'The Greatest' Philosophy

In the Internet and Technology Age, Isn’t it Time for Lawyers to Stand Up?

Desk_5_200Don’t get me wrong.  I love technology.  And I adore the internet.  As a lawyer specializing in internet law and technology issues, it is hard for me to complain about anything related to technology.  Our law firm thrives on the growth and innovation that is occurring online. 

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When Selecting an Attorney, Does Geography Count Anymore?

I was recently interviewed by The Northern Express Magazine who did an article titled “Internet Law.”  One of the interesting quotes that found its way into the article is as follows:

“It used to be that clients felt secure having an attorney who lived down the block,” Schaefer says. “Now, they feel secure having an attorney who’s written an article about their problem, no matter where he or she is from... The reality is that clients want answers, not lawyer-speak or disclaimers. They want business solutions and to real advice about how to proceed.”

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Growing a Law Firm in Tough Economic Times

Lawyers and law firms are not exempt from the economic downturn.  When the economy is chugging along, companies regularly look to enhance their business model.  Clients have no problem hiring attorneys to do things which are important, but not critical.  While a trademark registration with the USPTO is important, the cost of a lawyer opinion letter on availability, legal fees for trademark registration and a filing fee to the USPTO can run about $1,600.  It is a discretionary spend.  Unless you get sued as a defendant in litigation, you typically have a choice as to whether or not to spend money on legal services. 

In order to overcome the economic disincentives to spending money on important legal items, which are not otherwise critical or mandatory, lawyers need to continue to differentiate their legal service offerings.   There are lots of ways to do this.  Innovative billing techniques, payment schedules, improved customer or client service, transparency or perhaps the most important item, is to make sure that you do not charge the client to learn about their problems.   Lawyers who charge for miscellaneous phone calls to or from their client are creating a huge disincentive for that client to contact the attorney. 


Integrating Video into Small Business Marketing

Lawyers and law firms rarely put the attention necessary into their web site.  Web sites require work and technical knowledge.  Too many attorneys are intimidated by web marketing because it requires near constant attention. 

One new tool which would help any lawyer create an effective marketing video in less than five minutes is found at www.youtube.com/searchstories.  The creation tool can be found at Google Search Stories Video Creator.

We have integrated Search Stories into two of our marketing landing pages:

The YouTube videos for each marketing campaign within our niche of internet and web defamation are located below.  Note that they not only were created in less than five minutes, but are compelling.  The music and production which is “baked in” to the search story creator by YouTube creates a very strong “call to action.”

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What does it mean to be a Solution Minded Attorney?

Every attorney sees themselves different.  In the litigation arena, there are those attorneys who simply fight to the death, contest every issue and whose fundamental purpose is to destroy everything in their path.  There are other lawyers who take a completely different approach.  They are solution minded.  Their goal is to protect their client’s rights and achieve their client’s goals in the most cost-effective way possible. 

It is really easy for “aggressive” lawyers to drive endless bills to their clients by engaging in “letter war” tactics and other heavy-handed strategies.  These lawyers don’t discriminate much between clients.  They simply fit everyone into the “aggressive lawyer” business model. 

More solution minded lawyers try to identify the client’s goals and then work towards solutions and compromises which meet those goals.  While it is sometimes necessary to aggressively assert a client’s right, that is not necessarily the default position. 

As a litigation attorney, I get to make choices each day about what type of approach works best for a particular client on a particular matter.  I always have to remind myself to step outside the classic threat letter, analyze threat letter response, reply to response to threat letter approach.  Sometimes, just picking up the phone is the right answer for everyone involved. 


Denise Howell, Evan Brown, Enrico Schaefer and Ashley Packard on "This Week in Law"

A big thanks to Denise Howell who invited me to participate on her popular "This Week in Law" netcast televised on Twit.tv.  In this weeks episode titled "Little Orphan Schweddy Balls," the panel of internet and technology attorneys (and Ashley Packard,Ph.D., Professor of Communications and Digital Media Studies at University of Houston) discuss a cornucopia of legal issues from copyright trolling, social media law and a variety of other issues. 

Hosts:

Denise Howell: is an appellate, intellectual property, and technology lawyer, an internet blogger and columnist, and podcast host.

Evan Brown: is a technology and intellectual property law lawyer, as well as a blogger. on his blog "Internet Cases - a blog about law and technolgy," Evan shares his thoughts on internet issues related to copyright, trademarks, DMCA, open source, pivacy, and a host of other web related issues.

Guests:

Ashley Packard, Ph.D.: is a Professor of Communications and Digital Media Studies at University of Houston.  Her courses include Digital Media Law & Ethics Seminar, Media Law, Communication Ethics and Mass Media & Society.

Enrico Schaefer: is Founder of Traverse Legal, PLC. Enrico is a seasoned trial attorney practicing in areas such as internet and domain law, cybersquatting, technology and intellectual property, UDRP and IP licensing, trademark and related matters. 

 


Keyword Domain Name for Lawyers: Internet Lawyer Parking Page?

Many lawyers use the internet for marketing.  From Blogs to Facebook, Twitter and Google+, the debate over whether lawyers should market online ended long ago.  Virtually, every law firm now does so.  Many law firms register their firm name as the domain name.  But domain names which match the search query in Google still get a healthy bump. 

Check these Google search results for the phrase “internet lawyer.”  Note that the third result is www.internetlawyer.com, which is a parking page at Google.

Internetlawyer.com

Of course, if you are really looking for an internet lawyer, we recommend our own law firm, Traverse Legal, PLC.

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The Email Inbox as a Communications Database

One of the challenges that every lawyer faces when they sit down at their desk in the morning is managing the various software applications running on their computer and the data and communications which run through their systems.  In order to survive the prospect of information overload, attorneys need to try and assemble their most important information, tasks and data in a single place.  While it is not likely possible to get everything under one application, the obvious storage area for everything an attorney needs day in and day out is the email inbox.

There are several challenges to manipulating information in the inbox, not the least of which is the fact that email now gets sent from a variety of different devices from the desktop, laptop, cell phone and iPad.  Whenever you’re away from your main computer, you should consider setting up your email to blindcopy yourself on every communication.  This means that everything that you send ends up in your inbox, even if it’s not in your primary “sent” folder.  


Don’t Focus Your Lawyer Marketing on the “Deal Hunter” Population

Law is a moving target.  So is legal marketing.  In an age of commoditized legal services, new business models for law, legal services on the internet, Legal Zoom, Trademarkia and so many others, lawyers sometimes may make the mistake of getting caught up in the “lowest price” game. 

There is a danger to focusing on the “deal hunter” niche of the market.  These are people who are always shopping around.  For them, price is the most important factor irrespective of quality.  These are not the prospective clients that any lawyer or their law firm should be trying to attract. 

Instead, focus on long-term relationships.  If a client is overly consumed by price, they may not be around for long anyway.  Even if you offer a lower price, they will push the next attorney to a slightly better discount.