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February 2007

January 2007

The Urge To Undress and Unmask.

Robert Ambrogi over at the law.com blog network recently posted about the apparent trend of unmasking by anonymous lawyers. Here is his post in total (there was too much great information here to edit or summarize) which can be found here.

"As trends among lawyers go, the urge to unmask online is far less disturbing than the urge to undress in public buildings. The latter trend apparently got its start in Ohio, when a prosecutor was caught walking naked through a government office building. Now comes the Philadelphia lawyer who yesterday inexplicably decided to disrobe in a courthouse conference room -- in the presence of a 14-year-old girl, no less.

Equally inexplicable but far more preferable is the apparent trend among lawyers who blog anonymously to unmask themselves. We all know the story of David Lat's coming out. A trailblazer in telling all, he toils now, no longer in obscurity, at the legal-gossip blog Above the Law. But that was late in 2005. Other anonymous legal bloggers seemed content to stay safely behind their masks. Until recently, that is.

Maybe The Wired GC is to blame. As reported here in December, this hitherto anonymous blogger announced that he would unmask himself sometime in January. (We're waitinggg ...) Soon after, also as reported here, the anonymous editor of Blawg Review challenged readers to unmask his identity. (They failed.) Now, as that same anonymous editor reports, another unmasking is in the offing. This time, it is the anonymous author of The Greatest American Lawyer, who has launched a contest, Who's that GAL? to guess his true identity.

We welcome lawyers to remove their masks. We urge them, however, to keep their clothes on -- at least in public."

Robert also hosts the Robert Ambrogi’s Lawsites blog and is the author of the book "The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web." He also writes the Media Law blog and co-writes Legal Blog Watch. Incredibly, he also co-hosts the Legal Affairs podcast coast to coast.


Wasting Marketing Dollars

Studies have shown that marketing is significantly more effective when specifically tailored to the client group that you are attempting to bring in. This means that an advertisement that calls out to specific legal issues would see more return on the investment compared to one that simply summarizes your firm. In order for tech-age firms like ours to take advantage of this knowledge, you need to know the composition of the client group that you are trying to reach, which than allows you to derive marketing strategies that would most appeal to that group.

Discovering that composition can be a little more interesting for tech-age firms. While our technologies allow us to better accommodate all sorts of different clients, there is a large group of clients who are not able to fully appreciate our comparative advantage, and will never come through our doors. This group is apprehensive about our break-through models , and will always be more interested in the traditional, and "proven", method of legal services, no matter how much you spend trying to show them the better way.

The clients that are going to realize, and fully embrace, what tech-age firms can do are a little different than their traditional counterparts. These clients are ones with a basic understanding of technology, have the ability to utilize the Internet, and are free of the old mindsets of how legal work is "supposed" to be done.

This means that there are camps of loyal clients who correspond to the different camps within the legal field, and firms who are looking to make the most of their marketing dollars will find the greatest returns by targeting their own camp of clients. While the camp for the traditional firm is larger than ours, this doesn't mean that there are those who cannot be saved from the chains of our outdated counterparts. This is because there are so many technologically savvy clients that go to their local A, B & Associates simply because they don't know another way. Marketing targeted towards these clients, and those mentioned above, can be an extremely effective use of resources, but it is important to realize that there are those clients that will simply never be interested in our capabilities. In doing so, we can save those precious marketing resources and avoid wasting them on endeavors that would not bring returns.


“Who’s that GAL” contest update.

For those of you who have been around for any length of time, you know that the most famous anonymous blogger in the legal field is someone named "Ed" over at Blawgreview.com. No one (and I mean literally no one) knows who "Ed" really is. I have always assumed that Ed was short for "Editor." I have traded many emails with Ed through the years. In fact, it was Ed who suggested that I grab the URL GreatestAmericanLawyer.com, which I now use as a mapped domain.

Thanks to this post over at Blawg Review, I can now share with you the introduction to the Greatest American Hero T.V. Show. As you know, I received my divine inspiration for this website because of the song I couldn’t get out of my head the day I decided to quit my old firm. That song is one I had not heard in a decade and I have no idea why it popped in my head in the first place. I do know why it stuck. The lyrics were perfect…check it out.

