohen entitled, “Having Faith in Marketing - Houses of worship offer affordable and effective advertising possibilities” 

Here’s what Attorney Daniel Adler has to say about his advertising in the weekly bulletin at Saint Jude Catholic Church in New Lenox, Illinois:

03-24  “I’ve had quite a few people call because they’ve seen my little ad in the back of the bulletin,” says Adler, who now pays $65 per month for the message he has been placing for some 20 years.

"Dollar for dollar it’s pretty good advertising,”

“I’m there, I’m at the church and people see me,”


Innovative Lawyer Patrick Lamb Discusses The Inevitable Movement Towards Alternative Fees

Patrick-Lamb Patrick Lamb is a well known Chicago lawyer, who has put his money where his mouth is when it comes to new business models for law firms.  Patrick's firm, Valorem Law Group, offers options for clients in the areas of alternative ("value") billing and technology. 

Read or listen to the interview below.  My Favorite Quotes:

  • ... the thing about alternative fees is that they’re shifting the financial risk to the firm, and so firms should be looking for ways to do things even more efficiently than they did before when they were doing things under an hourly basis.
  • from client’s standpoint, one of the huge advantages is the predictability of costs.  If you quote an alternative fee, we’ll do x amount of work for $10,000 or we’ll handle this case for $10,000, the client knows that that’s what it’s going to cost.
  • There’s a lot overhead that that firm’s clients are paying for ...  if you are working virtually or using technology in a cloud ... you can cut out a huge amount of that expense, and those savings can then passed along to the client.

Announcer:  Welcome to GAL Radio brought to you by the Greatest American Lawyer Blog.  Changing the way law is practiced through technology, innovation and creativity.  Turning the business of law on its head and shaking things up to the betterment of clients, lawyers, law firms and society.

Damien Allen:  Good afternoon, and welcome to GAL Radio.  My name is Damien Allen, and today we’re discussing alternative fee arrangements with Patrick Lamb.  Patrick is a partner with the Valorem Law Group, a Chicago litigation firm.  He joins us now via the telephone.  Good morning and welcome to the program, Patrick.

Continue reading "Innovative Lawyer Patrick Lamb Discusses The Inevitable Movement Towards Alternative Fees" »


Thinking About Going Solo? Hear What One Accomplished Solo Attorney Has To Say...

Peter Olson In this GAL Radio interview, Peter Olson of SoloInChicago.com offers some great down-to-earth advice for anyone considering going solo.  If you're already in the solo game, Peter offers some wonderful tips about common hurdles you will face, how to market your services for success, client billing options, client communications, alternative fee arrangements and how to compete against bigger firms.  Here are my favorite quotes from the Peter Olson interview:

  • If you are concerned about your ability to run a  business, get a legal practice management coach.
  • You need good people skills, and to understand marketing and pricing of services.
  • Use newsletter marketing to current clients, former clients, and current and former sort of referral services, other professionals, real estate professionals, bankers, and really other attorneys as well.
  • Well, I do have support staff, that’s one thing.  I mean, I do have a legal assistant.  To me it would be hard to function without at least a staff person or two.
  • we’re starting to use Basecamp with some of our newer clients and get that as part of our website.  Instead of shooting out letters and emails, essentially we’re putting updates out on a protected internet service that people can just look at instead of sending carbon copies of letters and what not.
  • 80% of my practice, I would say within the domestic relations part of my practice, still probably three quarters of what I am doing is a traditional billable hour.  I know a lot of people pooh-pooh that these days ...

Listen or read the transcript of the interview below.  Thanks to Peter Olson for participating in this GAL Radio Interview. 


Announcer:  Welcome to GAL Radio brought to you by the Greatest American Lawyer Blog.  Changing the way law is practiced through technology, innovation and creativity.  Turning the business of law on its head and shaking things up to the betterment of clients, lawyers, law firms and society.

Damien Allen:  Good afternoon, and welcome to GAL Radio.  My name is Damien Allen, and joining me today on the telephone is Peter Olson of the Olson Law, LLC, in Chicago, Illinois.  Good afternoon and welcome to the program, Peter.

Continue reading "Thinking About Going Solo? Hear What One Accomplished Solo Attorney Has To Say..." »


'Ernie The Attorney' Discusses Technology, Social Networking for Lawyers and Going Solo

Ernie the Attorney is a long time blogger and innovator in the law. We love Ernie for lots of reasons, one of which is his linked-in profile which states:

Darwin observed that "it is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change." The legal system, long bound by tradition, now struggles to adapt to increasing societal change. Today, lawyers can use technology in novel ways to improve communication and increase efficiency in gathering information. We need to be more adept at handling digital information to fully represent our clients.

Clients increasingly need lawyers who look at things in fresh ways, who seek hidden advantages, and who properly assess risk instead of reflexively avoiding it. "Zealous representation," to me, is less about swash-buckling and more about thoughtfulness and strategic planning.

Want to learn more?  Listen or read Ernie's GAL Radio interview where he discusses social networking and other hot topics in law.

......................................

Announcer:  Welcome to GAL Radio brought to you by the Greatest American Lawyer Blog.  Changing the way law is practiced through technology, innovation and creativity.  Turning the business of law on its head, and shaking things up to the betterment of clients, lawyers, law firms and society. 

Damien Allen:  Good afternoon, and welcome to GAL Radio.  My name is Damien Allen and joining me today via the telephone is Ernest Svenson of the Svenson Law Firm in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Good afternoon, and welcome to the program, Ernest.


Ernest Svenson: Hey, it’s great to be here.

Damien Allen:  It’s great to have you. Congratulations on your Super Bowl win.

Continue reading "'Ernie The Attorney' Discusses Technology, Social Networking for Lawyers and Going Solo" »


Lawyers, Prospects and the Consultation Fee: Should Lawyers Charge a Prospective Client a Fee for an Initial Consultation

Ed Poll, the host of The Law Biz Forum - a legal forum for lawyers seeking best practices, wisdom and support - lists the following three choices lawyers have when it comes to charging prospective clients for an initial consultation in this December 11, 2009 forum post called “To charge or not to charge.”

The issue: whether to charge a prospective client a fee for an initial consultation, the meeting before being engaged. The wisdom of charging in this situation has long been debated, and it comes down to three fundamental choices:

    1. Free initial consultation
    2. Paid initial consultation at the lawyer's regular rate, exclusive of any subsequent engagement
    3. Paid initial consultation at the lawyer's regular rate, with the payment applied to the total bill if the consultation results in an engagement.

It should come as no surprise, of course, that there is no debate over whether or not to charge for an initial consultation at our law firm, we simply do not charge a fee.  We believe providing a free initial consultation creates value for our law firm in terms of retention, and lays a foundation for a healthy relationship with our clients. 

Where do you fall in line on this debate? 


The Duke University Law Entrepreneur LLM Program- Merging Business and Law

Welcome to GAL Radio, brought to you by the Greatest American Lawyer blog.  Changing the way law is practiced through technology, innovation and creativity.  Turning the business of law on its head and shaking things up to the betterment of clients, lawyers, law firms, and society.

 Damien:  Good afternoon, and welcome to GAL Radio.  My name is Damien Allen, and today joining me on the phone is Professor James Cox, the Director of the Law and Entrepreneurship LLM Program at Duke University School of Law.  Good afternoon and welcome to the program, James.



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