Of course, if you want to check out the last edition of the Blawg Review, it was hosted by the Public Defender Stuff blog. The Blawg Review post by Public Defender was awesome, in honorary format of Martin Luther King Day. You should check it out and check out the blog. I am certainly adding it to my Blog Roll.


'Who's That GAL?' Contest Rules

Learn more about the contest HERE.

Here are are the contest rules:

  1. Do a little internet research and see if you can figure who the author of The Greatest American Lawyer Blog really is. Send submissions to greatest.american@gmail.com.
  2. Contest applicants must be 18 years or older to participate.
  3. Yes, if you in fact know who The Greatest American Lawyer is, you can still enter the contest.
  4. The contest will close at midnight on February 9, 2007. Contest winners will be drawn at random on February 10, 2007 and announced on-line.
  5. The more contest applicants we have, the greater chance for sponsorships and great prizes so feel free to post this contest on your blog.

Read more about entries on the contest here.


The Importance of the Test-Drive

I little while back I posted about a the importance of remaining dedicated to the title "technologically advanced" (see "Staying Ontop of the Wave"). It is pretty universally accepted that those who work with this type of firm are always competing to discover and adopt the latest in technological advances that have the potential to make their work even easier and more efficient.

However, for many firms, saying you are dedicated to high-tech is much easier than remaining that way. Once you launch your Basecamp project management account, or purchase those new dictation devices, and than go through the hassle of training your staff in the use of all those things, it becomes extremely easy to stamp it as "high-tech" and leave it all alone.

Don't let yourself get caught in that trap. Stay abreast of the latest in breakthroughs, and when something comes up, don't be afraid to test-drive the technology. Test-driving is the most important thing that your firm can do to remain technologically advanced. Try different things out, even if you think your system is everything you need. Engineers across the globe are making breakthroughs upon breakthroughs, combining devices, making them faster, or creating something totally new in itself; and what you have today could very well be old news tomorrow. So, if something new and flashy comes around - give it a shot (perhaps in a small capacity) and see if it just might be of use to your office.

And don't feel like this is something that you need to be doing yourself. For a majority of new technologies, the time it would take for anyone to sift through the different options and commands is time you could better spend generating revenue. So if you hear about something, don't hesitate to ask a staff member to check it out themselves.


Who is that GAL? Contest Update.

I have been trying to think of a clever name for our contest asking readers to guess the identity of GAL by sending an email to greatest.american @gmail.com. We have received a significant number of guesses thus far, most of them completely accurate. There are lots of hints out there and trails for you to follow.  Put on your Google thinking cap and it won't take long for you the figure out WHO I really am.

I also asked for ideas about a contest name. one of our avid readers David Carson from the Pelud & Carson Law firm. David suggested "Name that GAL." I have tweaked the submission slightly to rename the contest "Who’s that GAL?"

So welcome to the "Who’s that GAL" contest where readers are invited to guess who the Greatest American Lawyer author really is. We have contacted a couple of companies about potential sponsorships for our contest. In the meantime, you should know that prizes will include a week long stay at a condominium located at The Homestead Freshwater Resort in Glen Arbor, Michigan ($1,000 value, limits on availability), an iPod nano and miscellaneous other prizes. More prizes will be added as we go.

Indexgallery20060912  Contest_1  Stonybrookpoolw Homesteadbeachthumb


In the meantime, here are the contest rules:

  1. Do a little internet research and see if you can figure who the author of The Greatest American Lawyer Blog really is. Send submissions to greatest.american@gmail.com.
  2. Contest applicants must be 18 years or older to participate.
  3. Yes, if you in fact know who The Greatest American Lawyer is, you can still enter the contest.
  4. The contest will close at midnight on February 9, 2007. Contest winners will be drawn at random on February 10, 2007 and announced on-line.
  5. The more contest applicants we have, the greater chance for sponsorships and great prizes so feel free to post this contest on your blog.

Read more about entries on the contest here.


The Age Beyond the 9 to 5

With how quickly technology turned tiny and hand-held, many people became trapped by their cellphones and blackberries; devices that were accomplishing what they were intended - too well. The problem that many professionals were, and still are, running into was determining how "connected" they should be.

The internet, cellphones, blackberries and laptops have revolutionized not only how we do work, but also how - and how often - we contact other people. This revolution has given rise to a great question regarding how often and when we should make ourselves available for communication to those we work with, and has seen proponents arise on both sides. The ensuing debate has become one most pressing to those of us working in the service market as we struggle to find a balance most amicable to our personal and professional lives.

The answer to this debate is simple, not easy, but simple. Ours is a service industry, and as connectedness becomes more and more the norm, those who we serve are going to demand the same from us. If you want your firm to succeed in the 21st century - the age of unparalleled communication - you need to make yourself available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For if you don't you will be left in the dust of the 9 to 5, watching as other attorney's offer full-time availability to their clients and reap the benefits.

For further thoughts regarding this subject, please check out this post titled: "Ball and Chain? Key to Freedom?" by Patrick J. Lamb. Patrick hits the issue right on the head: "Those who put clients in second place are going to find out that they don't have to worry about that problem any more."


To Be or Not to Be…Anonymous

As you know, I have been posting a bit recently being anonymous. My last post drew a lot of comments from folks who poked around a little bit and easily discovered who I am. The truth is that there are quite a few other bloggers who I have met at events who know I am. The reality is it is time to come out of the closet.

ENTER THE "WHO'S THAT GAL?" CONTEST HERE -->

After all, why should I be ashamed of my red cape and my spandex pants. The Greatest American Hero wasn’t ashamed. Those of you who have been around for a while know that this site was inspired by a song which filled my brain the day I decided to quit my old firm. That song was the theme song from the Greatest American Hero television show. You know the one. "Believe it or not, I’m walking on air, I never thought it could feel so free…"

The song seemed incredibly appropriate. And I thought it was important to create an "ideal" which I myself could aspire to.

So here’s the deal. The Greatest American Lawyer website is going to sponsor a contest. Put on your internet sleuth hat and see if you can figure out who the Greatest American Lawyer really is. Submit your guesses to greatest.american@gmail.com. Include your name, street address, phone, email address and blog (if you have one). Submissions will be included in a drawing for prizes (I promise they will be great) which I will identify later. The winner will be announced on the anniversary date of my law firm, the last day of employment at my old firm. The date that I became an independent practitioner was February 10, 2005. So the winner will be announced February 10, 2007.

By the way, I think this contest needs a name. Any ideas?

Read more about entries on the contest here.


Updating our Blawg Roll, Please Tell Us Who You Are

We are in the process of updating our blog roll. We are going to create categories and try hard to put together a great listing of fellow bloggers.

We also appreciate all the good folks who have linked to The Greatest American website. We have over 50,000 incoming links over the last two years.

So if you are a regular reader and want to be listed on our blog roll, post a comment to this entry. Let us know who you are and the URL of your blog. Don’t forget to tell us what category you would like to be listed in. And don’t forget to add us to your blog roll if you’ve not already done so.


An Email Emergency

We recently posted here about the explosion going on inside your email inbox. Virtually everyone is seeing the steady increase in the number of emails that arrive each day from clients, spammers, friends, family, staff, and a variety of listservs that we all subscribe to. The post generated a number of comments, telling me that the email inbox is becoming mission critical for lawyers. If we don’t gain control of our email inbox, our ability to provide client service will be compromised and we could be looking at increased malpractice risk.

Virtually every email inbox has an ability to tag or flag emails. Microsoft Outlook has a flagging system, which allows lawyers to activate a red (or other colored) flag to the right of each email. Of course, the dilemma for every lawyer is whether to stop, read and deal with each email as it comes in or let it go by and come back to it later. Do you let emails pile up in your inbox before going back and reviewing them on a schedule basis?

I use Microsoft Outlook for my email and flag each email that requires action. This allows me to skim emails on a regular basis and flag those that I need to come back to. Microsoft Outlook has a folder called "follow up," which contains all the flag emails. When things are working well, I go back to the follow up folder on a regular basis and deal with all the emails that still require some form of action.

How do you control your email inbox? Give us your thoughts. I will be posting regularly about the email emergency we all face over the next couple of weeks. Other issues that I will talk about include:

· What if you are a lawyer who doesn’t type well? How in the world will you survive in the technology age where email is the most pervasive form of communication?

· Dealing with remote email.

· The advantages of web mail and making sure all your email ends up in single searchable database.

· Are you really going to type an email on your Blackberry keyboard?